Hallowing the Name of Our Father: The Model Prayer, Part 3

ID-10071979Jesus prefaces His teaching of the Model Prayer to the disciples in Matthew 6:7-15 by stating: “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their many words.” The single Greek verb the “English Standard Version” translates as the phrase “heap up empty phrases” sounds similar to the English word “babble,” which is why William Tyndale, in his 1526 translation of the New Testament into English, rendered this verb as “Babble not much.” Jesus is thus teaching us to be thoughtful and careful of the words we use while addressing the Father. We should, at all costs, avoid babbling “much” in our prayers.
No Man Is an Island: The Model Prayer, Part 2

ID-10015142Often in spoken or written communication, the little words such as prepositions or personal pronouns can take on great importance. As we discussed with the prayers found in the book of Psalms, the personal pronoun “I” and its other forms take on great significance at times because the Psalmist was often in distress and was crying out for God’s intervention.

During those studies, we mentioned that when we are undergoing emotional turmoil, it is only right and proper for us to follow the pattern of many of the Psalms and to pour out our anguish before the Lord, following which we should remember God’s previous acts of mercy and kindness towards us. This is the biblical way of dealing with our pain, distress, unhappiness, rejection, loneliness, and all of the other deep miseries and discontents that often beset us.
In Ages Past

ID-10067576O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come. Our shelter from the stormy blast and our eternal home!

God has our past, our present, and, yes, our future. I write this as the year 2015 has come to a close. Each year in recent history supersedes the previous year in complex and disturbing conditions. Can the course we all seem to be on in this world be altered, turned around, or just slowed down? I don’t believe any person, government, or institution has the answer to this question that is on many minds and hearts.
'To Whom Should We Pray?': The Model Prayer, Part 1

ID-10088132A question concerning prayer people sometimes ask is, “To whom should I pray? Should I pray to the Father? Or to Jesus? Or to the Holy Spirit?” Since all three are part of the Triune Godhead, it’s proper to address prayers to any one of the three at certain times, but mainly our prayers should address the Father because this is what Jesus teaches us to do in Matthew 6:9 and Luke 11:2.
Advent Through the Ages: The O Antiphons

As Christmas approaches, I always find myself connecting to the past, both my family’s history and beyond that to the more distant history of the church through the ages.

Perhaps I do that because the theme of Advent (the season of the church year that begins four Sundays before Christmas) is waiting for God to fulfill his promise to save his people. We think back to the centuries the people of Israel waited for the coming of the Messiah, and we look ahead to Jesus’ return and remember the centuries the church has longed for his coming. And pondering those long centuries of waiting gives me a feeling of connection with the past and makes me want to join in with the history and practices of those who like me are looking ahead in hope for Jesus’ return.

Psalm 34, Beginning Our Prayers with Praise, Part 3

In the article “Psalm 34, Part 2,” we discussed certain principles of praise described by David that we can apply to our prayers. In this article, we will discuss the results that can come to us from prayers of praise and thanksgiving.

The first result is this: the joy of looking “to him” shows in the radiance of our faces. As Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:18, we behold the glory of Christ with “unveiled” countenance. This glory of Christ is transforming us “into the same image [as that of Christ] from one degree of glory to another.” It shines within us for two reasons: the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the glory of the whole Triune God, blazes within us and shines forth from us from within; the act of praying in the name of Jesus gives us immediate access into the holy of holies in heaven and the majesty of God bathes our whole beings in light.

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