I remember when I was a little boy singing a song in children's church that said, "Read your Bible pray every day and you'll grow, grow, grow." I never knew how true that song was until I became an adult and realized that when we skip even one day of Bible reading and prayer we do not grow, but rather shrink. The same goes for fasting. People today act as though fasting has been abolished. Yet fasting is mentioned so many times in Scripture as something people did to draw closer to Yahweh and have their prayers heard (Nehemiah 9:1; Psalm 35:13; Daniel 9:3; Matthew 17:21; Acts 10:30; Acts 14:23). I'm certainly not saying that I'm the best at Bible reading, prayer, and fasting, but I do know that when these things are active in my life, life just goes so much better. Don't delay. If you've not been putting these to practice, begin to do so today. Yahweh will be pleased, and you will not regret the fruit that these will bear.
I often hear people state that they would like me to pray for their business, or sickness, or for this or that, and I'm glad to hear people seeking Yahweh for help. How often do we forget to ask Yahweh for help while fretting about something continuously and making attempts to handle a difficult situation ourselves?
One thing I rarely hear people ask for is wisdom and knowledge. It's not often that someone says to me, "Brother Matthew, could you please pray that Yahweh would give me more wisdom to understand Scripture?" Yet this should be our priority in prayer. A good example may be found in 1 Kings 3:3-15 where we read of Solomon asking Yahweh for wisdom to rule the people of Israel. Yahweh was honored in such a request and even gave Solomon blessings he did not ask for. Yahweh truly is able to bless us and help us above all that we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
Our model prayer is found in Matthew 6:9-15. Do you know how many material things we are taught to ask for in that prayer? From what I see there is only one and that is our daily bread. I've met some brethren who even believe this bread to be spiritual, but I believe the original intent of the passage was for literal food, sustenance for the body. Other than this one materialistic request we find that we should acknowledge the Father in reverence, respecting His name, pray that His kingdom and thus His will be accomplished in earth, ask Him to forgive us of our transgressions, and pray that He will not lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil. The prayer concludes by honoring and praising Yahweh, giving Him dominion recognition.
I don't believe that we have to always pray the prayer found in this text verbatim, but I believe it is quite alright to do so (I repeat it often). What I believe we should do is model our prayers after this prayer, not always seeking to - ask and ask and ask - for ourselves, but to give honor and praise to the Father, praying for His law, His government to take over our lives both individually, in our church body, and even nationally. Less time should be focused on material requests, because our heavenly Father knows what we have need of even before we ask Him (Matthew 6:5-8). If we get our hearts in the right place and make sure our priorities are in line in prayer, Yahweh will grant us what we need for He will see that we, like Solomon, are not seeking our own fleshly desires, but rather for Yahweh's will to be performed and for Him to be glorified in all things.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.