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Public Prayers

And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (Matt 6:3-4)

When I read this, I wonder if all corporate prayer is sin. Are we just ignoring Jesus’ words when we gather and pray together?

I don’t believe this is the case, and I will share a couple things here that would indicate that some praying with others is recommended.

First, there are times when Jesus did pray in group settings. It was admittedly not often, and it was more often than not giving thanks.

One of these times that is at the raising of Lazarus

And Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank Thee that Thou heardest Me. And I knew that Thou hearest Me always; but because of the people standing around I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me. (John 11:41-42 NASB)

It almost sounds like Jesus just did exactly what He said not to do in Matthew 6. He just told the Father that He was thanking Him publicly so others would hear.

Understand this, Jesus does not say one thing and do another. You must get this. There is no “because He was Jesus” excuse. He walked in all righteousness, so nothing He ever did would contradict something He had for us to walk in.

When something strikes you as “do as I say, not as I do” it is time to dig a bit deeper. Jesus, the God-man never gave us either instructions or example that we were not intended to follow. [Tweet This]

So what is up? You will notice that Jesus is not drawing attention to Himself in His prayer here. Rather, He is giving glory to the Father for the miracle He has seen the Father do. (Jesus said He only did what He saw the Father do)

As in the aftermath of the Mount of Transfiguration, where the boys could not cast the demon out of the boy, Jesus does it instantly, and then tells them this kind does not leave without prayer and fasting, the implication is that Jesus was prayed up.

The same is true here – Jesus is prayed up. We know that He knew Lazarus was dead, and had already received the plan from the Father. Here He is publicly giving thanks for what the Father had already accomplished, and all were about to see.

Next time we will look at exactly what Jesus was prohibiting in Matt 6, since clearly some public prayer is called for.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Ben

0 thoughts on “Public Prayers

  1. Caddo Veil

    Hi Ben--Happy Monday! I'm so glad you used the phrase "prayed up"--it's one of my super faves. I appreciate your help with verses that seem like contradictions--and that you tell us there's no "because He was Jesus" excuse. My tendency has been to ignore the confusing parts, because I don't want to get stuck on them--So,once again, this student is leaning forward to learn more! God bless you abundantly--love, sis Caddo

    Reply
    1. Ben Nelson

      Hey Caddo,
      Yeah - i don't like that "because He's Jesus" when it comes to how He lived. For sure it is valid when it come to What He did for us - the spotless lamb - slain before the foundations of the earth, but when it comes to how He lived, it was supposed to be an example of the "Normal Christian Life"
      Thanks much for coming back hungry every day! Makes it seem like a worthwhile endeavor.
      God bless you right back.
      Ben

      Reply
      1. Caddo Veil

        Just so you know, this gal doesn't "play the blog game" of visiting and commenting on blogs, just to solicit reciprocation. If I really can't get behind what a blogger is offering, and haven't built at least a minimal "quality" relationship--then I'm out-a-there. If it's not "real" there's no deal. God and I have frequent chats about how it's not the numbers that count--we're all about quality and authenticity, and transparency to a reasonable degree. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it--so yes, I do "come hungry" to read the "Bread" you're serving up, brother Ben. God bless you BIG--sis C, so blessed today I can barely sit still over here in Caddo-Land!!

        Reply
          1. Caddo Veil

            Not roping, Bubba--Bull Riding, PBR Finals--Starts Wed eve on the CBS Sports Network, if you get it. I think the last day, Sunday, it will be on the normal NBC channel--so you should be able to catch the confetti on your local station. I am already so Way Excited!! The nerves won't start till Wed.

            While I'm over here, I'm so blessed because Cee (Share Your World fame) designed a badge/button deal-thingie for my Seven Word Sundays--check it out, it's Way Cool!! So if you play this week, you'll be able to add it to your blog, as a participant! Isn't this just Too Fun!! (Deep breaths) Gotta go back to work at my "famous author" job--don't you just wish you had a cubicle next to mine?! No? Too dizzying?? Later, Bro

            Reply
              1. Caddo Veil

                One more thing, Ben, since you're here--did you happen to see that "Les Miserables" was on the Turner Classic Movie Channel this past weekend? Michael Rennie and Debra Paget. See ya!

                Reply
  2. Debbie

    I'm reading the comments back and forth .. .and forgot I was here to comment on the post! Smiling! I , too, really appreciate your style of writing and teaching and explaining. I am struck by Jesus being prayed up. I want to be too. God bless you, Ben, as you help us through the parts we would just skip.

    Reply
    1. Ben Nelson

      You are so kind - the fact is mostly i am just thinking out loud (well - with my fingers on the keyboard i guess would be more accurate).

      The prayed up thing is big to me. I am convinced that is why my track record only spins all the way around the turntable of victory a small percent of the time, and Jesus was able to hit it out of the park every day. (was that enough mixing of metaphors for you?)
      Thanks for stopping by Debbie!
      Ben

      Reply
  3. meetingintheclouds

    I know corporate prayer is an essential part of Church life. It was in the early Church and it still is. However, I've seldom felt 'close' to God in a prayer meeting, whereas when I am "alone" with God - just the two of us sharing together - I actually "feel" His presence. Sometimes I can feel His arms around me and His voice is clear and definite as He teaches me the way I should go. And the amazing thing? He can be doing just the same with my brethren in America, England, Canada, Singapore and around the world, all at the same time!

    What an amazing God!

    Reply
    1. Ben Nelson

      Amen

      I am persuaded that corporate prayer can be intimate to on some level, I just have to get past trying to impress others with my prayer "style" or whatever.

      thanks much for the encouragement!
      Ben

      Reply

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