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2. He Made Us Alive (Ephesians 2: 1, 5)

 

(8) Bible Reading and Praying

 

    

Dear heavenly Father, we are so filled with thanksgiving; thank you for sending your only beloved Son -- Jesus Christ, to the earth in flesh, to complete the amazing salvation plan for us, so that we can receive life as well as the spiritual food to grow our new life; and through being united with the Lord, you allow us to receive the abundance of Christ.  Lord, you have arranged everything so thoroughly for us, we thank you!  May the Holy Spirit of the truth continue to lead us into the truth so that the speaker can speak clearly and the listeners can understand perfectly, we pray this in Lord Jesus Christ’s name!  Amen!  

Previously in God’s special revelation – the Bible, we talked about there is a one and only true God, he is the Triune God of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; he is holy, righteous, good, and is the fountain of life; if you have him then you have the fullness of joy and the life of eternal blessings.  God so loved the world that he gladly gave life to all the people of the world, but because all have sinned they couldn’t come before him.  Therefore God sent his only Son Jesus Christ to the earth in flesh and completed the salvation plan, so Jesus Christ himself became the way between men and God, and whoever believes in him may come before God.  Hallelujah!  Through the Bible, God clearly showed us the way of life and pointed out to us which way to go.  Let’s find out what kind of book the Bible is.

1.      Please give a brief summary of the Bible (Bible’s absolute authority, infallibility, central theme, amazing power, etc.) (2 Timothy 3: 15-16; Luke 21: 33, 24: 25-27; Job 12: 7-9; Psalms 19: 1, 7; 119: 71, 89; Proverbs 30: 5; 1 Corinthians 2: 2; Ephesians 4: 29)

(1)   Bible’s absolute authority:  The Bible has the absolute authority; it is the only scripture for the religion of Christianity; it is the one and only basis for the Christian faith.  Because the Bible is the word of God and God is our highest authority, so the Triune God of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is absolutely complete and infallible; from yesterday, today, forever he will never change like shifting shadows.

(2)   Bible is infallible (the original text):  The Bible is God’s word, is God’s revelation to us and is absolutely inerrant.  It will never be out of date and will never change.  The authors of the Bible are all devout God-loving, God fearing, and God-obeying people.  Though some of them were not perfect and had made mistakes; but a perfect God was capable of enlightening and guiding these imperfect authors to write down his error-free records, that’s why we say that the Bible is infallible.  Regarding this, there is another point we must emphasize, because many people say: “The Bible is absolutely reliable.”  Please note that infallible and reliable are two different things; “reliable” may still contain errors, but the Bible is absolutely inerrant.  Every word and every mark of the original Bible text is without error.

(3)   The Bible’s central theme is the salvation God prepared for the world – Jesus Christ and his crucifixion.  The Bible is the book of covenant between the almighty God and the humble humans; using the birth of Jesus Christ as the demarcation, before his birth we have the Old-Testament and after his birth we have the New-Testament.

(4)    The relationship between the Bible and the new life – the wonderful power and uses of the Bible:

·         For non-believers, the Bible is the seed of life.  Through the Bible, the Holy Spirit makes non-believers realize that they are sinners; through the Bible, the Spirit points out the way to receive life; and through the Bible, non-believers begin to have faith, and because of accepting the salvation revealed in the Bible, they are willing to receive Jesus as their personal savior, thereby they reconcile with God, are saved, and receive new life.  “The Holy Scriptures are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, and whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (see 2 Timothy 3: 15; John 3: 16)  Brothers and sisters, no matter how God led you to salvation, maybe someone in your household was sick and needed treatment; maybe you needed to look for a job; or maybe there were family issues; or you encountered some problems; regardless what the reasons were, in the end it was all because of the words in the Bible, such as: “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”, that led you to accept Jesus Christ as your savior, am I right?  I hope that when you give your testimony of being saved in the future, don’t forget to mention what Bible verses caused you to believe; maybe it was “Jesus is your Lord”, maybe it was “Jesus’ blood takes away all your sins”, or “if you receive Jesus as your savior then you become a child of God”; regardless, where did all these words come from?  From the Bible, that’s why the Bible is the seed of our life.

·         For believers, the Bible is our bread of life – it nourishes us to continually take off our old-self and put on the new-self so that our new life grows gradually.  2 Timothy 3: 16-17: “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”   Through the Bible, the Holy Spirit:

o   Teaches us:  The Bible teaches us about God’s will, God’s salvation plan and all doctrines, so that our knowledge of God and Jesus Christ will increase more and more.

o   Rebukes us:  Through the words of the Bible, the Holy Spirit rebukes and enlightens us.  Psalms 19: 7 says: “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.”

o   Corrects us:  After we have been rebuked, the Holy Spirit again through the Bible corrects us to walk on the right path.  Psalms 119: 71 says: “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees (correcting).”  Ephesians 4: 29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths (rebuking), but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs (correcting).”

o   Trains us in righteousness:  “Training” means teaching and guiding.  The Bible tells us what the righteousness of God is, as children of God we must continually be trained, and because of our believing in Jesus Christ, we unwaveringly trust and obey God, walk on the path of righteousness so as to bear the fruit of righteousness.  For years, I misunderstood the meaning of “training in righteousness”, thinking it was to teach people to live according to the standards of the Bible.  For example, when I lied, I would remind myself that the Bible taught us not to lie for it was from Satan.  But next time I lied again, and since the Bible says not to lie so I just kept it from others.  Was I practicing “not lying?”  Of course not!  I wasn’t being trained in righteousness, it was just a cover-up.  What does it mean to train people in righteousness?  It is to teach and guide people on how to be more closely and more practically united with the Lord; when you have a very close relationship with the Lord, and through the faith you have in Jesus Christ, you can bravely confess: “Lord, I am a liar.  Lord, I ask you to save me and free me from the path of lying, not by my own efforts but by the grace of Jesus Christ.”  The road of righteousness is confessing: “Lord, I am powerless, this is the kind of person I am, I look up to you to save me from all my iniquities.”

      The Bible also has descriptions of the relationship between the Bible and the new life from different perspectives:  The Bible is the cleansing agent for the new life; it is the medicine for the new life; it is the source that supplies the power for living a new life; it is the weapon to overcome the three enemies of the new life, etc.  The Bible is like a sword that can pierce our hearts; also like fire and hammer that can smash and melt our hearts of stone; also like a mirror that can show our true nature, etc.                  

2.      What attitude should we have when reading the Bible?  In the Bible, what does it mean to “practice the word”? (1 Peter 2: 2; 1 Thessalonians 2: 13; Deuteronomy 11: 18; Ezekiel 3: 10; Psalms 1: 2; 119: 11, 97; Colossians 3: 16; James 1: 19-25; Romans 10: 17; Matthew 13: 1-9; Jeremiah 4: 3-4; Isaiah 28: 24; 1 John 2: 20, 27)

(1)   Having the right attitude is more important than having the right methodology in reading the Bible. (see 1 Peter 2: 2)

First, we must understand that what we have gained by believing in Jesus is the new life.  Then what does the Bible mean to us?  What attitude should we have towards the Bible?

·      Bible is the bread for our spiritual life:  Although the Bible is a book but it’s not an ordinary book, rather it is the bread for our new life.  Just like we need to have meals every day, we need to read the Bible every day.  For example, if you are served with a bowl of rice, a book, or a painting, are they the same?  Of course not.  A bowl of rice can satisfy my need for food but when I am hungry and you give me a beautiful painting won’t do anything for me.

·      We should approach Bible reading with an attitude of believing and accepting, use more of your heart and less of your brain.  Since Bible is the food for our spiritual life we shouldn’t waste time analyzing its nutritional contents.  The main thing is that I am hungry now, I need to eat.  Our God is a spirit so we should come before him in spirit and in truth and use the attitude of total acceptance to read his word.  There are many study guide books for the Bible; of course reading reference books is very necessary, but more important than that is to pray to the Lord in spirit and in truth: “Lord, give this scripture passage to me.”  Though you may not understand it, but still read it with an attitude of acceptance.

·      We need to meditate over God’s word day and night:  We shouldn’t just gulp it down without digesting or in one ear and out the other.

·      We must have the attitude of mind to practice the word:  Lord Jesus often taught us that blessed are those who hear his words and put them into practice.

(2)   In the Bible, what does it mean to put the words into practice? (1 Thessalonians 2: 13; Deuteronomy 11: 18; Ezekiel 3: 10; Psalms 1: 2; 119: 11, 97; Colossians 3: 16; James 1: 19-25; Romans 10: 17; Matthew 13: 1-9; Jeremiah 4: 3-4; Isaiah 28: 24; 1 John 2: 20, 27)

·         What is “putting the words into practice”?  As the name suggests, it is to apply the teachings of the Bible in one’s daily life.

·         How do you put the words into practice?  What are the steps?  For a long time I was mistaken in thinking that I should do whatever the Bible says.  In reality, I wasn’t able to do it; there are many things the Bible tells us not to do, so I won’t do them but only on the surface, because I have been covering them up; however, this is definitely not what the Bible teaches us.  So how do you put the words into practice?  The Bible tells us that there are set steps:

o   Prepare your heart:  Before you start practicing the words, you must first receive the words of the Lord into your heart; and before that you must first prepare your heart.  James 1: 21 says: “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you …”  Before we prepare to accept the word of the Lord, we need to prepare our heart:  “Lord, I long to receive your words, Lord, I ask you to prepare my heart.  I beg you to defeat me and save me from myself.  Oh Lord, I submit to you!”  You can say this prayer any time of the day, “Oh Lord, I ask you to enlighten me, Lord!  I ask you to get rid of all my moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent.”  Brothers and sisters, when we pray like this, the Holy Spirit will work inside us to soften our hearts and shine light on our moral filth and prevalent evil that we either have forgotten or didn’t even know exist.  Wherever and whatever the light shines, we just sincerely ask the Lord to wash it clean with his blood and to save us from these filthy and evil things (we shouldn’t rely on our own efforts to suppress them but to ask the Lord to remove them).  It is just like when a farmer is cultivating the land, he carefully pick out and remove the rocks and the weeds first.  Before we start reading the Bible, listening to a sermon, reading a spiritual book, or having fellowships with people, we can all prepare our hearts this way; in fact we can pray like this anytime.  The more we pray the better prepared our hearts are and the more blessings will we receive.  Preparing the heart is the fundamental key to putting the words to practice as well as to growing our life.

o   Listening to the word:  the source of the words could be from devotionals, sermons, spiritual books, or fellowship with others involving Biblical truths.  Listening to the words means having heard the words and absorbed them with understanding.

o   Believing in the word:  through prayers we continually prepare our hearts, and the Holy Spirit plants the words that we heard, understood, and absorbed into our hearts.  Just like James 1: 21 says: “… humbly accept the word planted in you, …”  When the word of the Lord enters into your heart, it means you have accepted the word.  Through our keeping constant close relationship with the Lord, the word planted in our heart will begin to germinate, grow, and bear fruit.

o   The anointing teachings:  The Holy Spirit, at any time and based on what happens to us, will use the “word of God”, which has gone through the planting, germination, growth, and fruit bearing steps in our heart, to move us.  This “word of God” that moves us is the “anointing teaching”, it carries the power of submitting, the power of revering, and the power of accepting.

      Regarding the “anointing teaching”, many brothers and sisters can give their testimonies:  Many times when I was at my wit’s end in handling a certain matter, I would just pray and all of a sudden, God would give me a sentence and the matter at hand was resolved easily.  For instance, when you hate a person, pray this: “Oh Lord, save me …” sometimes, a sentence will occur to you: “You have to forgive him”.  When the Holy Spirit inside tells you to forgive him, this is the “anointing teaching”, it carries the power of reverence, obedience, and acceptance so you will just naturally follow the Spirit and forgive him and this is “putting the word into practice”.  Usually, if other people give you advice and tell you to just forgive him, maybe you wouldn’t be so receptive and thinking: “Well, you didn’t go through this, how could you understand the pain I suffered!  I can’t just forgive him.”

o   Put the word into practice:  God’s word after going through the steps of “listening” –understanding and absorbing; to “believing” – from “the Holy Spirit continually prepares the heart” to “the heart accepts the word planted by the Holy Spirit”, to “the word of God works continually in the heart to germinate, grow, and produce fruit” to “the Holy Spirit, at the right time and place, using this fruit-bearing word of God (anointing teaching) to move us into action”, thus we very naturally start to put God’s word into practice.  Therefore, brothers and sisters, putting the word of God into practice is actually to put the “anointing teaching” into practice; it is not doing whatever the Bible says.  As an illustration, by just looking at a bowl of rice will not satisfy your hunger or give you energy to walk.  Instead, you must eat this bowl of rice, and your body must digest it and turn it into energy for you to walk.  Likewise, to put God’s word into practice we must go through “reading/listening”, “believing”, “fruit-bearing”, and finally “acting out the anointing teaching”.         

3.      In this course, what is the “three-in-one” method of Bible reading?

During this course we introduced the “three-in-one” method of Bible reading:  Use a fixed time slot to do devotional every day, as much as possible pick a Bible verse to memorize every day; when you have some free time, do a quick reading of the Bible daily to get familiar with it; and if possible, attend a Bible study session once a week.  This way not only helps with our life growth but also gives us a comprehensive, as well as outline understanding of the Bible so that we can correctly study the word of truth.  Please note, we are not talking about three different ways of Bible reading, rather we are talking about three different modes of Bible reading combined into one Bible reading method.    

4.      What is devotional?  What is its importance?  How do you go about your devotional?  (Song of Songs 1: 4; Psalms 5: 3; 25: 14; 105: 4; 143: 8; 119: 146-148; Exodus 16: 13-35; Isaiah 50: 4-5)

      What is devotional?  Devotional is the path for us to have closer relationship with the Lord on a daily basis.  So devotional is for every one of us to set aside a predetermined time slot daily, to quiet down and come before God to fellowship with him in spirit.  The devotional may have a combination of hymn singing, Bible verse reading, and praying.  Song of Songs 1: 4: “Let the king bring me into his chambers.  We rejoice and delight in you; we will praise your love more than wine.  How right they are to adore you!”  Psalms 25: 14: “The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.”  Psalms 105: 4: “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”

Let me share the way I do my personal devotional for your reference.  Every morning after I wake up, before any other thoughts enter into my mind, the first thing I do is to be close to the Lord, like: “Lord, I love you.  Lord, I thank you for giving me a peaceful night.  Oh Lord, a new day is beginning, Lord, I long to walk in your path”; sometimes I also sing a hymn (there are a variety of songs and hymns available on the Echousa.org website), while I sing, I also express my heart’s longing for the Lord, like “Oh Lord, I yearn for your tranquility, Oh Lord, I desire to see you, and I long to look up and see your face.  Oh Lord, I want to receive the power from you, oh Lord Jesus, I thank you.”  If you are not familiar with any hymns or songs, you can try to learn the chorus of a song, before you go to bed the night before, so that the next morning you may say “ Lord, I thank you, a new day has arrived.”  Then you just sing this chorus while you get dressed and by the time you are dressed you will be very intimate with the Lord.  Sit down (some may prefer kneeling or standing) and start to read the Bible.  For the Bible reading part of the devotional, it is not recommended to read pages and pages at one time; rather you should read either a verse or a passage only.  Take a single verse, read it over and over and commit it to memory; and work this verse into your prayer.  For example, you read this Bible verse: “The Lord confides in those who fear him.”  You can pray like this: “Oh Lord, I thank you, because you confides in those who fear you; I yearn to fear you, I want to fear you, I must fear you; but I don’t know how to fear you, Lord I ask you to lead me so that I will fear you, thank you Lord.  I lift up this whole day into your hands, in Lord Jesus Christ’s name I pray, amen.”  Andrew Murray said, “One verse chosen to meet our needs, read ten times and then laid up in the heart, is better than ten verses read once.”  Brothers and sisters, we must set aside time for devotional, even if it’s only five or ten minutes, we must keep this date with the Lord daily, to read some Bible verses and to enter into Lord’s chamber to have one-on-one fellowship with him.  Once you get used to this routine then if you for some reason have to skip a day, you will even feel kind of strange.   Just a passing reminder, in order to prepare for this “date” with the Lord, you can get a few things ready the night before; such as your children’s clothing and meals, making sure they have completed their homework, etc. so that it will not be so hectic in the morning and you can concentrate on your devotional.

Please note that devotional is different from the typical Bible reading, don’t get them all mixed together.  It is like you enter into the Lord’s chamber, but then you start to do this and that and totally missed the point of going into the chamber – to have an intimate fellowship with the Lord.

5.      Why “the principle of new life” is contrary to “human thinking”?  (Matthew 7: 13-14)

      Praise the Lord, by grace Lord Jesus Christ has completed the salvation plan.  We, through faith and by calling on the name of the Lord – praying, have received new life, so that “I no longer live but Christ lives in me.”

      What is the “principle of new life”?  That is: “Christ is my life; in all things Christ Lord over me, he reigns, and I rely on and obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”

      “Human thinking” says that although I have believed in Jesus but in all things I still rely on my own reasoning and analysis, and rely on my own ability to do things. 

      One time a brother gave a testimony that he wanted to make a drawing illustrating a scene in the Bible, so he was trying to decide how big it should be.  Should it be above the text or below?  Should it be this way or that way? …. Then he realized he was all wrong in how he was approaching this task because he should have prayed first: “Oh Lord, tell me how to make this drawing, give me your command.”  His first approach was by “human thinking”; the latter was by the “principle of new life”.  The key is to realize that after we have been saved, we are no longer our old-selves because Christ lives in us.  The “principle of new life” is that Christ is my life, I should rely on God and make use of God’s power and wisdom; conversely, “human thinking” is to rely on human ability and human intervention.  Whenever you are faced with problems and you immediately call out to the Lord, that’s living by “the principle of new life”.  If you live by “human thinking”, then you will find a group of people to discuss the issue at hand and collectively try to figure out what to do.  Therefore, the “principle of new life” is contrary to “human thinking”.        

6.      Why do we need to pray?  What are the aspects of a prayer as taught to us by Lord Jesus? (Luke 18: 1; 1 Thessalonians 5: 17; Ephesians 1: 19-23, 3: 14-17, 6: 18; Philippians 4: 6; Jeremiah 29: 11-14; Matthew 6: 6; Hebrews 4: 10-16, 11: 6; Romans 10: 12; Isaiah 11: 6-10, 30: 18, 50: 2; 1 Corinthians 1: 30; Colossians 2: 9-11, 4: 12; Psalms 46: 10)

God is a spirit, so praying is our fellowship with God in spirit and in truth.  Give thanks to the Lord, we have been saved and born again and God has given us a privilege to pray; so that we may at any time come before Lord Jesus’ throne of grace to pray to him.

(1)   Why do we need to pray?

·         God commanded us to pray; praying is how we communicate with God so that our lives are connected with his.

·         Through prayer God rewards those who seek him, repays and richly blesses those who call on him:  Often time people would ask me, “Do prayers get answered?  What happens in the end?”  My answer was: “Although I don’t know what the specific outcome of the prayer is, but I know one thing is certain, as long as you pray sincerely and earnestly, God will richly bless all who call on him (Romans 10: 12); and reward those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11: 6).  The outcomes of prayers for sure are rewards, repayments, and rich blessings.  It is guaranteed.”

·         Praying is the way for us to draw on the needed nourishment for growing the new life as well as to draw on the full abundance of Christ:  God wants to give us all sorts of spiritual blessings from heaven, but how is it possible?  Give thanks to the Lord, God sent his son, Lord Jesus Christ, to the earth in flesh, became a member of the human race and completed the salvation plan.  The fullness of God’s nature is all embodied in Jesus Christ, and through praying and our faith we are united with him, so that we can draw on the fullness of Christ.

o   Drawing on Christ’s nature:  Christ is holy so naturally we will be holy also.  When we pray we say, “Lord, I am such a corrupt person, but I praise you for you are holy and you will cause me to have a holy nature as well.”  This is totally not by our own effort to be holy but rather to draw on the holiness of Christ to take off our corruptness and become a holy person.  Christ is righteousness, redemption and wisdom.

o   Drawing on Christ’s power, Christ’s peace, and Christ’s all:  We may pray this: “Lord, I need your power, give me the power; I need wisdom, I ask you to give me the wisdom; I need peace, I ask you to give me peace.”  He is the source of all beauty and goodness and all sorts of rich rewards come from him.  How grateful we are that we are able to draw on all of these through prayers, because we have united with Christ so all that belong to Christ also belong to us.  Brothers and sisters, why are we living in such a deprived state, like the older son said to his father in the parable of the prodigal son: “Look!  All these years I’ve been slaving for you yet you never gave me even a young goat to eat!”  What did the father say?  He said, “My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.”  Brothers and sisters, I pray that God opens our ears: we can enjoy and draw on “the fullness of Christ!”  Hallelujah!  What are your difficulties today?  Are your children disobedient or rebellious?  Are you at a loss when it comes to raising your children properly?  You don’t know what’s wrong with your farmland? ……  Let’s just draw from the Lord: “Lord, I thank you, you are my shepherd; you will lead and guide me, so I shall not be in want.”  Hallelujah!                               

(2)   Lord Jesus taught us that a prayer contains several aspects, what are they?

We can get the answer from the Lord’s Prayer.  It contains three parts: praising and worshipping God; supplication and intercession; and confession of sins.    

7.      What factors will keep God from listening to our prayers?  What are the three aspects in God’s answer to our prayers?  (Isaiah 55: 8-9, 59: 1-2; Matthew 5: 22-24; James 1: 6-7, 4: 2; 1 Peter 3: 7; Romans 8: 32; 1 Corinthians 2: 9)

(1)   What are the factors that prevent God from hearing our prayers?  When will God refuse to hear our prayers?

·         If the Holy Spirit shines on you and points out your iniquities but you still won’t confess your sins, then God will not hear your prayers;

·         If you won’t forgive others, God won’t hear your prayers;

·         If we are prideful and harbor evil thoughts of unbelief, God won’t hear our prayers;

·         Do not take the discord between husband and wife as something trivial, because God won’t listen to your prayers before it is  dealt with;

·         If you come to the Lord with a wrong motive, God won’t listen to your prayers.

(2)    What are the three aspects in God’s answer to our prayers?

      Outside those factors listed above God hears all our prayers.  Some people point out that aside from those factors, sometimes God don’t answer our prayers also.  Actually, it’s not that God doesn’t listen to our prayers, but it is because we want God to cater to our wishes.  God exercises his absolute authority, his wisdom, love, and mighty power to listen to our prayers; to fulfill our prayers; to reward, repay, and to richly bless all our prayers.  We must understand that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are our ways his ways; God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and his ways are higher than our ways (see Isaiah 55: 8-9).  God’s plan for us is to prosper us and not to harm us, and to give us hope and a future (see Jeremiah 29: 11).  “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2: 9)  God did not spare his own Son but graciously gave him to us, how will he not also give the best thing to those who call on him (see Romans 8: 32)?  We must admit that we are too foolish, ignorant, and limited, and should humbly cede the authority in deciding the outcome of the prayer to God.  In general, God’s answers to our prayers come in three forms:

·         Yes:  Grants us what we ask for in the prayer.

·         No:  Does not grant what we ask for in the prayer, or even allow the opposite of what we ask for to happen.

·         Yes, but need to wait longer time.

Just think how long Abraham had to wait for the promise of God to come true when he had Isaac, 25 years later!  Brothers and sisters, we don’t know God’s way so we shouldn’t limit God’s time frame or how he does his work.  There is a hymn verse that goes like this: “In His time, in His time; He makes all things beautiful in His time.”

      As a reminder, when God does not grant us what we ask for in our prayer, we may want to examine ourselves to see if there is anything within us that might have kept God from listening to our prayer.  If the answer is no, then we can rest assured that it is in God’s hands.

8.      Lord Jesus taught us to pray this way: “forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.”  What are your understanding and experience?  (Psalms 139: 23-24; Matthew 5: 24; Mark 11: 25-26)

Lord Jesus taught us to pray like this: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”  In the past, I only paid attention to the first part -- “forgive us our debts”:  “Oh Lord, if I have any sins, I ask you to forgive me and enlighten me.”  Give thanks to the Lord, the Holy Spirit opened the eyes of my heart so that I not only ask the Lord to forgive my sins, but I should also forgive my debtors.  If other people offended me, did I forgive them?  Often times, our hearts could not be set free because we haven’t forgiven our debtors.  In Mark 11: 25, the Lord said, “When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”  And in Matthew 5: 23-24, he said, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”  These two scripture passages talk about when we are praying, if it naturally enters into our mind that someone does wrong to you, or holds a grudge against you, then we should forgive him immediately and make peace with him.  Whether or not something will naturally enter into your mind, is the work of the Holy Spirit in us and is also dependent on the degree of our spiritual life growth; it is by no means that we should try to dig them up or force them out purposely.  If we don’t forgive others, it’s like we are holding something over their heads and vice versa.  Just picture this: while you are praying, you are also grabbing someone by the collar of his shirt, or someone else is grabbing you by your collar.  Our God is a peace-loving God, what would he think when we come to him like this?  Would he listen to our prayers?  Lord Jesus demands that when we pray, we ask the Lord to forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

            Let’s pray:  Lord we thank you for granting us the privilege to pray, and allowing us to come before you to be more closely united with you.  Oh Lord, thank you for giving us this precious Bible so that we may learn from your teachings, be rebuked and reformed, and may walk on the path of righteousness. Thank you Lord.  Lord, you not only prepared for us the salvation plan, but also prepared the Bible, the prayer, and many other things so that our new life may continue to grow and our hearts and minds continue to be renewed.  We thank you and praise you, in Lord Jesus Christ’s name we pray, amen!  

  


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