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PRAYER

One subject of vital importance to the child of God is prayer. True prayer is a sincere desire of the heart prompted by the Holy Spirit. One prays sincerely for that to be done for him that he has learned by sad experience that he cannot perform himself. When you are brought down to feel your dependence and inability and you are sinking in despair, and God reveals himself to you as being willing to save to the uttermost; you are then blessed to pray. Hypocritical prayer would be an attempt to ask God to do something for you that you feel able to perform of your own strength, or to ask for something you do not believe he will perform. I believe all true prayer inspired by the Holy Spirit is answered. The promise Is, “Ask, and ye shall receive.” Many times we ask in vain, but this is because our desire is prompted by a selfish spirit. We are so ignorant that we do not know the things we stand in need of, but our heavenly Father knows and the spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

When we realize our infirmities we pray God to do according to his will and to reconcile us to our lot in the matter. Sometimes tribulations are best for us even though we may feel they are against us. Afflictions are grievous to us while being experienced but afterwards yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to God’s people. Then we are made to “glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience, And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed: because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.”

I believe all the disciples of Christ pray the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray in full faith that every syllable will be answered. They may not utter the words but when that Spirit intercedes they desire ‘the essence of it and are confident of it being answered.

Now let us examine this prayer. “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” In the salutation we acknowledge him as being supreme. Those who have been blessed to believe Jesus is the Christ is born of God. That Spirit in us makes us cry “Father.” What a wonderful relationship to be enabled by his Spirit to feel that we are his children. We realize his name is to be hallowed rather than ours. No one who feels to deserve any credit or praise whatsoever can pray for God’s name to be praised. Yes, all things praise him. Even the wrath of man shall praise him. The things that would not be to his praise God will prevent. “Thy kingdom come.” We do not pray for our kingdom, but we pray for his kingdom to come. There is a king who reigns over the subjects of a kingdom. God is king of this kingdom. He is the supreme ruler. When he speaks it is done. When he commands it stands fast.

The words that go forth out of his mouth shall not return unto him void but shall accomplish that which he pleases and prosper in the thing whereto he sends it. This King spake through his Son concerning this kingdom when he said, “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” There is a kingdom of men and there is a kingdom of God. The kingdom of men is built by men and will come to naught but the sole builder of God’s kingdom is the LORD and it will stand. Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it; except the LORD keep the city the watchman waketh but in vain. God’s people are confident that his kingdom will not fail for he is the builder and the keeper and he makes his subjects obedient. He has the power to make them willing and enables them to perform. “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” According to the scripture, “He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” He “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” Yes, he has declared “the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” God’s children are consoled with the fact that God rules over all things and the devil with all of his hosts cannot frustrate nor interfere with God’s will and purpose. Those things that men and devils ordain for the ruin and destruction of that peculiar people of God, God has ordained them for the good of his people and for the ruin and destruction of men and devils.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” If we feel competent to acquire this bread by the work of our own hands it would be hypocritical to ask him for it. If we felt to deserve this bread we could only ask him to reward us with it. But our feeling of unworthiness as well as our inability prompts us to ask him to GIVE us this day our daily bread. Our confidence, that he will never forsake his children but will give unto them daily the things they stand in need of, suffices us with faith to believe that he will administer unto our needs. God is not only mindful of our spiritual needs but is also mindful of our temporal needs. When treating upon the natural necessities of 1ife Jesus said to his disciples, “But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Luke 12:31. God will provide his people sufficiently with the natural necessities of life as well as the Spiritual bread which is Christ and his righteousness in them.

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” According to Luke the wording is, “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.” God’s children realize that they are transgressor. of the law. They are made to exclaim, “when I would do good, evil is present with me.” They realize that with the mind they “serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” We are made to acknowledge our sins. Faith and trust in the merits of Jesus Christ and in the sufficiency of the atoning blood of Jesus to pay the penalty imposed because of our sins and to satisfy justice, emboldens us to believe that God will forgive us our sins. The people of God are blessed with a forgiving heart. God has taken from us the stony heart and has given us a heart of flesh. This heart forgives a brother his trespasses. One characteristic of a child of God is to forgive. Jesus said, “Cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.” The fact that you can behold a mote in your brother’s eye makes manifest that you have a beam in your own. If God has forgiven me of so great sins how shall I not forgive a brother his trespasses seeing that they are so little and insignificant in comparison with my sins.

“Lead us not into temptation.” James says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away from his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” God does not lead his people into temptation. It is the agreement of the man with the lustly desires of the flesh that produces sin. It is the enticement of the lust which is the temptation.

“But deliver us from evil.”. When we would do good evil is present with us. This causes us to desire to be delivered from evil. Because of our many infirmities we are made to cry out as Paul, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Our trust in the efficacy of the merits of Jesus Christ enables us to thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Evil is present with us yet, but we hope some day to be delivered from it. We trust that when this mortal shall have put on immortality and when this corruptible shall have put on in corruption then we shall have been delivered from evil. When this natural body shall have been raised a Spiritual body then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” I believe it pleases God to deliver us from evil continually in this present life but the climax of that deliverance will be the resurrection.

“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” In closing this prayer we acknowledge that the kingdom belongs to him. We grant that he has all power to enforce his decrees concerning this kingdom. At last we think of him as eternal. He is ever the same and changes not. The subjects of his kingdom will finally abide with him forever and ever on the sunny banks of sweet deliverance where no one hungers for bread no sin shall be there; no other kingdom to contend with, and no evils to molest a life of joy, peace and happiness. - E.J.L.

Elder E.J. Lambert
Signs of the Times
Volume 116, No. 1
January 1948