Friday, April 28, 2023

A Morning Bible Study - How to Pray

Leonard V. Johnson      About

In the Book of Luke chapter 11, one of our Lord Jesus’ disciples asked Him how to pray. His instructions are preserved for us today on how to pray. In this Study, let us go over our Savior’s inspired guide to meaningful and effective prayer.

I know we’ve all seen them. Ultra-Orthodox Jews praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem or rather repeat a mantra, and shuckling (them rocking back and forth). And, they come up with a whole plethora of reasons why they do this, using their own logic, philosophy, and the Torah. But is this any prayer recognized by the LORD our God!?
1) Did our Lord Jesus Christ begin by telling His disciples (and us as well) to just repeat a mantra or prayer over and over?
’ And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.’ – Matthew 6:7.

Nowhere did our Lord Jesus call this inspired guide on how to pray “the Lord’s Prayer” as a great many of our peoples do today. Nor did He encourage His disciples (and us as well) to just memorize a particular prayer and repeat it when praying. In fact, we just read this! Our Lord Jesus is just simply outlining the correct approach to Father God when we pray and the basic things we should ask for. After all─ ’ For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.’
2) To whom did our Lord Jesus say we should pray!?
’ In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, …’ – Matthew 6:9.

It’s IMPORTANT to understand that our Lord Jesus Christ (and yes, I often speak and write “Lord Jesus” along with His glorious title, “Christ” instead of just speaking or writing “Jesus”!) came to reveal Father God to all mankind.

“No one has seen God at any time …” ─ so this means that, as an example, the Prophet Moses had spoken “face to face” to the Word, who would become flesh and dwell among us – the Lord Jesus Christ! “ … The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” – John 1:18.

He always respectfully and reverently addressed the Father at the beginning of His prayers. Sadly, we’ve seen a great many people begin their prayers with, “Hey there. I don’t know if you exist, but …” Hebrews 11:6 clearly tells us that “he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently [and in faith, I add editorially] seek Him.”

So, our relationship with our heavenly Father should be as real and as intimate as the earthly relationship we ideally should have with our earthly father.
3) After Christ Jesus’ ascension back to the right-hand side of God the Father, should we also pray to our Lord Jesus Christ!?
Notice that the disciples prayed also to our Lord Jesus ─

The Apostle Stephen, while being stoned for his testimony for the Lord Jesus, looked up and called out, “ … ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’” – Acts 7:59.

The Apostle Paul prayed to the Lord Jesus at his conversion, asking, “ …’ Lord, what do You want me to do?’” – Acts 9:6.

Paul also pleaded with the Lord three times regarding the thorn in his flesh, asking that it be removed – 2 Corinthians 12:8.

The disciple Ananias at Damascus prayed to the Lord Jesus – Acts 9:10, 13-14.

The Apostle John closes the Holy Bible with a prayer to the Lord Jesus – Revelation 22:20, 21.

All those who belong to our Lord Jesus Christ also pray to Him! Praying to the Father through Jesus Christ gives honor and respect to BOTH, who are as ONE. “Heavenly Father, Heavenly Brother, hallowed be Your names!”

At the opening of our prayers, we should not only address and think of God as the Creator of the universe (not just as another god of a plethora of gods; such as a great many sadly like to call God, “Yahweh, the Israeli national god”. The LORD God of the Holy Bible, the family of God ─ which at this time consists of God the Father and our Lord Jesus the Christ ─ are the CREATOR’S OF THE UNIVERSE AND OF ALL THINGS! – cf. John 1:1-3), but we should also revere and honor and praise Their holy names and office as Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler, as well as Their character of the immeasurable love, greatness, and generosity unto mankind as a whole.

The LORD God’s holy and righteous name and the many epitaphs are to be held in absolute reverence. Our deep respect and awe for our heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior should be with our whole being! We should always address the LORD God in an attitude of respect, worship, praise, and adoration ─

“I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my Rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.” – Psalm 18:1-3.

Always focusing while we are praying to Father God and our Lord Jesus “in spirit and in truth” on the AWESOMENESS of the beings to whom we are speaking.
4) How did our Lord Jesus continue His guide prayer?
’ Your kingdom come. …’ – Matthew 6:10.

Sadly, I’ve heard so many ministers at so many funerals just repeat this with no meaning and certainly with no understanding. Praying for God’s kingdom is asking for and looking forward to the time when the very government of the LORD God will be established upon the earth through the return of our Lord Jesus Christ as “King of kings and Lord of lords” – Revelation 19:11-16.

“ … that there should be delay no longer, but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets” – Revelation 10:6, 7.

“Then the SEVENTH ANGEL SOUNDED: And there were loud voices in heaven [the atmosphere], saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord [here, God the Father] and of His Christ [our Lord Jesus Christ], and He shall reign forever and ever!” – Revelation 11:15.

“Behold, the Day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it.” – Isaiah 13:9.

It will be the prophesied time of the “restoration of all things.”

“REPENT therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven [here, the third heaven] must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN.” – Acts 3:19-21.

Holy prophets such as the Prophet Moses ─ cf.

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” – Genesis 49:10.

The Prophet Enoch ─ cf.

“Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints.” – Jude 1:14.
5) Before the Kingdom of God is established on earth, did our Lord Jesus tell us that there would be witnesses (what we call “end time prophets”) preaching before the god of the earth, a final European civic leader, and a final Catholic religious leader, along with all the world as a witness to all the nations!?

Notice ─

’ THEN they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, …’we believe and teach that He is primarily speaking here of the end time prophets, which there is a high probability of being twelve in all (there were twelve apostles at the beginning of this “Church Age,” we believe and teach there will probably be twelve end time prophets at the end of the “Church Age,” although God’s living word does not directly say) ending with the Two Witnesses. “ … ‘and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.’ – Matthew 24:9, 14; Revelation 11:3-10.
6) What did our Lord Jesus tells us to pray for in the second half of Matthew 6:10?
“ … ‘Your will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven.’

We should also ask our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus to help us understand and do Their will. We need to ask the LORD God to help us study the living Word, Truth, and ultimate Plan. To study the Holy Bible with our Lord Jesus Christ guiding us into all the truth (John 16:13). Such as this world’s ultimate and biggest questions. God’s living word has a right answer for them all: Why was I born? Who am I? Why am I here? What happens after death?

We should also ask our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus for Their inspiration and guidance in expressing the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Ask for meekness, humility, and the power of self-control over your emotions and temptations. ’ And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. …’ – Matthew 6:13.

Ask daily for the LORD God to ‘create in you a clean heart, And renew a steadfast spirit within you’ – Psalm 51:10.
7) What is next in our Lord Jesus’ guide prayer?
’ Give us this day our daily bread.’ – Matthew 6:11.

We are to ’ seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’ – Matthew 6:33.

For our Lord Jesus tells us, ’ Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. …’ – which certainly indicates that the heathen calls on the LORD God for those things incessantly, and has no real faith or assurance that those things will be provided. Again, “ …’ For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.’

As long as we are seeking first His kingdom and keeping His commandments, we know and have faith that Father God and our Lord Jesus will provide all those things. However, He has not promised to automatically provide what we have not asked for.

As an example: When my friend in Gulfport, Fl. was becoming increasingly ill after having had a heart attack. For months I prayed for the recovery of his health. Then, one day in prayer to Father God and our Lord Jesus I asked why he wasn’t appearing to get any better. I know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the LORD God could have healed him completely. When suddenly a thought entered my mind in prayer─ he hasn’t asked. That answer shook me to my core! He hadn’t asked!? So, even though a “fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16) ─ ’ … who has known the mind of the LORD? Or, who has become His counselor?’ … For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” – Romans 11:34, 36. We MUST never forget that it is the LORD God that is the ultimate provider and or Judge of all that we have and need – cf. James 4:12-15.

Also, ’ our daily Bread’ is dual in meaning. Our Lord Jesus tells us, “ …’ I AM the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me [and "on" Me, I add editorially] shall never thirst.’ – John 6:35.

In addition to physical food and drink, we REQUIRE spiritual nourishment!

’ It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me [and again I add editorially “on”] has everlasting life. I AM the bread of life.’ – John 6:45, 47-48.

We should ask our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus daily for Their spiritual understanding and study His living word. “ … He might make you [and He certainly makes us know] that man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” – Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4.
8) Are we also to ask daily for the forgiveness of our sins?
’ And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.’ – Matthew 6:12.

Truly, the word “debts” would have been better translated as “sin.” The Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary write, “A vitally important view of sin. … directs us to seek” forgiveness of sins. Also note, “our” sins, not “my” sins should be asked to be forgiven.

Note that even though the sins of Sodom were very grave, the Prophet Abraham asked of the LORD, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” – Genesis 18:16-33.

We do believe and teach that there will come a time when the LORD our God will not even want us to “pray for this people” ─ the modern-day nations of the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Or, to “lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession” to Him. For He will not even hear – Jeremiah 7:16. But, just like it took some 100 years for Noah to build the ark, there came a time when “Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark …” – Genesis 7:7. Do you think he was still praying to the LORD God for those of the earth that was corrupt before God after entering the ark, still praying for all those people that laughed and refused to listen to him in the century it took to build the ark!?

Let us continue to be concerned for others by having godly love, mercy, and compassion for them. Praying always for them. As the Apostle Paul instructs us – through inspiration –

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” – 1 Timothy 2:1-3.

Remember the LORD God will forgive us only if we are willing to forgive others. If you cannot rid yourself of feelings of bitterness, jealousy, envy, and resentfulness (a negative manifestation of anger) towards others, then ask our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus to clean up your heart and mind. Replacing those negative emotions with the positive ─ the fruits of the Spirit.

Now the emotion of hate is often misunderstood. The LORD God hates many things. Including, “a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Interestingly, according to Marianna Pogosyan Ph. D., a consultant specializing in the psychology of cross-cultural transitions ─
“In fact, one of the challenges of studying hate is that most people can’t think of a time when they experienced true hate. … You hate someone because of what they are, and you are angry at someone because of what they did. … Hate can spread from one generation to another much easier than anger or frustration.” 1
So, the LORD God hates the things men do ─ the sin.

By replacing the negative with the positive your prayers won’t be hindered.
9) At the closing of our prayers, in whose name should we acknowledge that we are praying?
’ And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.’ – John 16:23.

Our prayers to Father God and our Lord Jesus Christ should be made in our Lord Jesus’ name. We can faithfully and confidently speak to Father God “in Jesus’ name” when we know that it is His will ─ our Lord Jesus Christ’s authority stands behind our requests.
10) How should we close our prayers?
“ … ‘For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ – Matthew 6:13.

The word in Greek is amēn, which means, “the truth; surely, so be it.”

As our prayers to Father God and our Lord Jesus begin with reverence and adoration, so should it close. □

1) Pogosyan, M., Ph.D., Understanding Hate – 9 insights into hate from psychological research, 25 Nov 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2023.

Scriptural Index:

Old Testament ─ Genesis 7:7; 18:16-33; 49:10; Deuteronomy 8:3; Psalm 18:1-3; 51:10; Proverbs 6:16-19; Isaiah 13:9; Jeremiah 7:16.
New Testament ─ Matthew 4:4; 6:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 33, 34; 24:9, 14; Luke 11:1; John 1:1-3, 18; 6:35, 45, 47-48; 16:13, 23; Acts 3:19-21; 7:59; 9:6, 10, 13-14; Romans 11:34, 36; 2 Corinthians 12:8; 1 Timothy 2:1-3; Hebrews 11:6; James 4:12-15; 5:16; Jude 1:4; Revelation 10:6, 7; 11:3-10, 15; 19:11-16; 22:20, 21.

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