Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Three Prayers

Graphic Source Unknown
It was an e-mail with a prayer, and I receive it (or one almost like it) several times each year:
"God, our Father, walk through my house and take away
all my worries and illnesses and please watch over and heal my family in Jesus name, Amen."
Of course there are admonitions to keep it going, and someone always does.  Let’s take a moment to consider this little egotistical prayer.

Ooops, did I offend someone by calling it egotistical?  It is very much like one Jabez spoke millennia ago:

And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!

Hard to fault either one of them, right?  Especially when we’re  told:

And God granted him that which he requested. (1 Chronicles 4:10 KJV)

We know that Jabez was more honorable than his brethren and this his mother bore him in sorrow (1 Chronicles 4:9), but we aren’t told how dishonorable his brothers were, nor what caused his mother’s sorrow.  Yet, God granted him that which he requested – so shouldn’t we be able to pray the same type of prayer?

Of course.  If earthly comfort is all we are looking for.  Look at what is missing from this prayer.  Compare  both of these with one from another who most certainly was more honorable than His brethren, and His mother pondered over His birth, then watched in sorrow as He died.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)

Let’s take a quick look at the manner of these three prayers. 

Both biblical prayers acknowledge God – one as the God of Israel, the other as our Father.  The e-mail does not define God as either, though the prayer is given in Jesus name which precludes most religions.

Only Jesus’ example exalts God, praising Him and bending to His will before asking for daily needs. The two others ask for material things, personal requests – though Jabez does pray that God be with him in all things.
Both Jabez and Jesus ask that God keep them from evil – the third one does not acknowledge the presence of evil in this world. Jabez made it personal – that evil would not grieve him.

Only Jesus closes with the glorification of God, stating His eternal presence.

I don’t really care to determine which one God listens to, for He knows our hearts and our needs.  I would like for you to think about which one you’d rather pray.

1 comment:

  1. How many times have I prayed for ME. For MY needs. I have found that if I put my needs to the side and just pray for everyone else, that God gives me just what I need.


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