Prayer is not a magic wand

Prayer is not a magic wand

Prayer can be many things, but it is not a magic wand. If it was no one would be sick, there would be no murders, no wars, and none of us would be mourning the death of a loved one. But all these things, and more are happening all around the world.

So what is prayer?

Well, that depends on what you believe, I can only share what I, as a Christian, believe prayer to be, and that is, prayer is communicating with God. It is not all asking for your needs… or wants. Prayer is also listening, and studying the Bible.

After all, the Bible is the word of God.

Types of prayer

Well, there is the kind that, in desperation, someone cries for help.

a desperate prayer

That person might not even know God personally, but in a critical emergency cries out to God. Sometimes that urgent request is answered.

There is also the model prayer that Jesus gave the disciples as an outline. This is the daily prayer we said in school (that’s a long time ago) in Scotland. A couple of years ago I wrote a post about the model prayer… https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/a-look-at-the-lords-prayer/

Some sites say there are four types of prayer, others say seven types, or six types… instead of me ‘reinventing the wheel’ as they say, if you are curious, this site lists some and what they are. https://www.tallahassee.com/story/life/faith/2015/09/11/learning-pray-seven-types-prayer/72100692/

Ever heard of imprecatory prayer?

It is actually praying for bad things to happen to enemies and was prayed by King David, as recorded in Psalms. There is an article on it here…. https://www.gotquestions.org/imprecatory-prayer.html

Kind of contradicts ‘forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us,’ though. The article goes on to cover that aspect.

In our day and age

With the Corona virus (Covid-19), the plagues of locusts, the fires, floods, not to mention the riots, the looting, the demonstrations, the anger and the rage where does prayer fit?

Well it doesn’t. At least not with those who respond from a self-centred base line. Guess that now I have angered you. That is not my intention.

When I was much younger there was a song, ‘Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” There are several versions of this on YouTube. Here is one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGoEJyV7Snw

For some reason this song is associated with the Christmas season. Why? I don’t know. Every time we feel anger or hopelessness overwhelm us… is a time to stop, breathe, and pray for peace on earth to begin with me.

When to pray

In an apparently impossible situation

When sad, broken-hearted, lost, alone

If anger washes over us

After the death of a child, a spouse or other significant person

What about when we are happy, joyful, grateful…

Every emotion is an opportunity to communicate with God – our Father in heaven.

Jesus taught that we are to pray to the Father in His (Jesus’) name.

when to pray

And of course, when we are joyful, happy, and grateful.

(The sentence above is a repeat from the previous paragraph. It is important, but often overlooked so I put it in twice <smile>)

From experience, I have learned that a good time to ‘count my blessings’ is when nothing seems to be going well.

Try it next time you feel the world weigh on your shoulders.

May you be blessed with good,

Susan

PS My apologies for the ‘missing post’ last Sunday. Health was bad,  and the week went on being bad… Internet down, computer freezing, a dental emergency – but I am still here and still typing away. 

I am grateful for the life I have and the opportunities given to me.

Is Prayer Necessary Or Not

prayer, hands, Bible

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Matt 6: 8 NIV

drawing, girl at prayer

So, is prayer necessary or not? Should we pray?

First of all, not all prayer is asking for things, or help. But the context of this verse is during the ‘sermon on the mount’. So the Son of God, (who prayed Himself) thought it important enough to teach His disciples and the others listening.

“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
Matt 6: 6 – 8 NIV

If we deem prayer as unnecessary because He knows where He wants us to be, and in what circumstances, then we are saying that we do not have free moral agency.

God does not want puppets. Otherwise there would be no sin. Everyone, from Adam and Eve onward would have done what God wanted. No, from the scriptures, God wants US to choose.

God's view...

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?
Deuteronomy 10. 12, 13 NKJ

It is true that we are not the people that God spoke to at that time, but He did speak to us through the words of His Son. 

Here is an interesting article…

True Israel of God

What is the essence of being a true Israelite? It is not literal descent from Abraham, but faith in God. It’s in the Bible: “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” Galatians 3:7. “For they are not all Israel which are of Israel; neither because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children… but the children of promise are counted for the seed.” Romans 9:6-8.

The children of promise are those who put their faith in Jesus. It’s in the Bible: “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” Galatians 3:29.
Read the whole article here…

http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/true-israel-god

Seems like the answer is that we SHOULD pray.

  • Praise God in our prayers.
  • Pray for others
  • Pray for help
  • Pray for guidance

So, let’s look at that verse again.

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Matt 6: 8 NIV

Remember the ‘rules’ of Bible study – do not read just one verse. Read what was said before, and what is said after in order to see it in context.

Don’t be like who? The verse before gives the answer…

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
Matt 6: 7

Just thinking

Susan

The Lord’s Prayer?

person sitting alone on a rock

Something that keeps coming to mind lately… the wording of what is generally considered the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ – the fact it is not, I will mention later. No, I will explain now.

What is generally considered as the Lord’s Prayer, and I grew up saying every day in school – (wow, that dates me doesn’t it ), is actually the ‘model prayer’. Jesus didn’t pray it. He responded to a request from one of His disciples…

One day in a place where Jesus had just finished praying, one of His disciples requested, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11: 1

image of the 'Lord's' prayer in open BIble

Now, this scripture does not say what Jesus had been praying. It says when He finished praying… Nor does the scripture say that He had been praying near them. Most of the accounts say something along the lines of Jesus praying privately.

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5: 16’

withdrew to a lonely place to pray

Having used almost two hundred words to say little – please forgive me. I will continue…

This prayer that most of us know as the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ is actually a model prayer.

 

Why talk about this Lord’s model prayer?

Well, it has been occurring to me more and more that in this ‘self’ society. Self-actualizing, self-sufficient, self-esteem, self-help, self-discipline, self-improvement… self-centered.

This started off – this self-awareness, to help us improve, but from this old lady’s point of view it soon developed into the ‘me’ generation.

 

Contrast...

Selected lines… (not an instruction <smile>)

  • Our Father who art in Heaven. OUR Father – not my Father.
  • Give US this day OUR daily bread. – not give me this day my daily bread.
  • And forgive US our sins (trespasses, debts) as WE forgive OUR…
    (you see the point, I know.)
  • Lead US not into temptation… not me
  • Deliver US from evil (or the evil one)

As I am sure you noticed it is totally opposite to self-focus.

Just thinking…

And these thoughts lead me to looking at the life of Christ.
When did He ever say,
“I am not in the mood,” or “I am tired, leave me alone for a bit” – or “I need some ME time,” I could not find any such examples.
He did need time alone. He rose early and went off to pray…

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1: 35

When He rose from His prayers, He went back to teach, to heal, and to face the criticism He invariably attracted.

Sometimes I feel very lonely.
(I miss my best friend, my human best friend, my late husband.)

But when I think of how lonely Jesus must have been, well, I am glad I am never as lonely, misunderstood and rejected as He was.

In school I muttered those words of the prayer obediently, not understanding – now I can see they are a framework for bringing before God, in prayer, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I wonder if any of you remember the ‘thing’ that went around the Internet a few years back about the ‘special needs children’ who were in a race. One fell, the others came back and helped the one who had fallen… so they could all cross the finish line together.

This YouTube video is a modern version of it

 

Interesting?
Yes. I think so.
We are not in a competition against others.
It is not ‘me’ against everyone else.


We are family, we don’t always like what the other members of the family are doing… but that’s family life.

Remember – it is OUR Father in heaven!

Just thinking,

Susan

P.S. While you are here… I invite you to look around, read some of the other blogs… explore the other pages in the website.