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Pray according to Jesus

   by aymon de albatrus

5 ∂ And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 9 ∂ After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:5-15 AV)


Prayer

By prayer it is intended a humble request of help to a person superior to ourselves that has the ability to supply for our needs, whilst we cannot.  Prayer includes actions such as these: adoration, confessions, imploration, asking, make petition, request, expressing desire, humbling oneself with much thanking, in the view that everything depends on God.  

Prayer is always an act of submission to another superior to ourselves. 

Prayer can be made for our needs and for those of others, but above all for the will of God to be done in our lives and in the world.  Prayer is also intended to implore God to do justice on the earth and to desire to see His Kingdom fully established on the earth as it is in Heaven. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (Revelation 6:10......... Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. (Luke 11:2)

Prayer does not change the purpose of God because that has already been established by Him before the world was created, and cannot change, otherwise God, in His omniscience, would have "seen" something that would not be, and this would make him not the almighty God, by definition. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (2 Timothy 1:9)

Prayer makes us conscious and partakers in what God has pre-established for us and it is a strong comfort to us.  Prayer makes us grow evermore in the mind of Christ. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13 AV)  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16 AV)

Prayer makes us more and more aware of the will of the Lord and thus we learn to pray more correctly.  For example in James 5:17-18 we read: 17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. (James 5:17-18)

From a superficial reading of these verses one would understand that it was the prayer of Elijah that made the rain come.  But it is not so, for we read:  And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. (1 Kings 18:1)

Elijah's prayer was effective because it was according to God's will, and Elijah had the mind of the Lord, moreover Elijah's faith was based on what the Lord told him He would do, for what the Lord says will always come to pass.  This is the true faith: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

Prayers made according to the will of God will be satisfied, always; whilst those according to our will, never.  If our resolution is not in line with that of the Lord, our requests will not be heeded.  How many times have we prayed without obtaining what we prayed for! Why you think it was so? And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: (1 John 5:14 This clearly means that if our prayers are not made according to His will, He will not hear us.  For example, if we pray for someone that he will not die, but the will of God is that he will die (and we all die by His will) that person will die for sure, notwithstanding millions of prayers to the contrary by us: See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. (Deuteronomy 32:39)  

We see, form our text above, that the Disciples were desperately aware that their prayers did not always hit the mark and noting that Jesus did not think much of the prayers of the Scribes and those of the Pharisees (surely estimated by the  people as exemplary and magnificent), they went to Jesus to teach them the proper way to pray, asking Him "Lord, teach us to pray", for He did not pray as the priests did.  

Verse 5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Jesus calls the Scribes and the Pharisee hypocrites,  for when praying they made a show of themselves in the Synagogues and in the corners of streets to be better seen.

To be noted that the posture nor the place of prayer were condemned here by our Lord, but their "love" of being seen when praying, probably even aloud, was not approved.  They would prefer these public and important places than praying to their private closets, this to get the applauses of men.  To this effect Jesus says: Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

With the same measure the Lord has reproach for long and repetitive prayers, especially in public   But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. (Matthew 6:7This because God already knows our needs: Be not therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. (Matthew 6:8)  Also, when praying in a group, if praying too long, one may prevent a brother from praying because of the time available. Prayer should be clear, without repetitions, no longer than necessary and hit the mark.

Concerning the physical position of prayer, any is acceptable by the Lord for it is the state of the heart that counts, not the body's.  It is the attitude of the believer that counts, not external positions.  The praying posture may help put the believer in a more humbling position, for example by praying on the knees or prostrated would give to the believer a more deep sense of submission than that of being seated.  The standing undulating position is the one used by the Hebrews and it is acceptable, but the state of the heart is what matters more. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: (Psalms 66:18)

Verse 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Exhortation to private devotions is not intended to prohibit public prayer, for there is a need of one and the other.  Private prayer is for a deeper and personal relation with the Father.  The Lord prayed by Himself on the mountains Mat 14:23 in the night  Luk 6:12 but He also prayed with His disciples and in public, and so did the Apostles (Act 1:13-14)  The closet of Peter was the roof top, that of the Lord were the mountains.  For sure, private prayer has less propensity to inflame pride, hypocrisy and vanity.

The Father not only sees things in secrete but He his invisible, thus to pray in secret correspond with God's nature.  This is true prayer, to be in line with the will of God.  It is not primarily to make known to Him our needs or to gain His favours, for these are pagan notions,  True prayer is an act of surrender, the total submission of our will to His.  It is the removal of obstacles from our part to give way to God to bless our lives, according to His intentions.

Verses 7 & 8 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him
Here Jesus forbids those artificial prayers repeated ad nausea, such as: "Hail Mary,  Pater nostrum" practices in the Roman Catholic Church and similar ones done by Moslems, Buddhists, etc.

Repetition as done by the pagans are condemned, like those that proceed from irreverent thought towards God, as if He did not know what we are in need of.  Just as If God was a man that needs to be persuaded by a multitude of words.   God, by His omniscience, knows very well what we need and prayers that do not recognise this fact are presumptuous and offensive to Him.

The model prayer for the disciples

The exemplar prayer that Jesus taught to the Apostles is included in verses 9 to 13.  This model prayer is not intended to be repeated continually as the Catholics do, a thing Jesus condemns, but to be taken as the principle to formulate our requests coming from the heart. 

The reference prayer given by Jesus can be divided in eight parts:

  1.  ..  Our Father which art in heaven,

  2. Hallowed be thy name.

  3. Thy kingdom come.

  4. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

  5. Give us this day our daily bread.

  6. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

  7. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

  8. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

 .. Our Father which art in heaven,
This first phrase immediately points to our relation with God.  Only who can sincerely say from the heart "Abba, Father" is qualified to utter this prayer, that is, who is born again.  The first verse of this prayer recognises who is born of God: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:13).  Only in Christianity God is called "Abba, Father", that is by His children: And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Galatians 4:6)

Hallowed be thy name
We honour God by recognising His name as thrice Holy, as the angel sang: And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. (Isaiah 6:3)

Thy kingdom come.
The kingdom of God means His governorship and all being guided by His Spirit: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Romans 8:14) The Kingdom of God will be established by God Himself, but we must strongly desire that the Kingdom of God be established, firstly in our hearts and then on the earth.

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
There is no democracy (for that is of the evil one) in the kingdom of God, in Heaven God commands and ALL obey, most willingly. But on the earth it is not really so. The prayer of a believer has to be "that Your will be done in my life" as Jesus prayed: And he went forward a little, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matthew 26:39 )

Give us this day our daily bread.
The word "Bread" here does not only means 'bread' and Jesus told us not to worry for our food: 31 Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:31-33)  What we should be asking for is the "Celestial Bread", which is Jesus: 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which cometh down out of heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: yea and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world. (John 6:48-51)

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
This is a difficult thing for us to do. The word "debts" here is intended "sins": and be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32) Given our evil heart, it is not easy for us to forgive sins made against us, but then why should God forgive our sins against Him?  The Lord repeats this concept very clearly in verses 14,15.  If we do not forgive those who made offences against us, God will not forgive our offences against Him.  It is a serious statement.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
Protection from Satan is hereby requested for the evil one is always in the lookout to make us fall: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Peter 5:8) Being aware of our frailties in front of temptation we pray the Lord's help "Father do not expose us to temptation, to sin, for it is so attractive to us, and we are so weak,  but free us from evil and the evil one. The Lord is merciful and He says to us as he said to Peter: Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat:but I made supplication for thee, that thy faith fail not; and do thou, when once thou hast turned again, establish thy brethren. (Luke 22:31-32)

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
This prayer begins in glorifying God by recognising who God is, and ends praising His attributes.

In Brief:

  1. When we pray publicly let us not show off, but humbly offer our lips to praise Him for all the compassions and mercies that He gives us every morning presenting our hearts to Him in prayer and singing hymns and glorifying Him for Jesus says to those who are His: But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your teacher, and all ye are brethren. (Matthew 23:8)

  2. Let us not dilate our prayers in useless repetitions, but be brief, concise and precise.  There is no need to make the laundry list for God knows very well what we need and He tells us: Fear not, little flock; for it is your Fatherís good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

  3. We are compelled to recognise what God is, the supreme Sovereign Governor of ALL creation, that has adopted us as sons and allows us to call Him "Abba, Father". We must recognise Him with the due fear.

  4. We must have a great desire to see His will fulfilled in our lives and in the world.  Prayer is not only for asking our needs but above all to glorify Him and His operate.

  5. We must desire the spiritual Bread. To yearn ever more to know Christ, to feed of Him and to drink always of His live water till we reach the measure of His Stature

  6. "Forgive our sins as we forgive those of others" this is the attitude of the Kingdom.

  7. Recognise that All is of God.  In fact the model prayer of Jesus speaks little of us and of our needs, but emphasises God and His interests, not ours.  When we pray we must model what we say on the pattern of this prayer that Jesus gave to His disciples.  This prayer points, above all, to God.

 

How BIG God is

Km travelled by speed of light in time

Time

300,000

km sec

1

sec

18,000,000

km min

60

min

1,080,000,000

km hour

60

Hour

25,920,000,000

km day

24

day

9,460,800,000,000

km year

365

year

122,990,400,000,000,000,000,000

km end gala

13,000,000,000

light years end galaxy

Distance Earth - Moon

400,000

1.33

sec

Distance Earth - Sun

150,000,000

8.33

min

Light travels at about 300,000 km per second

The distance between Earth and Moon is approx 400,000 km, Light takes little more that one second to cover this distance.

The distance between Earth and the Sun is about 150,000,000 km, Light takes a little more than 8 min to cover this distance.

It is estimated that the distance between Earth and the farthest Galaxy is about 13 Billion light year, this distance in Km is expressed by the number one followed by 23 zeros, an incomprehensible number. And this does not mean that our Universe is that little, moreover there is also the concept of many Universes, for the Bible says: But will God in very deed dwell on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded! (1 Kings 8:27)

This distance is impossible to understand and we have heaven of heaves (universes) and God is not contained by them, He has to be bigger for He created ALL things and keeps and sustains all of them.  He is perfectly present in His creation and outside it, all the time.

This is how God is big, infinite, and when we pray we address this mighty God, we must think of that, for it will help us to have the fear of God.