Tag Archives: Prayer

“Your words were found…”

The famous Greek word logos — “word, speech, a...

I’ve recently been enjoying verse 16 from Jeremiah chapter 15.

“Your words were found and I ate them,

And Your word became to me

The gladness and joy of my heart,

For I am called by Your name,

O Jehovah, God of hosts.”

What a wonderful verse.  Did you know that such a verse existed was in the Bible??  A verse that tells us to eat God’s word??  But it does!  When some of my friends in Christians on Campus first pointed out this verse, and verses like it, my concept

of the Bible completely changed.  Suddenly, it went from being boring and hard to understand, to still sometimes boring and still hard to understand, but eatable as well.  But not even just eatable, but joy-infusingly eatable.  How in the world is this possible?  Let me share with you a footnote on this verse from the translation I’m using:

“According to the entire revelation in the Holy Bible, God’s words are good for us to eat, and we need to eat them.  God’s word is the divine supply as food to nourish us.  Through the word as our food, God dispenses His riches into our inner being to nourish us that we may be constituted with His element.  This is a crucial aspect of God’s economy.  When we eat Gods words, His word becomes our heart’s gladness and joy.”  For example, Psalm 119:103 says:

“How sweet are Your words to my taste!

Sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

Matthew 4:4 is a well-known verse among Christians on this topic.

“But He answered and said, It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.'”

Now, in Greek, there are two different ways to say ‘word’.  Logos refers to the constant word, like the Bible.  While rhema refers to the instant word, like when the Lord speaks something specific to us in our prayer.  In this particular verse, the word is rhema.  This means that as a Christian, we need to pay attention to God’s personal and instant speaking to us.  Otherwise, we won’t make it.  We can’t live the Christian life without some real contact with God.

1 Peter 2:2 is a good example of a verse using logos.

“As newborn babes, long for the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow unto salvation.”

Here, we see that the constant word, or the Bible, is likened to food.  This means we can eat it!  However, as we grow in Christ, we should move on from milk to solid food as in 1 Corinthians 3:2.

Now that we know we can take in the Lord’s instant and constant words as spiritual nourishment, but how exactly do we go about doing it?  Well, Ephesians 6:17-18 are helpful:

“And receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, by all means of prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit and watching unto this in all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints.”

Aha!  So, in order to receive the word of God into us, we need to pray over it.  Martin Luther once said “It is very certain, that we cannot attain to the understanding of Scripture either by study or by the intellect. Your first duty is to begin by prayer.”

There is a wonderful little book on this topic that is almost entirely composed of quotes, including the one above, from Christians throughout the ages and across denominations who have discovered the benefits of praying over the words of the Bible.  It’s called “Lord Thou saidst…” compiled by Ray Graver and I highly recommend it.

Anyway, I hope you find the joy that is hidden in the word of God and let it become “sweeter than honey” to your mouth!

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The Lord’s Prayer (Part 2)

This is the second installment of my look at the Lord’s payer in Matthew chapter 6.  You can read part 1 here.

This is the entire prayer:

“Our Father who is in the heavens, Your name be sanctified; Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.  Give us today our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.”

This time I’ll focus on verses 11-13, beginning with “Give us today our daily bread.”

The devotional I’m using points out that in this prayer for the kingdom, the King doesn’t want us to worry about tomorrow, as verse 6:34 indicates.  Instead, he wants us to pray for our daily bread.  This means living by faith.  When I read this I immediately thought about the children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.  The only thing they ate during that time was the manna sent by God every morning.  They were specifically instructed to not store any manna for the next day or else it would bread worms and stink (Exo. 16:20).  This was their daily bread.  They trusted that Jehovah would send the manna the next morning, so they didn’t worry about saving some for later.  The devotional says “The kingdom people should not live on what they have stored; rather, by faith they should live on the Father’s daily supply.”  O Lord!  I want to live like this!  I don’t want to worry about tomorrow or trust in what I have!  Teach me how to live by faith and trust in Your provision!

This prayer also indicates that we need to take care of our relationship with others.  I’m so independent that I usually have no thought concerning others.  If I hurt someone’s feelings, I just think “Meh.  They’ll get over it.”  Or if someone hurts my feelings, I simply avoid them until I forgot why I was mad at them in the first place.  But this isn’t what the Lord tells us to do in verse 12.  I need to actively ask the Father to forgive my debts and not make the lazy excuse that I’ve been washed by the blood of Christ, so I’m good as far as sin is concerned.  I also need to forgive others as opposed to my usual modus operandi, which is to let everything callous over and hopefully go away by virtue of sheer forgetfulness.

I thought the last two paragraphs on this devotional were pretty outstanding, so I’m just going to let you read them for yourself:

“The prayer to the Father concludes in this way: ‘For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.’  Here is the realization and praise of God’s kingdom, power, and glory.  This also refers to the Triune God.  The kingdom is of the Son, which is the realm in which God exercises His power.  The power is of the Spirit, which carries out God’s intention so that the Father can express His glory….Thus, the prayer taught by the Lord in His supreme teaching begins with God the Father (v. 9) and also ends with God the Father (v. 13).”

“Such a critical prayer surely increases our seeking of the kingdom of the heavens as the Father’s heart’s desire and affords us our need of the divine supply of grace to fulfill all the supreme and strict requirements of the kingdom of the heavens for the Father’s good pleasure.  On the one hand, we are seeking for something according to the Father’s hearth’s desire.  On the other hand, we have the supply to fulfill something for the Father’s good pleasure.”

Isn’t this good?!  I never saw the Triune God in this prayer before.  How wonderful to see the deeper significance behind this prayer!  This isn’t just something to repeat in a rote way!  It’s a pattern of a prayer that can actually increase our seeking for and desire of the Father’s will!  But it doesn’t end there!  This prayer also gives us the way to ask for the grace required for meeting the Father’s requirements for the kingdom of the heavens.  This is how I want to pray.  Lord make me a person that prays prayers that take care of the Triune God, my daily necessity, my relationship with God and with others, and also of Satan!

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The Lord’s Prayer (Part 1)

Almost every church-going Christian can recite the prayer in Matthew 6 from memory.   In case you are unfamiliar with, or have forgotten, this prayer, it reads:

“9 Our Father who is in the heavens, Your name be sanctified;

10 Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.

11 Give us today our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.”

Growing up, my dad took me to a Methodist church and we read it at the end of every service, but I had no idea what it meant.  It was just the signal that church was almost over and I could go home and change into soccer shorts and a t-shirt.  So when I saw that my morning devotional for this week focuses on this prayer I had some mixed feelings.  One reaction was to groan and sigh.  “Ugh.  This again.  I already know this.”  But I was also curious.  “Maybe there’s something here that I’ve never seen before.  Some kind of deeper significance that I never understood.”

Luckily, I went with the second reaction and read it even though I wasn’t too excited about it.  My devotional splits the prayer in to two parts for study, and that’s what I’m going to do here.  The first part is verses 9-10.

“You then pray in this way: Our Father who is in the heavens, Your name be sanctified; Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.”

My devotional points out that first of all, the ones praying have to be children of God.  Otherwise, how could they say “Father”?  And as children of God the ones praying this prayer have the authority, the right, to call God their Father.  Isn’t this wonderful?  We have the right and the authority to call the God of the universe our Father!

I also appreciate this translation’s use of the word “sanctified” in verse 9 instead of the word “hallowed” that I grew up with.  The devotional points out that “To be sanctified means to be separated and distinct from all that is common.  On the fallen earth there are many false gods. The worldly people consider our God as being in common with those gods.  If we pray for our Father’s name to be sanctified, we should not just utter this with our words.  For His name to be sanctified, we should express Him in our living.  We must live a sanctified life, a daily life separated from being common.”

I had never considered how the Father’s name would be sanctified or hallowed.  I guess I just thought if I said the words, it would somehow happen, almost in a superstitious way.  But the devotional points out that as a child of God, I bear the name of my Father.  Therefore, in my daily living I have a responsibility to sanctify His name and make sure it is separated from all other “gods” and anything else that is common.  The Lord’s name is cursed and spoken evilly of throughout the whole earth.  He needs some who would sanctify His name and make it holy.  Lord, make me this kind of person!  I don’t just want to say these words!  I want to live this prayer!

And lastly, the devotional talks about verse 10.  “Today the world is not God’s kingdom but His enemy’s kingdom.  This is why the Bible says that Satan is the ruler of today’s world (John 12:31).  In Satan’s kingdom, the world, there is no righteousness, no peace, and no joy.  Romans 14:17 tells us that the reality of the kingdom life is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  In Satan’s kingdom today, there is no joy, because there is no peace.”

Wow.  This really opened my eyes to see the real situation on the earth today.  I knew that when the Lord comes back He will establish His kingdom, but I guess I didn’t think of it as pushing out or defeating Satan’s kingdom.  “We need to pray for the Father’s divine will to be done on earth as in the heavens.  This is to bring the heavenly ruling, the kingdom of the heavens, to this earth.  Then the Father’s will surely will be done on the earth.”

After reading this devotional my view of this prayer has done a complete 180.  It’s not just something to repeat verbatim in a church service.  Its more of a blueprint for how to live the Christian life and a skeleton model of what to pray for.  I’ve realized that I can take any one of the verses and expand it to apply to the world situation to today and to my daily living.  What a wonderful pattern of prayer the Lord gave us!

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A better use of my mirror

I used to share my apartment with a roommate.  Out of courtesy I tried to keep things as clean as possible for her and do my chores.  This included cleaning the bathroom and washing the nice, big mirror every other week.  But when she moved out, I had the mirror, and the bathroom, all to myself (what girl wouldn’t love this situation?!).  But a funny thing happened.  Instead of cleaning the mirror, I started writing on it.

We all stand in front of the mirror for some length of time in the morning and evening when we are getting ready to begin and end our days, but about a year ago I decided to redeem that time for my Christian walk.  That’s where writing on my mirror comes in.  I had heard a friend talking about how she used to write on her mirror with dry erase marker to cram for tests while she got ready in the morning, and I thought “Why don’t that with prayers?”

Ever since then it’s been a habit of mine to pull out a dry erase marker whenever I’m touched by a certain verse in the Bible, a prayer I hear in a meeting or read in a Christian book, a hymn I want to sing, or a particular burden God put on my heart for someone else.

Here are a few examples (please excuse the towels and awkward angles, I didn’t wanna get in the pics):

These are some verses from Philippians 3:12-14 and 2 Timothy 1:9.

They say “Not that I have already obtained or am already perfected, but I pursue, if even I may lay hold of that for which I also have been laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brothers, I do not account of myself to have laid hold; but one thing I do: Forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before, I pursue toward the goal for the prize to which God in Christ Jesus has called me upward.”

“Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages.”

This one is just a bunch of prayers I either heard or read that I wanted to apply to myself and my situation.

“Lord I want to live and walk in You.  Lord, I pray that You will be the good land to me in my experience, and that every aspect of my living may be in You.” – Life-Study of Joshua

“Make the sky in my being like awesome crystal.” – Ezekiel 1:22

“Lord, make me desperate to live You.” – Colossians 3:4

“Lord, keep me in the divine stream for the rest of my life!” – I don’t remember where I got this one, but I still like it.

This is a hymn I’ve sung many times with Christians on Campus.

It’s wonderful to start off the day singing “Draw me dear Lord, draw me today.  From everything else dear Lord, draw me away.”

It seems simple, but writing things like this on my mirror have really made a difference in my Christian life.  So instead and fretting over my how my hair looks or thinking over my failures for the day while brushing my teeth, the beginning and end of my days are spent singing and praying.  It’s a precious habit that I hope I will never give up.

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