Prayer and Prayer Life

A Spirit-filled Believer – called a Christian – is one who is a full-time worker for God.  It does not matter at what avocation or profession they are employed.  Christian constantly proclaims their faith, allegiance, devotion, and consecration to God.  The life they live that others observe is the strongest and most effective witness for or against God that exists on planet earth.  So, may it be, AMEN

Definition of prayer:

John Wesley arose each morning at 4:00 A.M. and began the day with at least 4 hours of prayer.  He said that prayer is what a Christian (Holy Spirit-filled believer) does and says, whether eating, sleeping, working, or visiting throughout the day. John Wesley (1830). “The works of the Reverend John Wesley” p. 526.

Prayer is without any standardized form, structure, or pattern.  It is how we (individually) have informal conversations with our Father, Messiah, and Holy Spirit.  The family of God hears our prayers when we are in harmony with them.

Bible Facts:

There are at least 650 prayers recorded in our English bible.  This number surprised me.  I was not expecting the number to be that high.  There are about 450 recorded answers to prayers. If you want the list of 650 prayers from the Bible, contact me.  It will only cost you your email address.

‘Rule of Conduct’ in ‘Letters’ (1915)

Prayer is that part of the communion we have with our Father, and His only begotten Son, Jesus/Yeshua.  Prayer is as simple as a statement – same as speaking with a parent, sibling, wife, or best friend.  The Bible does not give rules or formal structure for prayer.  The one exception is what we often refer to as “The Lord’s Prayer” which Jesus gave the disciples. (Matthew 6:9-13; Psalm 63; Malachi 2:10-16; 1 Peter 1:17-25)

The earliest extant manuscript we have of the “Lord’s Prayer” is explored along with the records of these older translations in a separate document, titled “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Suffice the 25 references of Jesus praying, to give us samples of prayer that relate to Matthew 6:9-13.  Perhaps Rev. Wesley gathered his definition of the rule for Christians from these references.  Because he recognized that a Spirit-filled Believer would have the essence of prayer whether talking to a janitor, delivery person, bookkeeper, President, or Queen.

Therefore, as we journey through our day, we are in constant prayer with our Heavenly Father who chose our body as His temple or dwelling place, see 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19.  God chose the human body of each believer as His earthly dwelling and not a building made with human hands, see John 14:23. God gave Ezekiel (Eze. 10) the vision of His leaving the Temple (Holy of Holies) in Jerusalem.  This vision is the last evidence of God dwelling in a building made with Human Hands.  Our Father no longer has a physical presence in a structure.  He resides with the saved. (2 Corinthians 5:1-5).

Herbert Lockyer prepared a list of 650 occurrences of prayers of the Bible. This list of the 650 prayer references will be available by link from our secure repository – at the end of this article or you may sign up as a member of our group with your email and receive a copy of the prayer references. Your choice.  https://RichardDarnell.com 

The list of 650 may give you a few that are more difficult to recognize as prayers.  That, to me, is the beauty and substantive value of the list.  Think in terms of the verbal and non-verbal prayer that God hears and comprehends.  For we talk (verbal and non-verbally) throughout the day, week, month, and years.  God hears.

Prayer Life of Yeshua [a.k.a. Jesus]:

In the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) our Messiah Yeshua (Hebrew title and name) or Christ Jesus (Greek and Latin languages rendering of our Messiah’s title and name) provides 21 references to our Savior, Redeemer, King, and Lord at prayer.  Each has something of value for us as we learn to pray and understand the value of a prayerful attitude throughout our day. The more we learn seems to prompt the greater desire to learn more.

We can divide these 21 references into 4 main groupings:

(1) Prayers at important moments in His earthly life: (a) His baptism, Luke 3:21; (b) choosing the Apostles, Luke 6:12-13; (c) the confession of His being the Messiah, Luke 9:18; (d) His Transfiguration, Luke 9:29; (e) before going to the cross He prayed in Gethsemane, Luke 22:39-40; (f) and, on the cross, Luke 23:46.

(2) Prayers during His travels/ministry; (a) before the conflict with the Jewish Leaders, Luke 5:16; (b) before providing the “Lord’s Prayer,” Luke 11:1; (c) when the Greeks came to Him, John 12:23-28; and, (d) after feeding the five thousand, Mark 6:46.

(3)  Prayers at His miracles, Mark 1:29-34; (a) healing the multitudes, Mark 1:35; (b) before feeding the five-thousand, Mark 6:41; (c) healing a deaf-mute, Mark 7:34; and (d) raising Lazarus from death, John 11:41.

(4) Prayers for others: (a) for the Twelve, John 17:6-19; (b) prays for future believers, John 17:20-26; (c) for those who Crucified Him, Luke 23:34; and, (d) for Peter, Luke 22:32. These are only those recorded.  It is obvious that our Messiah raised many, many, more prayers.  Why were His prayers heard?  Because He was reverently submissive to the Father, Hebrews 5:7.

Yeshua/Jesus teaching disciples about prayer:

Quoted from The Complete Jewish Study Bible, Published 2016 by Messianic Jewish Publishers & Resources.  Hendricksons Publishing (2016)

Matthew 6:9-13,

“You, therefore, pray like this:

Our Father in Heaven!

May Your Name be kept holy

May Your Kingdom come,

Your will be done on earth as in heaven.

Give us the food we need today.

Forgive us what we have done wrong,

as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us.

And do not lead us into hard testing,

but keep us safe from the Evil One.

For kingship, power and glory are yours forever.  Amen

—————————————–

NIV (1984):

“This, then, is how you should 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 today our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts,

            as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-13)

Later translations added “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen”

OLDER MANUSCRIPTS:

The older manuscripts do not use the word “temptation” because God does not tempt us (James 1:13-14).  We are tempted by the evil one or his demons.  Yet, this temptation is not out of the ordinary.

1 Corinthians 10:13, No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.  God is in control and only works in everyday life as He chooses.

THE LORD’S PRAYER:

The Lord’s Prayer may be taken apart to create an outline that may be used with every prayer you wish to pattern after its format.  Obviously, this is not the only format with which you may Pray.  If that were the intent, then our Savior would have used the very same structure each time He prayed – which He did not do.

Yeshua’s/Jesus’s prayer life was different from the traditional Jewish prayers of the disciple’s day.  It is no wonder they wished to learn from Him a “correct” way to pray. I do believe the disciples were taken back by the prayer Jesus gave them when He said, here is how you may pray – or here is one example of a way to pray.  So, let us examine the sample:

1.)  Invocation: “Our Father, who art in heaven.”

2.)  Petition: There are six requests:

i.) for God’s name to be hallowed (holy)

ii) for God’s kingdom to come,

iii) for God’s will to be done,

iv) for daily bread (food) to be provided,

v) for the forgiveness of debts or sins, and

vi) for deliverance from temptation (testing) and from evil or the evil one.

3.)  Doxology (added with later translations): For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen

From Jesus’ teachings, we learn that prayer may be characterized by (1) importunity [persistent or demanding request] (Luke 11:5-8), which is laying hold of God’s willingness to bless.  (2) tenacity (Luke 18:1-8) a persistence and certainty (belief) in praying. (3) humility (Luke 18:10-14)  being contrite or penitent and a sense of unworthiness. (4) compassion (Matthew 18:21-35); (5) simplicity (Matthew 6:5-6; 23:14; Mark 12:38-40); (6) intensity and watchfulness (Mark 13:33; 14:38); (7) unity of heart and mind in the community of prayer (Matt 18:19-end); and, (8) expectancy (Mark 11:24). The strength of which depends on one’s conviction of faith. See, Mark 11:22-26.

SCREWTAPE LETTERS:

Early in C. S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters,” admonishing his demonic protégé Wormwood on the matter of prayer, Screwtape said, “The best thing, where it is possible, is to keep the patient from the serious intention of praying altogether.” After the Islamic terror here in the U.S., some Americans, for a myriad of excuses, have decided to listen to the demons whispering in their ears to “never pray as God doesn’t listen.”  Unfortunately, these citizens who do not pray often claim to be Christians.

James 5:13-16,

Is anyone of you in trouble? They should pray.  Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.  Is anyone of you sick?  They should call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.  If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.  Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (changed some words to remove gender bias.)

CHRISTIAN GROWTH:

Daily prayer and reading the Bible are necessary events for Christians to grow.  We attend Bible Studies, Church, become prayer warriors, pray daily, and we read our Bibles daily all for the purpose of growing our Faith.  These are the events that refresh our Faith and exercise our privileges in Christ.  These do not create our Faith but reminds us of our faith and is the source that can grow our Faith.  Without habits from our faith, we would not mature into the full saving faith God has pre-planned for each of us to accomplish. (Ephesians 2:1-10)  If there are differences in intellectual talents, those differences are not recognized in God’s word.  God is no respecter of persons, (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11). Regardless of man’s categories of mental acuity, God sees each and all as His without imposing differences by way of judging.

God does however expect the most from us to the extent that we possess the capability to achieve the assigned goal.  Since God predetermines what we each are to achieve in this life, I believe He holds us to that standard which is patterned to fit with individual capability.  What He prepares for us to accomplish (Ephesians 2:10) is not beyond our ability to achieve.  Therefore, we take advantage of each day and extend ourselves by our prayers, bible reading, and daily meditation.

Ephesians 2:8-10, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

1 John 5:18, “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.”

I submit to you that without daily prayer, you may not have recognized the Holy Spirit coming to you and guaranteeing your “saved” position in the Family of God.  To correct that situation, it becomes necessary to pray for the Holy Spirit to be revealed to you and to guide your understanding of God’s word.  Before reading the Bible, it is a good and valuable habit to engage in prayer and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to inform you of our Father’s truth.

EXAMPLES OF PRAYER:

 Using the format that Jesus/Yeshua taught, her is an example:

Most Holy and Glorious Lord God, the Great Architect of the Universe and the Giver of all Good Gifts and Graces, In Your name we have assembled and, in Your name, we desire to proceed with this fellowship service.  May Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Father may Your Kingdom come to each and all who call on Your Son and worship You.  Thank You for our daily needs and the blessings of this life You generously provide. Yes, Father, we ask that You forgive our sins and strengthen us in our weaknesses that we may serve You as good and faithful servants.  Father protect us from temptations and keep us from the evil one and his demons.  Those who read your word and bring us a message from Your word will allow themselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit to represent to us Your truth.

Thank You Father for the gift of Your only begotten Son, that we may live with You both and worship You in spirit and in truth.  We remain in Your Son and ask Him to intercede on our behalf as we ask in His Name, Amen

An example throughout the day: Thanks Father for the great blessing of this food.  Nourish us and encourage us to walk upright in harmony with Your Holy Spirit, Amen

Lord, I would not have thought of that __________ had you not suggested it to me.  Thanks, Lord.

Father, I had a temptation to ___________________ but the Holy Spirit strengthened my weakness in time to avoid the completion of that “lust, greed, gluttony, curse, swearing” whatever the nature of the temptation.

What beauty our Father has provided for us to enjoy the image.

Thanks, Father, Amen

Just carry on a conversation as often as you will either aloud or in silence.  The more often you communicate with our Father, Savior, and/or the Holy Spirit the greater satisfaction you will experience in this life.

May God bless this discourse to each who read and meditate on increasing their conversation with You.  Bless us as we struggle with this life on earth and the limitations of our mental capabilities.  We look forward to that day when our journey ends and we begin learning from you the truth of unlimited spiritual understandings.  We love You Father and in your Son’s name, we pray, Amen.

Richard W. Darnell, Author, May 29, 2020.

Contact: admin@richarddarnell.com or 210 Lobo, Levelland, Texas 79336; or ranetree@gmail.com

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