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Lord, Teach Us to Pray

Sabbath Greetings Everyone,

When we come before God in prayer we are actually entering the throne room of God the Father and His Son who is our Mediator and High Priest sitting on the right hand of the Father. 

Prayer is one of the most valuable assets we have as the people of God. Through prayer God allows His children to have access to Him; He hears ours prayers and intervenes in our lives according to what He deems best for us.  And through prayer we can become members of His team helping Him in fulfilling His purposes in the world. Through fellowship with our Great God through prayer we are being molded and fitted to become one with them and to take on the mind of the One who made us and who is the King of the whole universe.

In Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4, Jesus taught His disciples His outline prayer beginning with how we should address God the Father, and then He lists the kinds of things we should be praying for on a daily basis. But the Lord’s Prayer is only a guideline for us, we should never just say memorized prayers by rote; but rather Jesus gave us this prayer as a general outline and then we are to expand upon it and fill in all the details of the things we need to talk to God about just as King David did in many of his psalms.

We can get inspiration from reading and studying David’s writings as to things we may want to pray about.  David wrote about his thoughts and his prayers to God as he went through various experiences and trials which are common to man and especially to God’s people.  Often we can relate to what he was thinking and what he wrote about in his psalms as we go through similar trials of our own. 

There are many other prayers that were prayed to God by various writers that are listed throughout God’s Word which we can learn from and use as examples as we go through similar experiences that they had in life.

When Jesus taught His followers how to pray, He used an outline prayer as an easy to learn model of how we ought to pray. By this model He teaches us how we are to approach God the Father showing honor to Him, and how we are to speak with Him. 

The Lord’s Prayer then guides us into what we should petition God for: mercy, our daily sustenance, divine protection, and deliverance from evil; all are things that will help us in our spiritual growth and keep us close to God. Prayer directs our minds to the things of God rather than being consumed with worldly things.

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

The Lord’s prayer focuses on six vital concepts: the worship of God; the kingdom of God; our sustenance from God; God’s mercy, protection, and deliverance from evil; concluding our peititons with praise and giving glory to God.

But this is not a conclusive list for the Bible mentions additional things that we are be focused on as we pray, for instance the giving of thanks and supplication for the needs of others.

Psalm 30:12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful [anxious] for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God;

1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice evermore 5:17 pray without ceasing, 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

James 5:16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

When we pray to God with an obedient heart and according to the way Christ shows us, prayer can be a potent weapon in the arsenal of every believer in Jesus Christ. 

After the apostle Paul listed the spiritual armor that we as Christians must put on to do battle against the principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places; the last thing on his list is the fact that we need to be in continuous prayer with perseverance and supplication for all of God’s people. 

Then Paul beseeches the brethren that they would pray for him and for the work he was called to do.

Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 6:20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Paul again asks for the prayers of God’s people in his letter to the Thessalonians; for God to intervene on the behalf of himself and others by delivering them from evil men so that the work of God could go forward.

2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you3:2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

Be Not As the Hypocrites

In His sermon on the Mount, Jesus began the whole subject of prayer by saying that we are not to pray in a hypocritical manner by praying in a way that is meant to gain attention and to be heard by men, rather than directing their prayers to God alone.

We are never to pray aloud in an attempt to impress others; rather our prayers are to be between ourselves and God and our words are to be spoken to Him in secret; speaking privately to God in a place that is away from the public eye. 

This is not to say that it is wrong to offer up earnest opening and closing prayers at our worship services, or prayers over the food that God provides when others are present at the dinner table; this is right and proper. But we are not to use this time to speak long flowery prayers just for the sake of impressing those within our hearing.

Matthew 6:5 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. 6:6 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.

Jesus tells us not to use vain [empty or meaningless] repetitions by reciting prayers that do not require our minds to be engaged. Vain repetition can include repeating memorized prayers or just mouthing words without thinking about what we are saying. 

Also, we are not to pray filling up a certain amount of time with chatter and by repeating things over and over in order to just put our prayer time in. Jesus points out that this is how the unbelievers pray and we are not to pray as they do.

Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

The Greek word for “vain repetition” is  battologéō (Strong’s #945).

HELPS Word-studies 945 battologéō – properly, to blubber nonsensical repetitions; to chatter (be “long-winded”), using empty (vain) words (Souter).

Asking For God’s Forgiveness

Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Jesus instructs us that we are to seek God’s grace and to ask for forgiveness on a regular basis. Because of God’s abundant mercy we can always come to our Father to ask Him to forgive us of our sins.  As soon as we recognize that we have sinned, we should immediately turn to Him and ask Him to wash us with the atoning sacrifice of the Lamb of God who died to pay the penalty for our sins.

If we have unrepentant sin in our lives we need to confess it right away, be washed and seek God’s help to “go and sin no more”.

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Then Jesus adds a qualification to the petition that our Father would forgive us of our transgressions; we are forgiven of “our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”. So important is it that we forgive others that Jesus goes on to expand upon this qualification for He adds after He has finished His prayer in the very next verse:

Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:  6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Does Jesus mean that we receive forgiveness of our sins only if we are willing to forgive others? That might seem to contradict what many in the world may teach about God’s mercy, that His mercy is always unconditional. Yet Jesus warns us in these verses that if we do not forgive others, there can be no forgiveness extended to us from God the Father.

Paul also understand this concept and taught the brethren that they must forgive others just as Christ had forgiven them.

Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

The key to understanding Jesus’ teaching on forgiving others is to recognize that we do not receive forgiveness because we forgive others; rather it is because when we extend mercy to others we show that we understand and we appreciate what God has done for us in showing us mercy for our many sins against Him. And if we are being made into the image of God we must be forgiving as He is forgiving.

The person who prays “God please forgive me of my sins”, but will not forgive others their sins, does not understand the concept of forgiveness. Because we want forgiveness of our own sins by God, we must be prepared to forgive others of their sins, just as God has forgiven us. 

When Peter came and asked Jesus how many times we ought to forgive others, Jesus replied that we are to forgive our brother seventy times seven, which basically means that there is to be no limit to our forgiveness. The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant shows us what will happen to those who are forgiven of their debts and then turn around and refuse to forgive those who sin against them.

Matthew 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

18:24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

18:25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

18:27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

18:28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

18:29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

18:30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

18:31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 

18:32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

18:33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

18:35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

A person who recognizes the incredible value of what it means to be forgiven and the extreme pain that our Savior endured to pay our debt, must likewise extend that same kind of grace to others when they sin against him. And since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another by forgiving one another.

1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

God is in the process of forming His faithful called out ones into His image, therefore He wants to instill within His children the same kind of love, the same kind mind and divine nature that He has; and if He is forgiving toward us, it only makes sense that we, too, are to be forgiving as He is.

Praying about forgiveness in this way keeps this concept fresh in our minds daily for it is easy to forget. To forgive others when they sin grievously against us is one of the hardest things we as humans can do. To forgive and forget does not come natural to us.

God is forming us into merciful kings and priests and He will not allow anyone to be in His kingdom if we are unwilling to forgive others. It is inconceivable that God would have rulers in His kingdom who refuse to forgive those who are placed in their care.

Jesus states this principle earlier in His Sermon on the Mount when He said “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7) 

And in another place Jesus said to His disciples “….freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8) This pertains to the all gifts of God which He gives to us including His gift of mercy.

It is humanly impossible to forgive on our own, but Paul tells us that we can go to our Father through our High Priest and ask Him for help when we find it is impossible to do what is required of us as true followers of Christ.

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Jesus Served as a Powerful Example of Being a Man of Prayer

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthian congregation, he says to the brethren that they are to follow him only as he follows Christ.   “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1st Corinthians 11:11). Just as Paul, we, too, are to follow the example of Jesus, seeking to imitate Him in our daily walk, just as He walked.

1 John 2:6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

Christ set a pattern for us to follow and one of the ways we are to imitate Him is to be a person of prayer as He was a person of prayer.

Jesus became aware of His need to be about His Father’s business at an early age. We read the account in Luke, that when Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem to keep the Passover, they also took Jesus who was twelve years old. When they had finished observing the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread they left to return to Nazareth, but one day into their journey, they realized that Jesus was missing from their company of family and friends. 

When they went back to Jerusalem, they found Him in the temple sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking questions, having theological discussions.  His parents had been looking for Him anxiously for three days, and when they saw Him there with the teachers, Mary said to Him: “why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” He then told her:  “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:28-29) 

Even at a young age, Jesus knew that God had commissioned Him to accomplish certain tasks on earth and that He had a unique relationship with God the Father.

After that, they all returned to Nazareth. Verse 50 says that Mary and Joseph did not understand the statement that He spoke to them but Mary pondered upon it in her heart (verse 51). Jesus returned with them and was obedient to them, and He continued to grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (verse 52).

Later, as Jesus began His ministry at thirty years of age, He went to John to be baptized by him and as He was being baptized, the Bible says that as He was praying, that the heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him. 

Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 3:22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age….  

When the disciples ask Jesus how to pray,  He told them to pray that “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) 

Luke 22:42 records Jesus’ words when praying in the garden before facing death by crucifixion: “Nevertheless not my will but thine, be done.”  

In John 5:30 Jesus said, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me“.  

From an early age, Jesus had set His mind that His life would be to do the Father’s will, and that meant to be about His Father’s plan of calling and teaching men and women, placing them into His Ekklesia and training them to qualify to rule as kings and priests in the Kingdom that was to come.

John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

Revelation 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

And also to die for the sins of the world as a propitiation for our repentant sins:

Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

The plan by which Elohim would save sinful mankind was prepared before the world began. And it was a joint venture; the Father and the One that would become the Son had been a cooperative team from eternity and they continued to work as a team even after Jesus had given up His Godhood for a time to fulfill His mission on earth. (John 1:1-5)  

1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,  

To be about His Father’s business, beginning as a child and then throughout His life, Jesus had to be in constant communication with His Father seeking revelation of His will and to continuously receive the strength from His Father to carry out His mission here on earth.

Jesus’ habit was to rise early in the morning and go to a solitary place to pray. Sometimes He withdrew to the wilderness and sometimes He went up into a mountain to be alone so He could pray without distraction, and pray as He taught others, in private and in secret.

Mark 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.  

Luke 5:15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. 5:16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.  

Matthew 14:22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 14:23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone.  

Jesus prayed as He did miracles for the people.  God the Father heard His prayers and performed the miracles through Jesus.

Matthew 15:35 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. 15:36 And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

Jesus prayed before the people at the grave site of His friend, Lazarus who had died and God raised him up. 

John 11:41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 11:42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

One day when the disciples noticed the Lord’s habit of praying, of how Jesus would depart to be alone sometimes to pray; one of them came to Him and asked Him: “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” (Which indicates that John, the Baptist was also a man of prayer.)

Luke 1:11 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”  

If we are to live as Jesus lived and to have the mind which is also in Christ, we, too, should pray to our heavenly Father as His Son did, and to to imitate our Lord in regard to being men and women of prayer.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,  

 

God’s People are to be a House of Prayer

When Jesus came into Jerusalem for the last time a few days before the Passover, He entered the temple and saw how the religious leaders were buying and selling in the temple and unfairly exchanging the monies of the travelers who came to keep the Passover. He became angry and drove them out. And this is what He said to them:

Mark 11:17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.  

With this statement, He was quoting Isaiah 56:7, which tells us that God’s house would be called a “House of Prayer”.

Isaiah 56:7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.  

Many Scriptures teach that the called out ones make up the house of God and that we are God’s Spiritual Temple, therefore we, too, are to be a House of Prayer. Members of the Ekklesia are called to be prayer warriors on behalf of others and for the whole world. 

1st Peter 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.  

Hebrews 3:6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.  

1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.  

1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.  

1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  

And if we are God’s spiritual house, how much more that His people, too, would be called a spiritual “house of prayer”.  

John tells us in Revelation 8:3, “that an angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer and much incense was given to him so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.

This verse indicates that the prayers of the saints (who are spiritually the house of God) go up before God and are on the golden altar which is before His throne. This shows that the prayers of the saints are very important to God. It is very important that we stay in constant communication with God our Father.

Why Does Jesus Want His People to Pray?

It is true that God wants to save us from the penalty of death through repentance and applying the sacrifice of Jesus death to our sins so that we will be delivered from eternal death, but is that all, or is there more?

God has not called us just to be saved from our sins!  If that were the case, He could command us be baptized after repentance and then allow us to go to sleep until the resurrection and be spared all the hardship and enduring in this present evil world. 

Rather, God the Father calls us to become partners with Him in doing a Work, and God’s Work is perfecting holiness in our lives and in our very being. He is calling out certain ones at this time to repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit, and then to go on to perfection so that they can be “meet [fit] for the Master’s use, and to be prepared unto every good work.” (2nd Timothy 2:21) .

God allows to be here on earth for a time and we are to live out the remainder of our lives with the challenge of overcoming and growing for God has an awesome goal for His called out children. He is training us to be kings and priests for His kingdom and it takes a lifetime to grow to perfection, and also to become qualified to rule in the way Christ rules. 

This is what Jesus prayed for His disciples at the last Passover just before He was arrested.

John 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  

And God tells us through Peter that we must live in such a way that we imitate Christ and that we are called to be holy as He is holy.

1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.  

God the Father and His Son are holy; therefore if we are to be in their spiritual image, we too must be holy. And one of the ways we attain holiness is through prayer. 

Peter continues by imploring us to call upon the Father in our quest to be holy.

1 Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:  

Calling on the Father is what prayer is all about; we are given prayer as a tool as a means to become holy by being in constant communication with Him, abiding in close fellowship through prayer and by asking Him for more of His Holy Spirit by which we can be empowered to live for Him as holy and righteous sons of God.

Calling on God the Father is about talking to Him. It is important to have communication with our Father and it should be set as a high priority in our life in order to allow ourselves to be transformed from the glory of man to the glory of God. 

Prayer is a very effective tool that helps us to achieve this. God’s purpose of developing us into His image requires a great deal of time spent talking and fellowshipping with Him on a daily basis.

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

God’s disciples are commanded to preach the Gospel and to teach as part of His Work, (Matthew 28:19-20) but in John 6, Jesus tells us that our first work is to believe in Him and to do all that He says; then we are to do God’s Work of preaching the Gospel to the rest of the world.    

John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.  

To believe on Him is to believe His whole Word and to internalize it into our very hearts and minds and then apply it to every aspect of our lives; and if He tells us to become holy as He is holy, that should be our goal in life. 

That is our work and that is to become our top priority (hungering and thirsting for the righteousness of God) from the time we repent and throughout all of eternity, if we are to become like the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

Paul wrote in his epistle: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:”  (Romans 3:10)  

From our earliest moments, we are tuned into Satan’s broadcast. “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” (Ephesians 2:2). Our hearts, even as young children quickly learn how to be “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked….” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Carnal humans are programmed to be the opposite of holiness, and now in our modern end time days, the most unholy of things are being promoted as normal and acceptable while the things of God are rejected and despised.

Part of sorrowing over our sins and over our sinful nature is to realize how unholy we are, and then to begin the work of seeking out how we can become holy.

Just being born, and then from living in Satans’ evil world, we take on his nature from being in fellowship with him in various ways. We have been living in Satan’s environment from birth and with those who are under his influence, and we do not even realize that we are fellowshipping with him until God reveals it to us.

Satan implants that nature in us from a young age, and that is why we need to repent and become converted and to take on God’s nature.  It is God’s purpose that we shatter the influence that the devil has had on us all of our lives. 

It takes time to root out our sinful nature and at the same time allow God to transform our minds from all of Satan’s carnal attributes gained from that influence, and to become holy as God is holy.

In Hebrews 12:14, Paul writes, “Follow [pursue] peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”  

We are to pursue peace and holiness for we do not reside in a peaceful world; there is very little peace on earth and it is because Satan’s broadcasting permeates the world and the people in it. As human beings we have been tuned in to his nature and living under his influence all of our lives. The people of the world are reflecting Satan’s attitude of rebellion, pride and his spirit of competition; and the earth is filled with violence, strife, and envy because of it. So there is no real peace anywhere in this world. 

We have to seek peace and pursue after it, and we have to pursue after holiness; for “without which no man shall see the Lord:” (Hebrews 12:14). This is a dire warning for us who have been called to live as true Christians. 

The work of God is to produce holiness in His children, and without that holiness, we will not be a part of the resurrection to spirit. The result of pursuing holiness will be to have peace in our lives; as peace and holiness go hand in hand. 

Prayer and petitioning God for peace and the other fruits of the Spirit will steer us away from the works of the flesh, therefore it is imperative that we pray often and pray that God deliver us from evil and from Satan’s influence.

We Fellowship With God Through Prayer and Drawing Close to Him

Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.  

We become like our friends, family members, and brethren when we are around them; it is just a natural consequence. If we want to become wise, then we must seek out wise men to walk with and spend time with; and who is more wise than God to walk with and to spend time with? 

Likewise, if we want to become holy there is no one more holier than God to fellowship with. When we spend time with Him, we allow for Him to place His holiness in us through His influence through prayer,  study of His Word, and meditating on the things of God.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.  

This speaks of a Biblical principle that teaches that we tend to be shaped by those we associate with and hang out with just as this Proverb tells us. Through our example and by our influence on each other we sharpen each other for good or for bad. In 1st Corinthians 15 Paul also talks about this natural law.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. 

Fellowshipping with those who do evil and are breaking God’s law, will most likely corrupt or subvert good manners, morals and character.  We tend to take on the moral character of the group of people with whom we associate, and they will pull us down to their corrupt level. We are to avoid such influence and choose out godly friendships; those who will influence us for the better, and what better companion could we have than God!

If we are spending time with God in prayer, being in fellowship with Him will shape us as we allow for Him to influence us. As we communicate with Him, we not only talk to Him in prayer, we also listen to what He has to say to us from His word. Sometimes when we are praying, a Scripture or a Bible precept comes to mind and it could be that God is bringing something to remembrance that could be a response to what we are praying about; it may be that God is speaking to us and showing us from His Word the solution to a problem or giving us help in making a decision that we have been seeking direction for.

As we spend time with Him in prayer and immerse ourselves in His Word, His character traits and His holiness will become ingrained more and more within our inner being as we think about the things that He thinks about. As we apply God’s commandments and principles to our hearts, we will start behaving as He behaves, and we will speak of the things that He speaks of.

When we are constantly around a companion, we tend to pick up his habits, mannerisms, way of thinking and acting. It is said that married people who have been married a long time, start to act the same; they have similar speech habits and similar mannerisms. But one of the most prominent feature is that they come to think alike and can even finish each others sentences showing that their minds have become one; they instinctively know what the other is thinking.

Our minds, too, become one with God’s mind as we pray and stay in constant communication with Him, just like Jesus did when He was living on this earth.

God says in Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…” but in Philippians 2:5 Paul tells us: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus“.  

As we get to know God more and more by spending time with Him, letting His Spirit fill us up and shape us, we can eventually come to the place that we do start to have His thoughts and His ways do become our ways. 

Our prayer life takes us on a journey of becoming holy as we walk with Him and share all our hopes, dreams, problems, questions, petitions, giving of thanks and praises in our daily communication with Him and letting Him implant His divine nature within us; versus letting Satan corrupt us with his evil communication and by ungodly persons he can use to influence us.

And to think that this all became possible when on Passover day, the moment Christ died, the veil of the temple was ripped in two symbolic of the fact that those who would be called to become God’s children, could now have access to God the Father and to His Son.

In Hebrews 4 Paul says that when we pray to the Father, we are in the very presence of God and we are invited to boldly come to His throne of grace, that we may find mercy, grace, and strength; and everything else that we need to live as He would have us live. 

As we come into God’s presence and as we are seeking out His fellowship, we choose to develop a deep abiding relationship with Him, and we will be in the process of becoming perfect [complete] as He is perfect [complete].

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.  

When we pray, we come into in the very presence of our Creator and He has the opportunity to influence us, sharpen us as iron sharpens iron. We take on more of His Holy Spirit and we grow in the fruit of that Spirit and being with God affects us for our good. Prayer is instrumental in this development. It plays a major part in our taking on the mind of God and in becoming holy as He is holy. 

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Why should we pray if God already knows what we need and He knows the end from the beginning; and He already has things planned out?

Matthew 6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.  

Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:  

When my children were young, I use to make homemade bread for our family every week. One day I had making bread on my to-do list and I had determined to set a part of that day to make our bread for the week. In my mind it was going to happen and I had a couple of hours to get it done. My daughter was about four or five at the time, and she asked me if she could “help” me make the bread.

I thought, “you know it would be so much easier if I just went ahead and did it myself, maybe let her watch”; but I decided, no, she wanted to help me and it was an opportunity to teach her how to make bread and what it was like to work at making something to contribute to the family; also it would instill in her a sense of teamwork; she could say that she helped make the bread our family would be eating that week.

Yes, it got messy letting her help! I let her mix the flour, water and the yeast and and then gave her some dough to knead into her own loaf; she had a lot of fun making bread with her mama. We also shared some good quality time as we were working together. I even took a picture of her with her apron and with flour all over her hair and face (and the kitchen).

I could have denied her the chance to help that day and just hurried to get it done without all the mess and extra work on my part; but allowing her be part of the bread making process provided a valuable object lesson for her that she would remember the rest of her life.

It is similar with God; He already knows what is going to happen, and what we need before we ask, so why does He need us to tell Him anything or to try to “help” by praying for things to get accomplished?

It is because He is building/growing a family and He wants our enthusiastic, zealous participation.  He also wants us to have the opportunity to learn valuable things while living and working for Him, praying and reflecting on what He is doing, and what He is about to do, and how we can have a part in what He is doing. At the same time allowing ourselves to be God’s instruments helps to infuse within us the same enthusiastic zeal God has for His plan and purpose, and His kind of agape love for mankind.

If we are developing the mind of God, then we, too, will need to pray for the same things as He desires which means we will be praying for His will to be done on earth. By praying for the things God’s wants, we will become more and more invested in the “Father’s Business” just as Jesus was as a young boy and as He continued to be throughout His lifetime here on earth, even unto His sacrificial death on the stake. 

If we believe in God and we have come to love everything about Him, we will want to be on His team by praying for the accomplishment of His plan to be carried out here on earth and for the things that need to happen to further the redemption process that is taking place with all mankind, including those who are not being called just yet.

We will develop a heart to feel how God feels, and in essence, will be learning God’s compassion and love for others. He wants us to think as He thinks, to love humans as He loves them with His own definition of outgoing godly love, desiring the highest good for all mankind ultimately, and we do that by talking to Him every day about the concerns we have for ourselves, our families, our brethren and for the future redemption of all humanity.

God is not willing that any should perish, and we, too, need to have the same mindset as our Father and His Son in that regard. As God’s people we become plugged into the Father’s and the Son’s hopes and dreams for the future family of God by talking about those things every day with them.

For a marriage to work the husband and wife must keep in close communication, talking about all of their hopes and goals that they have for their family and for the well being and nurturing of their children as they are rearing them to grow up to become godly adults. If a husband and wife do not communicate, or they have mis-communication, they will drift apart and the relationship suffers and can even lead to divorce.

We all know that if we do not talk to our family members on a regular basis, they eventually drift away. Fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings can fade from our lives if we do not keep in touch with them and eventually we never hear from them anymore and may even lose track of where they live or even if they are still alive.

When communicating with our family members begins to be neglected they soon become no longer a part of our lives, and we lose track of everything that has been happening in their lives.  And it can be the same with friends and our spiritual brethren. But we must never let that happen with God the Father and the One who is our Espoused Husband.

God tells us to communicate with Him often but also with our like-minded brethren because He knows how important it is to stay in contact and for us to help each other with our words of encouragement and admonishment.

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 10:24  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another [by communicating]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.  

1 Timothy 6:18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 6:19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.  

Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 13:16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

God desires and yearns for us to talk to Him, there are many places in Scripture that admonish us to do so.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.  

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; [be not anxious] but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  

Colossians 4:2 Continue [be steadfast] in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;  

Just those verses alone, tell us that we are to pray without ceasing and we are to pray about everything!

As I mentioned earlier, most of the Psalms are prayers that have been recorded in Scripture to help us to know how to pray and what to pray for. David, being a man after God’s own heart, was very passionate and expressive in his prayer life, and many of his prayers are written for our example of how to be a man or woman of prayer.

As you read through the Bible you will see that all the servants of God made prayer a top priority in their lives, and prayer came naturally to them for God was such a big part of their lives.

To have the privilege to be able to talk to the King and Sustainer of the universe; the One who made the stars, galaxies, planets and all of creation, who is sustaining all of these things and yet has the time to listen to our prayers to Him and to hear about our deepest thoughts and yearnings, our needs, our thanksgiving, praises, our hopes and dreams for ourselves, our loved ones, and for the future kingdom of God, is awe inspiring! 

And He wants to hear us expressing love, concern, and consideration toward others by petitioning Him for their needs as well.

God desires to hear from His own dear children that He loves very much; from those for whom He was willing to give His Son up to the death of crucifixion so that they could become His children. 

We as human parents love it when our children talk to us, wanting to share what they are thinking, feeling, doing; wanting our advice and telling us that we are good parents and that they love us. God is our Father in heaven, and along with His Son, both of them, together, want to hear all about what is in our hearts and to ask them to guide us through our lives and to help us in our struggles.

God does have qualifiers in giving us the privilege of prayer and in talking to Him. He says that He will hear our prayers if we are seeking Him and obeying His commandments; and the things we ask for must be in line with His will and His purpose

We must be praying according to His will in our lives and in the grand scheme of things that are accordant with His plan for the future and for the ultimate good of the ones we are praying for, or for the situation that we find ourselves in (and for the ultimate good of everyone involved in that situation).

1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 5:15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.  

God says in many places that He only hears those who do His will and are faithfully keeping all of His commandments.

1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

John 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

In Conclusion

We need look no further than to the Bible for instruction in how to pray and to Jesus, our example who knew how to pray effectively more than anyone else. Also, we can read about the stories of all the great servants of God as recorded in the Bible and look to their examples of how they prayed and what they prayed for, and be encouraged by how God answered their prayers.

In other places in the Bible, we are taught how we are to pray by various writers:

Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  

To be continuous in prayer (Acts 2:42, 1 Timothy 5:5, Colossians 4:12).  

Pray according to God’s will (1 John 5:14).  

Paul instructed Timothy in regard to prayer: That men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath of doubting (1st Timothy 2:8.) 

We are to pray effectually and with fervency as Elijah did (James 5:16-17).  

Daniel prayed three times a day (Daniel 6:10-11).

David wrote that he praised God morning, noon and evening; in another verse he said that he praised Him seven times a day (Psalm 55:17, Psalm 119:164).  

The disciples prayed together when they faced persecution, and they prayed that God would empower them to do His works (Acts 4:23-31).  

There is no correct posture for prayer. In the Bible people prayed on their knees (1st Kings 8:54), bowing (Exodus 4:31), on their faces before God (2nd Chronicles 20:18; Matthew 26:39), and standing(1st Kings 8:22). We can pray with our eyes opened or closed; we can speak quietly or out loud; or even write out our prayers.

Some people like to set up a special place in their home (like a room, a desk, or a certain chair) during their devotional time where they can have peace and quiet, and that has a place for Bibles, concordance, writing materials, etc.

If we still have children at home, they will take notice and see how we make special time for prayer and make it a daily habit.

Some have found that writing out prayers each day in a journal helps them immensely, as it keeps our minds from drifting all over the place, and writing helps us to keep focused on what we are praying about. 

Writing also helps to keep our thoughts flowing in an organized fashion. And recording our prayers can help us to build our faith, for when we read what we have written days, months, or years later, we can see that God was involved, that He did answer our prayers, petitions, and questions that we prayed about as recorded in our journal. 

Certain situations that were such difficult trials a while back (which seemed at the time to have no solution nor end) over time, became resolved and they are no longer even a part of our lives.  We realize that those prayers in the past were answered and we can give God thanks and all the glory knowing that He did hear our prayers for those particular situations and that He did deliver us from evil; and we can faith that He will do so again. (See 1st Samuel 17:34-37)

What Do We Pray For?

Again, we have plenty of instruction and examples from Scripture. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He told them to pray after this manner:

Matthew 6:9 …. Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

6:10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.

6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

6:13 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.

He gave this prayer as an outline for us to use in praying for certain things and we can fill these subject lines in with many fine details as we are thinking of the things in our lives that pertain to these topics.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 

We are to pray for wisdom, strength, protection, deliverance from our enemies, healing, etc., and we are to pray interceding prayer for others and their afflictions; in short we are to pray about and for everything.

There are so many things that we are to pray for. For starters, we can read what David prayed for in the Psalms, what Daniel prayed for in Daniel 9:3-19, Jacob in Genesis 32:24-29, what Paul prayed for his congregations in Ephesians 1:16-23, and in Colossians 1:9-14. 

The subject of prayer makes for a good Bible study and there are many, many Bible passages which tell of the examples of prayer in the lives of the servants of God. We can study their examples and apply whatever may be beneficial to our methods of praying.

We are God’s Friends if We Are Keeping His Commandments

John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

When Jesus was with His disciples on that last Passover evening, He told them that they were His friends if they would do whatsoever He commanded them to do, and to keep His commandments (John 15:10-15). 

He said that He would no longer call them servants, but would call them His friends, and that because they were His friends He had made known to them all the things that He had received from His Father. Then in verse 16, He says: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, He may give it you.” (John 15:16)

What a tremendous gift it is to be called by God the Father and to have the incredible opportunity to come to know His Son, Jesus, and that His Son would call us His friends. We come to know Him and to know His will by studying His Word and by praying to the Father and by living by every Word of God, obeying all that He tells us to do.

After Jesus talked to the disciples about the important things that He wanted to impart that last night with them, He went on to pray for them and for all those who would come after them, those who would become His disciples in the future. Of all things that Jesus could have prayed for that night, this is what He prayed for His friends which includes you and I.

John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. 

17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. 

17:25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. 17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.  

These words were what Jesus prayed for His friends, what He was thinking of that night, and His passionate prayer was recorded for all those who would come after, those who would become His disciples after that night right up until He returns to set up His Kingdom.

We, too, are Jesus’ friends, if we do whatsoever He commands us. Friends love each other and friends talk to each other to get to know one another even more.

Jesus set the example for us in so many ways, and one of them was in how to pray, what to pray for, and He exemplified for us on how to be men and women of prayer.

If you are one of God’s called out ones, a person who has answered His call to believe in Him, to accept His Word and apply it to your life; to look to the Messiah for forgiveness of all your past sin calling you to come out of this world and to sin no more; then our Father is calling you to spend precious time with Him in prayer on a daily basis!

We are granted the gift of having this access to our Heavenly Father, to be able to share in communication with the Great Almighty God for the rest of our lives, right up unto death, just as Jesus did; and then after we are resurrected, we will be communicating with Him throughout all eternity as His beloved children. What an marvelous privilege we have. Prayer is a most precious gift, utilize it often!

Have a wonderful Sabbath, everyone,

 

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 prayer-and-fastingGodly Prayer

 

Today I want to write about some of the characteristics of Godly prayer.

To begin, God does not hear the prayers of sinners.

1 Peter 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

It is written that if we are not godly in our marriages, it will hinder our prayers; while this is directed at husbands, it also applies to any ungodly behavior by wives, which would hinder their prayers.  In other words sin comes between us and God, Isaiah 58, and therefore our prayers are hindered.

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Isaiah 1:15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood [sin].   1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;  

Most Prayer Should be Private

If we want God to hear our prayers we must follow and keep his Word faithfully.

Next, our prayer should be a sincere and honest petition to God.  We should never pray to impress other people.

Matthew 6:5 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. 6:6 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. 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Of course there are times for public prayer, but most of our prayers should be made in private where we can pour ourselves out to God with out any inhibitions or temptations to impress others.  We need a private one on one with God, to have a heart to heart relationship with God our Father.

Humility and Submissiveness to God

Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.  18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Both men were sinners and the Pharisee [Laodicean] thought much of himself being full of pride; while the publican [Philadelphian] also knew he was a sinner and sincerely repented before God, was full of love for God to go and sin no more against God’s Word.

Family

We need to teach our children to pray, by teaching them a respect for fathers, by being good fathers ourselves.  Then we need to set an example of praying by praying for the family on our formal Sabbath and New Moon Bible studies and on those occasions where family prayer is appropriate.

Fathers and mothers also need to set an example by praying regularly in their private places, and the other mate should honestly answer when the child asks what they are doing?  Answer: they are praying, and when the child asks what is that; you have your teachable moment to explain about God the Father in heaven and prayer.

Some of those Bible studies should be on the subject of prayer, and besides Bible studies, we should always be continually teaching our children by continual instruction and example.

Do you recite or sing Psalms and songs of God as you wash the dishes and your children play at your feet?  Do you realize that your children are soaking up everything that you say and do? and that what you do is worth more than a thousand words?

I do not dote on group family prayer where each child is expected to pray before his family before he is mature, it is too open to becoming empty repetition, and because praying before too many people inhibits a young child. 

A mother can pray holding her babe in her arms, and the baby as it grows, will pick up on that and you can teach it to pray from the youngest age.

In most cases if parents are praying and setting the right example with instructions; prayer and living by the Word of God comes easily.   

Then when the child can pray on their own, let them do so in privacy.

When a son is fully mature in the faith, and if we are teaching him diligently, this should come by about age 14. We should begin asking him to pray on occasion when prayer for the family is appropriate.  Of course, this should not be a sudden surprise to him; this should be discussed with him well ahead of time. 

Prayer for the Unconverted

Paul tells us to pray for national leaders and authorities and for our neighbors.  How can we reconcile this with:

Jeremiah 7:16 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.

Jeremiah 11:14 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble.

Jeremiah is speaking of the unrepentant in Israel.

How then are we to pray for them?

1.  Pray that they are brought to sincere repentance in the time of their  calling.

2.  Pray that they will make wise laws and judgments for the good of all.

3.  Pray that they will be peaceable towards God’s people, so that we are    

     preserved from trials and persecutions unto peace with them.

4.  To pray that they will be healed, may be praying at cross purposes to God’s   

     will.  Perhaps God is using the illness to teach some lesson to them.  Rather      

     pray that if it is God’s will, let them be healed; while remembering that even    

     Jesus could do no miracle for those who were without faith in God.

I suggest that we do a word study on the words Prayer and Petition throughout the whole Bible this Sabbath.

 

Constance Belanger and James Malm  

 

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