1 and 2
"WHEN YOU PRAY"
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you,"
In John 15 verse 16 there's a point that Jesus made about praying that is particularly significant.
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you
that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain,
that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you".
The point of what the Lord says regarding Kingdom Praying is that He has linked going and praying.
Believers with a "going disposition" will find themselves having an "asking disposition". In other words, those who go, pray.
The promise that God will draw near to us when we draw near to Him is a heart-warming assurance for any Believer, but especially one who feels uncertain or unworthy about praying.
One thing they can be sure of is that our heavenly Father is merciful and that the Holy Spirit encourages.
In the letter to the Hebrew Believers and to all Believers, He says:
"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need," Hebrews 4'14-16.
And regardless of any discouraging or depressing thoughts, or any distractions from the enemy, we can draw near to our Father and pray.
Believers are sure to obtain mercy from Him and find His abundant grace.
"If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8'31).
No one, no thing, can succeed against God's children, because,
"We ... have a High Priest who ... was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
"Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,
and having a High Priest over the house of God,
let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience
and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,
for He who promised is faithful," Hebrews 10'19-23.
In Romans 12'12, there's an exhortation to be "continuing steadfastly in prayer" which sits alongside "rejoicing in hope" and being "patient in tribulation".
It's an exhortation to Believers to make praying a continuous factor in their lives.
At the time of Paul's writing his listeners had much they wanted changed. Their country was ruled by a government unfriendly to Believers. And there was the struggle of hard daily living.
Once when the Lord was with His Disciples Luke 18'1-8 says that, "He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart".
There are Believers today whose situations are like this and for some it's much worse. On the other hand, others live where there is freedom of religion.
Paul gives this exhortation to Believers about praying for their own nations and localities:
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, 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 Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus," 1 Timothy 2'1-5.
At an earlier time, the participants in the first ever Kingdom prayer meeting, as recorded in Acts 4'29-30, expressed their desire to be witnesses and for the demonstration of His love and power:
"Now, Lord ... grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,
by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus".
KNOWING THE SCRIPTURES
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He answered the enemy with the Word of God (Luke 1'13). He used scriptures as a sword to kill the temptations of the enemy.
For Believers the Word of God is the "sword of the Spirit" (Ephesians 6'17).
The Lord knew the scriptures so well that He could use them effectively. They were part of Him. To be victorious, we need to know them too.
If you are yet to learn His word about living in Christ's New Covenant Kingdom of God, here are some verses:
+ "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life," 1 John 5'11-12.
+ "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus," Philippians 4'6-7.
+ "Confess your trespasses to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much," James 5'16.
+ "I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding," 1 Corinthians 14'15.
+ "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you," Matthew 7'7.
+ "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" Luke 11'13.
+ "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" Matthew 7'11.
+ "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints," Ephesians 6'18.
There's a fairly common saying that "prayer works". Nevertheless, it's good to remember that it's not true - the truth is, it is God who works, not the prayer.
Jesus said, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working," John 5'17.
Prayer. Heavenly Father, thank you for saving us, accepting us in The Beloved, changing us and being available to your children when we pray.
Thank you, too, for the ever-open access your Children have to you and your Throne of Grace.
In Jesus' name. Amen.
Kingdom Praying - 2
"IN THIS MANNER"
Abba, Father, yours is the Kingdom
and the power and the glory forever.
There are many who identify themselves as Christian, and a lot of those who don't, who are aware of "The Lord's Prayer"as it is found in Matthew 6'1-13. And so for many the word "pray" brings it to mind.
Some refer to it as "the model prayer" or "the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray".
For some it is a set of words learnt off by heart and repeated on certain occasions in their lives. Many call it the "Our Father".
It seems to be universally accepted without question as being applicable to people's lives today.
But, for others there are certain things about this "Lord's Prayer" that seem to be out of line with their understandings of their salvation.
And this is the reason for considering it as part of this Kingdom Praying. So, how should it be regarded? And what is its relevance to Believers today?
One major aspect of born-again Believers is that they have received Christ and their experience governs their understanding.
They have Christ, The Living Word, within them by the Holy Spirit. And they have the written Word of Christ (Acts 2'1 to Revelation 3'22).
Consequently, they are exhorted to:
"Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another ..." Colossians 3'16.
It provides the understandings by which to rightly divide "The Lord's Prayer" so it will be considered accordingly.
MODEL OR MANNER?
Whereas the Lord's words to the Father in John 17 would fit the name accurately, "The Lord's Prayer" is widely accepted without question.
It is set within what is commonly called "The Sermon on the Mount" (Matthew 5, 6 and 7). Jesus had called His disciples together and a great crowd gathered to listen too.
During this time He taught them new things. It's where He began saying, "But I say to you", speaking with authority - as God's Anointed One!
His statements emphasise the differences between what He was saying and some of what they had been taught in earlier times.
He stood for difference. And He taught differently - including things about praying.
It's interesting to note that in a particular part of it Jesus addressed them as individuals. In the text the Greek singular pronoun for "you" is used.
Speaking to them as individuals He encourages His Disciples, and all who are gathered, with these assuring and powerful words:
"But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly," Matthew 6'6.
By the Holy Spirit these are encouraging words for Believers today.
So what is this "prayer"? In fact, it's about praying differently.
Jesus is calling for a "manner" of praying. More than likely, it would have been a manner they were not used to. He said:
“In this manner, therefore, pray:
'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.'"
The manner is the manner of little children, simple and dependent. It is personal and relational with God.
As if preparing them for His manner of praying, Jesus had said earlier:
"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.
Therefore do not be like them.
For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him," Matthew 6'5-8.
The Lord sums up what His manner of praying is all about with "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name".
With these words He also shows the contrast between His disposition and the Pharisees' disposition.
His prayer manner arose out of His desire to glorify His Father in every thing. It showed in His life and His words.
His manner was about dependence and love, hallowing and glorifying His Father, knowing Him as "Abba" - a childlike name of affection:
“Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will,” Mark 14'36.
For those listening, full intimate relationship to God as "Father" and hallowing His name were yet to come.
THE FAMILY MANNER
When Believers come together to pray as God's family it is to be done in the Lord's manner and according to God's will.
In this collective "secret place", each one prays for collective things and all who agree say "Amen".
Being in harmony with one another is essential. But being free from all unforgiveness is just as essential.
The Lord said:
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses," Mark 11'24-25.
“I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them,” Matthew 18'19-20.
And everyone agrees with the one who prays, with a clear, unified, "Amen".
Praying together is all about "us", "our" and "we". In the Kingdom family of God the words "I", "me", "my", "my God", etc, are out of harmony with His family praying.
On the Day of Pentecost the Disciples gathered with "one accord", Acts 2'1.
"These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers," Acts 1'14.
Then they waited for the Promise of our Father.
FURTHER TO THAT
As has been said, for some who read "The Lord's Prayer" there are certain things that seem to be out of line with their understandings of full salvation.
Also, born-again Believers have understandings provided by the Word of Christ by which to rightly divide it.
What are they? And how do they relate to Believers today? Here are the notable ones:
The "prayer" says:
+ "give us this day our daily bread" - "... for your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him," Matthew 6'11,8.
New Covenant Believers are told that our Father provides:
"God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work," 2 Corinthians 9'8.
"... my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus," Philippians 4'19.
The "prayer" says:
+ "forgive us our debts" (trespasses), Matthew 6'12.
New Covenant Believers are told that our Father forgives:
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," 1 John 1'9.
The "prayer" says:
+ "as we forgive our debtors" (those who trespass against us), Matthew 6'12.
New Covenant Believers are told that our Father reveals to His Children the way of forgiving:
"... Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do," Luke 23'34.
"Forgive, and you will be forgiven," Luke 6'37.
The "prayer" says:
+ "... and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one," Matthew 6'13.
New Covenant Believers are told that our Father warns us of the enemy's determination:
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith," 1 Peter 5'8-9.
"... the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations," 2 Peter 2'9.
Using the New Covenant Kingdom Word of Christ to rightly divide results in certainty, victory and direction, as the following articles show.
FORGIVING? IT'S UP TO YOU!
The Lord says: "forgive". Verse 12 conveys an understanding which is vital for carefree Kingdom living. Jesus emphasises the importance of forgiving by clarifying it:
"forgive us our debts (sins, trespasses)
forgive our debtors" (those who sin, trespasses, against us).
But, at the end of verse 13, immediately following the "Amen" ("so be it"), He says:
"... if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (verses 14-15).
To ignore His words is to put an impenetrable barrier (to say the least) between the unforgiving Believer and God.
Obeying them renews a Believer's sonship with the Father.
Alongside forgiving the Lord calls a Believer to examine themselves. At the Lord's Supper Saints are told to do just that:
"... let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
For he who eats and drinks unworthily eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world," 1 Corinthians 11'28-32.
God has given His Children the privilege and the blessing of judging ourselves.
Being commanded to forgive someone can be a challenge because doing it can seem very unreasonable thing due to the harm that the person has inflicted.
When Jesus put the condition "as we" in place He knew about the challenge. Nevertheless, He also knew about the serious personal, spiritual consequences of unforgiveness.
So, why would any Believer, having been totally forgiven and unconditionally loved by God, put refusal in the way by not forgiving someone?
Turning away by refusing means that God can't hear us because our "manner" has become a blockage?
Be ... forgiving ... just as God in Christ forgave you.
"LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION"?
Why should Believers pray this? Why would our heavenly Father "lead us into temptation" anyway?
Temptations are the devil's speciality. But when Believers are tempted they have a choice. Yield to it or simply submit yourselves to the Word of Christ, resist the enemy and end his hold.
Remember this, to yield to temptation is to give Satan access and to lead. The right to lead a Believer belongs only to the Holy Spirit.
Yielding to temptation is giving a place of legal spiritual authority to the devil to lead.
The overarching thing in the "prayer" for Believers is that spiritual authority over their lives belongs to their heavenly Father, exclusively. "For yours is the kingdom".
James describes the situation and warns about the danger of desiring:
"Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death," James 1'13-15.
"But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare," 1 Timothy 6'9.
It's good to keep in mind that being tempted is not sinning.
And here's a great blessing to know:
"No temptation has overtaken you
except such as is common to man; but God is faithful,
who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,
but with the temptation will also make the way of escape,
that you may be able to bear it," 1 Corinthians 10'13.
Be on guard:
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith .., 1 Peter 5'8-9.
"... taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one," Ephesians 6'16.
"... above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God," Ephesians 6'16,17.
Jesus knows that Satan's aim is to steal the Father's kingdom, power and glory out of Believers' lives. Don't co-operate with him:
"Be angry and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil," Ephesians 4'27-28.
The Lord Himself experienced the enemy's antagonistic efforts so that His followers can have victory.
IT'S THE EVIL "ONE"
Usually, translations of the "prayer" say: "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil". And, usually, wherever "The Lord's Prayer" is said, it is said.
But the correct reading of that last phrase is not "deliver us from evil". It is "deliver us from the evil one".
Yes, the correct translation is "the evil one! So it is definitely incorrect!
Nevertheless, someone might say, "What does it matter, anyway?".
It matters because millions of people pray this "prayer" every day, or at least once a week, as if they habitually commit evil and have no power against doing it.
The point is, Jesus is not saying ask the Father to deliver them from evil things but from an evil being.
Above all, knowing what is correct matters. It keeps Believers in harmony with the Lord's teachings. The result is powerful knowledge to use against the enemy.
Knowing and saying the incorrect translation is not only totally wrong, it affects disposition and behaviour.
Humans are told to repent of doing evil things, not ask to be delivered from them.
Remember this. If you have yielded to temptation and done wrong, God delivers in Jesus' name. He is within hearing.
Here's what to do: Go to a place to be alone.
Pray. Confess your sins to Him. Repent, ask Him for His forgiveness and in Jesus' name ask for the deliverance that only He can accomplish.
Receive the deliverance from Him. And thank Him for delivering you! Remind the enemy that God has saved you and has taken you from his power.
Lastly, 2 Peter 2'9 gives great assurance saying, "the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations,". [For more see Deliverance on the Menu.]
Don't forget, only the Holy Spirit has the right to lead a son or daughter of God.
"... as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God,"
As has been said earlier, forgiving someone can be a big challenge. In Matthew chapter 18 Jesus says more to illustrate His teaching.
He starts by telling His Disciples:
"... if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother," v.15.
That's so well and good. But Peter has a few "what ifs" and wants to know more and later asks:
"...'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?
"Jesus said to him:
'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven'," verses 21-22.
And He gave an illustration in verses 23-34:
"... the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants".
This is about a servant who was unable to repay an enormous debt he owed his master. So he pleaded with him.
His master, "moved with compassion, released him and forgave him the debt".
Then this same servant decided to call in a small debt owed to him by another servant who was unable to pay and who pleaded with him.
But there was no compassion or forgiveness or generosity of heart forthcoming from the servant even though he had been forgiven so much.
Perhaps he didn't realise it, but there were witnesses:
"So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved and came and told their master all that had been done". v31.
But the same master who had been "moved with compassion":
"... delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him". v35.
Jesus ended His illustration with this warning:
"So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses," v.35.
The point is, there is only one course of action left open to our Father regarding His Servants who willingly refuse to forgive: Let Satan have them!
NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS
Often Believers' voices are heard saying and singing about wanting to be like Jesus. Is this actually possible? Yes it is.
"For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps" (1 Peter 2'21).
The first step must surely be to have His disposition in all things. Whatever the choice or decision may be it is: "Father ... not my will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22'42).
"For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen,
to the glory of God through us," 1 Corinthians 1'20.
KINGDOM, POWER, GLORY
The Lord culminated His manner of prayer with these words: "Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." Needless to say, they are very, very significant words.
He expressed them early in His ministry and demonstrated His desire to acknowledge and glorify His Father in His words and deeds throughout.
Following the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit began indwelling Believers. He brought these things right into their everyday lives.
"... that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God," 1 Corinthians 2'5.
"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God," 1 Corinthians 10'31.
"For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us," 2 Corinthians 1'20.
"And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father," Philippians 2'11.
"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible,
to God who alone is wise, be honour and glory
forever and ever. Amen," 1 Timothy 1'17.
Prayer. Heavenly Father, thank you for Kingdom freedom and the gracious access to you and to Christ's inheritance.
And thank you, too, for the wonderful example of the Lord's own "manner" in praying - and everything else. Amen.