The House of Prayer – part 3: “You shall not be as the hypocrites”

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“The House of Prayer”

Part 3 – You shall not be as the hypocrites

September 21, 2014

In part 1 of this series we focused on who is the “house of  prayer” found in Matthew 21:13.  In part 2 we focused on who it is that represents the “den of thieves”.

As we have come to learn with these previous studies, it is scripturally true that we all live being both of these “houses”. We are the den of thieves before we are blessed and caused to become the house of prayer.

In today’s study, we are going to dig into the Word and attempt to find out how it is the “house of prayer” prays for the world, and how we “pray without ceasing”.

“They have their reward”

In the previous study, I heavily concentrated on connecting fasting with prayer. However, before fasting is mentioned in Matthew, and even before we are told how to pray, we are told how NOT to pray.

This is an important aspect to prayer seeing as it came directly from Jesus while He walked this earth.

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.

What then is it to be a hypocrite if being a hypocrite equates to “loving to pray standing in the synagogues” and “in the corners of the streets so that they may be seen of men”?

How is that hypocritical?

G5273

hupokritēs

hoop-ok-ree-tace’

From G5271; an actor under an assumed character (stage player), that is, (figuratively) a dissembler (“hypocrite”): – hypocrite.

G5271

hupokrinomai

hoop-ok-rin’-om-ahee

Middle voice from G5259 and G2919; to decide (speak or act) under a false part, that is, (figuratively) dissemble (pretend): – feign.

The word hypo means “under” and “critic” is a person who judges the merits of something especially in a professional way.

To be an “under” critic, simply means to NOT have the ability to “sift or decide.” Here is one of the things Wikipedia says about hypocrisy:

“The word is an amalgam of the Greek prefix hypo-, meaning “under”, and the verb krinein, meaning “to sift or decide”. Thus the original meaning implied a deficiency in the ability to sift or decide. This deficiency, as it pertains to one’s own beliefs and feelings, informs the word’s contemporary meaning

Being a hypocrite is the practice of doing the same thing you are critical of others doing.

Why would the hypocrites Jesus is telling us NOT to be like be considered hypocrites in the first place? They were criticizing “praying to be seen of men” and they themselves did not have the integrity and ability to decide they were doing the same themselves.”

With all of this in mind, how do we apply this understanding to praying in a closet for the things the Father already knows we need?

How do we apply this understanding to praying on behalf of others in the body of Christ with whom we fellowship, those who “come to us”, and those who are of the world?

Mat 6:8  Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

If we know the Father knows the things we need before we ask them of Him, why do we need to ASK FOR THEM?

We are instructed in the Word to do so.

Heb 13:18  Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

Col 4:1  Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
Col 4:2  Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
Col 4:3  Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
Col 4:4  That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

1Ti 2:1  I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
1Ti 2:2  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
1Ti 2:3  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
1Ti 2:4  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Jas 5:16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

1Pe 4:6  For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
1Pe 4:7  (KJV) But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

(ISV)  Because everything will soon come to an end, be sensible and clear-headed, so you can pray.

(WNT)  But the end of all things is now close at hand: therefore be sober-minded and temperate, so that you may give yourselves to prayer.

(CEV)  Everything will soon come to an end. So be serious and be sensible enough to pray

Since we want to be sensible and clear-minded in prayer so that we can ask for things, whatever those “things” may be, how then do we know how to ask properly?

After all, we want a reward which is NOT the same reward as that given to hypocrites.

Listen then to what James was inspired to preach. This is from the ISV translation.

Jas 4:1  Where do those fights and quarrels among you come from? They come from your selfish desires that are at war in your bodies, don’t they?
Jas 4:2  You want something but do not get it, so you commit murder. You covet something but cannot obtain it, so you quarrel and fight. You do not get things because you do not ask for them!
Jas 4:3  You ask for something but do not get it because you ask for it for the wrong reasonfor your own pleasure.
Jas 4:4  You adulterers! Don’t you know that friendship with the world means hostility with God? So whoever wants to be a friend of this world is an enemy of God.
Jas 4:5  Or do you think the Scripture means nothing when it says that the Spirit that God caused to live in us jealously yearns for us?

Is God a jealous God? Does the Spirit lust against the flesh and carnal mind?

Gal 5:17  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Gal 5:18  But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

The comparison being made in Galatians is that of the flesh versus the Spirit. The works of the flesh are being compared AGAINST the fruit of the Spirit.

Rom 7:5  For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

Rom 7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Gal 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Gal 5:24  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Gal 5:25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

“Pray without ceasing”

How then do we ask properly, in the Spirit, for our prayers to be answered and heard of our Father which is in heaven?

Jas 4:7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Jas 4:8  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

We must approach the Lord with a single mind on anything we pray for, and we are told to pray without ceasing.

1Th 5:14  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
1Th 5:15  See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
1Th 5:16  Rejoice evermore.
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.
1Th 5:19  Quench not the Spirit.
1Th 5:20  Despise not prophesyings.
1Th 5:21  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1Th 5:22  Abstain from all appearance of evil.
1Th 5:23  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you look at the context from which we are told to pray without ceasing, the context will reveal to us that we are to LIVE the things mentioned in the above verses.

We are to CONTINUALLY be in prayer all of our lives, but the way we read it in the King James appears to tell us to “pray without taking a break,” but that is NOT the meaning and is simply not what is being conveyed.

“Warn … comfort … support … be patient … don’t return evil for evil … follow that which is good … rejoice at all times … pray incessantly … in all things give thanks … despise not prophesying …prove all things … abstain from all appearance of evil…”

To prove that this does NOT mean to “do nothing but pray without stopping”, let us see what Jesus did.

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.

I mentioned praying incessantly for a reason, and that is because we are to always be praying to the Lord for what we need simply because He places us in situations to need Him.

However, this doesn’t mean prayer “around the clock” as is proven by all the things Jesus did that were NOT direct prayer as we understand prayer.

We don’t need to look any further than “how” the Lord taught His disciples to pray. Their request was to be taught to pray by the Lord just as John had taught his disciples to pray.

Only, Jesus taught them a much different way to pray than what John the Baptist ever could. We have the Luke version of the “Lord’s prayer”, but then right after that we see this:

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?

The key to understanding “pray without ceasing” is found in Jesus’ own words in Luke 11:2,  Matthew 6:7, and Mark 11:24, “when you pray….”.

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.

Mar 11:24  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

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.

When we pray, and this should be a continual LIFE of prayer, we are to pray a certain way.

We are to ask for the Spirit. We are to pray for things which glorify God. All that we do we do to the glory of God.

So, when we pray for the body of Christ, when we pray for “all men” that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, we do so praying “according to thy will, thy will be done.”

Since we should now be seeing that prayer is a Way of Life, do we pray for the world?

Is “praying for the world” the same as “supplications, prayers and intercessions and giving of thanks for all men” as mentioned in 1 Timothy 2:1-4?

What does the sum of the Word say?

If we are, “as He is so are we in this world,” how do we follow Jesus to the cross as it pertains to prayer?

What was Jesus’ prayer on the cross? It was, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”.  “Them,” would be all of humanity.

We must all, “prove all things”, so notice this verse:

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.
Joh 17:14  I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Joh 17:15  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

It should be self-evident that if Jesus had prayed for His flesh, He would have prayed to not be crucified. However, He prayed, “thy will be done”. We have been given His Word to know how to do this.

He prays for “us” to be kept from “the evil”.

When we examine this all closely, we know that there is something that is in all of the world, and it all leads to sin.

1Jn 2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

The love of the Father is to KEEP his commandments. The love of the world is to keep the law working in our members.

1Jn 2:16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1Jn 2:17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

When we pray to the Father for anything, He knows what we need before we ask. He wants us to continually and fervently speak to Him in prayer.

What He wants us to pray for is for His Spirit to cause us to do His will in all things.  Considering this, is it EVIL or WRONG to pray for physical healing, physical bread and water, or anything that benefits our flesh or the flesh of others as long as we have the proper mindset when asking?

The answer is NO.

How can that be?

All that is in the world is in us all, but when we pray and we pray properly according to Godly prayer, we are NOT PRAYING for the lusts of the flesh to be pampered and nourished so that we can fulfil those lusts.

We are praying that our flesh be nourished and benefitted so that the KINGDOM of God can be represented, and that just like Jesus Christ, we can be used to PRESENT the Kingdom of God to the WORLD in others.

This is how that Jesus Himself taught us to pray.

“Our Father which are in Heaven, hallowed me thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, give us this day our daily bread, forgive us our sins as we forgive the sins of others, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”

Look at those different aspects to how we are to pray when we pray. We are told to pray for “daily bread”. Of course this is both physical bread and spiritual bread at the same time.

The Father has caused all that is happening in our world to happen so that He can ultimately fulfil the purpose of Jesus coming to this earth. Jesus came in the likeness of man so that all men shall be saved.

Yet, there is still the sum of the word to consider when considering if we should only pray for those in the body, which we know, or should be also pray for those who are sent to us to pray for.

Let us see what sayeth the Word.

Mat 8:2  And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
Mat 8:3  And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Mat 9:18  While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.Mat 9:20  And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:

Mat 9:27  And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.
Mat 9:28  And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.

Mat 9:32  As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.

Mat 9:36  But when HE SAW the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

There is an undeniable pattern that has been so beautifully laid out for us if we only take hold on it.

It is when “there came” those in front of Jesus, that those which were BROUGHT to Him were given the blessing of having been brought to Jesus for HEALING.

Now I know this is speaking of physical healing and we know, even from the sum of this series that spiritual “greater things than these” are what our focus should always be.

However, if someone has been sent to us who is in need of physical bread because they are STARVING to death, and we give them spiritual bread instead/only, how can we possibly consider that as loving our neighbor as ourselves?

Jas 2:14  What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Jas 2:15  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
Jas 2:16  And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
Jas 2:17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

We must have works that go along with the Faith with which we have been gifted. Only, the works are the works of Him who has SENT US and not our own works.

Joh 20:21  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
Joh 20:22  And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
Joh 20:23  Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

Whenever someone is sent to us, to come before us in Spirit, we know that it is NOT a coincidence. All things are worked and caused by the Lord.

As such, we must recognize that when we “see the multitudes”; it is because we have been placed into the position to “see them”.

We cannot have the mindset to simply not pray for them because they are not “of us” when one who is “of us” asks for prayer. We must be “as He is” and be moved with compassion in prayer.

Here is the reason we are given.

Mat 9:37  Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Mat 9:38  Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

We do not know which leper of the “ten lepers” placed in our path will come back to say “thank you for praying for me.” What we do know though is that whatever we are presented with in our daily walks with Jesus is placed there so that we can be labourers in His harvest.

We are not to be as the hypocrites are and simply appear to pray when what is truly needed is a life of Godly prayer. In this, the Lord will cause us to be used mightily for His kingdom.

In the next study, we are going to search the scriptures to see how the Holy Spirit we have been given helps us in prayer, and how the entire “house of prayer” interacts with “another Jesus”.


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