THE WORDS OF JESUS
Creative, Causative, Prophetic, Instructional – Part 18
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father, who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” –
The Words of Jesus, Matthew 6:5-6
PRACTICAL, POSITIONAL, TRANSCENDING?
We have been trying to answer the question, “what if we have been reading and misunderstanding the entirety of what Jesus meant by, and the intentions of, His Words? What if we have, even slightly, been misapplying what He taught? If so, could this be one of the main reasons our faith has grown weak and our works have faded?”
Many times, a simple face-value reading of Jesus’ Words and a careful study of the results of His spoken Word, will either
Completely confound you,
Thoroughly convince you that ‘He meant what He said and said exactly what he meant’ , or
Will cause you to search the depth and breadth of His Words on your natural world.
When it comes to prayer, Jesus used the word ‘pray’ or referred to ‘prayer’, just twenty-one times (in the book of Matthew, English Standard version).
Since the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, men and women have written uncounted hundreds-of-thousands, if not millions, of books and articles about prayer and about ‘how-to-pray’. But Jesus taught on it in detail, only once.
Perhaps prayer was so widely understood and practiced in Jewish life, that Jesus did not see a necessity to teach on prayer in detail beyond the one time found in Matthew 6:5-14. This, of course, would be an incorrect assumption since Jesus’ life was a constant demonstration of active prayer – and one would know that if one correctly understood the idea and meaning of prayer.
Here is exactly what Jesus taught and practiced about prayer:
“And when you pray”, Matthew 6:5, as defined in Strong’s Bible concordance, #4336: proseúxomai, comes from two root words,
#4314 /pros), which means, “towards, exchange” and
#2172, euxomai, which means, “to wish, pray”,
Which more properly means to ‘exchange wishes (or ideas)’;
Pray – literally means, to interact with the Lord by switching human wishes (ideas) for His wishes (ideas) as He imparts faith (“divine persuasion“).
Accordingly, praying (#4336, proseuxomai), is closely interconnected with 4102 /pístis (“faith”).
Let’s recap. Jesus is saying, “And when you pray it shall be an expression of your wishes, ideas, desires or thoughts, directed toward God in order to
(1), interact with Him,
(2), in order to switch or exchange your human ideas or wishes for His supreme ideas and wishes
(3) which will result in an importation of God’s divine persuasion through faith, from God to you.
Confusing? Let’s try to simplify.
Jesus is saying, “When you pray…”, come face-to-face with God directly. Do not be anxious about anything. Ask anything by way of prayer and petition, but do it with an attitude of thanksgiving. Let your requests be made known to God, then, having expressed your ‘wishes and ideas’, eagerly and willfully exchanged your ‘wishes and ideas’ for His wishes and ideas. Do not seek to find compromise. Do not add anything of your own out of doubt or impatience. Discard your own ideas and replace them with His. Then, wait expectantly.
If you approach God in prayer with any motives other than finding and receiving His wishes and ideas, you will in no way receive your reward.
Once you have heard God, believe in faith, and He will reward you openly. This is the only way to receive your ‘reward’ of answered prayer from God.
This is both amazingly simple and enormously difficult, and to help us further, Jesus gives us a model for this kind of prayer when He says, “Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven…”
Your Brother and Friend,
NEXT: THE WORDS OF JESUS – What Are You To Do With Them? Part 19, “Do not use vain repetitions when praying.”
PREVIOUS: THE WORDS OF JESUS – What Are You To Do With Them? Part 17, Practicing your righteousness.