Teach Us to Pray

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Teach Us To Pray

Luk 11:1  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.
Luk 11:2  And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
Luk 11:3  Give us day by day our daily bread.
Luk 11:4  And forgive us our sins; [G266: hamartia, sin] for we also forgive every one that is indebted [G3784: opheilo, opheileo, to owe] to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
Luk 11:5  And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
Luk 11:6  For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
Luk 11:7  And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
Luk 11:8  I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
Luk 11:9  And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Luk 11:10  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Luk 11:11  If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
Luk 11:12  Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
Luk 11:13  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

This is the so-called ‘Lord’s prayer’. It is more accurately ‘the Lord’s outline prayer’, because the Lord gives us these instructions in answer to the request to “teach us how to pray [by] one of His disciples”.

As we all know, the truth of any Biblical question or any subject is only to be found in “the sum of [the Lord’s words” (Psa 119:160). For that reason we will also look at Matthew’s version of this ‘outline prayer’:

Mat 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.
Mat 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.
Mat 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.
Mat 6:8  Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Mat 6:9  After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Mat 6:10  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Mat 6:11  Give us this day our daily bread.
Mat 6:12  And forgive us our debts [G3783: opheilema, something owed], as we forgive our debtors [G3781: opheiletes, a delinquent debtor].
Mat 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.
Mat 6:14  For if ye forgive men their trespasses [G3900: paraptoma, error or transgression] your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Mat 6:15  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses [G3900: paraptoma, error or transgression], neither will your Father forgive your trespasses [G3900: paraptoma, error or transgression].

In these two accounts of ‘the Lord’s prayer’ we have three different words used to speak of the same thing. Those three words are used interchangeably to speak of sin, and they are:

1) G266: hamartia, sin,
2) G3784: opheilo, opheileo, to owe, and
3) G3900: paraptoma, error or transgression.

These three words give us a much clearer understanding of how our sinful condition affects our relationship with our Creator. He has made us sinful and “marred” for the purpose of bringing us to see what we are and to be ashamed of how naked He has made us, and then, after He grants us repentance, He is covering our nakedness with a new man who will be conformed to the spiritual image of His Son Jesus Christ.

Luke’s version taken alone has led many to believe that if we nag the Lord enough, He will rise up and give us whatever we ask for “as many as [we] need”.

Luk 11:8  I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
Luk 11:9  And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Luk 11:10  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

I remember distinctly as a young man listening to and being intrigued by a sermon which was centered around this verse of scripture:

Isa 45:11  Thus saith the LORD , the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.

The minister had actually put the words of Luke 11:8-10 together with this verse in Isaiah 45 and concluded that we have been given the power to command the Lord to do as we wish concerning the work of His hands.

A very casual perusal of this 45th chapter of Isaiah will reveal that verse 11 is a sarcastic question which is preceded by these words:

Isa 45:5  I am the LORD , and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
Isa 45:6  That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD , and there is none else.
Isa 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Isa 45:9  Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?
Isa 45:10  Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?

Verse 11 simply continues this line of questioning:

Isa 45:11  Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.[???]

For the Lord’s own reasons He had the King James translators leave off the question mark in this verse, but the same humbling of mankind continues into verse 12, informing us who it is who gives any and all commandments:

Isa 45:12  I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.

Who then commands whom? Who is obedient to whom? This is how Christ answers those questions:

Joh 12:49  For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

Joh 14:10  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

Joh 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

It is we who “[have] Christ’s commandments, and keep them”.  “Command [we Him] concerning the works of [His] hands”? I think not!

All of which serves to inform us that the translators got the comma right in this verse:

1Jn 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:

If we actually think that we can sit in the temple of God and expect to ‘command Him’ according to what we want, and according to what we think, then we are indeed “the man of sin… standing in the holy place… showing [ourselves] that we [are] God”:

Mat 24:15  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

2Th 2:3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2Th 2:4  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. [‘Commanding God concerning the work of His hands’]

Knowing we are the temple of God, His house, we can understand these verses as they are to be taken spiritually:

1Ki 8:37 If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpiller; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be;
1Ki 8:38 What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house:

2Ch 6:20 That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place.

2Ch 7:15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.
2Ch 7:16 For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.

We need not be aware of our own rebellion to be found ‘kicking against the pricks”. The apostle Paul thought He was doing the Lord a service by persecuting the Lord’s own body. We may appear to be physically blessed while teaching false doctrines, but it is still very “hard… to kick against the pricks”:

Act 9:1  AND Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
Act 9:2  And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
Act 9:3  And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
Act 9:4  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Act 9:5  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Saul of Tarsus was predestined to become Paul the apostle, the most prolific writer of the New Testament, and the man through whom came an “abundance of revelations”:

2Co 12:7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

Obviously, there are times when the Lord lets us know that we are not to continue with our importuning of Him for relief from our trial:

2Co 12:8  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
2Co 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2Co 12:10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

The Lord has also given us instructions concerning other things for which we are commanded not to pray. The salvation of our old man is just such a thing:

Jer 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.

Jer 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.

Christ set us this same example of not praying for those with whom He is not working in this age:

Joh 17:6  I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
Joh 17:7  Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
Joh 17:8  For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
Joh 17:9  I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

We are given the same instructions concerning apostate brothers in the house of our Lord in the New Testament. When a brother leaves the body of Christ, whether it is a matter of turning the Lord’s grace into lasciviousness or succumbing to heresy, we are not to pray for those who we “turn over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.”

1Co 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
1Co 5:2  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
1Co 5:3  For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
1Co 5:4  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Co 5:5  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
1Co 5:6  Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
1Co 5:7  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
1Co 5:9  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
1Co 5:10  Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
1Co 5:11  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
1Co 5:12  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
1Co 5:13  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Doctrinal heresy is also specified as especially egregious to the Lord:

2Jn 1:7  For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
2Jn 1:8  Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
2Jn 1:9  Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
2Jn 1:10  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
2Jn 1:11  For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Like Christ, we do not pray for those who are not being given to Christ “at this present time” (Rom 8:18).

Our prayer life is a reflection of our lives, whether we are doing what Christ tells us to do, whether we truly seek for the Lord’s will to be done ‘in earth as it is in heaven’. If we, like Christ, are seeking only to please our heavenly Father, then our lives will reflect that fact and our prayers will be Christ’s prayer, which is:

Luk 22:41  And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
Luk 22:42  Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

That is “the mind of Christ”… “Not my will, but thine be done”! That is how we “seek… first the kingdom of God”. That is how we “do the things [Christ] tells [us] to do” and that is the only way we can “pray without ceasing”.

Mat 6:33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Mat 6:34  Take therefore no thought [Greek: anxious thought] for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Luk 6:46  And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Luk 6:47  Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
Luk 6:48  He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
Luk 6:49  But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

1Th 5:17  Pray without ceasing.
1Th 5:18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

“In everything give thanks” means “everything” including the good and the evil which the Lord works in our lives, because it is He who is “working all things… everything… after the counsel of His own will… for [our] good”

Rom 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

For us to “pray without ceasing”, we must be seeking first the Lord’s will and not our own, seeking first the kingdom of God, and always doing the things Christ and His Words tell us to do.

Prayer is not just a time of spending a period of time speaking to the Lord. Rather, the sum of the Word of God reveals that prayer is a way of life. Prayer is seeking to please the Lord in everything we do.

1Co 10:31  Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

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