I see these comments a lot, especially these days in social media, but I wonder when people say that, “Praying, I am praying…” to whom they are praying. I heard that one religion has more than three million gods. Another religion encourages its followers to pray to various saints for different needs. When David and I travel to Asia, we often see places on the streets where food is offered on an altar to appease their gods so their petitions could be heard.
Others say they can only pray in certain buildings or cathedrals on certain days.
A few months ago, we were grateful for an opportunity to visit one of the holy sites for many Judeo-Christian people. While visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem, we were told by our tour guide that we could write our prayer requests on slips of paper and stick them between the crevices of the wall. I am not sure who actually prays for those many prayer requests.
Jesus addressed this issue when He was here on earth when He was talking to a woman from Samaria. The woman of Samaria told Jesus, “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”(John 4:20).
Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is comingwhen you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.22 You worshipwhat you do not know; we know what we worship, forsalvation is of the Jews.23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers willworship the Father inspiritand truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:21-24)
God in heaven is Spirit, He loves to hear our prayers and worship. The way to God is easy and simple since Jesus made a way.
Jesus said to him, “I amthe way,the truth, andthe life.No one comes to the Fatherexcept through Me. (John 14:6)
We pray to God in heaven in the name of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. What a wonderful privilege we have as children of God to be able to express our needs to Him in prayer.
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (I John 5:14-15)
Here is the continuation of our recent Holy Land trip. Please see the above links for Days 1 and 2. We apologize that it’s taking long to get these organized.
On Day 3 (Saturday is Sabbath Day)
Today we started the day going to the Old City (Walled city of Jerusalem). There were city gates, thick stone walled city gates.
Jerusalem (From NTS Travel Holy Land Guide) is located in the Judean Mountains about 2500 ft above sea level. It is also called the “City of David” ( 2 Samuel 5:6-7).
We also went to the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed a paralytic. It was interesting to see the actual pool. Before coming, we imagined it to be like a regular oval shaped, Olympic size swimming pool. But it looked very different. It is a deep and large, look like a water cistern with tall marble columns, with steps to go down.
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, [a]Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, [b]paralyzed, [c]waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
Then we walked to the “Via Dolorosa”, or the Road to Suffering. There are stations of the cross in the Old City. This was the supposed to be the road that the Lord Jesus went through as he suffered, bruised, beaten and carried a cross from the Judgement seat of Pontius Pilate to the place of crucifixion.
From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!”Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?”The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus [d]and led Him away.And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, 18 where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. 19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
We walked on a narrow street of the Old City, where we saw many shops.
Some shops and stores were selling wares, souvenirs, scarves, etc, Some vehicles, cars and even small trucks drive that long and narrow alleys, unbelievable!
Then after walking along the narrow alleys, with twist and turns, the alley wound up in a corner through a narrow passage that led to a small square with an old cathedral built by Queen Helena.
The site where Catholics believe Jesus was buried.
I was surprised to see many people, tourists and pilgrims from different countries-Africa, India, Europe, South America, North America, etc. Inside the old cathedral was dark, there were some old paintings, murals, icon, images of Bible characters- Mary, etc. It was literally dark inside, crowded, long lines of people waiting to touch a huge rock on an altar. And other religious relics, believed to be connected to the death and burial of Jesus.
After this, Jesus, [e]knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!”29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit –
Then we went to another site called the Garden Tomb. Other Christian groups preferred this site as the burial site of Jesus. It was a nice open air garden, peaceful, calm, much nicer place.
After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”