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10/15/97 T.W. Hunt: Praise, faith must have right theology

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–“It is time to do something” about misunderstandings Christians have concerning praise and faith, T.W. Hunt said in a chapel service at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
At New Orleans Seminary for the dedication of a new 24-hour Intercessory Prayer Center Oct. 9, Hunt said, “We can beat the charismatics because we can praise God and do it theologically correct.”
Praise and faith, key elements in prayer, “need the right theology” to be effective, said Hunt, a retired seminary music professor from Spring, Texas, who has devoted the past 22 years of his life to teaching Southern Baptists how to pray.
Describing eight factors he has noticed about praise, Hunt said:
— “Praise is naming your relationship to God.” Before praying, Christians need to focus through praise on the attributes of God, for this is “the only way finiteness can relate to infinity.”
— “Praise is insisting on the truth.” Recounting “a week of grief” in 1976, when “I went five days without any praise to God,” Hunt said he realized he was giving praise to his feelings.
Even though he said he did not feel like praising God, he got on his knees and sang the doxology. “I was surprised at how praising God lifted my spirits,” he said, and despite facing cancer, heart surgery, death and financial reversal, “I made a vow I would never let a day go by without praising God.”
— “Praise is searching the unsearchable, describing the indescribable.”
— “Praise is knowing the riches of God.”
— “Praise is dwelling where God dwells.”
— “Praise is experiencing victory.”
— “Praise is holiness and safety.”
— “Praise is getting the perspective right.”
Hunt encouraged Southern Baptists to memorize and frequently quote from the Book of Psalms, especially chapters 8, 84, 103, 145 and 147.
Concerning faith, Hunt gave four conditions:
— “If you have faith, you will be caught up in prayer. You can hardly help it,” he said. “I yearn for you to get so caught up in prayer that you miss meals, the hours fly by and you don’t even know it.”
— “If you have faith, you will see life from a spiritual perspective,” he said, shown, for instance, by giving money to missions rather than buying something not essential.
— “If you have faith, Christ will be the source of your joy,” he said. “You will always perceive God before you perceive the world.”
— “If you have faith, you will see God, not a desired object.”
Hunt prayed for Southern Baptists “to experience the Spirit of the Lord coming upon you” and, like the prophet Habakkuk, “to walk in the high countries.”

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  • Debbie Moore