- When we pray to those who persecute us, the prayer is a valid prayer.
Matthew 5:44 – But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
It is very hard for us to pray for those who persecute us. We fail because we don’t give ourselves to the control of the Holy Spirit. We fail to learn from the God’s word practice. Bible says be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. How is it possible? Can we really do it. Do we have an example? Yes, Prophet Ezra is our example and then Jesus. They studied, practiced and preached the law (Ezra 7:10) and Jesus, He did it all. It is hard and difficult, but it is a must do assignment. It is easy to pray for country’s salvation, people’s salvation, healing, deliverance and people who are possessed by the evil spirit. Praying for those who persecute us is difficult. The evil world knows, if we pray for them there will be a great revival in the city and country. Unlike Paul, if a persecutor receives Jesus Christ as Savior then there is revival. Having this in mind satan blinds us to this prayer. He makes our heart so hard that we don’t pray for them. Jesus was focused, He always fought the battle. He was ceaseless in prayer even on the cross. He prayed for the one who was with him on the cross. Even on the cross, the gospel was preached, and salvation invitation was given. The person died after receiving Jesus as Savior.
Pray for those who persecute us. If you pray for them then this is prayer is valid. God will listen these prayers and will heal the land.
2. Our prayer is valid, when we don’t do it for fame?
Matthew 6:5 – “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”
Many misinterpret the word hypocrite. To give it a clear meaning, I would like to use take an example of theatre actors or movie actors. They act in movies and dramas for fame. Even money doesn’t matter to them because more than money fame is important. Anonymous communist said, “Actors don’t go behind money because money goes behind fame and they do anything to get fame”. These actors prefer, accept and imitate any character for fame. They act as super heroes for fame but cannot be one. Let it be any character like super hero, romantic hero in fact most movies are savior of mankind. They do it because the wanted name and fame. It fits a believer because he pretends to be good before people. That is the hypocrite word used by Jesus here. They prayed to be recognized by the synagogues and the community. They did not understand prayer was talking to God. Telling Him, Father we have people who are lost in the world. The purpose of prayer was lost, and they use it for their benefits. They were seeking praying opportunities for their pride.
Proverbs 16:5 says, The Lord hates the proud heart and they will surely be punished. Praying is our role and responsibility because people are dying in sin. We must use prayer time and talk to God to save His children in sin.
Proverbs 16:5 – “The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.”
James 4:6 tells, God gives favor to those who are humble and opposes the proud.
James 4:6 – “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.””
Pray not like a hypocrite but in truth and spirit. Valid prayers are prayed in spirit and in truth. When a person is finding hard to do church prayer in truth and in spirit it is then he/she should go into the room, close the door and pray to the Father in heaven. This is when one cannot control to pray for fame.
Matthew 6:6 – But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
The message to us through these verses are, pray in the crowd in truth and prayer or go to the room, close the door and pray. Your prayer will be a valid prayer. Never try to pray to gain name, fame and money.
3. Valid prayers are confident, simple, short and sweet – Do not babble like pagans.
Matthew 6:7 – And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
Jesus, His disciples and anyone in the bible did not pray like pagans. Why did Jesus say such words? Did we have people praying like them? What was happening, when Jesus spoke these words? Or Was it a prophetical statement for us? Jesus said this because they were pagan worshippers receiving Jesus Christ as their Savior and to make their faith strong in the Lord. Praying to Lord was important because they did not know how to pray even the disciples did not know how to pray. One kind of prayer people have seen is the way the pagans prayed to the baals and without image they will not trust that there is a creator. 1 Kings 18:26 to 29 is a good example.
1 Kings 18:26-29 – “26. So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. 27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.”
Another example will be from the book of Ecclesiastes 5:2, 3 and 7 because Jesus doesn’t want people to have a disturbed mind in prayer.
Ecc 5:7 – Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.
Ecc 5:8 – A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool.
Ecc 5:7 – Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God.
Let us go back to Elijah’s prayer
1 Kings 18:36-39 – “36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!”
Strong in faith, with confidence that God will surely answer his prayers. He moves a step forward and prays to the Lord our God in heaven. We see the fire of the Lord licked up the water and the trench.
What matters in prayer is? Do not repeat unwanted words and be sure, strong in faith that He the creator is present to do miracles for us. He will save us when we pray. This is another valid prayer.
4. Valid and Invalid prayer thoughts from “The Lord’s Prayer”
Mat 6:9-13 – 9 “This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
- Any prayer that doesn’t address the Creator, all potential loving Father is an invalid prayer.
Everyone has identification and we are obliged to recognize everyone for what they are. Our parents should be addressed as to what they are. We must not misunderstand their friendly attitude towards us and fail to put the commandment into practice. We must honor them. The reason we are compelled is that it is the right way of life. Look at this world they give high importance to these relationships we carry on earth. At the office, people in authorities should be given high respect and addressed properly. This protocol is a duty of employee, safe are those who follow it. Another example from the company I worked with, we had email etiquettes that were considered vital, one email rule was terrifying and that is, “if we send an email to an incorrect client, we were terminated without a second thought”. It is considered a breach in the email policy. You see “To Address” is very important. That is the importance of addressing the right person and Jesus taught us at the beginning of the Lord’s prayer. Prayer is not a prayer if we do not address our Abba Father in heaven, it is considered lamentation. A letter without an address lands nowhere. It is always returned back to the person who posted it. It will be in the trash without address. While I explain this, letter writing tests at school come to my mind. It is a common-sense and practical lesson. Please do not ignore to address God in prayer and pray invalid prayers. It is not done but if anyone does it, please correct them.