Who told us how to pray? And why do we have different instructions to pray, rather then some of those in the Old Testament? It&Mac226;s apparent that Christ had to instruct us with a new standard for prayer,as praying was abused by the scribes and Pharisees. We simply conclude that by what He says about them. First, He tells us to give alms in secret, verses 2-4. Then in verses 5-9 He gives instructions on how to conduct ourselves in prayer, finishing with the model prayer in verses 9-15, and then includes instructions on fasting in secret, verses 16-18.
But for now let&Mac226;s focus on this teaching of prayer. Mt 6:5>And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites (scribes, Pharisees) 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. He also warns!-Mt. 23:14> Woe!-(explanation of grief!) unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer:-(the abuse I spoke of) >therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. If we read carefully, we understand these words in Matt. 6:5 often used before each command Thou shalt not. (that&Mac226;s a command from Jesus Christ for us.) Why? So we do not fall into a hypocritical attitude. Without this instruction, we have no way to see the error, attitude or example we set for others.
We also have instructions on how to pray for the sick. James 5:14>Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: But Christ&Mac226;s prayers were in secret with the Father and sufficient for all that He did. Remember&Mac247;the apostles tried to cast out a devil and failed. But Jesus just made a command and it was done. Then He told them why they could not -Mark 9:29>And he (Christ) said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
Prayer is not listed as one of the commandments, is it? But that does not mean Christ's instructions are just words. His instructions are serious and not taken lightly. Notice--pray standing in the synagogues. That's what they wanted. Their desire was to be seen of men! Let&Mac226;s understand the question of synagogues. Imagine someone trying to reason with confusion like, What about the congregations in their meeting places? They are not in the synagogues. Remember this! They were not there to pray to synagogues (assembly or buildings.) As it states when we read further, that they may be seen of men. So we see that synagogues have very little to do with Christ&Mac226;s command.
Looking for excuses.
One excuse a person gives is that he can pray in front of people because he does not have the same attitude of the scribes, Pharisees,and hypocrites. ( Remember this quote,)-So does that mean that the scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites of our day can be seen praying before others, because of our example? Or do we believe there are no Pharisees and hypocrites today? I think we know better than that; and if Christ were here now, the rules would still apply. (He does not play favorites.) Praying in the streets.
Notice-in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. This is also something many do today without understanding Matt. 6:5 When we look in a concordance for streets, in this verse you&Mac226;ll find a wide plat, place, or square. Bulletins, whether written or verbal, were often done in such places to announce special meetings or proclamations from the King. Many scribes and Pharisees also prayed to the people by this same means. Now, whether it be there or anywhere, in any streets it should not be done. This can also be done from the popular places of our day- Radio, TV, tapes, and whatever means of communicating prayer that there are.
So Christ is stating this instruction about praying, as many were praying in the streets, corners, platforms or wherever this way, just as they pray to you from whatever methods we may have today. Our society has fallen snare to these long heartfelt prayers on TV. Many people send in their money, assuming they are buying their way into some physical kingdom, or heaven. This is a most terrible error. Be alert! Know when this is being done! Christ wants us to be vigilant (alert!) of their efforts and what people do.
Many ways to pray, but never openly before others.
There are many ways to pray&Mac247;a personal prayer to God the Father, whether vocal or in thoughts, or whenever we can be alone; a meditative silent prayer you can give anywhere as to not to be seen of men. (If not, Matt. 6:9 thou shalt not becomes hindered.) Also a collective silent prayer with the brethren together, to bring about special needs of the congregation, or someone in prison, or a safe journey, etc. But not praying before men. (Again, if not, Matt. 6:9 is of no effect, taking away the instructions and teachings of Jesus Christ.) Also we have a prayer of healing by the elders. Acts 1:14>These all continued with one accord-(one reason in mind-agreed) in prayer (*and supplication added), with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren . Apparently a meditative, silent prayer based on the conclusion of what you and I are taught from Christ&Mac226;s instructions. Acts 4:31>And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,-(spirit) and they spake-(not prayed) the word of God with boldness.
Acts 20:36 confusion.
This has been taught correctly for many years.
Let&Mac226;s look at some of Paul&Mac226;s prayers, as many get confused about when and how they were done; actually using Paul to disagree with Christ. Paul and Christ were always in complete agreement. Imagine how it would be after you were struck down in blindness as Paul was, and then disagree with Christ&Mac226;s instructions? It never happened. Another justification many use would be in Acts, where Paul knelt down to pray. Acts 20:36-And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.(interliner-they all prayed,) then after!> 37>And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, 38>Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that theyshould see his face no more.(When did he say that?) It&Mac226;s the place where we get mixed up! Paul. was leaving , never to see them again! that they should see his face no more This statement was made prior in Acts 20:25shall see my face no more. Those were the words they were sorrowing of in Acts 20:25, not the words spoken in a prayer. >and they accompanied him unto the ship. Yes, Paul kneeled down and pray, but not in front of the deciples.
Another note! (Speak ) is present and future tense. I will, let me, going to, etc,) (The word (spake )is past tence a term meaning prior.(spoken)is also before-had, was, had been, etc.)English translators were careful in this regard.
Spake is where many become misaligned with Paul&Mac226;s prayer assuming he was speaking- -(immediate tense)aloud in prayer; It just did not happen that way. If we believe otherwise, then Christ&Mac226;s instructions to pray in secret is a lie? Of no effect? Done away? Christ was confused? Wrong! Paul was rebelling? Or maybe we should tear Matt. chapter 6 out of our Bibles. I think we know what Christ meant. The one who died that we would have life eternally was telling us this for our good; and remember the words for our obedience to Him &Mac247;when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites. (O.K. Enough for the english lesson needed here; let&Mac226;s go on.)
We should be rewarded.
Also, we are rewarded for our prayer in secret. Matt 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. Also remember this for the sick: Jas. 5:14>Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders (older men)of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (These are not our own personal prayers; and these anointings are done privately.) We need to remember these different situations for prayer. BLESSINGS.
Another thing to confuse the issue is the idea that blessings are prayers. This, again, would be in contradiction to Matt. 6:6; and to do away with what Christ instructs us. This would also mean Christ was divided against Himself. Do we accept one to do away with the other? Can we pick and choose? If we are not careful, Christ&Mac226;s instructions on prayer would have no meaning to us as at all. Let&Mac226;s take a closer look at these two words &Mac247; bless and pray.
bless (blµs) tr.v. blessed or blest (blµst), bless·ing, bless·es. 1. To make holy by religious rite; sanctify. 2. To make the sign of the cross over so as to sanctify. 3. To invoke divine favor upon. 4. To honor as holy; glorify. 5. To confer well-being or prosperity on. 6. To endow, as with talent. --blesser n.
Bless>The direct opposing word would be curse; we are either blessed or cursed. Deut 30:1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee. It&Mac226;s an action carried out by the Father; and He will or will not act upon them.
Keeping it simple&Mac247;blessings come from the Father, prayers go to the Father. When we ask (pray) for him to bless us, he decides whether He will or not. If we are blessed, the spirit of that blessing will be given to us. We can also bless the Father in a form of thanks for receiving our blessings. Deut 8:10>When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless(thank) the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Example of Christ Himself blessing the bread, Mk. 6:41>And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed,(Strongs>To thank or invoke.) and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. (Christ giving thanks for our food.) This was not a prayer that many assume (using Christ&Mac226;s words here) and do err not knowing the scriptures. When the Father blesses us, we receive something; but when we bless Him, He only receives our thanks or our obedience, as we cannot give God anything in comparison when it comes to His spiritual gifts to us. Let&Mac226;s also look at some examples of blessings, with Christ being our best example- Matt. 5:44>But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Notice the distinction between bless and pray. Luke's account is quite the same-Luke 6:28>Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. Again the two-(bless+pray.) If not, then He could have used one and the same, or could have simply said one or the other.
pray (pr) v. prayed, pray·ing, prays. --intr. 1. To utter or address a prayer or prayers to God, a god, or another object of worship. 2. To make a fervent request or an entreaty. --tr. 1. To utter or say a prayer or prayers to; address by prayer. 2. To ask (someone) imploringly; beseech. Now often used elliptically for I pray you(plea) to introduce a request or an entreaty. 3. To make a devout or earnest request for. 4. To move or bring about by prayer or entreaty.
Examples of prayer.
Look at these examples of prayer used in different ways, including prayer to man. Gen. 12:13> Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee. This happens often in our Bible-Gen. 19:7>And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. That was Lot pleading with those that wanted to have the two angels, that finally had to blind the evil people at Lot&Mac226;s door. We can see the phrase pray you as someone pleading for a favor, asking someone intently to adhere to their words&Mac247;I pray you do this, or I pray you do that. Also, a longing for them to please hear them out.
We should understand the difference as to praying to someone, or praying to the Father, and always have a desire to learn. Prov. 1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: (Our Bible)
So, we can have a conclusion drawn from the facts of our Bible without an opinion; being obedient to Christ, or simply choosing to ignore Matt. 6:5-9 about prayer, bringing about more errors in our lives. I pray you we do not do these things; that&Mac226;s my plea also, or the Father will not reward us as He says.
Affirmation of private time with the Father.
Even in the case of husband and wife, Paul instructs they be with the Father separately> 1Cor. 7:5>Defraud ye not one the other,(Being away from each other without reason) except it be with consent for a time,(permission to be apart.) that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; (a private time alone with the father) and come together again, (after they have finished)that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. This was not a command, but only good advice from Paul.
Remember: -No matter what the justification we use to pray before others, it would be in direct contradiction to Christ&Mac226;s instructions in Matt 6:5-9. Our obedience is to Jesus Christ and the Father. Without that obedience to Him, we will not receive His kingdom-(spiritual power) and the gifts he wants us to have. Just as Jesus Christ says- John. 14:12>Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. (Those works and gifts imparted to us.)
So, are we getting the answers we want? Are we of one mind, that mind in Christ? Are we all believing the same instructions? Are our prayers in secret asking the Father to clear up this confusion for us with all of the deceiving doctrines out there?
We need to always ask for His blessings of a sound spirit and mind, praying that we study more correctly with conclusions of biblical logic and getting away from this idea that we have to exalt our opinion. Biblical conclusions and sound spiritual logic are never drawn from one&Mac226;s own opinion, but the will of the Father. Always ask these questions, What does it say? and What does it not say?,and leave our ideas out of it.
o·pin·ion &Mac247;(Heritage dictionary.)(&Mac183;-pny&Mac183;n) n. 1. A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof. 2. A judgment based on special knowledge and given by an expert. 3. A judgment or an estimation of the merit of a person or thing. 4. The prevailing view. 5. Law. A formal statement by a court or other adjudicative body of the legal reasons and principles for the conclusions of the court.
but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof. I certainly do not want one of those. Do you? It&Mac226;s true we can have an opinion while on the job or whatever; but for biblical proof, we should have some affirmations of His word. We cannot use this worlds idea&Mac226;s and throw opinions around about the bible. We must also seek the Father&Mac226;s will and instructions from Jesus Christ. Christ says our words of opinion, are nothing more then trouble.>
Mt. 12:37>For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
The absolute best way to affirm the words of Jesus Christ is by His example. Look for one place where Christ prayed with anyone. He never did. He Always went to a place by himself to pray alone.
In Christian love of the truth &Mac247;
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