He counted me faithful,
putting me into the ministry.
The Nature of Prayer (Part 2)
The Nature of Prayer
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:9, 10
Special Note: While I was contemplating a series on the subject of prayer for Bible Notes, I was confronted with a question from a co-worker. This person did not like the fact that God had apparently not answered their prayer for something that they believe to be His will. I am sure that many people have more or less struggled with this same issue. Parts 1 & 2 on "The Nature of Prayer" should at least partially address this matter.
In The Nature of Prayer (Part 1) we covered the first two of four points:
I. Heart to Heart -- pray ye
II. Child to Father -- pray ye: Our Father
Now for points III and IV:
III. Earth to Heaven -- which art in heaven . . Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
We, the people of this earth, have a tendency to "dwell" on the earth in more ways than one. We are often exhorted in God's Word to "lift up" our "eyes" and to Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:2). Though God is omnipresent (everywhere at once), we need to realize that His particular home is called "Heaven". Though Heaven may be a physical location, it is definitely a spiritual location. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)
When God created man in His own image, breathing into his nostrils the breath of life, man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). Man was made a spiritual being within a physical house to live in this world. Therefore, to communicate properly with God, we must use our spirit or soul.
To truly be like God we become more spiritual. That doesn't make us any less human or physical, but we are more in tune with God in our spirit. To be godly we then make sure that spiritual concerns are above the earthly ones. This figures very much into what true prayer is all about. Thus we pray "thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven". Whatever advances God's will, purposes, and true spirituality in earth is a proper reason for prayer and a desired end to be reached through prayer.
The more effective we are in true prayer the more of true spirituality and godliness become available and practically helpful in this world. The more spiritually minded we are through proper prayer the better and more godly we will be in all our earthly dealings.
IV. Subject to King -- Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done . .
We come to God in prayer as his subjects. He is the King of kings and we must submit to His absolute authority. Yet, He is the ultimate example of benevolence or generosity. Also, as the Creator and King of the universe and having all power, He is well able to grant any request that we may ask -- only according to His own sovereign will.
In order to pray rightly and receive answers to prayer, we should therefore come to God our King with at least two prayerful qualities: humility and submission. If we realize that we are here to serve Him and not the other way around, and if we do our best to make sure we want what God wants, then we can receive wonderful, very satisfying answers to prayer.
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. (I John 5:14, 15)
But, this does not mean that because we think we understand what His will is that He must do what we are asking. We could be wrong and must leave the final decision up to God our King.
His general will for mankind does not always indicate His will in a particular case. We must remember that God has all knowledge and wisdom and He is in all places at this very moment. He therefore knows what is best, not only for each individual, but also for all of mankind throughout all ages. What this many times means to us practically is that what appears to us to be for the best may actually be far below what God KNOWS to be best. The other side of this same coin of truth is that what we may think is the worst possible thing that could happen will many times actually be good for us and for many more people over a greater period of time and throughout eternity.
Take for instance the issue of having children. It is obvious that Genesis teaches God's general will for mankind is that we multiply and replenish the earth". But, there are other factors that enter into the equation. Jesus Christ was 100% human in addition to being 100% God. He always did the will of His Heavenly Father, but He did not marry and have children. We might misapply the Scripture and say that Jesus failed to "multiply and replenish the earth"; but, this was not in God's perfect will for His only begotten Son. He had other things for Him to do. Spiritually, Jesus' Father has given Him many more children than he could have had biologically: Behold I and the children which God hath given me. (Hebrews 2:13) a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; (Revelation 7:9)
If we honestly desire the will of God in any matter, we should fully submit that desire to God to answer our prayer(s) in whatever manner He deems appropriate. And, just because he may seem to say "No" or "Wait" does not necessarily mean He will never grant our request. Remember, God is sovereign both as to whether and when He will grant our request.
In conclusion, I want to say that prayer is such a great subject that we as humans may have a tendency to complicate the subject. Yet, if we follow closely and fully the teachings of God's Word and seek God with our whole heart, we will find prayer to be the simple and satisfying practice that God intends. Let us understand the true nature of prayer by studying God's Word, by continually praying, and by earnestly listening to God as He speaks to our hearts.
Yours in Christ,
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Last edited by OldWarrior, 23/Aug/2019, 6:15 am
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
The Bible Note Writer
written to glorify God
and to help souls
on the way to Heaven.
21/Mar/2008, 9:00 pm
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