Prayers: from 101 to 501

We’ll start with Daniel’s Prayer

Daniel’s Prayer

Daniel’s Prayer is an example for us to study and emulate, especially for forgiveness against the Law of Moses (Leviticus 26Deuteronomy 28); Daniel Daniel was not merely praying for his comfort and protection in the darkness. His concern was to pray for God’s people, the acknowledgement of their sins and asking for forgiveness and mercies.

What Daniel admitted is unlike what Rabbi Tovia Singer and other rabbinic interpretation have in their teachings by shifting blames by assigning the “suffering servant” of Isaiah 53 to the nation of Israel “who silently endured unimaginable suffering at the hands of its gentile oppressors.” That is, to Rabbi Singer, Israel’s suffering is attributable to their wicked neighbours and not to themselves!

Or, from another shifting of blames from Jews for Judiasm“when the nations, astonished and in terror, will feel ashamed for their oppression of the Jewish people.” Again, they have no faults of their own but shift their suffering to their wicked neighbours and not attribute to themselves!

Or, from another shifting of blames from Jews for Judiasm: “when the nations, astonished and in terror, will feel ashamed for their oppression of the Jewish people.” Again, they have no faults of their own but shift their suffering to their wicked neighbours and not attribute to themselves!

Making no excuses, Daniel confessed his people’s sin and acknowledged the justice of God’s judgement, severe though it had been. “We have sinned, we have done wickedly” Israel suffers because of her own sins; Period! In response from God, Daniel was greatly praised by the angel Gabriel, who was sent with further revelation or prophecy and said to Daniel, “I have come to show thee, for thou art greatly loved.”

Daniel is greatly loved, his example of a Prayer should be emulated and studied today. For example:

(1) Daniel does not say “they” but instead he says “we” incorporating the reality that all have sinned and all need forgiveness;

(2) instead of justifying like King Saul did, Daniel freely knowledges his and his nation’s iniquities, wickedness and rebellion against the Most High;

(3) nowhere in Daniel’s prayer did he put the blame on the wicked Chaldeans nor on Nebuchadnezzar, but squarely on themselves; and

(4) asks, “Open Thine ear and hear,” asks “O Lord, forgive! O Lord,” for forgiveness and for His great mercies on behalf of his people.

Daniel’s Prayer would be highly rated Prayer; it should be at least a 401 Prayer in University Rating Standard. For details, click Daniel’s Prayer here.

Hezekiah’s Prayer

And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said:

“O Lord God of Israel, who dwellest between the cherubims, Thou art the God, even Thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. Thou hast made heaven and earth.

16 Lord, bow down Thine ear, and hear; open, Lord, Thine eyes, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, who hath sent him to reproach the living God.

17 Of a truth, Lord, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands,

18 and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they have destroyed them.

19 Now therefore, O Lord our God, I beseech Thee, save Thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the Lord God, even Thou only.” II Kings 19:15-19

35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred fourscore and five thousand; and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. — 185,000 soldiers dead overnight! II Kings 19:35

Some observation

Hezekiah wasn’t in captivity; he was just threatened and his trial was pretty short-lived, compared to Daniels; hence we’ll rate his as 301, one notch below Daniel’s.

Fot more details, click here

The Lord’s Prayer

Matthew 6

9 Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name.

10 Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 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.

This Prayer, which Jesus gave as an example, has the context in the previous chapter (Matthew 5); after giving his sermon to the multitude, the vast majority who asked him are people from the countryside, farmers, fishermen, not too educated as those from Jerusalem.

The Context was: “And seeing the multitudes, He went up onto a mountain; and when he was set, his disciples came unto him.

And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” Matthew 5:1-3

Thus it was a start for beginners, like students staring their university studies, who ask how to pray; hence we’ll rate it as 101.

David’s Prayer

David, being convinced of his sin when prophet Nathan approached him, poured out his soul to God in prayer for mercy and forgiveness. His Prayer is recorded in Psalm 51:

1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight, that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest.

5 Behold, I was shaped in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. — because in sin did my mother conceive me, therefore I was brought forth in iniquity;

— despite being a good prayer as a whole, especially coming with “a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart,” and David being described as a friend of God, he attempts shifting his sins to his mother being born into this world;

— that is, he was saying that his sin could be traced back to his “very birth” rather than to himself. There was no record that an angel was despatched to pat on his back, “this is such a good prayer” or something similar.

6 Behold, Thou desirest truth in my inward parts; in the hidden part Thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice.

9 Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

11 Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with Thy free Spirit.

13 Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.

14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness.

15 O Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise.

16 For Thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it; Thou delightest not in burnt offering.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.

18 Do good in Thy good pleasure unto Zion; build Thou the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering; then shall they offer bullocks upon Thine altar.

Observation: David has the propensity to sin, and he committed many sins more hedious than even his predecessor, King Saul; only that he acknowledges his sins (adultry, murder, etc) and asks for forgiveness.

But what if God didn’t send a prophet to reveal David’s sin? Yet somehow David seems to justify himself in his prayer, “Behold, I was shaped in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me,” sort of blaming his mother who conceive him. We’ll rate it as 201.

Solomon’s Prayer

Solomon’s Prayer is another example for us to study and emulate, especially what we should ask for if we are asking for something. When Solomon was “but a little child” his concern was already for God’s people, and he asked for wisdom to judge his people, which requires discernment.

“Give therefore Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may discern between good and bad; for who is able to judge this Thy so great a people?” 1 Kings 3:9

His request was a wonderful thing: “an understanding heart to judge” that is, wisdom, instead of “long life, riches, nor the life of thine enemies,” and for this, he was rewarded those that he “hast not asked, both riches and honor, so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.”

As Solomon was pretty sinless, yet as a child he knew how to ask for wisdom so as to serve his people in betterment of his countrymen; we would, perhaps, rate such a prayer as 301.

For more details, see Solomon’s Prayer here and here.

Ezra’s Prayer and Nehemiah’s Prayer

Ezra’s Prayer (Ezra 9:5-15):

“Since the days of our fathers we have been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day. 8 And now for a little space grace hath been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a constant and sure abode in His holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. 9 For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving to set up the house of our God and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.10 “And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken Thy commandments” (Ezra 9:7-10). Grace and mercy are both mentioned in Ezra’s prayer.

And Nehemiah’s Prayer (Nehemiah 1:4-10):

“Let Thine ear now be attentive and Thine eyes open, that Thou mayest hear the prayer of Thy servant, which I pray before Thee now day and night for the children of Israel Thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against Thee. Both I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have dealt very corruptly against Thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments which Thou commanded Thy servant Moses” (Nehemiah 1:6-7).

Both coming out of Captivity, both didn’t make excuses, both expressing great gratitude to God for their release from Captivity; are excellent examples of great prayers: they would be rated as 401.

Jesus’ Prayer

Jesus’ Prayer could be found in all four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John:

but for this purpose we’ll just study Matthew version here

The Prayer in the Garden; Matthew 26:

36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” 43 And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.

44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”

Unfortunately, Jesus’ request “let this cup pass from me” wasn’t granted. The Father requirs that he went through pains and death: the fate of humanity lies on his hand, and it was laid before the foundation of this world. Although his prayer wasn’t granted it was intensed, sweats flow from his body. We’ll designate this prayer as 501.

The Son of God lead and end in style, “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” Revelation 22:13

~ by Joel Huan on April 29, 2023.

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