Main reference: Jn 17:17, Mt 6:5-13, 1 Tm 4:5
Why do we need to know the word? And why do we need to pray?
Jesus taught his disciples what to pray for and where to pray, when he saw hypocritical people during his first coming. Jesus told his disciples not to babble like the hypocrites because the Father God already knew what they would need even before asking. The prayer Jesus taught them at that time was the Lord’s Prayer. The saints of God, therefore, need to pray to the Father with the content of the prayer the Lord Jesus taught to them. It is a known fact; this Lord’s Prayer is recited and quoted habitually by almost every single church today. It is, however, difficult to perceive the meaning of this prayer and even more so to believe and act upon its content. Believers seem to think that all it takes is for them is just to recite it with their lips.
Just as the main references testify, both Jesus and the disciples spoke about how we can be sanctified with the word and prayer (Jn 17:17; 1 Tm 4:5). There is also another passage where it asks us to pray without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17).
The word is true food for our spirits and souls. It is God’s seed and God himself. It is also equated with the holy spirit. As this word enters us, it renews our hearts and spirits, and this is how we can become holy. For the same reason, God likens the word unto the water of life that washes our hearts and spirits (Jn 7:37-38).
Jesus, who was the word, referred to himself as the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus also stated that people could come to the Father only through him (Jn 14:6). People without the word do not have God, Jesus, life, and light (refer to Jn 1:4). They are not born of God’s seed (Lk 8:11). They are the children of darkness (refer to 1 Thes 5:1-8). It is common sense among Christians that people born of God’s seed become the holy ones and the sons of God. People without the word are actually not born from God.
Prayer is something for which God’s saints are able to ask of God. When we pray, we must pray in the place and with the prayer Jesus taught to us. The first priority that needs to be considered before praying is to know ourselves and examine whether or not we are qualified to ask and pray to God for something. In Isaiah 1, God refused to accept the offerings and the prayers from the people of the Tribe of Judah in Jerusalem, who were distinguished from others as the most holy people among all of the 12 tribes of Israelites. Considering this fact, how can we be so sure that God will accept all the prayers from us just because we pray to him? We must first resolve what has to be resolved before praying. Only when we do this first, will we be able to receive what we pray for. The scriptures show us how our prayers are likened unto the incense offered and lifted up to God (Rv 5:8, Rv 8:4). Will God accept prayers that are not like incense to him?
Jesus proclaimed at the first coming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near!” (Mt 4:17). Why was it necessary for people to repent with the coming of the kingdom of heaven? Jesus asked people to repent because no one could have received the kingdom of heaven unless that person repented. Will God grant the answers to the prayer of a sinner who merely prays without repenting? Luke 18:10-13 illustrates the prayers of the Pharisee and the tax collectors in the temple. “God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evil doers, adulterer—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get,” prayed the Pharisee. The tax collector, on the other hand, stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Jesus, who served and had God within him, approved of the tax collector.
True repentance was the sincerity of lowering himself rather than exalting himself. Just because one blesses and prays does not mean that he will receive what he asks for. God grants what people pray for only when they are qualified for receiving it. Instead of being joyful over the blessings and the prayers one may receive from foolish people, he first must examine himself through the unchanging word of God (Jn 10:35), repent of his wrongdoings, be born again, and make an effort to be qualified for receiving the answers from their prayers to God.
Each and every church pastor and congregation habitually recites the Lord’s Prayer. Have they received anything according to the Lord’s Prayer they have prayed? Please answer me. How is it different from being hypocrites if they recite it without knowing the meaning? If they have not received what they prayed for, then the problem actually lies within them. Every Sunday people recite the Lord’s Prayer at their church according to Matthew 6:9-13. Despite praying accordingly, they have not acted upon what it said. If so, how can they truly receive what they prayed for? People pray,“Forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors,” but unlike this prayer they curse others instead of forgiving them. People pray, “Deliver us from the evil one,” but unlike this prayer they carry out wicked actions. People refuse to receive the daily bread and to believe God’s will that is done in heaven. They do not believe the coming of God and the holy spirit. They call out God as their father without being born of God’s seed. The prayer of this type of people is false. How can people who are ignorant of the meaning of the Lord’s Prayer and who do not act upon it, be acknowledged as the believers of the Lord?
The Lord also taught us to pray continually. If we remain in God and think about God’s work, then having that mentality is the same as praying. Living a life according to God’s will is the same as praying ceaselessly. God’s people breathe together with God and work with him. Walking on the path of heaven, which was shown to us, carrying out a life of faith and praying according to the Bible, and becoming the people of heaven through the actions previously mentioned are the same as being sanctified through the word and prayer.
If someone born of the seed of the devil prays to God, would God hear his prayer? God will certainly hear his prayer if he first becomes the one born of God’s seed.