Prayer is the most often mentioned activity in the Bible, including prayers of praise to God, prayers of confession of sin, prayers of consecration or dedication and prayers of faith like anointing. Prayer was an essential part of the New Testament church and work and essential in God’s church today. Prayer must be part of our spiritual tools, food and consciousness. Knowing God and making Him part of our consciousness is the purpose of prayer. God already knows everything about us and what we need even before we ask. We need to get to know God as our Father and develop a personal, close relationship with Him. Ask God to help you and learn to do it right!
[Victor Kubik] Well, the subject I wanted to talk to you about today is about prayer. Now sometimes I’m asked to give speeches and talks about vision and so forth of the Church, but I thought that I would talk about a very, very vital and important tool that is our spiritual lifeblood. Our life is in our prayers. The life of the Church is in prayer. It is one of the most oft-mentioned activities in the Bible, after God, there’s another activity and then there’s prayer. And if you wanted to find out what the other activity is, check my Twitter feed. I tweeted it just before services.
Prayer is spoken of from Genesis to Revelation. From the time that man began to call upon the name of the Lord to the time when the prayers of the saints have wafted into heaven as sweet-smelling savor to God as He answered the prayers of Saints throughout all time. There are 650 prayers listed in the Bible. There are approximately 450 recorded answers to prayer in the Bible. They make for a good reading, once I gave a series of sermons on the various prayers of the Bible. My wife and I just before I go to work every morning we spend some time just reading the Bible, or just talking about spiritual things. And just a few weeks ago she just said, “Let me just read the ninth chapter of Daniel to you.” We were so inspired of a prayer of repentance that was just preceding the 70 weeks prophecy and Daniel acknowledging the sins of his people and acknowledging the reason that they had got into captivity, and now God was delivering them and sending them back from Babylon to Palestine, back to Jerusalem. It was so inspiring and so motivating.
And there are many other prayers with different purposes biblically that make for just excellent inspiring reading in a short manner. The Bible records Jesus praying 25 different times throughout His earthly ministry. He’s God in the flesh and He’s talking to His Father in heaven. He spends a lot of time before choosing His 12 apostles, those would be the leaders of the Church. Here, He is God and He’s talking to His Father in heaven about, “Who should I choose?” He prayed over that all night long. What an example!
The apostle Paul’s prayers are mentioned 41 different times. There are prayers, reports of prayer, prayer requests and exhortations to pray 41 times. Prayer is exclaimed as a very rich communication tool between us and God going all the way to the book of Deuteronomy wherein Deuteronomy 4:7 Deuteronomy 4:7For what nation is there so great, who has God so near to them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call on him for?
American King James Version×, this statement is made about this tool of prayer and its effect and what God’s relationship is to us through prayer. “What nation… What other nation” Deuteronomy 4:7 Deuteronomy 4:7For what nation is there so great, who has God so near to them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call on him for?
American King James Version×, “is so great” talking about Israel, “as to have their gods near them the way of the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to Him?” Our God is near to us whenever we pray to Him. He’s right there. And as we pray the opening prayer, as we pray at other times, our God is near to us. We expect that we want that, and we know that. But He’s saying as compared to “the gods” which don’t even exist of other nations. They’re not existent. Nobody’s listening. Nobody’s caring. There isn’t a God out there. Nobody’s hearing, but our God is near us and hears our prayers.
There are many different kinds of prayer in the Bible. They range through a series of types, probably the most common, or one the most common is praise of God, which is so vitally important, and we’ll be talking about why praise is. But there are several Psalms that are simply praise pslams. They just praise God for how wonderful and how good He is. Some of the psalms we sing they come to us in the form of music such as Psalm 148, we know these psalms. “Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise Him in the heights. Praise ye Him, all His angels; praise Him, all His hosts. Praise ye Him, sun and moon; praise Him, all you stars of light. Praise Him, you heavens of heavens and you waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord: for He commanded and they were created.” take a look at all the wonderful things that God has done. “He has established them forever and ever: He has made a decree which shall not pass. Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps. Fire, and hail; snow, and vapor, stormy wind fulfilling His word.” You can almost hear that song going through our head right now. Verse 14, “He also exalts the horn of His people, the praise of all His saints, even the children of Israel, a people nearer to Him, praise ye the Lord.”
David was so expressive. This was why he was a man after God’s own heart, many reasons, but this was one. He could praise God with his whole heart. He could thank God for all the things He had created. We can take a look at other songs as well such as Psalm 150. You could read this yourself and many, many others, songs and prayers of praise. There’s thanks, “come before His presence with thanksgiving,” come before Him not only with praise but with thanksgiving.
There are prayers of confession and repentance, as I mentioned Daniel 9, or probably the most notable one that we often sing at the Passover sermon service, confession repentance Psalm 51. “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” This was a prayer. This was almost a notation of either David writing it or somebody for him about the way he expressed himself in repentance. There are prayers of beseeching and supplication and earnestly praying to God for His intercession. There are prayers of consecration or dedication, such as the very, very awesome prayer of the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, where Solomon praises God and in the special dedication to the temple. That’s a wonderful, wonderful prayer in Kings.
When we bought our building or actually bought an old, not an old, but we bought a tanning salon in Terre Haute, Indiana and we turned it into our church hall that seated about… could seat up to about 70 people, the attendance there was in the low 40s, usually. And we had quite a bit of remodeling we did to it, it was actually very nice, clean, little building, and we were so happy with it. And we had our kitchen there, we had the church hall, and it was a brick building, it was very, very nice. It served us and it’s continuing to serve us very well. But we had a very special dedication ceremony, and what we did for it was read Solomon’s prayer of the temple. It was nowhere near that temple of Solomon, believe me, it’s a tanning salon. And we’ve actually, one time I was giving a sermon, we had a lady walk in and say, “Where can I get a tan?” I said, “Sit right down here, just listen to the rest of my sermon.” I didn’t. But anyway, we had this tanning salon and we read, we had a visitor from the home office, and we read it with real joy and real gladness this awesome prayer of dedication of a place for God to have His presence there.
There are prayers of faith such as when we come together to anoint someone, the prayer of faith shall save him. But to say there are three essential prayers if you guys remember. Wow, thanks, and help. Wow, thanks, and help. The disciples in their work in the ministry, the New Testament church, the word prayer is always associated with the work that they were doing. Acts 1:14 Acts 1:14These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
American King James Version×. Acts 1:14 Acts 1:14These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
American King James Version×, for the very beginning of the start of the New Testament church, here’s a work being done with people who are fisherman, tax collectors, construction people, all these people who were called to be disciples. There wasn’t to our record, to our knowledge a single theologian among them. We didn’t get to that until we got to the apostle Paul who had gone through school and was very knowledgeable in a disciplined way of study. It seemed like most of the disciples and apostles under Jesus Christ tutorship were very, very plain people. And they relied totally on prayer, not on their charisma or on their work.
But in Acts 1:14 Acts 1:14These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
American King James Version×, we see immediately, “These all continued in one accord in prayer and supplication,” you know, probably what they were saying after Jesus Christ was ascended to heaven, “What do we do now? How are we supposed to continue? Please show us the way.” It’s interesting that when I was selected to be president, which I wasn’t really expecting to happen, and just so many things had happened at that time of the death of Denny Luker and so forth. And I know that after I was selected, I went out to see my wife and I said to her, “Well, I guess I’m it.” And I said, “Now Bev, now what?” That was a feeling I had, “Now what?” I have no president to look to for simple answers because I’m the one in that role. And I had to continue in accord and ask God in prayer, “What do we do? What do I say? How do I react? How do I conduct myself in a way that’ll be pleasing to you?”
Well, all these disciples and apostles as the church got off to a start here getting on to the Pentecost “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication,” believe me, from the time that Jesus ascended to heaven and they could no longer be with Him in person, to 10 days later when the day of Pentecost came, I’m sure they were saying, “What do we do now?” And they continued with prayer and supplication, earnest prayer.
Acts 2:42 Acts 2:42And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
American King James Version×, as the church begins to grow, “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” So when they got together for their meetings for their meals and so forth, in their planning, I’m sure there was just a lot of excitement as the Church was getting off to a start. But prayers were an integral part in what they were doing. Acts 11:5 Acts 11:5I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me:
American King James Version×. I mean you can look through a concordance and look at so many passages that speak to prayer.
“I was in the city of Joppa praying:” this was Peter, “and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet,” you know something? I think I have the wrong verse. But you have to excuse me, I pray that I will find the right one here. I pray that I move on in my notes. We find a church that was in prayer before God and was continually relying upon God for His help in leading them to what needed to be done. The power of the Spirit descended upon the early Christians in the Church, and powerful prayer was spoken as to ask God for His help. At the home office, we pray continually. We pray continually. We have a meeting, sometimes a very routine meeting about something in our office, and we sit down and we ask God for help, for His guidance in leading us to what needs to be said and what needs to be done.
On Tuesday mornings, we have a staff meeting that starts at about 10:00 in the morning and runs an hour or two, usually no later than 12:00 where we discuss the week’s events and things that need to be done. We begin that meeting in a tradition that was started by our former president Denny Luker. We all kneel down on the round table in my office, and we all ask God to direct us into the decisions that have to be made. We have a different staff member who gives that prayer. But we have about five people that get together of our administrative staff and we ask God, we beseech Him, we supplicate Him to please show us the way, show us what the right thing to do is. We rely upon Him to help us in what needs to be accomplished. All Christians are expected to have a regular, faithful, devoted, fervent prayer life, it’s part of what they are.
Prayer, as I mentioned, is our spiritual lifeblood. As a study of God’s Word, is our spiritual food, and fasting is our spiritual catalyst. Prayer is what circulates in our body, takes food to every cell of our body, and gives us life. Prayer gives us a spiritual consciousness and our spiritual existence. These are tools that are vital for our spiritual existence. I cannot imagine a life without prayer to God. I’m trying to figure it out how to figure it out all by yourself. And, of course, there are a lot of smarter people than us, a lot of really whiz people in the world that can do a lot of things that don’t rely upon God. I know that I’m not as smart as they are, and I need to have God’s help to direct me and to show me the way. So many times in the work of the Church, I had to look up a cliff and say, “How do I get up to the top of that cliff?” It could be any number of matters that need to be taken care of. We need manpower, we need help, we need support, we need financing, we need something done overseas, we need something done internally. We need to educate our ministers. How do we do it? I look up the cliff and say, “God, show us the way. God, we need good new trainees into the ministry.” You know, God had brought them to us. God has answered our prayers.
That has given me a great deal of confidence because I’m not afraid. I don’t say, “What do we do now?” I just ask God, “What must I do? What is it that you want me to know? How do you want me to act? How do you want me to react,” sometimes more importantly to stimuli that come to us at the home office or in my particular role? And God answers every time. And I ask Him to learn to do it right.
Prayer is a universal part of the human psyche. God built something into our brains, into the human being, that because I don’t know if turtles pray or if elephants pray, but I know that human beings have a capacity to want to reach out beyond themselves, whether it’s in paganism to reach out to the stars or to the moon, kind of, a worship, human beings have part of their psyche to reach out to look to something higher and bigger. In the recent study, 30% of atheists said that they prayed occasionally. I don’t know what they prayed to, but they did pray. I heard in a sermon here not so long ago that 50% of atheists were known to have prayed. And in a foxhole, there are no atheists. Those who are about to know that they might view every other one killed the next moments, there are no atheists. You have a 100% prayer rate of people like that.
Prayer can be public. Prayer is private. We’re told to go to a private place, but we also pray publicly as Solomon did, and as others did very, very publicly. And prayers can be cultural. I’ve traveled to Ukraine many times work with Sabbatarians and Sabbath keepers, and there they pray a lot. They pray, of course, at mealtime. When the meal is over with, they thank God for the meal they just had. When they get to the car, they take a trip to go someplace, before they turn the ignition on, they pray. In fact, one time we were leaving, you know, driving in town and one of the Sabbatarians and I put my seatbelt on after he prayed, he says, “Why are you doing that? Don’t you like my driving?” I guess in town they don’t wear seatbelts, but on the highway, they do.
In 1992, when I visited the Sabbatarians for the first time in Western Ukraine, it was a very, very poor time. The economy was a real mess, they had just torn themselves away from the U.S.S.R., the U.S.S.R. collapsed just a year before and things were so bad that when they saw me, and they saw who I was with, at that time our regional director in Germany, that, “Can you help us out? Can you just stand in the bread line? Because they’re giving, they’re allowing every person who’s in this line two loaves of bread. So, Here’s money, and just, could you just stand there and, you know, take the two loaves.” So I stood there in line, the bread line, you know, and this big woman just throws two loaves of bread at me, takes my money and pushes me aside. And then other people came and I said, “This is poverty. This is really, really poor.”
But then that evening, Friday night, we were with them, and their tradition was for the whole family to pray as the sunset. The sun was going down and I said, “Okay, so almost sun time. So sundown right now. Let’s all gather, let’s all gather in the room here in the house.” And the whole family, and me, and John Carlson at that time, we just all got together in a prayer circle. And everyone prayed and thanked God for the week. And I thought to myself, you know, here are these people, they go through economic turmoil, they don’t know if they’re going to be brought back to the U.S.S.R., they’ve lived under an oppressive government for all these years, people who would probably just want to curse their circumstances, and then their poverty, and just the fact that there was no work and everything was in the pits.” And they all prayed, “God, thank You. Thank You for my brothers and sisters. Thank You for my parents. Thank You for our children, our beautiful children whom You love so much. Thank You for our church that we can meet openly in public.” And I thought to myself, “How many things do we take for granted? And these people are so thankful to God, and they’re just expressing it all one to another, all to them.” I thought to myself, “How we take things for granted back in America.” The prayer was so wonderful as they expressed gratitude to God for what they had and not cursed circumstances for what they didn’t have.
We all came through some type of culture of prayer, whether you were a Baptist, or Catholic, or, you know, what other denomination you had before. I came up through the Orthodox Church. The Greek Orthodox or Ukrainian Orthodox branch of the Greek Orthodox Church. I was very active in my church, even as a teenager. I was the altar boy for five years, worked with the priest, really, really liked him very, very much, and I was devout. One time, believe it or not, I even thought about the priesthood. Not too long, but I just thought, “Well, that’s an interesting job that he had.” I read my prayers religiously every morning and every night. It was a prayer book, and there were prayers to recite when I got up in the morning, first thing on my knees with this book, and I read these prayers, it took what? Ten minutes or so, and then before going to sleep at night, the prayer book. That was very, very important.
As an altar boy, part of the church service was the preparing of the censers, that’s these things that have smoke coming out of them, you put incense and hot coals, that represents the prayers of the saints as described in the book of Revelation going up before God. And then the priest would take the censer and go throughout all the church, these are presented prayers going up into heaven. I would say that one of the most wonderful things that came to me is that when I was about 14 or 15, I began to listen to the World Tomorrow program and began to discover faith and prayer and more Biblical examples of prayer, that I could see, that I could talk extemporaneously to God. I didn’t have to go through the liturgical style of repetitious statements over and over again, because certain statements were be made 12 times, 10 times and even the grand finale at 40 times. And they’re repetitious, but that was the way the prayer was done. And it was so wonderful to be able to talk to God the way I would talk to another person, with my requests, gratitude, pleasantries, requests and all the things that were there. That was very, very wonderful as I learned those things.
I went to Ambassador College, in fact, I’ve always prayed in Ukrainian. Ukrainian was my first language. I didn’t know English until I was five. My parents were brought in to by my kindergarten teacher and said, “Please, teach this kid English. Please speak English at home, because I didn’t know any English. I could write my name in Ukrainian and said, “What in the world is that?” You know, they were really worried about what’s happening to this kid. But I always spoke to God in Ukrainian, always. I just didn’t feel, even though I grew up with English and learned the English language ultimately, and now my first language is English, but I always spoke in Ukrainian, and when I went to Ambassador College, I prayed in Ukrainian. Now, we had these prayer booths, those of you who may have gone to Ambassador College, we had they looked like telephone booths, and they were, you know, kind of, in the dormitories, and you went in there and you prayed. Sometimes you’d hear people muttering something, you know, next, you know, we, kind of, just said things and, you know, it was, kind of, accepted. I got reported to the student body president.
“Victor Kubik is speaking in some unknown tongue.” And I remember being brought to the student body president, “What are you saying? What are you doing? Students are complaining that they can’t understand what you’re saying.” “None of their business.” But I was told, “You speak in English.” So I did. From the time I was 20 years old then to the present time, my prayers have been in English. But even my mother to the time that she died, I always spoke to her Ukrainian, I couldn’t speak in English because that was a familiar language that I had.
Biblically, there are some dramatic exchanges of prayer between God and the various people that God was working with. The dramatic ones of Abraham and God. Where God and Abraham were in a negotiation, “Now will you expunge the city if only 20 people are there.” “Oh, no. If you’ve got 20, fine, you know.” “Whoa,” Abraham said, “I may have underestimated that.” And so, he, kind of, goes overestimated. So he, kind of, goes through a negotiation with God, but there was that interplay between Abraham and God. There’s a talking to God about his son Isaac. There was God’s request to Abraham of what to do very, very directly. Those were prayers, those were communications, because obviously, Abraham was off in a private spot, someplace where he was focused his attention totally on God who’s telling him what would be happening, what type of agreements, what type of covenants and so forth, and that was repeated number of times that was done in prayer.
Moses and God, many interchanges between him. David and God. Daniel and God, I just spoke to you here about the prayer of Daniel, you know, a prayer of repentance and probably the most awesome example of all of Jesus Christ and His praying to God His Father. Praying all night saying, “Which of these fellows should I choose? Peter, well, I’m not sure about him. He’s, kind of loud, you know,” or talking about this one here, “Well, he’s Thomas, he’s just always, kind of, doubtful and so forth.” You know, he finally were able to pick and choose the people that God the Father and Him worked out to be the ones that would direct the Church in that early New Testament time. Jesus Christ gave us the model of prayer. Disciples says, “Teach us how to pray.” They saw Jesus going off someplace by Himself, and they weren’t sure what He was saying or what order He was saying it in, and they, “Teach us how to play,” even though there were prayers known at that time, but the publicans, and, you know, not publicans, but the Pharisees, and so forth and others.
“How do you pray Jesus? What do you say?” John 17, one of the most beautiful, powerful prayers of Jesus who is not distracted by the fact that He’d be dying within 24 hours prayed for the unity of the Church. First and foremost, an extremely powerful interchange between Him and His Father. When we pray, we pray not for God getting to know more about you. “God I want to tell you about me.” You know, God already knows everything about you, you can skip that part. It reminds me of the prayer of Charles de Gaulle, “God, please trust me.” What? I remember reading that in the Plain Truth article. “God, I want you to trust me as a leader of these people.” Wrong. God already knows everything about you. He knows every intention, every motive, every hidden thought, any twist and turn of motives. He knows that. There’s no secret agenda, and you cannot fool Him at all.
Shouldn’t pray to vent. Oh, I guess some you can. David did, but he quickly got on to God’s promises and what God’s abilities were. Certainly, you can say, “God, I’m hurting, but also, I know that You are in charge, You hear me, You know everything about me, and there’s a purpose for the reasons that I hurt.” First purpose is to get to know God, not for Him to get to know you. Purpose of prayer is to get to know God, to make Him part of your consciousness, to interchange your thinking and thoughts with that great God in heaven. Prayer is the only entryway to genuine self-knowledge of what we are and the only way to real deep change in our lives. Now, when we did the public appearance campaigns for “Why Were You Born?” we sent out Steve Myers and crew out to interview people on the streets in Cincinnati about asking the question of “why were you born?”
You know, to me, yes, they were silly answers. People had no idea why they were born, what their purpose was, not at all. But, you know, what thing that really struck me is that these people spiritual life was totally empty. And I said, “I’m so thankful that I have a God to talk to that can tell me what the purpose of life is.” Tells me who I am, who God is, what’s the relationship I have with Him. And I thought about all these people, all these poor people. They’re lost. They don’t even want to be found. They have no hope. And I just realized how fortunate we are to be able to have hope.
Prayer can be hard. I would say it’s harder now, probably back then in Abraham’s time when there weren’t all the distractions, there weren’t all electronic things that intervene and bug us and distract us from a real realization of what’s in the spirit world. We have so many distractions that scatter our mind. We have a huge volume and diversity of circumstances. And I began to realize when I talk to people I cannot just tell them untruths that I’m praying for you. People say, “Mr. Kubik, please pray for me.” How in the world can I pray for all things? You know, I have to write them down. I have a logging method that I have to log, you know, the people who are sick, the people who are distressed, I pray for our ministers, I pray for our ministers that are at crisis positions in life, I pray for people that just say, “Please, please, please pray for me.” That I that I don’t want to get lost and just say, “Well, I’ll just pray for you.” It’s kind of throw it in a big bag and just have God somehow take care of it.
We need to find a way, purposely, in the distracting world that we live in, to pray for, to focus our attention and mind on the people, on the things that we’ll be praying for, to be honest about praying, and not say, “Well, I’ll pray about it.” You’ll say, ‘Yeah, sure.” I want people to believe that. There are people who have a serious health crisis. And I know that I have decisions to make. I know that sometimes a decision that I make is not going to make some people happy because I have to make the opposite decision or one that will make them happy, will make other people unhappy. So what do I do? And I ask God to give me help in that. But that was an issue, too, in Paul’s time because while the human being has the capacity for reaching out beyond his psychology, his consciousness. And like I said, I don’t believe that an elephant or a salmon does that. They just do what they do. They have instincts, they have different things. Human beings are not only conscious creatures, we’re self-conscious creatures, we’re conscious of ourselves. And also, we as human beings are spiritually conscious about life beyond. That is what God has granted us.
And as we look to connecting to all that, it may not always be easy. But the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:26 Romans 8:26Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
American King James Version×, well-known, and probably one that’s a scripture that you’ve got memorized because you need it with a certain regularity in your prayers. “The Spirit” Romans 8:26 Romans 8:26Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
American King James Version×, “helps us in our weaknesses. Where we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” God through His Spirit helps us to pray for the things that we should. In our prayers, we come to God and we say things that we say to no other human being. Things that we wouldn’t even say to our mate. Admissions that we make, we appear before Him totally naked. It’s just us and God. He sees everything there is about us. He knows our heart, there’s no other human being does. Our motives, our moves. And also, He knows and predicts, He’s got a predictor scale about what we might do.
And so, He answers prayer based on probability and what you might do. God factors this into His answer to your prayers. You are with another being, another conscious being who created you, who created your unique self. God is the only one from whom you can hide nothing, and come to see yourself in a unique light. Most people today base their inner life on outward circumstances, how much money they have, what they own, their position, so forth. But they don’t have their inside cleared up. And this brings about a dark and scary inside. Better the other way around. Better clean up or inside to be the basis of who we are, and the outside will take care of itself.
So sad to see a person that is projecting a certain vain image, and basically finds their value in that, than the one who in prayer who sees himself/herself for what they are, what they need to be, for what their spiritual way is to be as they clean up self-doubts, anxieties, self-pity and grudges to truly be the person that they will show it on the outside, that’s a converted person.
I’d like to go through some important things about the prayer that Jesus gave His disciples. This is a couple of very important things about maybe that we hadn’t thought of. Because when we pray, as we discipline ourselves to pray, we find ourselves being very, very focused on the things that we need, and that is certainly very, very true. Now, where are the person that is closest to us, you know, and all of our needs? But here’s what God says should be the primers for our prayer. Jesus’ disciples asked Him for guidance of how to pray. And He showed them not only what to pray for, but He gave them a framework. And it’s a very, very important framework. And also in the way that He wanted Him to be addressed.
Now, first of all, in Matthew 6, He prefaced in verse 8, this is where the model pattern for prayer is given. He says as I’ve already said before, God the Father knows all of your needs before you even ask Him. So you don’t have to remind Him. Not that you can’t remind Him but he knows, He caught it, He knows it. He’s got His Wunderlist on you and tacked on a bulletin board and He knows all the things that you need to know. But the first three elements of the prayer start with us talking about God, of the things that He reminds us of. In Matthew 6:9 Matthew 6:9After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name.
American King James Version×, “After this manner, therefore, you pray:” after this model, “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Your name… Hallowed be Thy name,” and I will use the Old King James translation. It’s important to understand a little… an interesting factor in the language that is used in the Old King James which does not appear in the more modern versions.
“Hallowed be Thy name.” And oftentimes, we change that quickly to “You,” because that’s modern. But thy and thou were very, very important words of expressing familiarity. Now, in certain languages… and this was the way it was in the English language long time ago. In fact, do you know that when the King James was translated in 1611, thy and thou were already archaic. Already the word “you” was coming into use, but there was a specific reason why “thy” was used. Here it is, those of us who’ve grown up as Germans or in a German language, I’m not sure about Spanish, I know that in the Russian and Ukrainian, there is a very, very big and important factor in how we refer to other people, whether is in the familiar sense, or in the formal sense. The only thing we can say close to that would be how we call somebody Mister, that’s the formal, or in the informal, “Hey, Bill.” Whatever.
Now, in the language like in Ukrainian when I grew up, you know, you always call everybody by their formal except for certain specific cases. Your parents, you’re allowed to talk to and refer to them in the informal. Your brothers and sisters. But never would you call another adult in the informal, or for that matter, even somebody who’s in their mid to late teens, you use the formal because you’re coming to a point of where you don’t know them and you’re respecting their identity as a person. And I remember it was so important to talk that way. When I go to Ukraine and talk to the people there, it’s always in the formal. When I go to Chernobyl and talk to those people, it’s always in the formal. Wouldn’t dream of using the familiar, except one person there that I’ve got to know really well, he’s organized a lot of things for us, and finally, instead of referring to him as bи , which is formal you, is tи . Well, if he said tu to somebody who is formal, it would be the greatest disrespect of them.
You know, it’d be like walking up to the governor of the state, or to the president of the United States and calling him, “Hey, Bill,” or, you know, “Hey, Don.” Don Trump, not Don Ford, but just refer to them that way, it showed a disrespect. But you always want to make sure that you spoke with respect. Now, who would you think would want to have the greatest respect of all? Would be God, wouldn’t it? But do you know that God wants us to refer to Him in the informal? And when I would hear the Ukrainian singing, you know, in their songs, “Hey they’re referring to God in the informal.” But, “Hey, Bill.” You know, God is referred to in the informal. He wants us to refer to Him in the closeness of family as the most familiar. He allows that. In fact, usually, when you talk to people and you’re calling them formal, if you get to know them after a while and say, “Don’t call me by that. You can call me, you know, this.” You know, the informal. But it’s with a permission of that person.
God commands us to refer to Him in the informal, in the closeness of Abba , Father, Daddy. That’s the way He wants us to talk to Him. And, again, thy and thou were already words that were the informal, because in the King James Bible, you do have you, and you have thy, or your and thou. So what’s the difference? Well, one was the informal and one was the formal. God wants us to refer to Him in the informal, to talk to him in the closeness of family. And in these languages, such as German, words du for the familiar and sie for the formal. God is always Du , Du . You know, even when you talk to people and you get to know people in these languages, you refer to actually most people that you’re around except for family in the formal. Like even when I talk to teenage girls, you know, teenage, upper teenage girls, I would refer to them in the formal. I wouldn’t refer to them in a very, very informal way, because it had a certain air that is disrespectful. You do that, you know, in the informal.
But we see here, “hallowed” holy “is Your name.” The name reflects God’s identity, His creation, His relationship to you, His whole plan to you. When God created us in His image and likeness, and when we get it that the Bible is a story about man being made in God’s image to become immortal, it’s a beautiful, wonderful, hopeful, light and a hopeful story. You know, mankind who has left God and is catapulting in our time right now towards who knows what in the future, we have no idea what’s up ahead of us, but there are some very dramatic things that could take place here in the next century. Well, the most dramatic things is what’s been talked about in the last few years that some of the big financiers have put some money down on like Elon Musk of Tesla, or other notables, and that is to create immortality of mankind now outside of God. You might think that’s crazy. You might think that that’s impossible.
You know that there are certain possibilities. The two books this past year that have, you know, talked about that and the technology as is progressing at a very fast rate, they figured that the whole human brain, that your whole human brain can be uploaded to the cloud. Everything, all your thoughts, everything you are, everything you’ve seen, videos of your memories. All this could be detected and be uploaded into a cloud. And then be downloaded into a new body. Isn’t that spectacular? Already they’re talking about developing new bodies. People don’t want to live forever with their knees and age and everything else. I wouldn’t want to live forever the way I am right now. I want a new body, I wanted… you know, I want to be 21-years-old forever. And there are scientists who are thinking in those terms. They figured that within 100 or 200 years, maybe even sooner with the way technology is, there’s nothing that man seeks that sets about to do that would be impossible to him.
But what in the world would man be doing replicating his ugliness in the nature he has. Do you know that God has the same plan, 1 Corinthians 15, we’ll be resurrected. What does resurrected mean? That means to be downloaded from somewhere. And I hope God has a backup for everybody who’s died and doesn’t forget people. That’s what God is doing. He’s going to download what we were into an incorruptible body that will be changed. We shall be changed and have a new nature. That’s the story of God. I find this to be so exciting, so interesting because it’s interesting too that mankind wants to totally get around God and create his own immortality. There’s a book that had been endorsed by Bill Gates, Barack Obama, it’s taken the rounds last year called Homo Deus . Man God. Going beyond homo sapiens. Sapiens is man who is wise to man who is God. We don’t have to worry about religion, we don’t have to worry about anything. We can continue and make our consciousness portable. We can make who we are to be portable in a different body and live forever.
Could go out to space, in fact, that’s the talk about how we can go and create our own environments out in space. Same things that we’ve talked about ourselves and the wonderful world tomorrow, this is not just the earth that we’ll be governing. God has many different opportunities for us, but it’s got to be done His way. I think C.S. Lewis had a very interesting comment about anybody who thinks about man going out to outer space. He said, “Let’s pray that man never leaves this planet to spread his iniquity elsewhere.” And that is so very, very true. But God has created us. God has created us, to be made in His image, to ultimately become like Him, to recognize who we are and what we need to change. You know, you wouldn’t get all this unless you studied the Bible, but also studied it in prayer and applied it to yourself.
Hallowed be Your name, Your creation, Your plan, that’s what I thank God for. “Thy Kingdom come” what’s interesting here is again, the familiar, but also the fact that the Kingdom comes, suggesting that it’s not here right now. The work of the Church is to prepare, to preach, to proclaim the Kingdom of God. That proclamation is not here. This is not God’s Kingdom. Yes, He’s teaching us about the Kingdom. Yes, He’s giving us the Holy Spirit. Yes, we have a down payment of eternal life, but this is not it right now. “Thy Kingdom come.” Our work of the Church, our mission is to preach the gospel into all the world as weak or as slow as we are, as may be to some is being irrelevant as we are as tiny as we are. That is the mission that we have to preach the gospel into all the world. You know, in my prayers, my hope is God shows us how that’s to be done with the money we have, with the people we have, with the demographics that we have in the Church, and yet, that is to be our prayer, and it should be everybody’s prayer, “Thy Kingdom come.” That we proclaim the Kingdom.
Also, we pray, again, we’re not even into anything that’s just ourselves, we pray, “Thy will be done.” These three important elements need to be focused on in the very beginnings of our prayer. When the disciples say, “What in the world do you talk about, Jesus?” “I talked about the greatness of God, His name, His Kingdom, and about His will being done.” He said, “By the way, I also said to Him, I said to My Father, ‘Let not My will be done, but let Your will be done.’” Where we say, “God, tell me what to do. Show me how I am to conduct myself. Don’t make me a person who looks at myself and my preferences and the things that I feel I’m strong in and become like a de Gaulle. ‘God, trust me.’” No, God says, “Trust Me.” Trust God.
We finally get to the first “us” in this prayer. “Give us,” this is Mathew 6:11, “Give us this day our daily bread.” We come to the first request, to provide for our needs. I’ll go on quickly here to the others here. “Forgive us our debts,” our trespasses, our sins, “as we forgive our debtors.” Now, this scripture has been actually deemed by some commentaries as one of the most difficult scriptures in the Bible. Think of it. “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” It’s not so hard to understand the words of it. It’s just really hard to understand the doing of it. And do we have anything against anybody? Of course, we do. Well, then we’re doomed. If you take a look at the scripture on the surface. As we have not forgiven others, puts a lot of stress on understanding this verse. And just in case you missed it, just in case you’ve maybe thought, “Well, I don’t think He really meant that.” You take a look at verse 14 of the same chapter that says, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Just like a P.S. to the model prayer.
“But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Let’s chew on that before the Passover. Now do we have grudges? Do we have things that we don’t like about people that we hold against them? Do we have people pigeonholed? Of course, we do. And I’ve tried to read as much as I could… In our website, we have only one article that really addresses this in the year 2004 in the United News . It’s a difficult one. It’s a difficult one, one worthy of discussion. In the chapter before in chapter 5, this is the same sermon. This is the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,” not you having something against him. I mean, this makes it more complicated.
“Leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way; first, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” That’s a tough one. Believe me. That’s why it’s considered one of the tough scriptures of the Bible, almost as hard as understanding the unjust steward. Or any of these other parables, you know, what in the world does that mean? I think, you know, I’m not going to explain the whole thing, that’s a whole sermon, believe me. It’s a whole study, it’s a whole fasting and praying situation about what we do. But can we just take it upon ourselves to read the words and see what it says and how we treat people? Not only forgive us our sins as we forgive others but if a brother has something aught against you and you know he does, leave your gift, fix it, fix it.
Now, as we are told to “give us this day our daily bread.” This is a prayer that we pray daily, not that we prayed once and just have a deep sigh and say, “Guess I can’t do it.” Now, this is a prayer that we pray all the time. “Help me. Help me with this person, that, I know that I have wronged him, I know that I wasn’t honest. Please forgive me. Please make it right.” It could be somebody who’s dead even then you really can’t make it right with him. “God, please forgive me for the way I was towards my parent, or towards other relationships.” Because that’s a heart and crux and core of the relationship of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and us. It’s a world that’s reconciled.
It won’t come to resolutions, it won’t come for great announcements and pronouncements, it will come from the heart, the way Jesus Christ expressed in this model prayer. And then it concludes to live, “Lead us not into temptation,” or sore trial. And I guess we could tack on to that right away, “and deliver us from the evil one.” Well, after these last week, where we had another shooting and 17 more people who were gunned down, and I saw their pictures that went on to C.N.N. and just watched, you know, on their cnn.com, those faces of young men, young ladies, looked like staff of the school, janitors, or whatever, you know, where they worked at the school that were gunned down randomly, you know, I teared up. I really did. I said, “Why them?” You know, I have a granddaughter. I have granddaughters and they go to school, well, they’re home-schooled now, but they went to school. What if something like that happened? That will be absolutely devastating. I believe that we in the Church should be praying not to have more guns in church, but to lead us not into sore trial. Don’t lead us to sore trial. Don’t allow that to happen. Protect us. “Have Your angels protect us.” Not the AR-15s. Have God protect us, and deliver us from the evil one who is Satan the devil who hates us, who hates mankind, and is going to be continually churning these things, and churning these things, and churning these things against the world, because what we saw was not the last one. There’ll be more.
We live, again, not in God’s world, not in God’s Kingdom, we live in the world of Satan and we represent God, and we need godly tools. And believe me, our spiritual life, our spiritual lifeblood, our spiritual protection is in our prayer, our communication with God, and in this prayer, which has the whole plan of God, total relationship with us and reconciliation. It’s a beautiful prayer. It’s got it all. It’s such a simple prayer. We all know it probably from memory. In Ukraine, it’s interesting these expressions to people. “He is so dumb. He doesn’t know the Lord’s prayer,” ultra stupid person, because it’s such a simple thing, it’s called the “Our Father” over there. “He is so dumb. He doesn’t know ‘Our Father.’” Everybody knows it, “Our Father which art in heaven.”
Brethren, we need to live in asking God for His continual watch over us and protection. But He’s given us to our consciousness a great deal to be prepared with and tools that we have at our disposal. We have all these tools at our disposal as those made in His image who are going to be brought to not only eternal life but to have a status of godliness made in the image and likeness of God. Let’s be grateful to God for that. It has been wonderful to be here in the Church. I look forward to the council meetings. Look forward to talking to all of you after services today. I’ll conclude with grace to you and peace of God the Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ.