Question & Answer Forum

Could confidentiality require a brother who gives spiritual help to another believer to withhold some information from his own spouse?

The talebearer who reveals secrets (“secret counsels,” YLT) is contrasted with a faithful or trustworthy person who keeps the matter covered (Proverbs 11:13). By disclosing either matters that he has agreed to keep secret or information that in any way harms the believer he is ostensibly helping, an individual proves himself unworthy of the confidence placed in him.

If others (elders, for example) should be aware of what was said in confidence, the person who has been entrusted with that information should insist that either his informant disclose the matter or grant him permission to do so.

On occasion, when helping a sister, a man may need to insist that his wife will also be aware of what has been discussed. This strengthens his wifes confidence in him, protects the sister from any sense of impropriety, and preserves his integrity (Romans 12:17). If his wife cannot be trusted with such confidences, the man is likely disqualified from giving such help (1 Timothy 3:11).

D. Oliver

In public prayer should we address God repeatedly and without purpose?

If a young believer falls into this habit, encourage him to keep on praying in public – and in private. Praying aloud with his family or “in his closet” may help him, but it would be better to say nothing than to make him hesitate to pray publicly. The Lord may receive more from the stammering of a spiritual child than from the eloquence of a sage.

On occasion, private, deeply burdened prayer may be a faint reflection of the Lords prayer in Gethsemane. Combining Matthew, Mark, and Lukes records indicates the Lord may have addressed His Father in 3 different ways in His brief prayers. Such praying is different from the repetition in question.

Often a more mature believer is unaware that he is addressing God repeatedly. Is this actually taking “the Name of the Lord… in vain” (Exodus 20:7), a serious offense? In conversation, would we normally address someone repeatedly and purposelessly? This raises searching questions; do we really know God? Are we actually conscious that we are speaking to Him? “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.”

As evident in Pauls recorded prayers, spiritual intelligence guided him to address God in various ways (for example, Eph 1:17; 3:14). What a habit to cultivate.

D. Oliver

Is it necessary for the men in a prayer meeting to mention the same things in prayer?

Suppose a believer comes to the Prayer Meeting with a heavy burden because of his wifes serious sickness. It could be disappointing or discouraging if only one brother helped carry this burden in public pray Generally, those who pray are sensitive to this and most will include this need in their prayers. The prayer meetings of the Jerusalem assembly on behalf of Peter (Acts 12:5) must have included repetitions of the same request. So does a prayer meeting before a gospel meeting or a ministry meeting.

It is, however, a great help to the prayer meeting when each brother comes with a specific burden on his heart. The burdens of some may overlap, but there are enough needs world-wide that the entire meeting could be spent profitably without the repetition of a single request. If we recognize that each brother who prays is praying on behalf of the entire assembly (Acts 4:24-31), and that an assembly prayer meeting has tremendous power to address global issues (1 Timothy 2:1-4), we would make better use of the opportunities a prayer meeting presents!

If we leave some matters for the prayers of others, we will show consideration for them and be able to join after their prayer in a more hearty “Amen.”

D. Oliver

What is the difference between the Day of Christ, the Day of the Lord, and the Day of God?

The Day of Christ (Philippians 1:11; 2:16, also “the Day of Jesus Christ,” 1:6) is a “day” of approximately 7 years and includes events in heaven beginning with the Rapture, when God has completed His work in us here on earth (1:6, 11). It continues through the Bema (2:16) until the Lord returns to earth.

The Day of the Lord lasts 1007 years, commencing at the beginning of the tribulation (2 Thessalonians 5:2, with Daniel 9:27). It culminates after the 1000 year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:6) when God judges this earth by fire (2 Peter 3:7, 10; Revelation 20:9-11). It includes events on earth.

The Day of God is unmeasured in duration, commencing at the end of the Day of the Lord (2 Peter 3:12) and includes events in the new heavens and earth, in which righteousness dwells and God tabernacles with men (Revelation 21:1-4). It is different from “the great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14).

D. Oliver