Should a Christian eat ice cream? (and other important questions.)

There it is. The question might sound absurd but it’s a very important question that you should consider. I just had a discussion about it with my friend Jack. I’m reproducing it from memory for your benefit.

I was sitting on a bench, eating ice cream when all of a sudden I heard a voice behind me,

Jack: Noel?

(Me, looking back…)

Me: Jack! Hello! How are you?

Jack: I’m fine. How about you?

Me: I’m great as well. What a long time since we met! Must be a couple of years!

Jack: Yes. Indeed.

Me: (As he was still standing behind the bench) Come, sit. (Looking towards the store where I bought the ice cream and shouting) Can you send one more ice cream?

Jack: (Reluctantly) Um… I don’t eat ice cream.

Me: What? You don’t eat ice cream? What kind of person are you?

Jack: Um… normal? But I’m surprised that you eat ice cream. I thought you were a christian…

Me: What’s being a christian have to do with it?

Jack: A lot. In fact.

Me: Please explain.

Jack: You see, as Christians, Jesus called us to live a simple life. Even he himself led a very simple life. This should be reflected in every part of our lives. May it be housing, clothing or even food. We should only eat simple food. Dal & rice are enough. Ice cream is a luxury. Many people don’t even have the fortune to eat simple food, much less something as luxurious as ice cream.

Me: Hmmm… I see.

Jack: Yes. Instead of eating this ice cream, you could’ve purchased something simple and given to someone who doesn’t have food.

Me: (Ashamed and silent. Looking down.)

Jack: Furthermore, by eating ice cream, you are guilty of gluttony. While there are people who don’t have even simple food, here you are eating ice cream. Fulfilling your own fleshly desires. Putting your own desires above God’s command of living a simple life and loving others.

Even if you say that ice cream is a simple food, keep eating it and it will eventually make you sick. Simple food will never make you sick. It will give you strength and nourishment that you require to do God’s work.

Me: What must I do?

Jack: Repent!

The words pierced my heart. I dropped the half eaten cone of ice cream by the bench side and walked away from there. Taking a decision to never ever eat ice cream again. I have shared this life changing experience with many of my friends and many have accepted it. They have also taken a decision to never eat ice cream. There are 23 of us who meet weekly. You are also welcome to join us. However, I’m concerned about my other friends who have rejected this doctrine. It is for them, and many others like them I am writing this.

There are many Christian friends of mine who are good Christians but still do not understand the value of following Jesus in his simplicity and holiness. Many are still caught in the allure of this worldly pleasure. I pray that their eyes are also opened to this truth.


Disclaimer: All the events depicted above are purely imaginary and any resemblance with actual events or characters in the real world is purely co-incidental. Furthermore, no animals (except for a few mosquitoes) were hurt during the writing.


Was that cheesy enough?

You must be wondering if there’s an actual point in here somewhere… Well, there is. There’s a whole class of questions just like this one. Should a christian wear jewellery? Should a christian listen to rock music? Can a christian make tattoos over his/her body? Can a christian drink wine? Should a christian girl wear jeans?

These are the questions that I have heard over and over again for years. All these questions can be debated rigorously. Arguments exist on both side of the fence. Books can be written (and have been written) addressing just one of the issue above. However, it seems to me that there are more similarities than differences between the arguments that support each of these views.

The churches seem to be divided in regards to these issues. While fundamentalists or traditional churches are largely restrictive, liberals are … well … liberal. And the real victims of this debate are youths. It creates a great confusion among the youths whose elders are restrictive. And when they see their peers, their friends enjoying the (false) freedom that the world provides, for them, this restrictions become a reason to part ways from Christianity.

To be frank, I have nothing against being a fundamentalists or a traditionalists. I identify myself as one. But I’d rather reserve that hard nosed fundamentalist attitude for the issues that matter the most. Like the core doctrines of Christianity. To me, wearing jewellery or listening to a certain kind of music do not qualify as a core doctrine. But let me come back to the original questions. The questions that are very real for those who face them everyday.

With that very long introduction, let me come to the real content of the post. That is, to provide an answer to the question. I will address my answer to 2 different persons. The first person is the one who is actually facing the question. A young christian who might be wondering about jewellery or rock music. The second person is the person who doesn’t like my answer to the first person (because it’s leaning on the side of liberalism).

Here’s the answer to the first person:


I do not have answer to your question. But since you have come to me expecting an answer, and I don’t have an answer, I’ll invent some questions of my own and answer them instead! (I won’t let you return empty handed!)

  • Can a person wear jewellery and still be a christian? Yes.
  • Can a person listen to rock music and still be a christian? Yes.
  • Can a person have tattoos over his body and still be a christian? Yes. (But, why? I must ask…)
  • Can a person drink wine and still be a christian? Yes.
  • Can a girl wear jeans & still be christian? Yes.
  • …. and on & on ….

You get the general idea. But wait! I have another set of questions & answers as well! And this set is much more important that the above one.

  • Does the bible teach us to respect our elders? Yes.
  • Does the bible teach us to obey our parents? Yes.

And just to be through, I must also present a third set of questions.

  • Does bible promote being pompous and filled with vanity? No.
  • Does bible promote excessive drinking that ruins your life? No.
  • Does bible promote subscribing to vulgarity just because it’s packaged with good music? No.
  • Does bible promote being immodest? No.

I have given above sets of questions to create a framework for an answer that is specific to your situation. I don’t have a general Yes or No answer. However, these questions will help you come up with your own concrete yes or no answer. If you are still confused, ask me in the comments.


I will now address those who don’t like the above answer. Pleased to meet you! My answer above is positioned in such a way that it rules out everyone else except for those who believe that wearing jewellery or listening to rock music or wearing jeans is “essentially” evil & sinful. Hear me out.

Note: If you don’t think “listening to rock music” or “wearing jewellery” is essentially evil, and still disagree with my first answer, I think you don’t exist. But if you do, meet me in the comments. I’d love to hear you out.


First of all, as an exercise, I would like you to figure out what is wrong with the story that I started this post with. What’s the problem with the arguments presented in favor of total abstinence of ice cream from our daily life? If you can’t, does it mean that eating ice cream is inherently an evil thing to do?

All of the above questions are regarding highly superficial details of the christian life and if answered with a simple Yes or No, leaves the questioner with a rule without a reason to back that rule. As we have seen throughout history, all irrational beliefs eventually collapse or make people intellectually impaired and superstitious.

I understand that a person can be overzealous because of passion or love for something. If a church traditionally bans wearing jewellery and then a kid like me comes and tells them that all their rules & traditions are absurd & pointless, it might seem like an attack to the church itself. But that is not always the case. I’d rather request you to go back to the history of your church and find out the reason for these restrictions. The decision to not wear jewellery was valiant indeed. It required a surrender, a death, from the privileged members of the church for the sake of those who were not so fortunate to afford such luxury. Only a church truly led by God could’ve accomplished such a feat. But taking that one event, one instance and generalizing it, and following it blindly makes up more problems than it’s worth. If traditions & events are so important, why don’t we sell off all our property and live like the church of the first century?

So, mainly to those who firmly believe that all Christians shouldn’t wear jewellery or jeans, I request you to reevaluate your beliefs. This is the Internet generation. We sees too much and reasons far more recklessly than the generations gone before. We are not geniuses, just over-educated & over-exposed. We do not think through the decisions we make. And if the Christian religion becomes an inconvenience to us, we won’t think twice before we leave it.

If, even after doing all of the above, you are convinced that there’s a certain rule that we should follow, rather than imposing it externally, lead us to Christ. Let us taste and see that he is good. If you can’t convince us about the rule, and if we rebel too much, be gracious to us and lead us to the cross. Let God convict and convince us.


Addendum: It seems that many of my readers are now confused about whether to eat ice cream or not. While I’m tempted to keep the question open, I think I should make myself clear. So, here’s my response to my own (idiotic) question:

Everyone (including myself) seems to be of the opinion that eating ice cream is perfectly fine. However, no one (excluding me) seems to be able to provide arguments that are sufficient to refute the arguments presented in the above story. So, let me point out exactly what I have done wrong in creating the above story. It can be said that I have proved too much with a very limited part of the bible. I am creating a straw man argument by cherry picked the positions & passages of the bible that allow me to support the case while conveniently ignoring other passages of the bible which may contradict the positions of my imaginary cult.

Generally, I can say that God didn’t create us to be miserable. A life without ice cream would certainly be a lesser life. But going deeper into the scripture, we can see instances such as the first miracle of Jesus, the woman with alabaster oil and many more… These passages do not make sense when viewed from the lense of “no ice-cream” belief system. And thus, our “no ice-cream” cult can’t be a true Christianity. I think that should clear things up.

Who are you?

Verses:

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who are you? He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Are you Elijah? He said, I am not. Are you the Prophet? And he answered, No. So they said to him, Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself? He said, I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as the prophet Isaiah said. (John 1:19-23 [ESV])

Before Jesus started his ministry, John was exhorting the people of Israel to repent and be baptized. He was baptizing them in the Jordan river and telling them, “Make straight the way of the Lord”. In a way he was a herald for the heavenly king. As the news of a person baptizing people in Jordan river reached the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, they sent priests and Levites to inquire who this person was. Here in this passage we read the conversation that happens between the party sent out from Jerusalem and John the baptist.

What I want to draw to your attention is this: The question that was asked to John was, “Who are you?” But he answered, “I am not the Christ”. Why? Did the Jewish leaders and the priests thought of John as the Messiah? Can it be that at that time John was rumored to be Christ? If yes, what was John doing? What kind of life was he living that he was mistaken for the Messiah? Can we live in a similar fashion where people around us can see Christ in us?

When John denied that he wasn’t Christ, they asked him if he was Elijah! The greatest of the prophets! When John said he wasn’t Elijah, then they thought, he must be one of the prophets. “Are you a prophet?” “No” Said John. Well then, “Who are you?” “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord”.

The question of identity is raised by the priests. And judging from the works of John, they are ready to give him the title of a prophet, Elijah or even Christ. But John will not accept any other office than the one divinely appointed to him, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness. I am not Christ. Nor am I the Elijah that you remember and want me to be again. Nor will I be a prophet for you, because that is not the task assigned to me. I am the voice and I will not be any other.”

John the baptist knew his place and his purpose. Let us also ask God where exactly he would have us. Let’s ask him which part does he want us to play. Let’s not be carried away by the positions that world offers us but continually seek the divine disposition. And once we’ve found it, lets stand firm. Right at the center of his will.

Image Bearer

It was about 8’O clock in the evening. I was standing near one of the crossroads near my house waiting for someone. As I was standing, a little girl came towards me. She must’ve been around 7-8 years old. In her hands was a plate. On the plate there were two lamps and a picture of a goddess. She came to me and raised the plate. So, that I can bow my head to the goddess and receive my blessings.

Such a scene is not at all uncommon around here. In fact, it’s a gesture of good will. However, whenever something like this happens it is my general practice to politely refuse to bow and send them away without thinking much about it. The reason is that I respect them. Now, it might sound paradoxical that the reason for refusal is respect. Because, to deny a polite offer is in fact very much close to being disrespectful. But my reasoning is like this: If I bow my head before the gods they worship, I am in fact a hypocrite and acting contrary to my beliefs. If I act contrary to my beliefs, I am ridiculing all the people of faith in the world saying, “Your beliefs are not worth holding onto! In fact, the present circumstances ought not be judged and dictated by an eternal creed.” So, if a person comes up to me, following his/her own creed, offering me to receive my blessings from their gods, then I must politely refuse and act according to my own creed.

But anyways, let’s get back to the incident that we were talking about earlier. When the little girl came and stood before me, I was stunned. Because something happened that had not happened in all the years of my life after the day I had chosen to follow Christ. I almost heard the sentence, “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

I could not move or even bat an eyelid for a few seconds. The little girl before me was beautiful. Innocence was beaming from her eyes. All the excitement of being given such a great responsibility was overflowing on her face. Her childish frivolity had not yet vanished completely from her conduct and yet, she managed to approach me with a sincerity that only a child can apprehend. All of this, happening at not a moment’s notice caught me off-guard.

Regaining my composure after a couple of seconds, I followed my general practice and politely refused. But this time, I said “God bless you”. How could I let her go without blessings, when she had taught me so great a lesson?

You see, she was an image-bearer. In the plate in her hands, was a picture of a goddess and two lamps. Having received this image, being told to carry it from person to person, place to place, had her excited in a way that it was the greatest thing that happened to her. The way she carried it with sincerity was exemplary. This little girl from another faith had taught me much more in a few seconds than I could’ve learned by reading a thousand books.

During the afterthoughts of the incident, I was plagued by a singular question. What kind of image bearer am I? Am I as excited, as sincere, as honest, as humble as she was? I who claim to be a Christian, an image bearer of the living God, the follower in the footsteps of Christ, I, who claims to be these things really live up to that mark? Sadly, I have to answer that question in No. Some introspection is certainly in order but that doesn’t mean all is hopeless.

Regarding Jesus, John says, “In him was life. And life was the light of men.” Regarding us, Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” These words are not empty. These words are the light that shines in the darkness. It doesn’t matter where one is in his journey to imitate Christ. The only thing that matters is that He is with you. And though we may weep at our unfaithfulness, we can always rely upon his faithfulness. So, I implore you, let us follow him and learn from him. Let’s be Image-Bearers.

Christian Freedom (or why can’t I do _____?)

“So, if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:36

What is freedom? The dictionary defines it somewhere along the lines of being able to act, speak or think without any external restrictions. Or, quite simply, being able to do whatever you want without anyone stopping you. And that sounds like a correct definition. That’s what we mean when we use the word freedom. Is it not?

The bible tells us, “If the son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” and that sparks a question in my mind. Why is it written like this? What does the phrase “free indeed” mean? Is there some hidden meaning behind those words? Does it mean that when we think we are free, we are not really free unless the Son sets us free?

We’ll get into the meaning of “free indeed” later. However, for now, let’s assume that there is a special kind of freedom that only the Son, Jesus, can give us. So, if a person is a christian, if he really follows Christ, he must be “really free”. Correct? Well, it seems that’s what the bible is telling us.

It was one fine evening in an ICPF cell group when I was asked the question, “Is going to movies wrong?” The boy who asked the question was the youngest among us on that day. I can’t conjure up the exact chain of events that led to this question, but I can imagine the general state of his mind because it is common. Someone must have told him that going to movies is wrong. Maybe his parents had restricted him to go watch a certain movie with his friends.

Is going to movies wrong? Should a christian listen to secular music? These, and many more questions plague the minds of young Christians in schools and colleges. Having grown up in a traditional christian environment, there’s always some people who say that these things are wrong. “A christian shouldn’t watch movies.” “A christian shouldn’t listen to secular music.” “A christian shouldn’t go to parties” They can be parents, seniors or even pastors. And whoever they are, most of the times, they are very vocal about their beliefs.

“If the son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” “If you are a christian, you can’t ….” Is there a contradiction? It certainly seems like it. The bible seems to be promising a freedom, a special freedom, a greater freedom, a higher freedom to those whom the Son, Jesus, sets free. Yet, it seems that those who are given this freedom, those who call themselves christian, are actually less free that those who surround them. Less free, than the world.

How can it be? How can the divine freedom be less than what the world offers? Let us understand the meaning of that freedom that Christ gives us. It is indeed a greater freedom. But maybe it can better be described as “true freedom”. The freedom that Son gives, is the freedom to live. He liberates us from the yoke and slavery of sin. By destroying the hold of sin in our lives he makes us free to become what we were meant to be. The image of living God. When the Son sets you free, you are indeed free. Because he gives you a freedom that destroying the death marches on to resurrection. Marches on, to an everlasting life.

The freedom of the world is not freedom. It’s a deception. Because, for a moment, it may seem like that a worldly person is free to do whatever he wants, but the things that he does, will come to haunt him in future. For the devil is cunning and allures man and women with many enticements. It may seem like all is going well, until the man, to his horror, finds that he is trapped in a maze of madness that the devil has been laying all along his way. When he thought he was free, and entered a door by practicing his freedom, soon after, when he wanted to get out, he found the door locked. Addictions, heartbreak, depression, despair, restlessness and sleepless nights await him. The fires of hell, the black, lightless, infernal fires of hell await him. Unless, the Son sets him free.

So, Is going to movies wrong? Certainly not. Can a christian go to watch movies? Of course. Well then, why do parents, seniors or christian leaders restrict the youngsters from such activities? Because, one, they are right in many cases. Many movies of our generation aren’t worth a watch. They only corrupt the mind. However, there’s a second reason. It’s that they are worried. Worried that their children will fall on a wrong road. That bad company of friends will turn them bad as well. But why, I wonder, do the parents never think that the good in my child, will rub off on those around him and maybe one day, might even save them? Does not the bible say, “Greater is He in me, than the one in the world.”?

But, there’s yet another aspect of this christian freedom that is as mystical as the way of the wind. Maybe the best metaphor to describe it, is gravity. It is the weakest of all four fundamental forces of physics, yet strong enough to bind the cosmos. Like gravity, whomever the Son sets free, that person feels a gentle draw of gravity towards him. An attraction that in inexplicable and inescapable. It is because of this pull, that even though I have freedom to listen to any music that I want, I listen mostly “Christian Music” as commonly defined. Because, in there, I find a better song than the one that the world sings.

So, what are we to do in these matters? It seems to me that any external restraint or discipline will work only till a certain age and till a certain level. Beyond that, either the youngster will learn self-restraint or he/she will give in to the pull of the world. But before that time comes, a youth must understand the words of Paul: “You say: I am allowed to do anything – but not everything is good for you. And even though, I am allowed to do anything, I must not become a slave to anything.” – 1 Cor 6:12

Lazarus! Come forth!

Those of us who have been Christians for a significant amount of time are familiar with the story of Lazarus. It’s a story that is widely known. Many sermons are preached from this story. It shows Jesus’ humanity as well as his authority. It’s a story of triumph over death. A story of love. A story of life.

Let me reiterate the story quickly. In Bethany, a man named Lazarus, brother of Martha and Mary, was sick. Jesus’ relation to this family isn’t mentioned in the gospels. But the family had known Jesus and Jesus knew them. John says, “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus”. So, the relation was dear and deeper. When Lazarus got sick, the sisters sent for Jesus urgently. The sisters knew that if Jesus comes, Lazarus won’t die. They knew and believed. And Jesus loved them.

When the message did reach Jesus, he stayed where he was for 2 more days. After 2 days, Jesus declared to his disciples that Lazarus was dead and they should head towards Judea so that he can “awaken” him. When Jesus arrived near Bethany, he found that Lazarus was buried for four days. Jesus met Martha and Mary. He wept. And then, he raised Lazarus back to life.

All study of scripture is the study of God. It is the study of his nature. It is the observation of his love. By studying scripture, we come closer to him. So, when we study this story, we must also apply the same principle. The part of Martha and Mary in this story is merely human. What I mean to say is, if caught in a similar situation, our actions would not be too dissimilar from those of Martha and Mary. But all actions of Jesus are extraordinary.

First of all, when Jesus receives the news that Lazarus is sick, he delays. Why? When Jesus received the news, he was about a day’s journey from Bethany. When he reached Bethany, Lazarus was buried for 4 days. Jesus delayed only 2 days. Maths tells me that Lazarus was dead 1 day before the messengers reached Jesus. Jesus knew this. And saw no reason to hasten. But this was for God’s glory, that he would raise Lazarus after 4 days, when there was no doubt regarding his death.

Second, when he finally arrived to Bethany, after meeting Martha and Mary, he wept. If he was going to raise Lazarus, why did he weep? Why wouldn’t he weep? He was touched by the grief of Mary and the people who came with her. The words of Mary, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” struck his tender heart. He was distraught and could no longer keep his composure. He wept.

It is not surprising that he wept. But it is surprising that we ask such a question. Why do we think that his tears were rendered ineffectual by the impending resurrection? Can it be that we are too easily intoxicated by power that we forget our humanity? Maybe we are. But he is not so weak to let his power harden his heart or to let his heart be deafened to the cries of his children.

Though Lazarus was dead, he was not completely lost. Life, was looking for him. “Where have you laid him?” he inquired. And though grave was sealed, he told them to roll away the stone. In the grave, lay Lazarus. Silent. Slayed by Death, the last enemy. In the grave, lay Lazarus. Loved by Jesus. Loved, though beyond the grave. As the crowd was looking, Jesus shouted in a great voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” That thundering voice shook the pillars of the underworld. For which death had consumed, God had called. A grave was opened. A requisition was made. The belly of death was torn asunder. Lazarus was reclaimed. Dead, he went into the grave. Alive, he came out!

The same voice that called Lazarus back to life speaks even today. The one who defeated death is alive even today. He is eager to give life to those who will receive him. He declares, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies, and the one who lives and believes in me will never die.”

In Defense of Faith

This post came into being as a result of a recent debate on Facebook. The debate was about different religions. While discussing the whole range of issues covered in that debate is out of the scope of this post, I’d like to comment on one particular point that I wasn’t able to explain articulately during the debate.

During the debate, a statement, which I don’t see as an argument, was used as an argument. “Christianity is based on faith”. This statement was brought up repeatedly as if it was weakening the case for Christianity. I have written about faith earlier. If you’re interested, you can read this and this. However, this post should stand on its own.

It seems that it’s assumed that if anything is based on faith, it has no connection to reality whatsoever. However, my relationship with my friend is also based on faith. Does that mean our friendship doesn’t really exist?

In our times, where empiricism reigns supreme, it has become a fashion to denounce anything that has any relation to faith whatsoever. And if that thing is religion, even more so. But if a faith is based on reason (as my post here illustrates) then denouncing that faith is equal to denouncing the reasons of that faith. Let’s look at the central claims of Christianity and see if they are reasonable.

  1. Existence of God

    “If there was no God, there would be no atheists.” – G. K. Chesterton (Note: That’s not an argument. I’m just poking fun. Listing down all the arguments is out of the scope for one blog post. However, if anyone wants to argue, I hear comments are the place to be!)

  2. Historicity of Christ

    Wikipedia says, “Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed historically”. So, if any of you have doubts about his existence, take it up to the “modern scholars of antiquity”. Whoever that might be…

  3. Resurrection of Christ

    Yes, I know, it’s a crazy claim. You know what’s crazier? The alternative. Suppose Christ was never resurrected but still, there are 2.2 billion people in the world believing that he did. How? The most common response is that they were raised up to believe that. So, there’s a boy who believes in Santa Claus and Jesus Christ. He grows up and stops believing in Santa Claus but still believes in Jesus Christ even more intensely. Why?

    There’s a better question. If Christ was never resurrected, how and why did the greatest civilization on earth at the time, Rome, after opposing and trying to exterminate Christianity for nearly 3 centuries, bowed to the cult of “one dead man”?

    The answer to both of these question can be given in one simple statement. “He was resurrected.” Every other explanation comes from either the tea table of conspiracy theorists or the people with an agenda.

    (Note: If you want to study the matter in detail, the case for the resurrection is well described in the books of Lee Strobel. If you’re not the reading kind, try a video.)

I can write much more about the subject, but for now, this should suffice. None of these three claims can be justly eliminated. But still, there remains a subconscious bias against faith, that anything based on it should be thrown out. Only the things that are empirically verifiable should be trusted. This is a recipe for madness. Because, if faith is ever eliminated from our daily lives, reason will go with it and what will remain, will be unreason.

Let me illustrate. Let me tell you a story of a man who decided to eliminate all traces of faith from his daily life. Incidentally, (or consequently) on the same day, he fell sick. Being an empiricist, he took a thermometer and checked his temperature. The mercury was at a level where it shouldn’t be. So, he decided to go to a doctor. He wanted to take a taxi, but couldn’t bring himself to trust any taxi driver. So instead, he took his bike and somehow managed ride it to the nearest hospital. After filling some forms, registering his case and waiting in a long queue, at long last, it was his turn to go to the doctor. And this is what happened in the doctor’s office: The doctor said, “How do you feel? What’s the issue?” “I’d like to see your license to practice medicine.” “What?” “Your license. Please.” “Is this some kind of surprise inspection?” “No, I just want to make sure that you have a proper license” “Well, I don’t have it on me right now… it’s at home. But, you don’t look so well. Why don’t you tell me how you are feeling?” “I can’t do that. How do I know you are a doctor?” “Well, I’m working at a renowned hospital which has very strict regulations for hiring…” “Well, you could’ve paid your way to your job…” “Seriously?” “I’d like to see those strict regulations…” “Mister, there’s a long line of people waiting outside who need my help. So, please, can you stop being so difficult and let me diagnose you already?” “No. I want proof that you’re a doctor.” The doctor picked up a phone and called security, and security escorted our hero out of the hospital.

Still, not feeling well, he went to another doctor. The doctor, fortunately (or unfortunately) was able to show him his credentials, but it was from an authority that our hero didn’t recognize. So, he decided to not get treated and instead look up the authenticity of the said authority. He hired a private detective to investigate the said authority. The investigator said that he’d contact him back 3 days later with the required information. Still sick, going back home, he realized what a grave mistake he had made! He “put faith” in a private detective without checking him out… “The fever must be getting to my head…” he said to himself. Went home and rested.

Long story short, two weeks later, he was still sick and his credit card was overdrawn. In his mad decision to never put faith in anything, he had managed to anger 4 doctors, 3 private investigators, 1 police officer, a parrot (don’t ask) and the head of the medical department of a renowned hospital. It was a public spectacle at his home, when on the morning of the 15th day of his life changing decision, an ambulance came and our hero was dragged to a lunatic asylum, kicking and screaming…

That story never took place in reality but it’s a very plausible scenario. And if only one person’s mad decision can cause so much havoc, what will happen if the whole world made a similar decision?

There’s one more point that I’d like to make. Someone might say that the use of faith in our everyday lives and religious faith are two different things. To those people, I’d like to ask a simple question. “How is it different?”. To me, both of them are one and the same things. Both of them depend on reasons. And these reasons are available for everyone to evaluate and criticize. As for me, I’ve not found a single philosophy/religion/belief system that is as worthy of trust as that of the crucified Christ.

Why doesn’t God just kill the devil and lets him roam around?

Recently I came across a question. It goes like this: When the devil first rebelled, why did God not just bring out a heavenly shotgun and shoot the devil in his face? A second and related question is, why does God let the devil roam free around the world? This is my response:

Let me predicate my answer by saying that all this talk is like two fishes born and brought up in an aquarium talking about what happens in the ocean. Just keep that in your mind. Now, let’s get on with the answer.

First of all, let’s play out the events that happened before the creation.

  1. There is a rebellion in heaven and the devil is defeated and cast out from heaven into the infernal lake of fire.
  2. Heaven and earth is created.
  3. Man is created in the likeness of God and given free will to choose to love or reject God.
  4. Devil comes and tempts Eve. Adam and eve commit sin. A perfect world is shattered.

This is our stage. Question no 1 arises in the step no 1.

Why was the devil only cast out instead of being destroyed completely? In response to that question, another question needs to be asked. What do you call a person who rules with unrestrained force and kills anyone who opposes him? A dictator. That’s what. Are you asking for God to be a dictator? If God had done that, the devil would’ve been right in leading an rebellion against such a God. Since he would be rebelling against a dictator.

There are also a few matters in this situation that we need to keep in mind.

  1. A simple battle in heaven cannot fully display how truly horrifying sin is.
  2. Destroying one rebel by force doesn’t make sure that another one doesn’t arise. The only conquest that lasts eternally is a conquest by love.
  3. The reason Lucifer led the rebellion was he wanted to be greater than God.

To address these issues, God creates a plan. Heaven and earth is created and man is created in the likeness of God. Here he addresses point no 3. No one can be greater than God since God represents the greatest, highest most perfect being that exists. God creates man in his own likeness. A being who has potential to walk with him as equal. (Notice that I am using the word potential. Man wasn’t equal to God at the time of creation. But by virtue of being created in his likeness, he has this potential. This potential is fully realized later in the life of Jesus.) So, first of all, God removes the motive of the rebellion. What Lucifer fought for is given to men for free.

To address the second point, the implementation of “No more rebels” policy in heaven can be done in two ways. First is a very simple method. There is an idiom in hindi which says “Na rahega baans, na bajegi baansuri” which can be roughly translated in English as “Without a bamboo, a flute can’t be played”. A simple “No more creation” policy would make sure that there are no more rebels. But that would be taking away the good with the bad. One might also say, “Throwing out the baby with the bathwater…”.

Another way is to do it by love. That’s the way God chose. For love to be possible, there needs to be a choice. Thus free will. Ability to choose or reject God. So, God created Adam and Eve in his image and gave them the gift of free will. I’ve explored this in more detail here: http://noelkurian.com/2012/07/why/ So, moving on, we come to the step no 4 in the original stage. Devil comes and tempts Eve. Here, question no 2 arises. Why didn’t God just stop the devil? There can be several answers here.

  1. God didn’t know. But if that’s the case, than God is not omniscient.
  2. God knew but couldn’t stop him. In that case, God is not omnipotent.
  3. God knew but he let him. If that’s the case, than God is not benevolent (all-loving) and maybe he is using us just for his entertainment… right? Wrong. There is another explanation.

The third option is indeed the case. God knew but he let him. So what can be this another explanation? Let’s look at the scene again. Right where we left it. Humans are created with free will. An ability to choose or reject God. With this ability also comes a possibility of denying God. Just like Lucifer did. Just like Adam and Eve did after the temptation. But maybe even if there wasn’t a temptation, there still remains a possibility that man will sin. Because the ability to deny God is in him, not external to him. When tempting, devil doesn’t bring something evil and put it inside man. He is only bringing out what is already inside him. (Terrifying isn’t it? The nature of temptation?)

So why did God allow him to tempt the man? Because it accelerates the process. Yes you heard it right. By tempting man, the devil is actually helping God by accelerating his plans. Now at later stage, when Christ is crucified, the true horrific picture of what sin leads to is put on display for the whole creation to see. Which addresses point no 1. Now as the result of both God’s way and going against God’s way is shown clearly to the whole world, the choice of either choosing him or rejecting him is made clearer. The bible reveals the logical out-workings of sin (going against God’s way, rejecting him) very clearly. It states, “The wages of sin is death.”

So, why does God let the devil roam free? Because he helps him. (A divine irony, wouldn’t you say?)

Slaps, Maths and Making the World Better

Today, I was commuting to office via BRTS. As usual, the bus was crowded, especially near the door. I don’t know why but there seems to be some type of strange force at work in the BRTS because people to gather right next to the door even if the rest of the bus is empty. As the bus came near the stand, the people were queuing up to leave because the bus was nearing their destination. And as I was watching people struggle to reach near the door, there seemed to be some sort of quarrel between the two that were standing right next to the door. The guy who was standing right next to the door, was just standing there. He was yet waiting for his destination, yet he had the brilliant idea of standing next to the door and getting in the way of people coming in and leaving.

As I watched, the person behind him suggested that he should go into the back of the bus if he wasn’t going to leave the bus on the next stand. The guy replied, “I will.” And then stood right there for about 10 seconds ignoring what the other person suggested. Which angered the guy standing right behind him, and he pushed him aside and tried to take the first spot right near the door. And as Newton’s third law of motion states, “When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to that of the first body.” And in about 30 seconds, they were exchanging slaps and pulling each others cloths. One guy’s shirt got ripped off. And even though, one of the guy’s destination had already come and the bus had come to a standstill, he wasn’t leaving. In fact, he continued and when people pushed him out of the bus, he was still trying to get in to continue the fight. Fortunately, the driver quickly started the bus, leaving him on the bus stand with a rag of a shirt.

In the following moments I was thinking about the incident. About how it could’ve been avoided. In this case, there was no right or wrong, both guys were at fault. But still, things didn’t get out of hand until one of the guys slapped the other one. That’s when the whole situation went south. And at that moment, I remembered what Jesus said, “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also.” The situation would’ve been very different if one of the guy had exercised this simple statement. In fact, the fight would’ve never gotten started if there was a real christian among them. If I was one of them, what would I have done? In this simple situation, the answers are very simple. However, in a situation where it’s not in our power to hold or contain evil, what would we do? In a situation where we are being wronged, and we have no power to stop it, what would be the correct response?

Due to our fallen nature, we are easily provoked. And in our anger, we do irrational things. We do things that are completely against what bible teaches. And sometimes we just ignore it saying that it’s unrealistic. I mean, “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also” Seriously? That would make me look like a fool! Well, maybe it will. And there can be many arguments and counter-arguments about the practicality of the stated instruction. However, I’d like to present one simple argument that proves it’s practicality.

But before the argument, comes the assumptions. The assumption of this argument is, “The end goal is the betterment of the world”. Let’s look at the argument.

  • At the beginning of the world, the amount of evil done in the world is 0.
  • At a point in time when you are wronged, the amount of evil things done in the world is e.
  • If you react to evil by doing something evil then after the act, the total amount of the evil done in the world would be e + 1. (1 is you!)
  • Now, suppose if we take two points in time, suppose the beginning of 2013 and 2014, and note down the total amount of evil done up until that time, and call it e(2013) and e(2014)
  • Now if we want to find out the amount of evil done in 2013, it would be (delta)e = e(2014) – e(2013)
  • Here, (delta)e represents the total amount of evil done in 2013 year.
  • Now, the 2013 would be an ideal year if there is no evil done in 2013. Consequently, (delta)e would be 0.
  • So, to improve the world, we need to reduce the value of (delta)e. If it reaches zero, we’ll be living in a heaven on earth.
  • Is it possible for (delta)e for a whole year to reach zero? Possible? Yes. Likely? No. So, the only option for us Christians is to reduce the amount of (delta)e as much as possible and make it as close to 0 as possible. How, for one, by not doing evil ourselves and by sharing the gospel to other people so they too can get out of the cycle of evil.

A few observations in the scenario above:

  1. e(2013) is certainly not zero. What it means is, something bad has already happened to many people for which other people are responsible. Someone has already slapped the victim. (Note here that I’m using slap as a metaphor for evil things done. I’m aware that there are certain kinds of slaps that are necessary and even well deserved. I’m not talking about that kinds of slaps) Now the victim can either slap back or turn the other cheek.
  2. In scenario A, a person slaps back. Then the original slapper slaps back. And the slapping cycle continues ad infinitum.
  3. In scenario B, if a person turns the other cheek, there might be another slap coming. And the one after that, and after that and after that… but somewhere it will stop. It will certainly stop. The cycle of evil stops. (Not to mention, the armies of heaven will be gunning for the slapper! And soon he’ll turn from one of them to one of us! More power to Christians in making the world better!)

There it is. A practical, (no-nonsense) mathematical proof of Jesus’ simple statement. Practicality is subjective to the end goal. And if your end goal is betterment of the world by sharing the gospel, then who says it isn’t practical? Anyone?

On Prayer

“The potency of prayer hath subdued the strength of fire; it hath bridled the rage of lions, hushed anarchy to rest, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, burst the chains of death, expanded the gates of heaven, subdued evil instincts, assuaged diseases, repelled frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course, and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt. Prayer is an all-sufficient panoply, a treasure undiminished, a mine which is never exhausted, a sky unobscured by the clouds, a heaven unruffled by the storm. It is the root, the fountain, and the mother of a thousand blessings.” – John Chrysostom

Apology

I apologize for having written an essay on the subject of prayer for two reasons. First, I do not consider myself to be an expert on the subject. I do not even consider myself particularly good at it. It is quite possible that at some point I might have made an error in judgment. If that is the case, I implore my seniors to point it out. The comments are open. Having said that, I’m driven to write this because what I see around me seems to suggest that there are some misconceptions about prayer right within the christian community.

The second reason is a more practical concern about how this essay can be misinterpreted. As you will see later, I have criticized and remarked upon certain practices I have seen regarding prayer. In this, my intention here is not to put anyone down. It is to share what I’ve learned about prayer over the years. So that it may serve to edify others.

Presupposition

My first assumption is that the Bible, the word of God, is true in its meaning. More specifically, I’m assuming that when Jesus says you are my friend, he means exactly that. When he calls us as his bride, he is referring to a what we (or at least Hebrews) mean when we (or they) say bride. When God calls us as his children, he is referring to the relationship between a father and a child that we all know. There is only one difference. When God refers to our relationship with him by comparing it to a human relationship, he is referring the ideal instance of that relationship. Not a flawed and watered down relationship that is tainted by sin and the fallen nature of the world.

The second assumption is that people’s prayer in private is very similar to their prayer in public. I will expound upon this in the next section.

These are the two assumption on which the rest of the essay is based on.

The problem

Now, as for the certain practices that I mentioned earlier, it can simply be summed up in a simple phrase. Ritualization of prayer. I have to admit that this deduction is based purely upon what I have seen of prayers in public meetings. I haven’t seen anyone praying in private for the simple reason of my seeing them pray no longer keeps it private. So, in a way, it is possible that my deduction is completely false, but my observations lead me to believe otherwise.

I also agree that this doesn’t apply to everyone. In our journey towards Christ-likeness, we all are in different places. Some are far ahead, and some have just begun the journey. I’m certain that there are people to who know better than to ritualize prayer. However, I also know that there are many others who are not as informed. Because, I have seen people praying the same prayer over and over, with same words. As if they were chanting some mantra. As if the potency of prayer depended on the length of prayer or repetition of words.

Then, there are others who speak a completely different language when they pray. Does the potency of prayer depend upon the perceived grandeur of words used? Others remind God who he is and his promises to them in EVERY SINGLE PRAYER. Do they really think that the God who writes the number of hair on their head in his strange little book would forget the promises he has made to them? Many more have a habit of belittling themselves. Do they realize that they are belittling the image of living God?

I understand that some of these criticisms are quite superficial and only a consequence of a much deeper problem. But in any situation, a problem can occur only for two reasons.

  1. Foolishness.
  2. Believing some kind of lie or half-truth. Misunderstanding, or a partial understating of a situation.

In this case I think it’s because of the second reason. I can speculate further upon the origin of the misunderstanding, but it will only lengthen the essay without contributing anything to the solution. So, suffice it to say that it can be anything from a shallow understanding of the word of God to borrowing idioms from the surrounding culture or religions.

Humility and Honesty

I have tried it before and I tried it again but it seems that there is no way to separate the two. Because one inevitably leads to other. And since I’ve written about humility earlier, I won’t go into much depth. However, there is one overarching point that needs to be made.

Humility and honesty are two qualities required to pray. Psalm 24:3-4 says: Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

What does it mean to have clean hands? Or a pure heart? A person who has not sworn deceitfully. Is it not talking about honesty? What does it mean to lift one’s soul up to vanity? Is it not the very definition of pride? So, the passage simply says, a person who is humble and honest, only he, will be able to ascend into the hill of the Lord.

Even taking into consideration the Crucifixion of Christ for the sin of all mankind, the principle remains true. For salvation is a gift. And to receive that gift, one must have the humility to accept that he has been wrong all along. That he is a sinner. And to repent of his sins, he must be honest. He must turn away from all that he recognizes as sin. Not only in word but in deed.

(You should also read the humility in prayer subsection of the previous essay specifically.)

Patience

Patience, although not a requirement of prayer, is a good quality to have. Because, it’s not a good thing to force God’s hand. (Yes, I believe it is possible to force God’s hand. If you want details, ask in comments.) I do not mean to say that he will punish you in some way for forcing his hand. Because your only punishment will be, you will get exactly what you ask for. And what you ask for might not be the best thing for you.

I will illustrate this in a very simple manner. For instance, take this statement: Little kids shouldn’t run around the living room with scissors. Why? For two reasons:

  1. They will make a great mess out of a perfectly fine living room.
  2. They might hurt themselves. (An inquisitive toddler’s mind can come up with a quite innocent question like: What do scissors taste like?)

For quite similar reasons, God might withhold some blessing from you. The reason for him not answering your prayer is not that he doesn’t care about you but it’s that he cares a great deal more about you to give you what you ask for. He will bless you at the very moment when you become capable of handling that blessing. So, be patient.

A conversation

Now that I’ve dealt with some of the continual aspects of prayer, I’d like to focus on the more immediate elements. But as far as we have come, there is one question that is yet to be answered. Even though the essay is titled “On Prayer”, I’m very doubtful that any of you even noticed that I haven’t defined prayer. It is because deep down we already know what prayer is.

But if a meaningful discussion is to be had about any subject, the necessary terms must be defined. Thus, a definition for prayer is required. Prayer can be defined simply as a conversation or a communication with God. Here, I must clear up a very subtle difference. Prayer is NOT a way to communicate with God. It is, communication with God. If it was one of the way (or even the only way) to communicate with God, it would be ritualized and commercialized (as it happens in many temples/mosques/religious sites). But for us Christians, it itself is, a communication. A conversation with God.

Now that we have a definition for prayer, I would like to go back and draw from the first assumption. In summary, it states that God is our friend, father and lover. Although God’s roles in our life is not limited to only these, for the purposes of this discussion, these three would suffice.

If prayer is really a conversation with God, the one who is our friend, father and lover, shouldn’t we be expectant of a reply? But we have made a monologue out of a dialogue. We have made a habit of speaking our piece and then goofing off without paying heed to what God might have to say. Somehow we have developed a subconscious misconception that God’s only way of responding is either by approval or denial of the requests we make to him. Do we think him not capable of an elaborate answer? But we all know that it’s a false belief. Why then do we continue to behave as if it were true?

For a dialogue to be meaningful and even pleasurable, both the parties must have ample opportunities to speak. It must be plain and not pompous. It must be varied and not monotonous. There must be mutual respect between the participants. Both the participants must be honest in their speaking and humble enough to listen to the other person. We all know these axioms are true regarding conversation. We apply and obey each one of them in our conversations with our friends and family. But not in our prayers. Why?

Silence

Although this section is a reiteration of an aspect of the previous section, I think it needs to be clarified. Because in our age of technology and instant gratification, we have become alienated and even somewhat allergic to idleness (there is a difference between being lazy and being idle) and silence. So, let me phrase it out clearly. In prayer, we need to be silent. Silent not only verbally or in activity but also in thought. Silent until God responds in some way.

Before God responds, one needs to be ready to listen to him. Sometimes, we tell God that we are ready to listen to him, but all we are ready to listen from him is what we want to listen. We have already made up our mind and all we want is God’s endorsement for our plans. So that we can go on doing what we please while parading as if we are doing exactly what God wants. We need to subdue our own will in order for God’s will to be revealed.

In such situations, there is a struggle. A silent struggle of who will submit to the other person’s request. C. S. Lewis said, “There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “All right, then, have it your way”.” And saying, “Thy will be done” to God is not easy even if we know that it is in our best interest. Submission doesn’t happen instantly. It is a struggle in the battlefield of our mind. It requires time. A time without distractions. A time of silence. Because real conversation happens in silence.

Humor and Poetry

I have a feeling that to really get the point across, to really make you understand how serious I am about prayer being a conversation, a conversation between friends/lovers or father and a child, I must mention jokes. Because I consider humor to be one of the hallmarks of intimacy.

In our times, there is a certain idea about the character of God parading around as truism. The idea states that God is some kind of a very serious, bureaucratic businessman. That he is so formal and mechanical that if you make a joke in his presence, he’ll sentence you to a thousand flaming deaths! It is simply not true. I’m alive is the proof.

You see, God invented humor. He is not the grumpy headmaster with a rod that so many of us have grown up believing him to be. To the contrary, he is quite the character. He teaches via parables and talks in riddles. He loves poetry and paradoxes. In scriptures, I find certain remarks by Jesus that make me giggle whenever I read them. “The last will be the first and the first will be the last” or “Whoever wants to save his life will loose it, but whoever looses his life for my sake will save it” or “He who is least among all of you is the one who is greatest”. Even while teaching the deepest truths, he somehow manages to find space to be poetic. To speak the plain truth and still leave a mystery. Trust me, when you are really with him, there isn’t a single dull moment.

I must admit that a danger also lies here. It’s a danger of taking God too lightly. The danger manifests itself when a person assumes too much too early in his relationship with God. However, when one really comes to know God, it’s mostly nullified. So, my simple advice is, do not assume too much about the character of God and do not take God lightly. He is God and he is to be revered. The only reason for us being able to make jokes or speak lightly in his presence lies in who he is and not in who we are.

Tears and Burdens

Not everytime we pray, we are happy or in the mood of cracking jokes. No, most of the times, there are pressing matters, urgent problems in our lives that we need God’s help with. Sometimes we are so desperate that we begin to weep in prayer. Crying to God to fulfill our needs.

Other times, we feel so overwhelmed by his blessings that we are overcome with tears of joy. Crying in exultation because we can’t find words to express our joy and thanks.

However, in both these cases, the cries originate in our hearts. But there are another kind of tears that originate somewhere else. They originate in the heart of God. And these tears are not of want or need, or even thanksgiving. They are of love. Tears of love.

As I’ve been emphasizing all along, prayer is a conversation. But it’s not a conversation that’s only about you. There are times of deep and delicate intimacy when God shares his own heart with you. He shares his passion and love for all humanity. A passion and love that is so intense that I don’t think there is any human response possible other than a complete breakdown in tears. In these little episodes of intense intimacy, he shows what he sees and shares what he feels with you. When you really see though the eyes of God, the eyes in which there is no judgment but grace, no criticism but love, no discrimination but eagerness, eagerness to find all his children in his arms, when you look through those jealous eyes, the life we live, the requests of material blessings that we continue to make look so insignificant and petty. It is at these times that he transforms you from the core of your being. He makes you more like him.

So, prayer is instrumental in our growth as Christians. It is during prayer that our heart becomes one with God. It is during prayers that our will gets united with God’s. And when that happens, we can no longer be who we were.

Prayer is situational

Like any conversation, prayer is also situational. You do not go to your friend’s dad’s funeral and then crack jokes. You do not go to a party and start talking about the poverty in Africa or poor work conditions in china (although it is not out of the scope of possibilities). In every conversation, you have to grasp the context.

It is quite obvious that not every single element that I’ve mentioned in this essay will be present in every prayer. Not in every prayer do I admire the beauty of stars or poke fun at the weird shape of trees behind our home. Not every time do we discuss the parable of artificial and natural light sources. Not every day is my heart burdened with the intense love and passion of God. Not everything happens every time. It can, but it doesn’t need to.

Prayer life

There is a certain question that goes around in christian circles. “How’s your prayer life?” While the intent behind the question, the show of concern about one’s spiritual state from one’s seniors is good and even encouraging. There seems to be one simple problem with the question. Nobody has ever told me what exactly do they mean by “prayer life”.

Also, if all the people asking this question were asking for the same thing, I would’ve figured out the meaning long ago. But every time I answer the question, the follow up discussion seems to suggest that each person was asking for quite different things. It is as if the question depends less upon itself, but more upon who is asking the question.

In my earlier days as a believer this caused me a lot of unnecessary confusion. Because I never understood the true meaning behind “Prayer life”. Because one person suggested that the quality of prayer life depended upon how much time does one spend in prayer. Other person suggested that it is the sum of all the “spiritual” activities. Others yet suggested that it meant if the totality of your life was in accordance with the word of God.

Since those early days as christian, I have learned much. And even though I know that I have a long way to go, one thing I am certain of. And that one thing is the meaning of “Prayer life”. If I had to define it, I would define it as, “Intimacy with God”. In my opinion, those three words sum up the whole purpose of Christendom. Individually or collectively, that is the purpose.

If we take that as the definition of prayer life, then the question becomes, “How intimate are you with God?”. That is a question we all can answer. Also, the follow up discussion is also much more meaningful than adjusting the schedule to make space for more prayer time or the endless classification of spiritual and non-spiritual things. Instead of wandering around superficial topics, the question directly gives us access to the core of the issue. It is, “How should one develop intimacy with God?” To answer this question, I provide 3 pointers.

  1. Know him.

    The primary way of knowing God is through the word of God. Read the bible. Study it. Meditate upon it. Question it. Through studying and scrutinizing the word of God, you will come to know God.

  2. Pursue him.

    Once you know him, pursue him. Pursue him through prayer. Try to become like him. Talk to him. Ask him to share his heart with you. Ask him to teach the deepest truths and hidden mysteries of the world. If you take nothing else from this essay, take this statement: Prayer is primary means for developing an intimate relationship with God.

  3. Walk with him.

    Apply the word of God in your own life. At your workplace. Among your friends. Not only in word and deed but also in your thoughts. There is so much we know but do not practice. Learn to walk the talk. There is a saying that goes “A praying man will stop sinning and a sinning man will stop praying.” I have found it true in my own life.

Final remarks

There are few final thoughts that would like to mention. First of these is faith. Faith is indispensable. Bible says “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” I have taken this statement as an implicit assumption for anyone who is reading this.

Second, just like Paul, I do not say that I have achieved everything I have mentioned in this essay. Far from it. I’m still trying. However, the spirit of God doesn’t lead us down a path blindfolded. He shows everything very clearly. What I have described here is the landscape of prayer as I can see through my young eyes. My seniors are welcome to criticize and contradict it through scripture.