RIGHT FOCUS, 29.04.20
What should you focus on in prayer? How can we know what is the best way to direct our prayers? Jesus/Yeshua gives a useful lesson on prayer when the disciples ask Him how they should pray:
First, He gives a preliminary teaching about what constitutes prayer, when He says “Do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men” (Matt.6:5). In other words, don’t pray in public groups to make an impression, to seek approval, or impress others. Rather, “go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place” (Matt.6:6). Keep your prayers to yourself (He’s not talking about Corporate Prayer here, of course), practising one-on-one private time with the Father.
Look at the specifics of this prayer, and notice that: (1) Paying the Father homage is the first thing He does (Matt.6:9); acknowledging Who He is; (2) Validating, underscoring, that before all else – before any supplication, etc. – is the acknowledgement of the Father’s Will, the Father’s Kingdom, and that it should preside over all else not only in the heavens, but also here, on earth. So it’s not about what we want; it’s about the Father’s intention, plan, and will (Matt.6:10). (3) One verse – the only one in this prayer – addresses physical needs – i.e., “this day; daily bread.” He is our provider (Gen.22:14, Jehovah-jireh or Yahweh Yireh, the Lord provides). He will provide our daily needs (Matt.6:11); He will give us what we need, as we need it. In the same way, you will find that He only gives us the information He determines that we need, as we need it. He does not give us a blueprint. (4) We must forgive anyone who has wronged us; and we should ask that anyone we have wronged to forgive us (Matt.6:12).
Jesus/Yeshua does an extra teaching at the end of the prayer, also, to emphasize the critical importance of forgiveness: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt.6:14,15). Our act of forgiveness towards others is a requirement for the receipt of the Fathers forgiveness for our own wrongdoings. Forgiveness is not optional. (5) The specific request to not be led into temptation, and to be delivered from the “Evil” validates that deliverance is in fact necessary; without it, the tempter will lead us astray (Matt.6:13), addressing the critical need to focus on the spiritual. (6) He ends the prayer with acknowledgment of the power and importance of the Father/His Kingdom (Matt.6:13), by giving Him the GLORY. This reiteration of the power of the Kingdom, and the significance of His Glory, connects the Father’s power to the need (and the source) for deliverance, and just Who it is that will be able to deliver us from Evil/the Evil One.
Rabbi Schneider, speaking on prayer, points out that “peoples’ focus seems to be all-too-often on physical things, instead of spiritual. “The prayers of the Apostles in Scripture, the focus is always on the eternal not on the physical” (Schneider, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQUF_V58QCs&feature=youtu.be ). “The prayers of the Apostles and the prayers of Jesus were always about eternal not on the temporal, and not on the physical . . . . for wisdom, knowledge of Him . . . Let’s put more focus on the things that are modelled in the Scriptures . . . . This whole walk that we’re on is supernatural as in Eph. 3 – pray to be strengthened by His Spirit in our inner man . . . .”
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—
19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Just as Jesus/Yeshua did, Paul begins his prayer by acknowledging the Father and Son, validating the significance of His realm. His petition entirely embraces spiritual understanding and growth, and includes nothing of physical, earthly desires or personal needs. “When we are strengthened in our inner man, we are then able to receive and to know the love of God . . Spirit is supernatural . . . . unless we’re strengthened in our inner man by the Holy Spirit, we are hopeless . . . . We can only receive the things of God if we are strengthened by His Holy Spirit” says Schneider.
And it is for this love which surpasses knowledge, that Paul prays for his people. Most important is that we would be hungry for Him. In that hunger, we will desire spiritual things, more of Him, not things of the world. As Schneider points out: “When Jesus said He came to give life, and give it more abundantly, what He was talking about is the more of God – sometimes when people speak about the abundant life, the only thing they can talk about is money. Money can be a manifestation of the abundant life; but the abundant life that Jesus promised is about the nature and characteristic of the Holy Spirit . . . .. The Holy Spirit is continually working/creating new life within us . . . .” (Schneider, 2018). It is for this we should pray. Having a right focus in prayer will strengthen and enrich our prayer life, which in turn, will bring us closer to the Father/Son/Holy Spirit. Everything lines up in accordance with His will when we focus on the spiritual. It does not mean that we can not include prayers for healing, physical and/or emotional needs, etc. Of course, we can. But when our prayer life focuses on the right priorities, Father God will take care of the physical needs.
Jesus/Yeshua says it all when He says: “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt.6:33,34).
Rabbi Schneider, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQUF_V58QCs&feature=youtu.be
CBN’s special Week of Prayer service from April 23, 2018 with Rabbi Kirt Schneider.
© 2018, revised 2019, 2020 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.
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