Praying Like Elijah #8

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months” (James 5:17 KJV).

Why did Elijah pray like this, what was so special about his prayer that God answered it, and how can we have our prayers answered of God?

Once, I spoke with a dear Christian woman who was confused about prayer. She was surprised to learn that the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” had nothing to do with us in the Dispensation of Grace. Yes, strange as it sounds, a prayer that 99.9 percent of Christendom has repeated, and still repeats, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over as though it affects us, is actually a prayer that has nothing to do with what God is doing today! While many use that prayer as a model prayer, they have not studied their Bibles to learn there are four model prayers especially for the Body of Christ.

When a Christian comes to understand dispensational Bible study, his or her prayer life falls apart. It happened to me, and many others I know. They learn that they were either praying like Israel (the “Lord’s Prayer”) or praying like heathen (mindless, repetitious, man-made prescribed prayers). It will be a happy day in the lives of millions of Christians when they learn that God’s spokesman to them is the Apostle Paul, “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13). They will save themselves years upon years, yea decades, of confusion, heartache, and disappointment. (Still, the vast majority of professing Christians rebel at dispensational Bible study, refusing to break their erroneous prayer habits because that would contradict long-held tradition.)

Beloved, it bears repeating—prayer is designed to be a response of God’s Word to you. Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, are God’s Word to you, so if you are unfamiliar with God’s Word to you, you will be praying apart from God’s will. You will not see God work because you will not know what He is doing. Indeed, dispensational Bible study revolutionizes your Bible understanding and your prayer life….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the ‘mystery’ of Colossians 1:27?

Riches and the Ages to Come #4

Monday, August 11, 2014

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5 KJV).

If Israel’s believing remnant is to endure the seven-year Tribulation’s economic depression, she must remember that faithful JEHOVAH is with her, and that He will bless her in due time.

When Jesus gave the “Our Father” Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, He provided for His little flock a summary of her prophetic program. This prayer would continually remind Israel’s believers of their future that God had already pre-planned. After our Dispensation of Grace closes with the Rapture, our catching up to meet the Lord in the air, Israel’s program will resume where it paused (Romans 11:25-29). Those believing Jews will follow what Jesus taught in the Four Gospels, but they will progress in that doctrine with Hebrews through Revelation (Hebrews 5:11–6:3 urges Israel to move onward in spiritual maturity).

Approximately halfway through the seven-year Tribulation, the Antichrist will defile Israel’s Temple in Jerusalem by sitting in it and declaring himself to be God (Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:36; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4), and he will institute his religious mark that will govern the world’s economics (Revelation 13:7,16-18). Jesus warned that, at the time of this “abomination of desolation,” Messianic Jews dwelling in Jerusalem were to flee for their lives, to immediately go to the wilderness, and not bother wasting time gathering material possessions (Matthew 24:15-22; Mark 13:14-20). Now, we see why Jews are praying for “daily bread” in Matthew 6:11!

The Apostle John picked up the narrative in Revelation chapter 12, “[6] And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. [14] And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”

So, we see that Israel’s believing remnant in Jerusalem will flee into the mountainous wilderness, where JEHOVAH will feed, clothe, and shelter them during the last half of the Tribulation period….

Riches and the Ages to Come #3

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5 KJV).

If Israel’s believing remnant is to endure the seven-year Tribulation’s economic depression, she must remember that faithful JEHOVAH is with her, and that He will bless her in due time.

The so-called “Lord’s Prayer,” repeated today ad nauseum, has this third petition: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Who should be uttering this? Not prosperous Gentiles in this the Dispensation of Grace, but Jews who are so poverty-stricken they lack daily meals! Why would they be asking for “daily bread?” Remember, did not Israel’s little flock do as Jesus said, and sold all their possessions and gave to the poor (Matthew 19:21; Luke 12:31-34; Luke 18:22; Acts 2:44-47; Acts 4:32-37)? Just as God blessed Israel with manna, “daily bread,” in the wilderness, with Moses (Exodus 16:1-36), so He will during the seven-year Tribulation (Micah 7:14,15; Revelation 2:17).

Recall Jesus’ words: “[25] Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? [31] Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? [32] (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: ) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. [33] But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. [34] Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:25,31-34; cf. Luke 12:22,29-34).

Jesus Christ taught that, provided His little flock sought first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, He would meet all their physical needs (food, drink, clothing, et cetera). Unlike us, they would not have to work for their food (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15). Let us see exactly how this principle will operate after our Dispensation of Grace….

The “Our Father” Prayer in HD #10

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:7,8 KJV).

Eliminating the static due to religious tradition, we present to you “the official prayer of Christendom” with unparalleled clarity….

Believing Israel, surrounded by the pagan Romans, could have easily fallen into the trap of praying like those heathen, mindlessly repeating words to gain attention from any deity that would capitulate to their petitions. In today’s Scripture, Jesus Christ was very careful in warning Israel not to err in that regard.

JEHOVAH, Israel’s God, was a God of great love and faithfulness. He knew the needs of His people, and never would He fail them. They simply needed to study and meditate on His Word to them, and that would be the type of prayer that He would answer. The “Our Father” Prayer mentions three main needs of Israel: material blessings (particularly food), forgiveness, and deliverance from Satan’s world system into Christ’s kingdom. Jesus so clearly declared, “For your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (today’s Scripture). The “Our Father” Prayer is Israel’s way of asking JEHOVAH for things He already said He would give them anyway! (Thus, it is senseless for us Gentiles to pray it in the Dispensation of Grace.)

At this point, one may ask, “If God already knew Israel’s needs, why did Israel have to ask Him for them?” The “Our Father” Prayer is how Israel communes with (fellowships with) her God at a very intimate level. She is memorizing God’s Word to her, speaking it back to Him, and her exaltation of His Word is what honors Him. May we learn God’s Word to us (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon), and may we continually dwell on those precious grace truths, thereby honoring Jesus Christ just as much as the “Our Father” Prayer praises Him in Israel’s program.

Dear saints, this concludes our devotionals arc, “The ‘Our Father’ Prayer in HD.” (Please do not return to low-definition.) 🙂

*NOTE: Please see our (2011) Bible study, “Praying with Paul,” for more information about prayer in the Dispensation of the Grace of God.

The “Our Father” Prayer in HD #9

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:7,8 KJV).

Eliminating the static due to religious tradition, we present to you “the official prayer of Christendom” with unparalleled clarity….

The so-called “Lord’s Prayer,” actually the “‘Our Father’ Prayer,” is one of Christendom’s favorite prayers. Unfortunately, however, none (!) of the millions who pray it daily understand its contents. Recall what the Apostle Paul wrote, “I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also” (1 Corinthians 14:15). In Paul’s mind, prayer was an intelligent response to God’s Word to him; it was not mindless repetition of religious rhetoric that he memorized or read from a page.

Before Jesus Christ gave the “Our Father” Prayer to believing Israel, He established two rules. Firstly, He instructed them not to pray like the hypocrites: they were to pray privately instead of publicly to be seen of people (Matthew 6:5,6). Secondly, He told them not to pray like the heathen: they were to pray intelligently rather than mindlessly utter empty, repetitious prayers (today’s Scripture).

The reader is thus greatly cautioned, for Christendom not only misunderstands the “Our Father” Prayer, but it also misuses it. Again, before Jesus even gave Israel this model prayer, He instructed them in today’s Scripture, “use not vain repetitions” because that was the manner of pagans (lost people, those going to hell). Yet, millions in Christendom today utter the “Our Father” Prayer over and over and over and over and over, completely disregarding its context and breaking the two rules Jesus attached to it. The “Our Father” Prayer is mindlessly repeated in public in circumstances that really have nothing to do with its contents. (Interestingly, the New American [Catholic] Bible says, “In praying, do not babble like the pagans,….” This dishonest wording conceals Jesus’s explicit forbiddance of “repetitious” prayer, which Christendom prefers instead of God’s will anyway.)

Let us dedicate one last study to the purpose of the “Our Father” Prayer….

The “Our Father” Prayer in HD #8

Monday, November 25, 2013

“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:7,8 KJV).

Eliminating the static due to religious tradition, we present to you “the official prayer of Christendom” with unparalleled clarity….

The immediate context of today’s Scripture is Jesus Christ instructing His believing remnant in Israel how to pray (the “Our Father” Prayer immediately follows today’s Scripture). The broader context is His famous “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew chapters 5-7), a summary of God’s earthly kingdom program for Israel. While often ignored, today’s Scripture is necessary to appreciate the overall purpose of the “Our Father” Prayer.

Throughout the Bible, prayer is simply a saint (believer) speaking to God in light of God’s Word to him or her. Jesus Christ knew His disciples needed a model prayer, a way to remind themselves of that kingdom doctrine He was teaching them within the wider context. Before Jesus gave them that model prayer, He gave two rules.

Firstly, Jesus said they were not to pray like the hypocrites (such as the Pharisees), who prayed publicly merely to be seen of others: believing Israel was to pray privately in prayer closets (Matthew 6:5,6).

Secondly, Jesus told them not to pray like the heathen: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (today’s Scripture). These Gentiles, Jesus said, talked much in prayer because they were trying to get their god’s attention. The pagans mindlessly repeated the same empty words, hoping “their much speaking” in prayer would result in a “divine” response (remember, they were certainly not praying to Israel’s God, the God of Scripture).

Today’s Scripture was Jesus Christ’s way of comforting believing Israel. He explained to them that they did not have to waste their time in mindless, repetitious prayer to get JEHOVAH’S attention. JEHOVAH was fully aware of their needs, so “vain repetitions” were unnecessary. They simply needed to remember His Word to them….

The “Our Father” Prayer in HD #7

Sunday, November 24, 2013

“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:7,8 KJV).

Eliminating the static due to religious tradition, we present to you “the official prayer of Christendom” with unparalleled clarity….

Read the entire “Our Father” Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13): “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. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”

By studying the contents of this prayer, we saw that it neither applies to us nor describes what God is doing today in this, the Dispensation of His Grace. This prayer is a summary of Israel’s prophetic program—it opens and closes with a doxology (Israel’s praise of God), and its five petitions involve God’s Word to Israel. We can and do study this prayer and we can and do rejoice in its doctrine. However, we acknowledge that it is God’s Word to Israel in her kingdom program, and we should not steal it and force it into our program.

The Lord Jesus Christ provided four large model prayers in Paul’s epistles that involve and describe what God is doing today (Ephesians 1:15-23; Ephesians 3:14-21; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:9-13). May we study these prayers and understood their contents, so we can enjoy our fellowship with God and talk to Him in light of His Word to us, just as believing Israel delighted in His Word to them and they spoke to Him about it.

Before we conclude this devotionals arc on the “Our Father” Prayer, we will briefly examine the two verses of today’s Scripture (those which preceded the “Our Father” Prayer). These two verses will further summarize the “Our Father” Prayer for us and clarify it for us even more….