Acts 4:23-30

This is the only prayer by the church (other than the one line prayer
of Stephen at his death) in the New Testament.

“Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the
sea, and all that in them is.” They address God as Lord, and
acknowledge He is the Creator.

It varies from “Our Father who art in heaven,” but it maintains the
reverence and respect which should properly open a prayer, and it
shows that there is no one formula that must be followed. It is the
expression of your heart, soul and mind.

“Who by the mouth of thy prophet David has said…” The brethren
quoted the Second Psalm. Any language of scripture, appropriately
applied, from either the Old or the New Testament is good in
prayer. Not just to quote scripture, but when its language dovetails
with the subject being approached as in this instance.

“For of a truth against 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.” Here rather than quote
scripture they sum up its contents in their own words. That is still
appropriate.

They also acknowledge the sovereignty of God. He rules in the
affairs of men. He directs events to suite His will.

Too many times we forget this. Too many times we seem to feel
God is out there somewhere, but He can and will do nothing about
the affairs of men here on the earth. If that is true, why pray?

“And now, Lord, behold their threatening: and grant unto thy
servants that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by
stretching forth thy hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be
done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.” This is the meat and the
purpose of their prayer. Peter and John had been imprisoned for
preaching the gospel, and were released from prison by God. They
ask for the strength and faith to continue preaching even though the
government (the council of the Jews) is seeking to prevent preaching
in the name of Jesus. They ask for the ability to do what God has
commanded. But, all is to be done in and “by the name of thy holy
child Jesus.”

John 17:1-26

This prayer of Jesus is truly “The Lord’s Prayer.” It is not an
example of how to pray (though it may serve that purpose) it is the
outpouring of Jesus’ heart to His heavenly Father before He departs
from this world.

“Father,…” Jesus could say this as the only-begotten of the Father,
but we can say it through the Spirit of adoption that we have in
Jesus Christ.

“I have glorified thee on the earth:…” Jesus refers to the events on
earth, describing what has happened. There is nothing wrong, and
sometimes everything right on describing the situation as it exists
and has existed.

“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou
hast given me; for they are thine.” Paul shows that we are to pray
for all men; but certain prayers are for certain people, and certain
pleas are for certain persons. There is a purpose in prayer. Do not
forget your purpose, and state it specifically. As you read on in
Jesus’ prayer, He very specifically speaks of the apostles, and also
of us: “for them also which shall believe on me through their word.”
Jesus prays that the apostles: 1) be one; 2) be kept from evil; and,
3) be sanctified by the word. He prays that we be one to the glory
of the Father.

Pray for unity. Pray for be kept from evil. Pray to be sanctified by
the word.

And, in all of prayer, as Jesus does (read His words), maintain the
respect, reverence and awe of He who is God in heaven.

Other considerations

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) This is not
continual, but continuously. This is not praying every minute, but
remembering to pray every day.

“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.” (James 1:6)
Pray with confidence that God will hear and will answer. The
answer may not be what we want to hear. Sometimes the answer is
yes, and sometimes the answer is no, and sometimes the answer is
wait.

“…ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not,
because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
(James 4:3,4). The answer to prayer is for our own good, not for
our desires. Pray not for what you want, pray for what you need.
And, as with a little child, there can be a great deal of difference
between what you want and what you need. God knows the
difference.

“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for
they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking”
(Matthew 6:5-8). It is not the length of the prayer, but the sincerity
of it that makes it good. The same words can be used again and
again, as long as they are not useless and meaningless. Longer
prayers are not better prayers, they are only longer. Do not worry as
much about the wording of prayer (there are no “magic formulas”)
as you do meaning what you say.

Conclusion

The language of prayer that is acceptable to God is the language of
your heart. The language that expresses the respect and awe for
your heavenly Father, and for His Son our Savior, is the proper
language.

The language of the Psalms is the most eloquent of prayers; but, the
heartfelt simple statements of the lowliest of Christians is every bit
as beautiful in the ears of God. And remember, whether you are
praying in public or private, it is God whom you are addressing and
not man. Man is just listening in.


"So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of
His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an
inheritance among all those who are sanctified." (Acts 20:32)
NKJV
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The Language of
Prayer (2)