Last week I mentioned in a post the Prayer of Manasseh. I wanted to share this controversial prayer with you, since very few people have ever read it. Although the vast majority of scholars place the date of this prayer in the first or second century B.C., and thus too late to be written by Manasseh; no one can say for sure who the author is. Because this short prayer is not in the Protestant Bible, very few Protestants knew anything about it. Because it is not in most Catholic Bibles (although it is a part of the Apocrypha) few Catholics know anything about it. Rabbis know of the prayer, but none of them believe it was written by Manasseh.
Whether this short prayer was really written by the penitent Manasseh really doesn't matter to me personally. The prayer could have been written by any upright and honest believer, for what is important is what it communicates. Far too many times, intellectuals get caught up in debating the fine points of an issue and lose the issue in the process. The classic example of this lies in the age old debate about how many angels could fit on the end of pin. The age old answer-what difference does it make.
I am no fan whatsoever of "theology". I am not a big fan of many of the "logy's". Psychology, sociology, genealogy and the such are all studies of a subject. Theology is defined as; "the field of study and analysis that treats of God and of God's attributes and relations to the universe; the study of divine things." Good grief, even the very definition of the word reeks of double talk. If theologians really cared about God, they would be more apt to look for the "heart of the issue" rather than getting hung up on minute technical points that add little to the overall understanding of the issue, except confusion.
I have a huge set of books called "The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament". It is a very large and exceptional set of books that I look at perhaps a couple of times per year. They were written by theologians and best understood by theologians. I have an Associate of Theology Degree, and I can't figure out what on earth these books are talking about half the time. They do look impressive on the bookshelf though.
In Daniel 12:4 the Archangel Michael had this to say to the prophet Daniel regarding the "end times":
"But thou, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."
The closer we get to the end of the age, the more knowledge there is available, and the more people will run to and fro searching for it. If this does not describe our current age, I do not know what does. There are so many Doctors of this, that and the other it is amazing. On every television news program there are experts talking down their noses at us peons about everything from wars to weight. The world is full of experts but most of them are only interested in hearing themselves talk and not about the truth.
There are times to trust the expertise of experts and there are times to turn a deaf ear to anything they have to say. Generally speaking, it seems to me that those with the most "head knowledge" tend to forget many issues in life are "heart" oriented. It is great to have a lot of knowledge in any field, just so long as that knowledge doesn't "puff up" one's ego and cause one to think higher of themselves than they ought to think.
Anyway, we have this prayer that was floating around when the cannon of the scriptures was put together. Somebody decided not to include it in the Bible. That is fine, for God watches over His Word. But, the fact that no one knows this prayer exists, means that people have missed out on a beautiful expression of one man's heart as he prays to God for forgiveness and mercy.
Many years ago I really messed up big time. I was confronted about it and confessed my guilt totally. Although I was forgiven by the people involved and the organization; I could not forgive myself. In reality I could not believe God would really forgive me. I sunk into a state of depression for a few weeks and finally was exhorted to go spend a weekend alone with God and "work things out". I did exactly that. The key, at the time, was my reading and re-reading and committing to memory large sections of Psalms 51 when David pleaded with God for mercy after his sin. To this day, when I fail miserably and find myself totally out of fellowship with the Father; I read and re-read Psalms 51.
Not too many years ago I was still working my way back from the mistakes I had made 25 years ago. Sure, I had outwardly dealt with these issues years before, but there was one thing I couldn't believe would be true. Since I had really blown it, big time, and had hurt others in the process; I assumed God would never in this lifetime allow me to be able to teach, share, counsel or lead again. This seemed logical to me and I had grudgingly come to grips with the whole subject.
One day the Lord led me to a song which had the line in it; "Come back to me, with all your heart. Don't let fear, keep us apart." For some reason this song electrified me. I remember bounding down the stairs and singing the song much to the dismay of my poor mother (I am not a very good singer). I didn't care what anyone thought. The Lord had told me something I desperately needed to "finish coming back." I had to deal with the fear that I committed offences beyond God's ability to remedy the consequences of.
I flew to New York and met an old acquaintance and shared all that had transpired in my life during the almost 20 years since we had last spent time together. He was amazed that I had made it as far as I had back into the "throne room." As he said, most people would either just give up and live the rest of their lives in total obscurity or would cover over the problem and pretend it wasn't there. We talked, we prayed and we went hard to the Word of God for answers. After a few hours he said he had a story that would set me free. He told it to me, and it set me free.
The story he told to me was the 2 Chronicles record of Manasseh. I had never read it before nor had I ever heard of the man in the Bible. When this wonderful man showed me from God's Word the records first in 2 Kings and then in 2 Chronicles; my heart melted and I finally understood that there are indeed times when God will so work in a man's life and in his situation, that he is given a second chance to do what he was called to do but forfeited the first time.
I was allowed to look at a book that evening which had in it the prayer of Manasseh. I read that prayer so many times my eyes almost fell out. That simple prayer changed my life. That is why I do not care if it is in the Bible, I only care that it was written. For, it was written for by someone who had experienced what I had gone through; so it was written for me. In case there is anyone reading this that needs this prayer, I submit it now for your learning and potential blessing. Thank you so much for allowing me to share with you "the rest of the story" about why this prayer means so much to me.
The Prayer of Manasseh:
"O Lord, Almighty God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of their righteous seed; who hast made heaven and earth, with all the ornament thereof; who hast bound the sea by the word of thy commandment; who hast shut up the deep, and sealed it by thy terrible and glorious name; whom all men fear, and tremble before thy power; for the majesty of thy glory cannot be borne, and thine angry threatening toward sinners is importable: but thy merciful promise is unmeasurable and unsearchable; for thou art the most high Lord, of great compassion, longsuffering, very merciful, and repentest of the evils of men. Thou, O Lord, according to thy great goodness hast promised repentance and forgiveness to them that have sinned against thee: and of thine infinite mercies hast appointed repentance unto sinners, that they may be saved. Thou therefore, O Lord, that art the God of the just, hast not appointed repentance to the just, as to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, which have not sinned against thee; but thou hast appointed repentance unto me that am a sinner: for I have sinned above the number of the sands of the sea. My transgressions, O Lord, are multiplied: my transgressions are multiplied, and I am not worthy to behold and see the height of heaven for the multitude of mine iniquities. I am bowed down with many iron bands, that I cannot life up mine head, neither have any release: for I have provoked thy wrath, and done evil before thee: I did not thy will, neither kept I thy commandments: I have set up abominations, and have multiplied offences. Now therefore I bow the knee of mine heart, beseeching thee of grace. I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned, and I acknowledge mine iniquities: wherefore, I humbly beseech thee, forgive me, O Lord, forgive me, and destroy me not with mine iniquites. Be not angry with me for ever, by reserving evil for me; neither condemn me to the lower parts of the earth. For thou art the God, even the God of them that repent; and in me thou wilt shew all thy goodness: for thou wilt save me, that am unworthy, according to thy great mercy. Therefore I will praise thee for ever all the days of my life: for all the powers of the heavens do praise thee, and thine is the glory for ever and ever. Amen."
This prayer is somewhat reminiscent of David's Psalms. This prayer describes me to a "T."
I have recited it out loud, and also downloaded this blog, since it is apparently a rare item.
People run "to and fro" searching through the collections of knowledge...and not only for Christian material, mind you. A lot are still hung up looking for the Answer in psychology, eastern mysticism, and even the occult, etc.
My Pastor studied psychology, this and that, etc., until he finally found the Answer in a Bible tucked away in a motel room. When he opened the Bible and read, this passage literally lifted off the page, and rose out into the air before his eyes:
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33 KJV)
Then he had his vision of what Jesus suffered on the cross, and he was totally healed of various physical ailments that had plagued him for quite some time.
He may have been on the verge of suicide when he checked into that motel room, since physcology and the other "logy's" had no satifactory answer for him.
Yet our gracious and merciful God had other plans for him. If It wasn't for Pastor Frank, I would truly be lost in this world.
By the way, Blessings, I had lots of laughs in the first parts of this blog. Thank you, and God bless you.