Ask Your Preacher
Does God always hear our prayers?
Who is praying and how they pray matters. God says that a righteous man’s prayers do a great deal of good (Jas 5:16). That would by default mean that an unrighteous man’s prayers wouldn’t do much, if any, good at all. God told Israel that their ungodly lifestyles meant that He wouldn’t hear their prayers at all! (Isa 1:15) There are other things that will stop your prayers from being heard:
- Treating your spouse badly (1 Pet 3:7)
- Praying for “show” (Lk 20:47)
- Praying selfishly (Jas 4:3)
- Praying without gratitude (Col 4:2)
There is no doubt that the Bible teaches that we should examine ourselves before approaching God in prayer. A wrong attitude or lifestyle can seriously jeopardize our prayers effectiveness. The flip is also true though! Proper attitudes and behavior are rewarded:
- Asking for wisdom (Jas 1:5)
- Consistency (1 Thess 5:17)
- Godly living (Jas 5:16)
- Asking without doubt (Jas 1:6)
When we are constantly praying, trusting in God’s strength to answer, humbly seeking his wisdom, and living lives that befit God’s servants, we can expect powerful results! Prayer is perhaps one of the greatest tools in a Christian’s arsenal (perhaps also one of the least utilized). The Bible is how God speaks to us; prayer is how we speak to Him. Just like a child asking their parent for a privilege – how we approach God makes all the difference.
Should we worship only with our voices like we are commanded to, or is the use of instruments also acceptable?
Not To Harp On The Issue
Dear Not To Harp On The Issue,
God has given us instruments to use for worshipping Him – our hearts (Eph 5:19). In the New Testament, God tells us to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to Him. He wants the only melody He hears to come from our hearts. Instrumental music wasn’t introduced into the church until over three hundred years after Christ. In fact, ‘a cappella’ singing (singing without instruments) literally means ‘as the church’. There are no examples of the church using instruments to worship God in the New Testament. If we start using them, we are adding something to God’s Word (Rev 22:18-19). All we are ever told to do is “sing and make melody in our hearts”… pluck your heartstrings as you sing to God, and you will make God happy.
The problem with instrumental music in worship is that it isn’t a part of the Bible pattern, and the moment we start doing things outside the Bible, we have gone beyond what God intended (1 Cor 4:6). Instrumental music may sound appealing to us, but it is just one more manmade additive that adds to the division and confusion found in the religious world.
Is it mandatory to attend church to be saved?
The Bible teaches that we shouldn’t forsake the assembly (Heb 10:24-25). God designed the church so that each individual would be strengthened by the power of the whole (Eph 4:16). God never wanted christians to try and serve Him without the support of a local church; that is why He commanded the church to assemble. It is impossible to do God’s work without being a part of a local church. If you would like help finding a faithful congregation in your area, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A loudspeaker system produces "mechanical" music when sound is output through speakers (technically, sound waves generated by mechanical means, not vocal chords). If a church accepts this form of mechanical music by synthesizing its singing through audio speakers, could it accept words produced and synthesized by a sound board? What would the difference be? Ultimately, the sound produced is mechanical, sound waves from an amplifier and not from the voice box.
A loudspeaker system has nothing to do with the music being made – it simply amplifies it. When a speaker system is used, it doesn’t make any sort of music; the saints still have to sing and make melody in their hearts (Col 3:16). If the Christians weren’t singing, the speakers would simply produce silence.
A speaker system is no different then cupping your hands in front of your mouth to amplify the noise. The singing is still the same, just amplified by modern technology. However, if a piece of audio equipment is being used like an instrument to produce music on its own, that would be no different than using a piano or guitar.
It says that we must keep the Sabbath holy – which means for us to give back to God our time, relax in His presence, and get a day off just for Him. Why do we keep working on Sundays?
Dear Rest Up,
Saturday is the Sabbath day… but Christians don’t have to worry about keeping the Sabbath. The word ‘sabbath’ means ‘rest’. The Sabbath day was a day that the nation of Israel was told to rest, stop working, and make holy to the Lord (Ex 31:15). The Sabbath was part of the Old Testament law – a law that Christians are no longer under (Gal 3:23-25). We are specifically told not to let anyone bind the Sabbath on us (Col 2:16). Christians worship Christ on the first day of the week – Sunday (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor 16:1-2). We are not bound by the strict rules of avoiding all work like the Jews were, but we are told to treat Sunday as “the Lord’s day” (Rev 1:10).