Thursday, July 19, 2007

Our Father

I relate so readily to the disciples as they beseech Jesus, “Teach us how to pray.” In categorizing some of the New Testament prayers (by no means an exhaustive compilation), I have found myself reflective on how a few basic themes become so recurrent with the turning pages. (Some of the texts quoted below are slightly paraphrased.)

1. Forgiveness of Sin, Promise of New Life
May you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing may you have life in his name. (John 20:30-31)
May your sins be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. (Acts 3:19)
May you receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith. (Acts 26:18)

2. Knowledge of God and Understanding of His Love
May we understand what God has freely given us. (1 Corinthians 2:12)
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
May God give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him. (Ephesians 1:17)
In him and through faith, may we approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12)
May you be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the width, and length, and depth, and height of the love of Christ, which passes knowledge. (Ephesians 3:18-19)
May you be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)
May you be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that you may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that you may know the mystery of God, namely Christ. (Colossians 2:2)
May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. (2 Thessalonians 3:5)

3. Holiness
May you live a life worthy of the Lord and may you please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:10)
May God strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. (1 Thessalonians 3:13)
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
We constantly pray for you, that our God may count your worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. (2 Thessalonians 1:11)
We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:12)
May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. (2 Corinthians 13:7)
May you be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. (Philippians 2:15)

4. Strength
May you finish the race and complete the task that the Lord Jesus gave to you, the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:23-25)
May you stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. (Colossians 4:12)
When the day of evil comes, may you be able to stand your ground. (Ephesians 6:13)

5. Hope and Comfort
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. (2 Thessalonians 2:16)

6. Unity of the Body of Christ
May you glorify with one heart and mouth the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:6)
May God give you endurance and encouragement and a spirit of unity as you follow Christ Jesus. (Romans 15:5)
May the body of Christ be built up. (Ephesians 4:12)

7. Evangelism
May God open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ. (Colossians 4:3)
May our teaching not be slandered. (1 Timothy 6:1)

8. Desire/Need
May the way be opened for me to come to you. (Romans 1:10)
May I come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. (Romans 15: 32)
May our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. (1 Thessalonians 3:11)
May we live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (1 Timothy 2:2)