"Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need: Prayer is the beginning of that communion . . . a taking with God, a coming-to-one with Him, which is the sole end of prayer, yea, of existence itself in its infinite phases."  -- George MacDonald
Matthew 5:43-45 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou
shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love
your enemies, [bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you,]
and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye
may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his
sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and
on the unjust."
Love is agapao in Greek; meaning beloved, to accept or welcome or to entertain.
Enemies is echthros in Greek; meaning foe, hated, odious, hateful, hostile, or opposing another.
Pray is proseuchomai in Greek; meaning to make prayer or to offer prayers.
Despitefully is epereazo in Greek; meaning "threat upon", falsely accuse, to insult; to treat abusively, or to revile.
Persecute is dioko in Greek; meaning "dread servant," put to flight, drive away, or to run after; in any way whatever to harass, trouble, molest or maltreat.
Ask God to see your persecutors through His eyes. He cares for the evil and the good hoping all may be restored to fellowship with Him. He doesn't want any of the people He created to be eternally separated from Him. I thought I hated the pastor who accused me of having a 'Jezebel spirit', but I was surprised when I prayed for him, because God's compassion welled up in my heart for him as a human being who needed restored fellowship with God. I didn't have the same emotional response when praying for my family, but I obediently prayed for them as a child of my Father in heaven. Christians are to be noted for their love of the brethren and for their love of enemies.
Matthew 6:6-7 "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy
closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in
secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they
think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. "
Prayest is proseuchomai in Greek; meaning to wish toward.
Closet is tameion (tame means to cut) in Greek; meaning a place for cutting and distributing, an inner room, storage chamber or secret chamber; a private room.
Secret is kruptos in Greek; meaning concealed. We derive the word crypt.
Reward is apodidomai in Greek; meaning to give away or to give back.
Repetitions is battologeo in Greek; meaning to repeat the same things over and over, to use many idle words, to babble, prate. Some suppose the word derived from Battus, a king of Cyrene, who is said to have stuttered; others from Battus, an author of wordy poems.
Daniel 10:2-3 "In those days I Daniel was mourning three
full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my
mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were
Mourning is 'abal in Hebrew; meaning to mourn or lament.
Pleasant is chamad in Hebrew; meaning to desire, covet, or take pleasure in.
Loss of appetite is a typical aspect of grief. Daniel grieved for three weeks over his lack of understanding of the magnificent vision. He knew the message concerned a great war that would affect his people, and he refused himself normal pleasures of food, wine, and oils until God assured him Israel would survive. I think he ate plain (as opposed to pleasant) bread and water.
There were times when the Jews used fasting as a bargaining tool with God, and He exhorted them through the prophet Isaiah (in chapter 58) that true fasting stems from compassion for others, not selfish desires. By the time Jesus came, the Jews were trying to fake compassion by altering their faces to appear as if they were mourning.
Matthew 6:16-18 "Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites,
of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear
unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou,
when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear
not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father,
which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly."
Fast is nesteuo in Greek; meaning to abstain as a religious exercise from food and drink: either entirely, if the fast lasted but a single day, or from customary and choice nourishment, if it continued several days.
Hypocrites is hupokrites in Greek; meaning one who answers or acts under pretense; a stage-player.
Countenance is skuthropos in Greek; meaning "sullen eye," or gloomy.
Disfigure is aphanizo in Greek; meaning to make unseen, destroy, or neglect.
Appear is phaino in Greek; meaning to make manifest, to lighten, or to show.
Reward is misthos in Greek; meaning to pay for service (whether good or bad).
Anoint is aleipho (lipos means fat or oil) in Greek; meaning to anoint.
Openly is phaneros in Greek; meaning shining, apparent, or externally.
Jesus does not want His disciples to be hypocrites. He wants them to reveal their heartfelt concerns for the people to the Father in private instead of showing off to others how 'spiritual' they are. That does not mean Jesus is telling them to cover up their true emotions, just not to make religious performances for the applause of others.
Luke 21:36 "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye
may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass,
and to stand before the Son of man."
Pray is deomai in Greek; meaning "binding oneself", beg, beseech, petition, or to make request.
Be accounted worthy is kataxioo; meaning to "deem entirely deserving."
Stand is histemi in Greek; meaning abide, continue, covenant, or establish.
Peter echoes his Lord's command in 1 Peter 1:13 and 4:7, in which he also exhorts us to keep control of our minds (be sober).
Matthew 9:35-38 "And Jesus went about all the cities and
villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the
kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because
they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then
saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers
are few; "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will
send forth labourers into his harvest."
Fainted is ekluo in Greek; meaning "tired out," to be exhausted, to grow weak or weary, to become faint-hearted or despondent; or to loose or to set free.
Scattered is rhipto in Greek; meaning cast down, cast out, or scatter abroad.
Harvest is therismos in Greek; meaning the act of reaping; figuratively of the gathering of men into the kingdom of God.
Labourers is ergates in Greek; meaning a workman; usually one who works for hire, especially an agricultural worker.
This is different from the hireling (misthotos) in John 10:12 who abandons the sheep to the wolves. Jesus knows He and His disciples can not personally minister to each person who so desperately needs the good news and a touch of God's goodness in their lives. Out of compassion for those in need, He asks those who are already bringing people into the kingdom of God to pray for more labourers.
Mark 11:22-26 "And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have
faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto
this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall
not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith
shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say
unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive
them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye
have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive
you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father
which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Faith is pistis in Greek; meaning assurance or belief.
Doubt is diakrino in Greek; meaning "question with," judge, discern, contend, waver (James 1:6), hesitate, or to be at variance with one's self.
Believe is pisteuo in Greek; meaning commit unto, or put trust in.
Desire is aiteo in Greek; meaning to ask, beg, call for, crave, or require.
Forgive is aphiemi in Greek; meaning to "send away" or "separate from."
Ought is tis in Greek; meaning anything, something, certain thing, or thing.
Trespasses is paraptoma in Greek; meaning a "side-slip," fault or offence.
After Peter recognizes with amazement the withered fig tree which Jesus previously cursed, Jesus tells him to be assured in God that whatever he requires of God will be done. These requests must be to glorify God, because if we ask (aiteo in James 4:2-3) in order to glorify ourselves, God will graciously not answer our prayer. There is also an aspect of our commitment (pisteuo) to continue to pray until God answers.
Ought is a small matter to be forgiven, as in the couple of dollars owed the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35), or the "indebtedness" of the Lord's Prayer. These passages intimate what we forgive others is paltry when compared with God forgiving us for rejecting Him. This by no means minimizes sins against us. God has explained the seriousness of sin among the brethren and has given commands to deal with it. To present our whole selves to God for communion with Him alone, we have to detach our emotional claims upon others (forgive them, let them go, no longer allow their sins against us to be a part of ourselves, no longer identifying ourselves as a victim who has been wronged). We must stand before a Holy God responsible for ourselves and accountable for our own sins. God was indignant during Adam and Eve's blaming session in His Presence (Gen. 3:17), and has firmly set His boundary that it will not happen again. With God there are no excuses, only forgiveness.
Luke 11:1-4 "And it came to pass, that, as he was praying
in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him,
Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said
unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed
be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also
forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil."
Hallowed is hagiazo in Greek; meaning sanctify, be holy, consecrate, to render or acknowledge, to separate from profane things and dedicate to God.
Come is erchomai in Greek; meaning to appear, to come into being, arise, come forth, show itself, find place or influence; be established; or become known.
Done is ginomai in Greek; meaning come to pass, become, arise, be fulfilled, or be preferred.
Forgive is aphiemi in Greek; meaning leave, suffer, forsake, let alone; to send away, to disregard, to not discuss now, to omit; to give up a debt, or to remit.
Sin is hamartia in Greek; meaning to be without a share in; to miss the mark; to err, be mistaken; to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong; to wander from the law of God, or to violate God's law.
Indebted is ophielo in Greek; meaning owe, be bound, be a debtor, or be guilty.
Temptation is peirasmos in Greek; meaning an experiment, trial, or proving.
Evil is poneros in Greek; meaning full of labours, annoyances, hardships; of a time full of peril to Christian faith and steadfastness; causing pain and trouble.
Since Jesus is asking us to pray for these things, we can assume they are not always accomplished. His Name is not always separated from profane things. We are to pray people do not use God's name as a curse word. Where His kingdom is not apparent, we are to pray it becomes so. God's will is not always being done on earth; our prayers can make a difference. Not all believers will have food every day; we can ask that we do. Some believers will be led by God into trials and difficulties (not temptations, see James 1:12-15), but we can ask to be excluded. Possibly the difficulties we encounter by our own wills or by the wills of others are sufficient. Notice God forgives our vast sins as we forgive everyone (Christian and non-Christian) of mere debts.
Matthew 18:17-20 "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell
it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church,
let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto
you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever
ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you,
That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they
shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For
where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the
midst of them."
Church is ekklesia in Greek; meaning assembly of believers.
Bind is deo in Greek; meaning bound or imprisoned.
Loosed is luo in Greek; meaning to loose, dissolve or release.
`Binding' and `loosing' are terms of church discipline for passing judgment or forgiving. Matthew 16:18-19 and 18:15-22 are the only two times the terms are used in the New Testament. For a superb treatise on Matthew 18:18-23, I refer you to "Binding and Loosing" by John Howard Yoder. It is number fourteen in A Pamphlet Series of Questions for Christian Renewal produced by Concern in 1967. Yoder states, "To `bind' is to withhold fellowship, to `loose' is to forgive." A heathen or Gentile was not a part of the Jewish community; they were to treat such a person as an outsider. Gentiles and tax collectors could repent and be returned to fellowship.
Excommunication of an unrepentant sinner is tough love and obedience to God's commands. It is unloving and untruthful to encourage an unrepentant sinner on his journey to hell by maintaining fellowship with him as if he were in right relationship with God. An example of a congregation agreeing, with the authority of Jesus' presence in their midst, to "hand over (paradidomai) to Satan" an unrepentant sinner in hopes the man may yet be saved is found in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5. Paradidomai is used to refer to being cast into prison, and being delivered to a judge or council or tormentors (Matthew 4:12; 5:25; 10:17; and 18:34 respectively).
A parallel context is found in 1 John 5:14-18, where if you see a brother commit a sin which will not lead to an eventual rejection of Christ, you are to pray for him knowing God will hear you and give him life. It is important to keep these promises of God granting whatever we ask in the context of restoring a brother who has sinned. Jesus also promised to do whatever we ask when we have faith for miracles which will bring glory to God, the Father.
John 14:12-14 12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."
John 15:16 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
John 16:23-27 23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. 24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. 25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. 26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: 27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God."
Through Jesus Christ's name (authority) we are given direct access to our Father in heaven, and may freely ask of Him anything which will give Him glory, assured He will perform or grant it in His perfect timing. If a request is denied, it is likely not to be in God's or our best interest.
Luke 11:5-13 "And he said unto them, Which of you shall have
a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend,
lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me,
and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and
say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me
in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not
rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity
he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask,
and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall
be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh
findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask
bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he
ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an
egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to
give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father
give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
Importunity is anaideia in Greek; meaning "lack of regard for others," impudence or shamelessness.
Needeth is chrezo in Greek; meaning to have need of, or to be in want of.
Ask is aiteo in Greek; meaning to beg, call for, crave, desire, or require.
Give is didomi in Greek; meaning to give something to someone of one's own accord; to bestow a gift; to grant, to supply necessary things; or to give what is due or obligatory, wages or reward.
Seek is zeteo in Greek; meaning to seek in order to find; to seek by thinking, meditating, reasoning or inquiring into; to seek or strive after; require or demand.
Find is heurisko in Greek; meaning to come upon after searching; to find by inquiry, thought, examination, observation, practice or experience; or to obtain.
Evil is poneros in Greek; meaning wicked; full of labours, annoyances, hardships; or causing pain and trouble.
Good is agathos in Greek; meaning of good constitution or nature, useful, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, excellent, upright, or honourable.
The Jewish man is socially obligated to be hospitable to the traveler; yet it is socially unacceptable to arouse his neighbor in the middle of the night for bread. The needs of the traveler outweighed the desire to retain personal comfort zones. He cared more for the needs of the hungry traveler than what his neighbor thought of him, and so insisted his request be met.
Our Father is not bothered by our asking, seeking and knocking to meet the needs of ourselves or others. Because of His nature He delights to give us good gifts, the best of which is a relationship with Himself through His Son in His Spirit (James 1:17-18). Man's life is not sustained merely by bread, but by God's communication with Him (Matthew 4:4). God is willing to meet both our physical and spiritual needs when we ask persistently believing He will answer (Hebrews 11:6).
Luke 18:1-8 "And he spake a parable unto them to this end,
that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a
city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was
a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine
adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself,
Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth
me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the
Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his
own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son
of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
Ought is dei in Greek; meaning must, must needs, or should.
Always is pantote in Greek; meaning at all times, evermore, or ever.
Faint is ekkakeo in Greek; meaning to be wearied out or utterly spiritless.
Avenge is ekdikeo in Greek; meaning revenge; to vindicate one's right, do one justice; or to protect or defend one person from another.
Adversary is antidikos in Greek; meaning an opponent in a suit of law, or an enemy.
Troubleth is parecho in Greek; meaning "have need of," offer, supply, give; cause one something either favourable or unfavourable; or present one's self.
(God) avenge is ekdikesis in Greek; meaning revenging, vengeance, or punishment.
Cry is boao in Greek; meaning to raise a cry of joy or pain; to cry or speak with a high, strong voice; or to cry to one for help, to implore his aid.
Bear long is makrothumeo in Greek; meaning "long wrath" or long spirit, not to lose heart; to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others; to be mild and slow to punish.
A relationship needs continual, open and honest communication in order to grow. We need to keep our ears attentive to God's Spirit, and we need to share our hearts' cry (whether of pleasure or pain) with Him.
Possibly this widow goes to an ungodly, unjust judge because there were no godly, just judges available or willing to take her case (Isaiah 1:23). Like the friend persistently requesting bread of his neighbor, the widow "troubles" the judge, requiring and eventually obtaining his services. God will avenge His chosen ones who continually cry out to Him for justice. Though the waiting may seem unbearably long to us, it is quick in God's time-table that allows for repentance (Rev. 6:10). God will be faithful to fulfill His word to us, but will we continue to trust Him during the season of waiting?
God longs to answer the cry of victims of abuse. Keep crying out for justice; it may come in this world, but most certainly in the next (Matthew 24:45-51). You can tell God exactly what you think and feel about your enemies as David did, but then pray for God's justice to be done. Ask Him to avenge you, believing He will.
Luke 18:9-14 "And he spake this parable unto certain which
trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two
men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other
a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank
thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers,
or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all
that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up
so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God
be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house
justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall
be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
Merciful is hilaskomai in Greek; meaning make reconciliation, to render one's self, to appease, conciliate to one's self, be placated; be gracious, be propitious, or to expiate.
Sinner is hamartolos in Greek; meaning not free from sin, or especially wicked.
Justified is dikaioo in Greek; meaning be freed or be righteous; or to render or declare one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be.
The Pharisees had a religious form of self-righteousness, and despised those who did not. "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself" emphasizes how they had become gods unto themselves; they were their own law-givers and judges. God requires all to come to Jesus Christ in faith for justification (Gal. 2:15-16). We approach the Father in prayer, not on the basis of our abilities, but in the confidence of our great High Priest who has secured God's mercy and grace for us (Heb. 4:14-16).
John 6:11 "And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given
thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that
were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would."
Give thanks is eucharisteo in Greek; meaning "good
grace", to be grateful, or feel thankful. Luke 24:30-31 "And
it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed
it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew
him; and he vanished out of their sight."
Blessed is eulogeo in Greek; meaning "good word", to praise, celebrate with praises, to consecrate a thing with solemn prayers; pronounce a consecratory blessing of God; to cause to prosper, or to make happy.
No one says "grace" like Jesus. Grace at a meal is not quite a prayer, but a pronouncement of our thankfulness to God for His good provision. Spiritually, Jesus is God's good provision for our eternal life with Him.
Luke 3:21 "Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened."
Baptism is a good time to seek the Lord regarding our true identity in Him. We can ask Him to expose the lies about ourselves that we have believed, and make sure we have repented of every sin with which we used to identify ourselves. The person baptizing us could proclaim we are no longer children of the devil who practice sin, but children of God who practice righteousness (1 John 3:7-10), and that the brethren should expect and encourage us to produce fruit according to the Spirit (Rom. 7:4-6).
Matthew 19:13-15 "Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence."
Since the little children are being brought to Him, I believe these Jews were bringing their babies to Jesus for dedication to the Lord (Luke 2:21-28). Jesus took time to personally minister to each child with a hand of blessing and prayer.
Compare the two similar prayers in these different circumstances.
Matthew 11:24-27 "But I say unto you, That it shall be more
tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven
and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent,
and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good
in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man
knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save
the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."
Thank is exomologeo in Greek; meaning "from same word"; or to acknowledge.
Answered is apokrinomai in Greek; meaning conclude for oneself, or to respond.
Hid is apokrupto in Greek; meaning "to crypt away," to conceal or to keep secret.
Reveal is apokalupto in Greek; meaning "to take off the cover" or to disclose.
Jesus might have chosen hid and reveal to refer to the center matza, which is hidden away during the traditional Passover meal and revealed later and partaken of as the afikomen or "dessert" with wine. It was at this point in the Passover Jesus proclaimed to His disciples that the bread and the wine represented His body and blood. These two words could easily refer to His being entombed and resurrected, or to the veil being taken away.
Luke 10:20-24 "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that
the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names
are written in heaven. In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said,
I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these
things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even
so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered
to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father;
and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal
him. And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed
are the eyes which see the things that ye see: For I tell you, that many
prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have
not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard
Rejoiced is agalliao in Greek; meaning "jump much," to exult, or to be exceedingly glad. I would love to see a painting of this episode.
The disciples are ecstatic about the authority a relationship with Jesus gives them on earth, and Jesus commands them to look ahead to the exciting, eternal relationship with Him in heaven. Jesus' spirit is doing somersaults of gladness within Him as He hears the power of His long awaited kingdom is being manifested on earth through the very friends who will be with Him forever, and He shares His joy with His Father. He tries to share with His disciples the eternal perspective of an age old plan now being executed, but I doubt they were able to enter into the fullness of His joy with Him. There is no verse that says Jesus smiled, but this comes close.
Luke 9:28-31 "And it came to pass about an eight days after
these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain
to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered,
and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with
him two men, which were Moses and Elias. Who appeared in glory, and spake
of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem."
White is leukos in Greek; meaning "light", bright, brilliant; or dazzling white.
Glistering is exastrapto in Greek; meaning "from light," to send forth lightning, to lighten, to flash out like lightning, to shine, or glistening.
Decease is exodos in Greek; meaning departure, or one's final fate.
"God is light" and those who spend time in His presence will be "enlightened". Moses and Elijah were men who spoke intimately with God and had interesting departures from this world. Now they are speaking to God, the Son, of His soon departure. Though we have a throng of saints surrounding us in the spiritual realm, we are to keep our focus on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). We are never commanded to pray TO the saints (of old), but FOR the saints of the present.
John 11:40-42 "Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me."
John 12:28-30 "Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes."
Audible conversation to and from God was so those hearing could believe in God's glory. All too often we make our prayers audible to others as a means of making a point without having to do so to their faces. We must ask whether or not our audible prayers are manifesting the glory of God.
There is a difference between the secular idea of "unity" (many coming together for one purpose), and Jesus' idea of "being one" (a state of being within or a part of one another, to which I refer as "oneness"). In Ephesians 4, verses 3 and 13 this "oneness" (the neuter form, translated "unity") is to be reached and maintained in the body of believers. For an overview of oneness from the gospel of John, you can read the following verses: 1:1; 3:5-6; 5:16-30; 6:56-57; 7:16-17; 8:28-29; 10:27-30; 11:25-26; 12:25-26; 12:49-50; 13:31; 14:9-26; 15:1-16; and 16:13-15. Jesus' all consuming desire was for oneness, as is seen in His High Priestly prayer in John 17.
v1 Jesus prayed here with His head up and His eyes open. Glorify is doxazo in Greek; meaning to render esteem, to honour, or to magnify.
v2 Power is exousia in Greek; meaning authority, jurisdiction, right, strength, or liberty. Jesus gives eternal life to those the Father gives Him.
v3 The definition of eternal life is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Know is ginosko in Greek; meaning allow, be aware, feel, perceive, understand, or be sure of.
v4 Have finished is teleioo in Greek; meaning to complete, accomplish, consummate, consecrate, fulfill, or make perfect.
v5 Jesus set aside His glory to become a man, and now asks His Father to restore His former glory.
v6 Kept is tereo in Greek; meaning hold fast, preserve or watch.
v7-8 The disciples know the Father and Jesus are One.
v9 Pray is erotao in Greek; meaning request, beseech, entreat, ask, or desire. Jesus makes a request specifically for His disciples.
v10-11 Jesus' preface to His request: because they are Our possession and I am coming to heaven and they remain in the world . . . His request: keep (tereo) them in Thy Name that they may be one as We are. Name is onoma in Greek; meaning character or authority.
v12 The Father must keep them until the Holy Spirit is poured out at Pentecost. Only Judas Iscariot is lost.
v13 Joy is chara in Greek; meaning "without fear", cheerfulness, delight, gladness, or calm. Jesus asks for the Father's protection that the disciples might be fully calm when He de parts.
v14-16 The world hates the disciples because they have accepted God's word. Though they are not of the world, Jesus asks the Father to keep them from evil while in it.
v17 Sanctify is hagiazo in Greek; meaning make holy, purify, consecrate, or hallow. God keeps them from evil through His word of truth.
v18 As Jesus was sent to save the lost and to serve the brethren, so has Jesus sent the disciples out.
v19 Jesus purifies Himself through obedience to the truth as an example to His disciples.
v20 Jesus prays not only for His current disciples, but for His future ones as well.
v21 Jesus requests the same wonderful, eternal oneness for us so that the world might believe.
v22-23 Glory is doxa in Greek; meaning dignity, honour, praise or worship. Jesus has given us the same glory and love the Father gave Him for the purpose of our oneness.
v24 Jesus requests not just a spiritual oneness, but a physical oneness. As the Bridegroom Jesus asks His Father to officiate the wedding with His Bride.
v25-26 The world is not to experience this union, but those who know the Father and the Son. As a married woman I often use the pronoun "we" in reference to my husband and I, but Jesus only uses "we" in explanation of His Oneness with the Father twice, in John 17:11 and 22; the rest of the time Jesus takes great care to make distinction between His Father and Himself. Jesus uses "we" to refer to Himself and the disciples or the Jews in general. The Son of God truly distinguished himself as the Son of Man who longed for a new oneness with His Bride. He left His Father in heaven in order to cleave to His Bride and to become one with Her (Eph. 5:22-33).
In Bible times the man had to pay a price determined by the father for his bride. Our Creator-Father told His Son that the Bride-price was His death and resurrection. Using the betrothal analogy, our Groom, Jesus has already proclaimed His love for us upon the cross, and His resurrection assures us He will fully perform His "I will . . ." He became one with our sin and endured the wrath we deserved so we could experience His life. Then He set His seal ("ring") upon us -- "that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance" (Eph. 1:13-14).
We in turn accept His proposal by making a profession of faith (Rom. 10:10), that we refuse all others (idols) demanding our affection in order to get to know Him. We respond to His vows to us by uniting with Him in baptism (Rom. 6:3-5); becoming one with Him on the cross, recognizing the death of our old man (sin nature), and receiving His resurrection righteousness. Then we graciously receive Christ's gift of His Spirit ("ring"). Jesus gives us the opportunity and ability to submit to, to honor, and to obey Him as our Head (Eph. 5:22-24). Our betrothed Groom will even help us perform our vows (Eph. 5:25-27) as we wait for Him to take us to His Home for the wedding ceremony and feast.
The Jewish betrothal was binding, needing a divorce certificate to annul it (Matthew 1:18-19). Betrothal periods could be quite long, and were a time to grow in trust and ability to relate. God the Father already experienced married life with Israel, and He wisely chose a long engagement period for His Son. Courtship should be a wonderful time of joy and anticipation, but the Church often acts like its waiting for her Judge instead of her Bridegroom. The Church should be purifying itself and doing good works in order to properly adorn herself for her King; motivated by love, not fear.
Luke 22:32 "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail
not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."
Converted is epistrepho in Greek; meaning "turn unto", turn, return, or turn about.
Jesus lets Peter know he is going to turn away from Him for a time, but promises he will turn back to Him. We all have times of doubt when we cannot believe God would allow such a thing to happen. This is a marvelous way to pray for believers going through such times: pray that their faith will not fail during the time they turn away from Jesus, and that they will strengthen the brethren when they return to Jesus.
Matthew 26:53-54 "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to
my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"
Pray is parakaleo in Greek; meaning to "call to one's side," call for, summon; to beg, entreat, beseech; to console, to encourage, to comfort, or to instruct.
This is a paradox. The Father would answer the Son's prayers and deliver Him from the present situation. If Jesus had so prayed, would His arrest just be postponed until another time when He was ready to submit Himself to it? Do we ever postpone our destiny because we pray for release from difficult circumstances?
Jesus knew He came to fulfill scripture. Satan gave him a few scriptures to fulfill outside of God's will. Beware of those who proclaim a certain scripture or "prophecy" is God's will for you. As a believer you are able to test and prove what God's will is for yourself (Romans 12:2).
Matthew 14:23 "And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone."
Jesus often got away from the world's distractions to have intimate time with His Father. Also see Mark 1:35 and 6:46, and Luke 5:16; 6:12 and 9:18.
Matthew 26:35-44 "Peter said unto him, Though I should die
with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.
Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto
the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with
him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very
heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto
death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther,
and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible,
let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto
Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that
ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh
is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father,
if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And
he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the
To be sorrowful is lupeo in Greek; meaning to be distressed, grieved, heavy, or sad.
Very heavy is ademoneo (adeo means loathing or to be sated) in Greek; meaning to be in distress of mind or to be depressed.
Exceeding sorrowful is perilupos in Greek; meaning grieved all around or intensely sad.
Tarry is meno in Greek; meaning to stay, abide, dwell, endure, be present, remain or stand.
Watch gregoreuo in Greek; meaning to keep awake or be vigilant.
The same passage is in Mark 14:32-42 and Luke 22:39-46. I wonder if lupus, the disease characterized by the formation of reddish-brown nodules, was named after the blood Jesus sweat during this distress. I have yet to see a movie where Jesus is portrayed prostrate on His face in agony over submitting to the momentary separation from His Father (which His death would incur when He became sin for us).
I was set free to express my emotions when I realized the sinless Son of God was grieved unto death. Depression and grief are not sinful. While Paul and his companions were in Asia they "despaired even of life" (also see Romans 9:2). Elijah and Jonah asked God to let them die. God graciously listened to emotional requests for death, and lovingly responded with reasons to live.
Jesus asks His three closest companions to support Him through His dark hours. I would also encourage survivors of abuse to choose their support groups carefully; not everyone is willing or able to share your heartache. Few will travel with you the entire way out of your depression. After Jesus' first hour of prayer, He expects the support of His best friend Peter. After His next session, He realizes His human support throughout His ordeal is gone. Sometimes it's just you and Father God.
Luke 23:34 "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots."
Jesus usually declared people's sins forgiven, so I gather He is asking the Father to forgive them for their destined sin of murder. The Roman soldiers were just carrying out orders. Jesus set a precedent for Christian martyrs to forgive their executioners. In Acts 7:59-60, Stephen asks the Lord not to hold the sin of murder against them. When I think of my abusers standing before God, I do not want their sin against me to keep them from eternal life, so I have made the same request as Stephen's. I know If they do not repent and receive God's forgiveness, they will experience God's wrath, and God will avenge me. I am comforted regardless of what choices they make.
Romans 8:34 "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."
Hebrews 7:24-25 "But this man, because he continueth ever,
hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them
to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make
intercession for them."
Save is sozo in Greek; meaning make whole, or heal.
Uttermost is panteles in Greek; meaning "all end," all complete, perfect, or utterly.
Intercession is entugchano in Greek; meaning deal, to light upon a person, fall in with; to meet a person for the purpose of conversation, consultation, or supplication; to pray, or to entreat.
Jesus prayed (erotao in Greek; meaning to ask, beseech, desire, or entreat) to the Father to send us another Comforter who would be with us forever (John 14:16). Jude encouraged us to build ourselves up in faith, praying in the Spirit (Jude 1:20).
Romans 8:13-16 "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall
die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye
shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons
of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but
ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children
Adoption is huiothesia in Greek; meaning "appointed son", and would be better translated "sonship".
We did not become glorified slaves who need to fear the wrath of a taskmaster's displeasure, but we have become God's children who are His pleasure and "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:5-6). God is pleased with us because of who we are in Christ, not because of what we do; yet true children of God will continually put to death the misdeeds of the flesh by the power of the Spirit within them. Jesus has given us the power to destroy sin in our lives. Our hope as Christians is the steadfast expectation of Christ's righteousness progressively manifested in our lives as we submit to the Spirit.
Romans 8:23-25 "And not only they, but ourselves also, which
have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves,
waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are
saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth,
why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we
with patience wait for it."
Wait(ing) is apekdechomai in Greek; meaning "for receive from," or to patiently look for. Also used in Galatians 5:5 "For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith."
Redemption is apolutrosis in Greek; meaning "liberate from", or deliverance.
Hope is elpis (elpo means to anticipate, usually with pleasure) in Greek; meaning, faith, expectation of good, or confident expectation of eternal salvation.
Patience is hupomone in Greek; meaning steadfastness, constancy, or endurance.
Romans 8:26-27 "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:
for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself
maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And
he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because
he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
Helpeth is sunantilambanomai in Greek; meaning "to lay hold along with," to strive to obtain with others, help in obtaining; or to take hold with another.
Infirmities is astheneia in Greek; meaning weakness, disease, or sickness.
Groanings is stenagmos in Greek; meaning a groaning or a sigh.
Not be uttered is alaletos in Greek; meaning "not spoken" or not expressed in words.
It's a great comfort to know while we are writhing in pain, or groaning with grief, or sighing from despair, or silenced by fear; that God's Holy Spirit is holding us and helping us through it while supplicating the Father for us.
James 4:1-3 "From whence come wars and fightings among you?
come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust,
and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight
and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not,
because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
Lusts is hedone in Greek; meaning pleasure, or desires for pleasure.
Lust is epithumeo in Greek; meaning "passion upon", to turn upon a thing, to have a desire for, long for, covet, or of those who seek forbidden things.
Desire is zeloo in Greek; meaning to burn with zeal, to be heated with envy, hatred, or anger; to strive after, or to busy one's self about.
Ask is aiteo in Greek; meaning to beg, call for, crave, desire, or require.
Amiss is kakos in Greek; meaning miserable, to be ill, to speak ill of, revile; or improperly.
Consume is dapanao in Greek; meaning spend, waste, or squander.
Most New Testament prayers are concerned with the well being of all the saints. Asking for personal blessings that will set you above others, which will cause others harm, or which will be wasted, is to ask amiss. Maybe Jesus taught His disciples to pray using plural pronouns because it would protect them from selfishness. When you pray for the same blessings for all the saints unto God's glory, it helps keep the proper perspective. The universe revolves around Jesus and His desires, not around myself and my desires. With this humble perspective we present our personal concerns to our loving Father, knowing He will graciously lift us up in His time (1 Peter 5:5-7).
James 1:5-7 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God,
that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given
him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is
like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that
man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."
Wisdom is sophia in Greek; meaning intelligence, knowledge, or prudence in intercourse with people for upright living.
Ask is aiteo in Greek; meaning to beg, call for, crave, desire, or require.
Liberally is haplos in Greek; meaning simply, openly, frankly, or sincerely.
Upbraideth is oneidizo in Greek; meaning to shame, reproach, or revile.
Wavering is diakrino in Greek; meaning to make a distinction, discriminate, to be at variance with one's self, hesitate, or doubt.
James 3:13-18 "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge
among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness
of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory
not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above,
but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there
is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is
first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy
and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit
of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."
Meekness is prautes in Greek; meaning mild disposition or gentle spirit.
Bitter is pikros (with the idea of piercing) in Greek; meaning harsh or virulent.
Envying is zelos in Greek; meaning excitement of mind, ardour, fervour of spirit, zeal, pursuing, defending anything; contentious rivalry or jealousy.
Strife is eritheia in Greek; meaning contentious, provoking; electioneering or intriguing for office; a desire to put one's self forward; partisanship or fractiousness.
Glory is katakauchaomai in Greek; meaning "boast against"; to boast of one's self to the injury of another.
Lie is pseudomai in Greek; meaning to speak deliberate falsehoods, or to deceive one by a lie.
Truth is aletheia in Greek; meaning verity or truth in any matter.
Sensual is psuchikos in Greek; meaning "belonging to breath", natural, or governed by appetite.
Confusion is akatastasia in Greek; meaning tumult, commotion, instability, or disturbance.
Pure is hagnos in Greek; meaning venerable, sacred, pure from carnality, chaste, modest, immaculate, or clean.
Peaceable is eirenikos in Greek; meaning loving peace, peaceful, or salutary.
Gentle is epieikes in Greek; meaning seemingly suitable, equitable, fair, or mild.
Easy to be intreated is eupeithes in Greek; meaning easily, obeying, or compliant.
Mercy is eleos in Greek; meaning kindness or good will towards the afflicted joined with a desire to help them.
Without partiality is adiakritos in Greek; meaning undistinguished, unintelligible; or without dubiousness, ambiguity or uncertainty.
Without hypocrisy is anupokritos in Greek; meaning unfeigned, undisguised, or sincere.
Righteousness is dikaiosune in Greek; meaning "right judgment"; the state of him who is as he ought to be; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness; or correct thinking feeling, and acting. To seek wisdom is to set aside our own understanding in order to pursue what God deems wise.
v13 "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry?
let him sing psalms."
Afflicted is kakopatheo in Greek; meaning to suffer evil, affliction; or to endure hardship.
Pray is proseuchomai in Greek; meaning to pray to the side of or toward.
Merry is euthumeo in Greek; meaning of good cheer.
Psalms is psalto (psao means to rub) in Greek; meaning to pull, twitch, twang, play, or sing. v14 "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing in the name of the Lord." Sick is astheneo in Greek; meaning without strength; weak, feeble, or sick.
Call is proskaleo in Greek; meaning to call to.
Elders is presbuteros (presbus means old man) in Greek; meaning older ones.
Over is epi in Greek; meaning on, upon, or together.
Anointing is aleipho (lipos means fat or oil; elaion means oil) meaning to anoint him with oil.
Name is onoma in Greek; meaning name or authority.
Lord is kurios (kuros means authority) in Greek; meaning lord, master, or owner.
Why does James instruct believers to call for the elders of the church to pray when they are sick, when several of the original twelve apostles were still alive and performing miraculous healings by command? The disciples often healed with a word of command, sometimes coupled with their touch (or shadow or handkerchief), as a confirming sign of the gospel to unbelievers. See Acts 3:1-10; 4:29-43; 5:12-16; 8:6-7; 9:17-19, 34-35; 14:8-11; and 19:10-12. Could it be that healings by command accompanied the gospel as a sign to those without the Holy Spirit, but that once people received God's Spirit they were to receive direct commands from Him in prayer? The purpose of the gospel confirmed with miraculous signs is to reconcile people to God (Romans 15:17-20 and 2 Corinthians 2:1-6; 12:12). Once people have a personal relationship with God, His Spirit will lead them into all truth.
The elders' prayer may have been like Paul's in Ephesians 1:15-23 and 3:14-21, requesting the believer to come to full knowledge of who they are and what resources they have available to them in Christ. According to Jesus in John 15:1-16, believers who remain in Him through loving obedience and lasting fruitfulness will receive their direct requests.
Though oil can be medicinal (Luke 10:34), it is used spiritually here (also in Mark 6:13). The elders might have used it as a reminder that we are anointed as kings (1 Samuel 15:1) and priests (Exodus 28:41) and God's tabernacle (Exodus 40:9) through the Anointed One, and therefore have His authority to receive and obey His commands.
By the time Paul becomes an apostle, either the healing ministry of the church is greatly diminished (Paul's eyes, Epaphroditus' deathly sickness, Timothy's stomach, and Trophimus' sickness), or healing as a sign of the gospel is different than receiving ministry through the gift of healing as a Christian. Paul demonstrated all the signs of an apostle as he preached the gospel, but it seems he did not have the gift of healing.
v15 "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the
Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven
Prayer is euche in Greek; meaning prayer or vow.
Faith is pistis (from peitho meaning to persuade or to have confidence).
Save is sozo (sos means safe or well) in Greek; meaning to save, restore, recover, make well, or to insure salvation.
Sick is kammo (kam means to be weary) in Greek; meaning grow weary, or sick.
Raise is egeiro in Greek; meaning "collecting one's faculties," or to waken.
Committed is poieo in Greek; meaning to make or do.
Sins is hamartia in Greek; meaning "missing the mark."
Forgiven is aphiemi in Greek; meaning to send away or leave alone. We can be healed first, and then deal with sin; or deal with sin that we might be healed. Sin can cause sickness (1 Corinthians 11:27-32), and confessing sins can bring healing.
v16 "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for
another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous
man availeth much."
Confess is exomolgeo in Greek; (ex means origin; homologeo means acknowledge or same mind) meaning to "acknowledge the origin" or "from one mind", to agree fully, or to profess meaning.
Pray is euchomai in Greek; meaning wish, can wish, I would, or pray to God.
Faults is paraptoma in Greek; (the root parapipto means to fall away), meaning "to fall into," or a false step or a side-slip; lapse or deviation; an unintentional error or a willful transgression; fall, offense, sin, or a trespass.
Healed is iaomai in Greek; meaning to cure, heal; or to make whole.
Fervent is emergeo in Greek; meaning to work effectively.
Righteous is dikaios in Greek; meaning just, correct or innocent.
Availeth is ischuo in Greek; meaning to be strong or to have power.
It does not say, "Cast out spirits from one another and so be healed." As Christians we need to stop blaming our sins on spirits and start taking responsibility for our sins. God gave us a will, and sometimes we choose to sin. God expected this to happen, and provided a means of restoration through confession. Sometimes confessing our sin to the Lord is enough (1 John 1:9); but often our sins have hurt others, and we need to come in repentance to them as well.
Prayer includes confession of our sins to God, but confession to others is not prayer. Confessions of our sins to one another should be with our eyes open. Then we can see the forgiving response and receive the acceptance of the other person; or we can see the other react with hurt or angered expressions, and then we will know we still have some talking to do. Sometimes while confessing our sin, its origin will be exposed, and then it can be completely uprooted. Often the origin is unforgiveness, of ourselves or someone else, which becomes a root of bitterness (Hebrews 12:15).
v17-18 "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. And he prayed again,
and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit."
Prayed earnestly is proseuchomai proseuche in Greek.
God's people were sometimes commanded to use drastic means to draw people's attention to God (also see Acts 13:10-12). I would scrutinize the character of any self-proclaimed prophet whose only "ministry" is praying for difficulties to arise so that people may put their trust in God. As Christians we have no general command to pray for trials for anyone.
Colossians 4:2 "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same
Continue is proskatereo in Greek; meaning steadfast toward.
Thanksgiving is eucharistia in Greek; meaning gratitude, as in grateful language to God in worship. Also in 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
2 Corinthians 1:11 "Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf."
Not only should we pray with thanksgiving, but our prayers will give others reason to be thankful (Matthew 5:16). I find acknowledging God's good gifts is a deterrent to feelings of guilt.
1 Corinthians 7:5 "Defraud ye not one the other, except it
be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and
prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency."
Defraud is apostereo in Greek; meaning "to deprive from," destitute, withhold by fraud, rob, or despoil.
Give is scholazo in Greek; meaning unoccupied. Couples should only cease having physical intercourse for a short specific time (three days in Exodus 19:10-15) while they devote themselves to spiritual intercourse (intimate conversation with God).
1 Corinthians 11:4-5 "Every man praying or prophesying, having
his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or
prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is
even all one as if she were shaven."
Man is aner in Greek; meaning husband, a betrothed husband, sir, or male.
Woman is gune in Greek; meaning wife or female.
Prayer is communicating within relationships. Christian spouses are to emulate the line of authority from the Father to Christ to His Bride: headship. A wife is to honor her husband as the head, and the husband is to honor Christ as his head. When a joint decision is not forthcoming, the head can decide for the whole. When these relationships are out of balance, prayers are hindered.
1 Peter 3:5-7 "For after this manner in the old time the
holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection
unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord:
whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with
any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge,
giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs
together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered."
Being in subjection is hupotasso in Greek, meaning be under obedience, put under, subdue unto, or submit self unto.
Honour is time in Greek, meaning value (as in money paid), esteem, precious, or price.
1 Corinthians 14:13-19 "Wherefore let him that speaketh in
an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in an unknown
tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is
it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding
also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding
also. Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth
the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth
not what thou sayest? For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other
is not edified. I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:
Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding,
that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in
an unknown tongue."
Occupieth is anapleroo in Greek; meaning "full among", to fill up or make full.
Unlearned is idiotes in Greek; meaning ignorant, rude, illiterate, or common.
Teach is katecheo in Greek; meaning to indoctrinate, inform, or instruct.
Tongues is glossa in Greek; meaning "the tongue, a member of the body, an organ of speech a tongue, i.e. the language used by a particular people in distinction from that of other nations. To speak with (in) a tongue is the gift of men, who rapt in ecstasy and no longer quite masters of their own reason and consciousness, pour forth their glowing spiritual emotions in strange utterances, rugged, dark, disconnected, quite unfit to instruct or to influence the minds of others. The origin of the expression is apparently to be found in the fact that in Hebrew, the tongue is spoken of as the leading instrument by which the praises of God are proclaimed, and that according to the more rigorous conception of inspiration, nothing human in an inspired man was thought to be active except the tongue, put in motion by the Holy Ghost. (Bible Link)"
There should be a balance of praying and singing in tongues and in the commonly known language during corporate worship; but teaching should be done in the commonly known language. Paul spoke in tongues more than anyone (as a sign to unbelievers and in personal prayer), but "in the church" his messages were in the known language.
1 Corinthians 14: "20 Brethren, be not children in understanding:
howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. 21 In the
law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak
unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the
Lord. 22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but
to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe
not, but for them which believe. 23 If therefore the whole church be come
together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in
those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are
mad? 24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not,
or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25 And thus
are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his
face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. 26
How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, everyone of you hath a
psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation.
Let all things be done unto edifying. 27 If any man speak in an unknown
tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course;
and let one interpret. 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep
silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God."
Understanding is phren in Greek (phrao means to rein in or curb, and phrasso means to fence in, stop up, or to put to silence); meaning the midriff or diaphragm as a partition of the body. It is only used in this verse. Verse 20 could be interpreted "Brethren, do not pout like children in regard to stopping uninterpreted messages in tongues, but be mature about it."
Sign is semeion in Greek; meaning mark, miracle, or wonder.
Unlearned is idiotes in Greek; meaning ignorant, rude, illiterate, or common. It is possibly a seeker of knowledge or an inquirer in this case.
The gospel is the good news that Jesus "saves us" from sin, and "God is with us" (Emmanuel). Churches are gatherings of saints (1 Cor. 1:2) in which the gifts are to be used in a manner that will exhort and encourage (1 Cor. 14:3 regarding prophecy) unto maturity. Those same gifts are used differently when used as a sign confirming the gospel to unbelievers (1 Cor. 14:24-25 regarding prophecy, convincing the unbeliever of sin) that they might believe the "report that God is in you," and repent and worship Him. Speaking in tongues is a sign validating the gospel for unbelievers. It is a gift when it is interpreted so that the church may be edified (1 Cor. 14:5 and 22).
In the church a message in tongues is not to be given without an interpreter because there are not supposed to be any unbelievers in the church. If an unbeliever does "come in" and hears the wonders of God in his own language, he will have the same response as the mocking Jews had at Pentecost: unbelief and accusations of madness (1 Cor. 14:21 and 23). If the gift of tongues is not being used as a sign for unbelievers, or interpreted as a gift for edifying the church, than it is to be used in personal prayer and praise (v 28).
Ephesians 6:18 "Praying always with all prayer and supplication
in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication
for all saints."
Always is pas kairos in Greek; meaning all or every opportunity, occasion, season, or time.
Perseverance is proskarteresis in Greek; meaning persistence.
Philippians 1:4 "Always in every prayer of mine for you all
making request with joy."
Always is pantote in Greek; meaning at all times or ever.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray without ceasing."
Without ceasing is adialeiptos in Greek; meaning without intermission.
God wants us to keep a constant internal dialogue with Him, asking and expecting Him to be made manifest in our daily lives and the lives of the brethren.
Colossians 4:12 "Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of
Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that
ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God."
Labouring fervently is agonizomai (agonize) in Greek; meaning strive or fight; to contend with adversaries, to endeavour with strenuous zeal, or to struggle with difficulties and dangers.
Perfect is teleios in Greek; meaning brought to its end, finished or mature.
Complete is pleroo in Greek; meaning fulfill, fill, full, or to cause to abound.
1 Thessalonians 3:10 "Night and day praying exceedingly that
we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your
Perfect is katartizo in Greek; meaning mend, fit, frame, restore or strengthen.
Christ's desire was that all His disciples would obey all His commands (Matthew 28:18-20); and we should pray unto that end.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 "I exhort therefore, that, first of all,
supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for
all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead
a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty."
Supplications is deesis in Greek; meaning prayer, request, need, indigence, want, privation, penury; seeking, asking, or entreating.
Prayers is proseuche in Greek; meaning pray earnestly or worship
Intercessions is enteuxis in Greek; meaning a falling in with, a coming together, meeting with; a conference or conversation, a prayer, petition or supplication.
Giving of thanks is eucharistia in Greek; meaning thanksgiving or thankfulness.
Authority is huperoche in Greek; meaning elevation, pre-eminence, or superiority.
2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that
the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it
is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked
men: for all men have not faith."
Delivered is rhoumai in Greek; meaning to rescue from the flow, or to draw to one's self.
Unreasonable is atopos in Greek; meaning "out of place", not befitting, unbecoming, or amiss.
Wicked is poneros in Greek; meaning evil; bringing toils, annoyances, or perils to the faith.
This is the closest thing to a negative prayer in the New Testament. In these last two prayers involving unregenerate people, the focus is on the peace of the saints and their freedom to live and to preach the gospel. We are to pray to be delivered from wicked men, not to curse them. We can certainly pray for God's will to be done in their lives; primarily that they be saved.
ACTS 1:14 "These all continued with one accord in prayer
and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with
With one accord is homothumadon in Greek; meaning "same passion" or unanimously.
Prayer is proseuchomai in Greek; meaning to wish toward, or pray earnestly.
Supplication is deesis in Greek; meaning "binding request", petition, or prayer.
The temple had separate places for the men and women to pray, but Jesus brings them together. It wasn't until I saw a drawing of Acts 2:1-4 with tongues of fire above the heads of men and women that I realized it wasn't just the apostles who were in the upper room speaking in tongues and deciding who should replace Judas (also see Acts 6:1-4), but that other male and female believers were included.
Acts 1:24 "And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen," (v 26) "Then they drew lots . . ." It's the only time this method is used by the disciples in the New Testament.
Acts 2:42 "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles'
doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."
Prayers is proseuche in Greek; meaning pray earnestly or worship.
Compare this with Nehemiah 8:18-9:3 in which the remnant, which returned to Jerusalem to rebuild its walls, celebrated the feast of booths for the first time in years, and then held a solemn assembly. They repented with sackcloth and fasting, and separated themselves from foreigners. They "read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God." Also notice the whole community was present (Neh. 8:1) and that the Levites taught each family as the Word was being read (Neh. 8:7-8). Personal interaction and instruction is vital to true understanding.
Acts 4:24-31 "And when they heard that, they lifted up their
voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast
made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the
mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the
people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers
were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of
a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod,
and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered
together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before
to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy
servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching
forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the
name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken
where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy
Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness."
One accord is homothumadon in Greek; meaning "same passion".
Heal is iasis in Greek; meaning healing or cure.
Signs is semeion in Greek; meaning mark, miracle, or wonder.
Wonders is teras in Greek; meaning miracle.
Prayed is deomai in Greek; meaning "binding oneself", beg, beseech, petition, or request.
Boldness is parrhesia in Greek; meaning freedom in speaking; or open, frank, fearless speech.
Reminding ourselves of who God is, what He has done in the past, and how His Word is fulfilled in our lives is an important part of prayer for us. Notice that they do not ask for another infilling of the Holy Spirit, but for the ability to boldly proclaim the gospel with miraculous signs of verification. Most of this group were probably also filled with the Spirit at Pentecost. Also see Acts 8:15-16 in which the apostles pray (proseuchomai) for those who have only been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Acts 7:59-60 "And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God,
and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried
with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he
had said this, he fell asleep."
Pray is krazo in Greek; meaning to cry or cry out, or speak with a loud voice. The same word is used of Jesus, His disciples, and demons "crying out".
There is a time to be heard by others when praying.
Acts 9:40 "But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down,
and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened
her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up."
Put all forth is ekballo in Greek; meaning "cast out", bring forth, or send forth. This word is also used regarding casting out demons.
The Jews were loud and expressive in their grief. Peter follows Jesus' example in Matthew 9:23-25, and sends the mourners out of the room so he can pray. There is a time to cry out your prayer to the crowd, and a time to cast out the crowd so you can pray.
Acts 3:1 "Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour."
The Jews prayed at the 3rd, 6th, and 9th hours of the day; like Daniel. Also see Acts 16:16.
Acts 16:13 "And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither."
A "place of prayer" was a carryover from Judaism when there was not enough money or enough men for a synagogue.
Acts 21:5 "And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed."
Though prayers were normally made in homes (see Acts 2:46 and 12:12), this prayer included all the families of the Christian community; thus needing a large open space. Kneeling was a sign of reverence. See Acts 20:36; Romans 11:4 and 14:11.
Acts 13:2-3 "As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted,
the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto
I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their
hands on them, they sent them away."
Ministered is leitourgeo in Greek; meaning to perform religious functions (worship, obey, relieve), or to be a public servant.
Fasted is nesteuo, in Greek; meaning to abstain as a religious exercise from food and drink: either entirely, if the fast lasted but a single day, or from customary and choice nourishment, if it continued several days.
Prayed is proseuchomai in Greek; meaning to wish toward.
Sent away is apoluo in Greek; meaning release, put away, let go, set at liberty, set free, let depart, or dismiss.
Acts 14:23 "And when they had ordained them elders in every
church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on
whom they believed."
Elders is presbuteros in Greek; meaning elder or older.
Ordained is cheirotoneo in Greek; meaning "hand stretch"; to select, appoint or choose. It appears again in 2 Cor. 8:19. Compare it with Acts 13:2-3.
Commended is paratithemi in Greek; meaning set before, commit, or put forth.
Whether by lot or vote, or appointment, establishment of leaders was consecrated in prayer and fasting (Luke 6:12-16). Though God had used solitary individuals to lead His people in the past, the new covenant came with a plurality of leadership of at least two (Luke 10:1). If it's a husband and wife team, the spouse needs to be visibly and physically participating (Priscilla and Aquilla). Plurality demonstrates oneness and balance.
Christian elders may have been adapted from Jewish "rulers of the synagogue" who were responsible for all aspects of worship, and excommunication or discipline of unruly members. What was important to each church was that it had godly elders (plural) recognized as the leadership in that church. When one person is seen as more important and having more authority than the others, you have problems (1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:all; 4:1-6; 12:7-31). Though Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize and teach new disciples (Matthew 28:19), Paul's ministry was preaching the gospel, and he delegated baptizing to others (1 Cor. 1:17 also see John 4:2 and Acts 10:47-48).
Paul acknowledged different gifts and offices of leadership in the church, but it was the plurality of leadership with Christ alone as the Head which kept it from becoming corrupt. I think Paul's ideal team of elders would have consisted of one apostle, one prophet, one evangelist, one pastor, and one teacher whose personalities and gifts would have balanced each other and brought oneness to the church (Eph. 4:1-16). The apostle and prophet would often be sent out to establish new churches, thus leaving three overseers of the flock.
Acts 28:8-9 "And it came to pass, that the father of Publius
lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and
prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. So when this was done,
others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed."
Prayed is proseuchomai in Greek; meaning to wish toward.
Laid (hands) on is epitithemi in Greek; meaning lay, put or set. It is also used in Acts 13:2-3.
Healed (v8) is iaomai in Greek; meaning to heal or to make whole.
Healed (v9) is therapeuo in Greek; meaning to serve or attend, or to heal or cure.
In verse seven, doctor Luke, the author of Acts, includes himself in company with Paul. Luke does not tell us if he used his medical knowledge to help bring healing to the others on the island, or if all the healings were by laying on of hands with prayer. By using two different Greek words for healing, he might be implying both miraculous and medically assisted healings. Jesus was not anti-medicine (see Matt. 9:12 and Luke 10:34). Healing and "all good gifts" come from God.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 "And lest I should be exalted above
measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me
a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should
be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that
it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for
thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore
will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest
upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities,
in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then
am I strong."
Exalted is huperairomai in Greek; meaning to lift up over some thing; to lift one's self up, be haughty, or behave insolently.
Thorn is skolops in Greek; (skello means to parch, through the idea of leanness, and optanomai means vision) meaning "lean vision"; translated a thorn. It is only used this once.
Flesh is sarx in Greek; meaning body or carnal.
Messenger is aggelos in Greek; meaning "bring tidings"; envoy, one who is sent, or an angel.
Buffet is kolaphizo in Greek; (kolazo means to check, restrain, chastise, correct, or punish; kolaphos means fist) meaning to strike with the fist, or to treat with violence and contempt. In its four other occurrences, it means physical beating.
Besought is parakaleo in Greek; meaning to call to one's side, call for, summon, to beg, entreat, beseech; or to strive to appease by entreaty.
This is toutou in Greek; meaning concerning this person or thing.
Depart is aphistemi in Greek; meaning "to make stand off", cause to withdraw, to remove, or to go away.
Grace is charis in Greek; meaning grace; that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, or loveliness; or God's loving-kindness.
Sufficient is arkeo in Greek; meaning to be strong, to be enough; satisfied, or contented.
Strength and power are dunamis in Greek; meaning power or ability.
Made perfect is teleioo in Greek; meaning to complete, accomplish, fulfill, or bring to an end.
Weakness is astheneia in Greek; meaning want of strength or to understand a thing, or infirmity.
Glory is kauchaomai in Greek; meaning to glory (whether with reason or without); to boast or take joy in.
A word by word translation of verse seven is "And by the surpassingness of the revelations that I might not be exalted, was given to me a thorn for the flesh, a messenger of Satan, that me he might buffet, that not I might be exalted."
It is reasonable to assume Paul's thorn was an eye condition (Gal. 4:15). It could also possibly be someone who beat him up or threw stones that gave him black eyes (hupopiazo means "to strike under the eye," or buffet as in 1 Cor. 9:27). Because of the "angel (aggelos) of light" in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, I believe Paul asked to be delivered from a false "super-apostle" who might have been a constant heckler in the crowd throwing rocks at him and trying to gain converts to himself (reproaches and persecutions). My guess is that it was Alexander, the coppersmith (Acts 19:33, 1 Tim. 1:20 and 2 Tim. 4:14).
Romans 1:8-10 "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ
for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For
God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son,
that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Making
request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey
by the will of God to come unto you."
Prosperous journey is euodoo in Greek; meaning to lead by a direct and easy way; to grant a successful issue, to cause to prosper or be successful.
Quite often Paul's travel plans would be derailed and God would use the opportunity for him to minister to others. Paul requests a direct and easy journey for himself "by the will of God" in order to reach his destination of service. When we make requests for ourselves or others, it is always subordinate to God's will.
Galatians 1:3-5 "Grace be to you and peace from God the Father,
and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he
might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of
God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Grace is charis in Greek; meaning "gift", pleasure, delight, sweetness, good will, loving-kindness, favour, benefit, bounty, thanks, recompense, or reward.
Peace is eirene in Greek; meaning a state of tranquillity; security, safety, prosperity, or felicity.
Ephesians 1:15-23 "Wherefore I also, after I heard of your
faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give
thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our
Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of
wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding
being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and
what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what
is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according
to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he
raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly
places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion,
and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that
which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him
to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness
of him that filleth all in all."
Wisdom is sophia in Greek; meaning intelligence, knowledge, or prudence in intercourse with men for upright living.
Revelation is apokalupsis in Greek; meaning manifestation, a disclosure of truth or instruction concerning things before unknown.
Understanding is dianoia in Greek; meaning the mind or thought.
Hope is elpis in Greek; meaning joyful expectation of good.
Riches is ploutos in Greek; meaning wealth, fulness, abundance, or plenitude.
Inheritance is kleronomia in Greek; meaning legal inheritance.
Fulness is pleroma in Greek; meaning that which is (has been) filled: the body of believers, as that which is filled with the presence, power, and agency, of Christ.
Ephesians 3:14-21 "For this cause I bow my knees unto the
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and
earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his
glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That
Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded
in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth,
and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which
passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we
ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory
in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
Dwell is katoikeo in Greek; meaning "in dwell", inhabit, settle, or be present.
Comprehend is katalambano in Greek; meaning "take upon", catch, to lay hold of, appropriate, take possession of, to understand, perceive, or learn.
This prayer should be used as a model for the saints. We are not to focus on the negative, but on Christ and His love and accomplishments for us. God's desire is to conform us to the likeness of His Son. Yes, He can change circumstances for us, in ways beyond our comprehension, but His goal is to change us.
Romans 16:25-27 "Now to him that is of power to stablish
you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according
to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world
began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets,
according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all
nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through
Jesus Christ for ever. Amen."
Wise is sophos in Greek; meaning skilled in letters, cultivated, learned; or forming the best plans and using the best means for their execution.
Colossians 1:9-12 "For this cause we also, since the day
we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might
be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful
in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened
with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and
longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath
made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light."
Might is dunamis in Greek; meaning strength, power, ability, miraculous or moral power, or the power and influence of wealth, population or armies.
Patience is hupomone in Greek; meaning steadfastness, or constancy.
Longsuffering is makrothumia in Greek; meaning patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance, or slowness in avenging wrongs.
2 Corinthians 13:7 "Now I pray to God that ye do no evil;
not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is
honest, though we be as reprobates."
Pray is euchomai in Greek; meaning wish, can wish, I would, or pray to God.
Evil is kakos in Greek; meaning evil things, harm; or that which is wicked, ill, or of a bad nature.
Honest is kalos in Greek; meaning good, better, beautiful, excellent, choice, surpassing, precious, suitable, commendable, admirable, noble, or honourable.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 "Wherefore also we pray always for
you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all
the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That
the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him,
according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."
Worthy is axioo in Greek; meaning to judge worthy or deserving; or right.
Good pleasure is eudokia in Greek; meaning good will, kindly intent, or desire.
We are to pray that all God's saints walk in obedience to Him in the fullness of His power. God's Spirit not only empowers us to obey Him, but He assures us He is faithful to complete His work in us.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 "And the very God of peace sanctify
you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved
blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that
calleth you, who also will do it."
Sanctify is hagiazo in Greek; meaning to render hallow, to separate from profane things and dedicate to God, to consecrate or to purify.
Preserved is tereo in Greek; meaning keep, watch, attend carefully, or to guard.
Blameless is amemptos in Greek; meaning "without finding fault", or no cause for censure.
New Testament prayers are always directed to Father God, sometimes through or by Jesus Christ (John 16:23-24). Prayers are requests for the saints; often for maturity, protection, healing, and strength to obey God's will. Prayers include joy, thanksgiving, and worship toward God. We are commanded to pray for one another as saints. We are never directed to pray against anything or anyone in the New Testament. We are directed to command circumstances involving unbelievers; whether it be to cast out demons or to pronounce healing. We are also directed to pray to live in peace with unbelievers.
Some cults curse Satan, demons and people in their "prayers". These people are described in 2 Peter 2:10-22 and Jude 1:8-19 as those who blaspheme authorities of which they have no understanding. I was like them until Jesus snatched me from the fire. Satan knows his destiny is the lake of fire (Rev. 20:7-10). Some fallen angels have been chained in darkness awaiting Judgment Day (Jude 1:6), and some have been allowed to influence regions from "high places" (Daniel 10 and Eph. 6:12). The demons already know they are cursed and are awaiting the time of torture (Mat. 28:28-29). Casting out a demon is a command, based upon the authority of Jesus' Name, directed toward the demon. It is not a prayer, nor is it a part of prophecy. People who hate Jesus and who preach a different gospel already have a curse on them (1 Cor. 16:22 and Gal. 1:6-9). James 3:9-12 clearly states Christians should not curse people. Prayer is conversation with God, not yelling at Satan and demons while in His Presence. In general, prayer is talking to our Father about Family matters.
Unspoken Sermons, Second Series, The Word of Jesus on Prayer. Quoted in George MacDonald An Anthology, edited by C. S. Lewis. New York: New York. MacMillan Publishing Co., 1947, p. 41.
[2 ]Freeman, James M.. Manners and Customs of the Bible. Plain Field, New Jersey: Logos International, 1972, p. 445.
 Freeman, James M.. Manners and Customs of the Bible. Plain Field, New Jersey: Logos International, 1972, p. 347.
© 1997 L. Eve Engelbrite