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May those who persecute me to death suffer defeat and be shamed. Return the sword full of confusion to those who plot my harm. May they be like dust before the wind when the Angel of the Lord destroys them. May their path be dark and slippery, when the Angel of the Lord persecutes them. Because without motive they tended webs of death, without reason they set mortal traps for me. May an unforseen disaster surprise them, may the net they hid entangle them; may they fall in the same trap they set for me. My soul rejoices with the Lord and will enjoy its salvation.

Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now and always, world without end. How was this prayer born? After having celebrated the Eucharist, he was with his cardinals consulting over certain subjects in the private chapel of the Vatican when suddenly he stopped at the foot of the altar and became fixed on a reality that only he could see.

His countenance had an expression of horror. Impacted, he turned pale. He had seen and heard something very terrible. The influence of these prayers is more distinctly traced in the prayers contained in the epistles, see Romans ; Ephesians ; Philemon ; Colossians ; Hebrews ,21 ; 1 Peter ,11 etc. The public prayer probably in the first instance took much of its form and style from the prayers of the synagogues.

In the record on prayer accepted and granted by God, we observe, as always, a special adaptation to the period of his dispensation to which they belong. In the patriarchal period, they have the simple and childlike tone of domestic application for the ordinary and apparently trivial incidents of domestic life. In the Mosaic period they assume a more solemn tone and a national bearing, chiefly that of direct intercession for the chosen people.

More rarely are they for individuals. A special class are those which precede and refer to the exercise of miraculous power. In the New Testament they have a more directly spiritual hearing.

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It would seem the intention of Holy Scripture to encourage all prayer more especially intercession, in all relations and for all righteous objects. It is the communion of the heart with God through the aid of the Holy Spirit, and is to the Christian the very life of the soul. Without this filial spirit, no one can be a Christian, Job Psalm In all ages God has delighted in the prayers of his saints.

From the promulgation of the law, the Hebrews did not intermit public worship daily in the tabernacle or the temple. It consisted in offering the evening and morning sacrifices, every day, accompanied with prayers by the priests and Levites in that holy edifice. Every day also the priests offered sacrifices, incense, offerings, and first fruits for individuals; they performed ceremonies for the redemption of the firstborn, or for purification from pollution; in a word, the people came thither from all parts to discharge their vows and to perform their devotions, not only on great and solemn days, but also on ordinary days; but nothing of this was performed without prayer, 1 Chronicles Nehemiah Luke Compare also 1 Kings , and the Psalms of David for temple worship.

Pious men were accustomed to pray thrice in the day, at fixed hours, Psalm Daniel Social, family, and secret prayer were all habitual with Bible saints; as well as brief ejaculations in the midst of their ordinary business, Nehemiah No uniform posture in prayer is enjoined in the Bible; standing with the hands outspread, 1Ki Prayer should be offered with submission to God's will, fervently, perseveringly, and with a confiding reliance on God in Christ; it should be accompanied by humble confession and hearty thanksgiving, and with supplications for all living men, as well as for our friends and those nearest to us.

Habitual prayer to God is duty enjoined upon us by sound reason and by right affections; and he who lives without it thereby reveals the atheism of his heart. God requires all men thus to worship him, Ezekiel Matthew Philippians 1 Timothy James ; and for neglecting this duty there can be no sufficient excuse. It is often said that prayer cannot alter the unchangeable purposes of God; but the great scheme of his providence embraces every prayer that shall be offered, as well as the answer it shall receive.

It is objected that prayer cannot increase his knowledge of our wants, nor his readiness to supply them; and that in any case he will do what is for the best. But he deems it best to grant many blessings in answer to prayer, which otherwise he would withhold; "He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.

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False and formed religion makes a merit of its prayers, as though "much speaking" and "vain repetitions" could atone for heartlessness. Hypocrites also are wont to pray chiefly that they may have praise of men. These sins Christ reproves in Matthew , and gives to his disciples the form of the Lord's prayer as a beautiful model. In Ephesians 1 Thessalonians 1 Timothy , Paul directs that believers should pray in all places and at all times, lifting up pure hands towards heaven, and blessing God for all things, whether in eating, drinking, or what ever they do; and that every thing be done to the glory of God, 1 1 Corinthians In a word, our Savior has recommended to us to pray without ceasing, Luke Prayer presupposes a belief in the personality of God, his ability and willingness to hold intercourse with us, his personal control of all things and of all his creatures and all their actions.

Acceptable prayer must be sincere Hebrews , offered with reverence and godly fear, with a humble sense of our own insignificance as creatures and of our own unworthiness as sinners, with earnest importunity, and with unhesitating submission to the divine will. Prayer must also be offered in the faith that God is, and is the hearer and answerer of prayer, and that he will fulfil his word, "Ask, and ye shall receive" Matthew , 8; ; Mark ; John , 14 , and in the name of Christ , 24; ; Ephesians ; ; Colossians ; 1 Peter Prayer is of different kinds, secret Matthew ; social, as family prayers, and in social worship; and public, in the service of the sanctuary.


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Intercessory prayer is enjoined Numbers ; Job ; Isaiah ; Psalm ; 1 Timothy ; James , and there are many instances on record of answers having been given to such prayers, e. No rules are anywhere in Scripture laid down for the manner of prayer or the attitude to be assumed by the suppliant. There is mention made of kneeling in prayer 1 Kings ; 2 Chronicles ; Psalm ; Isaiah ; Luke ; Acts ; ; Ephesians , etc. If we except the "Lord's Prayer" Matthew , which is, however, rather a model or pattern of prayer than a set prayer to be offered up, we have no special form of prayer for general use given us in Scripture.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary 1. One who prays; a supplicant. The act of praying, or of asking a favor; earnest request or entreaty; hence, a petition or memorial addressed to a court or a legislative body. The act of addressing supplication to a divinity, especially to the true God; the offering of adoration, confession, supplication, and thanksgiving to the Supreme Being; as, public prayer; secret prayer.

James - MSG - Make this your common practice: Confess

The form of words used in praying; a formula of supplication; an expressed petition; especially, a supplication addressed to God; as, a written or extemporaneous prayer; to repeat one's prayers. In what manner or how far back in Jewish history the sacrificial prayer, mentioned in Luke , originated no one knows. In the days of Christ it had evidently become an institution.


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But ages before that, stated hours of prayer were known and religiously observed by all devout Jews. It evidently belonged to the evolutionary process of Jewish worship, in connection with the temple-ritual. Devout Jews, living at Jerusalem, went to the temple to pray Luke Acts The pious Jews of the Diaspora opened their windows "toward Jerus" and prayed "toward" the place of God's presence 1 Kings Daniel Psalm The regular hours of prayer, as we may infer from Psalm and Daniel , were three in number.

The first coincided with the morning sacrifice, at the 3rd hour of the morning, at 9 AM therefore Acts The second was at the 6th hour, or at noon, and may have coincided with the thanksgiving for the chief meal of the day, a religious custom apparently universally observed Matthew Acts The 3rd hour of prayer coincided with the evening sacrifice, at the ninth hour Acts ; Acts Thus every day, as belonging to God, was religiously subdivided, and regular seasons of prayer were assigned to the devout believer.

Its influence on the development of the religious spirit must have been incalculable, and it undoubtedly is, at least in part, the solution of the riddle of the preservation of the Jewish faith in the cruel centuries of its bitter persecution. Mohammedanism borrowed this feature of worship from the Jews and early Christians, and made it one of the chief pillars of its faith. Henry E. The work is lost, and the only quotations are in Origen In Joan. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are said to have been created before every work, but Jacob-Israel is the greatest, "the firstborn of every living creature," the "first minister in God's presence," greater than the angel with whom he wrestled.

The purport may be anti-Christian, the patriarchs exalted in place of Christ; compare, perhaps, Enoch 71 but not so in Charles' text , but Origen's favorable opinion of the book proves that the polemic could not have been very direct. He was emphatically a man of prayer, praying frequently in private and in public, and occasionally spending whole nights in communion with His heavenly Father. He often spoke to His disciples on the subject of prayer, cautioning them against ostentation, or urging perseverance, faith and large expectation, and He gave them a model of devotion in the Lord's prayer.

Twofold Form: This prayer is given by the evangelists in two different forms and in two entirely different con nections. In Matthew's account the prayer is given as a part of the Sermon on the Mount and in connection with a criticism of the ostentation usual in the prayers of the hypocrites and the heathen. Luke introduces the prayer after the Galilean ministry and represents it as given in response to a request from one of His disciples, "Lord teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.

The later form is much shorter than that of Matthew and the common parts differ materially in language.

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In view of the differences, the reader instinctively inquires whether the prayer was given on two different occasions in these different connections, or the evangelists have presented the same incident in forms derived from different sources, or modified the common source to suit their immediate purposes. If the prayer was given only on one occasion, there is little doubt that Luke preserves the true historical circumstances, though not necessarily the accurate point of time or place, or the exact form of language.

Such a request made at the close of the prayer of Jesus would be natural, and the incident bears every mark of reality. On the other hand, it would be reasonable to assume that the author of Matthew's source, remembering the incident, incorporated the prayer in the Sermon on the Mount as an illustration of the injunctions concerning prayer.

There are many reasons for regarding the Sermon as a collection of sayings spoken on different occasions and summarized for convenience in teaching and memorizing. There is, however, no proof that the prayer was given but once by Jesus. We need not suppose that His disciples were always the same, and we know that He gave instruction in prayer on various occasions. He may have given the model prayer on one occasion spontaneously and at another time on the request of a disciple. It is probable that the two evangelists, using the same or different sources, presented the prayer in such connection as best suited the plan of their narratives.

In any case, it is rather remarkable that the prayer is not quoted or directly mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament. Arrangement: In addition to the opening salutation, "Our Father who art in heaven," the Lord's Prayer consists of six petitions. These are arranged in three equal parts. In the first part, the thought is directed toward God and His great purposes. In the second part, the attention is directed to our condition and wants. The two sets of petitions are closely related, and a line of progress runs through the whole prayer. The petitions of the first part are inseparable, as each includes the one which follows.

As the hallowing of God's name requires the coming of His kingdom, so the kingdom comes through the doing of His will. Again, the first part calls for the second, for if His will is to be done by us, we must have sustenance, forgiveness and deliverance from evil.

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If we seek first the glory of God, the end requires our good. While we hallow His name we are sanctified in Him. The doxology of Matthew and our rituals is not found in the leading manuscripts and is generally regarded as an ancient liturgical addition. For this reason it is omitted by the Revised Version British and American. Sources: The sources of the two accounts cannot be known with certainty. It is hardly correct to say that one account is more original than the other.


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  • The original was spoken in Aramaic, while both of the reports are certainly based on Greek sources. The general agreement in language, especially in the use of the unique term epiousios shows that they are not independent translations of the Aramaic original. Special Expressions: Three expressions of the prayer deserve special notice. The words, "Our Father," are new in the Bible and in the world.

    Even in the moving prayer of Isaiah the King James Version , "Doubtless thou art our father," the connection makes clear that the reference is to God in the capacity of Creator. Here also the notion is veiled in the thought of God as Creator. Whether it is qualitative or temporal depends on its derivation from epeinai, or epienai.