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Acts Of Prayer

By Elie Nessim, October 2 1999 Printer Friendly Version

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Our text is the LORD's prayer. It follows a common pattern that echoes across the scriptures. In the book of Daniel, Chapter 9, Daniel starts by saying in verse 4: 'And I prayed to the LORD, my GOD and made confession and said, 'O LORD, great and awesome GOD, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity; we have done wickedly and rebelled; even by departing from your precepts and your judgments.''And he goes on in his confession, down to verse 13: 'As it is written in the law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our GOD, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand your truth.'  But then he goes on to say (verse 16): 'O LORD, according to all your righteousness, I pray let your anger and your fury be turned away from your city, Jerusalem, your holy mountain, because for our sins and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a reproach to all who are around about us.' He continues in verse 18: 'O my GOD, incline your ear and hear; open your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by your Name, for we do not present our supplications before you because of our righteous deeds, but because of your great mercies.'

There's the plea!  These are examples for us, how we approach GOD.  None of this easy familiarity; none of this flippant attitude that we hear and see so much.  But deep contrition; repentant heart, and great love and reverence.  If you truly love GOD, you will revere Him.

Let's define prayer this way.  We can say prayer can be defined by the word 'acts'; A-C-T-S; 'a' for adoration; 'c' for confession; 't' for thanksgiving; 's' for supplication. We notice something similar in David's prayers.  You find in his psalms, many of his prayers - you notice he adores; he worships.  Then comes confession, followed by thanksgiving and supplication. 

In the LORD's prayer, when YESHUA led the pattern for His disciples; how does He start?  'Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.' That's how we all begin.  It's a good pattern prayer; and if Messiah left it for us, then it is something that you and I can follow today. We may not repeat it word for word; but the pattern is there.  It begins in verse 9: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name.  Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'

So we come before GOD with adoration, or with worship.  Then comes confession.  Verses 12 and 13: 'And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For your's is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.' There's confession.

There's also thanksgiving.  'Your's is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.' There is supplication.  Verse 11 and onwards: 'Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors; and do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' We see all the ingredients there in prayer.

So we know now what prayer is.  We come to the practice of prayer.  How do we practise prayer?  When you and I draw aside to pray, what do we do?  Well, what should we do?  We begin by letting GOD speak to us first.  And that means, of course, we go to His Book, and we spend time in the Word of GOD.  That's preparing our hearts for prayer and for worship.  We begin by listening to Him before we pray.

Ecclesiastes, Chapter 5, verse 1; can we turn to that?  'Walk prudently when you go to the house of GOD, and draw near to hear, rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.  Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before GOD, for GOD is in heaven, and you are on earth.  Therefore let your words be few.'

Now there's some excellent counsel for us.  We begin by listening to GOD before we speak to Him.  How many times GOD has spoken to us in His Word.  We have lots to tell Him; but when we come to Him and open His Book, first of all, let Him talk to us.  Before we've had a chance; this happens over and over again - before we've ever had a chance to tell Him what our problem was, the answer jumps out at us from the sacred Book.  'Ah, I was just going to tell the LORD about that, and He's already given me the answer!'  That happens.  You can't be a child of GOD for any length of time without experiencing that.  He talks to you!  David says to Him: 'You know my thought afar off.  There's not a word on my tongue, but lo, O LORD, you know it altogether.'    

Our children, sometimes, little ones; a few years old; they come to us; we know exactly what they want before they've opened their little mouths.  But we are so happy to let them tell us.  GOD knows exactly what we have in our hearts, but He says, 'Tell Me; speak to Me.'

Recognize the source of prayer, and that is, the Holy Spirit.  He is the Third Person in the Godhead.  We keep emphasizing this, and we need to.  He is as much a Person as the Father and as the Son.

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