“The Prayer of God”
To ask God to meet
our needs is one thing;
to pray in a way that meets
His need is a different
Luke 6:12, in almost every major Bible translation available today, reads along the lines of how the NKJV has it:
Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
However, that is not what this verse really says. The RcV has a note that the literal meaning is, not that Jesus merely prayed, but that He “continued all night in the prayer of God.”
The only versions I can find that actually translate it in this way are Young’s Literal Translation, and interestingly, the Rheims New Testament, which is the old Roman Catholic version.
“The prayer of God.” That is such a meaningful, profound, and beautiful expression! I simply cannot understand why the major versions don’t just translate it in a literal way, but instead basically remove it from the Bible. I suppose it is because they feel the reader would not understand such an expression.
However, the problem is not with the expression itself, but with us, and with our very limited understanding of what prayer is.
For the most part, when we pray to God, we ask Him for certain things, or to take care of certain matters in our life. Sometimes, if we are more spiritual, we may also ask the Lord to bring us into a deeper realization of Himself and of His work in our life, or we may intercede for others.
All of these are very good, but they are all in the realm of praying to God; they are not “the prayer of God.”
So, what then is “the prayer of God”?
Immediately after being all night in such a prayer, Jesus came down from the mountain and appointed the twelve apostles (Luke 6:13-16). This was a major step forward in God’s move, His work, on the earth at that time. And so by this example we see that while we may pray to meet our need, “the prayer of God” is what meets God’s need; it is the kind of prayer that gives Him a way to carry out His will on the earth.
Just as on the night that Jesus prayed the prayer of God, so in our time there is something in God’s heart that He desires to accomplish on the earth. However, He will not carry that out on His own; He waits until some of His believers cooperate with Him in prayer, praying for His will to be done in that very matter. When we enter into such a prayer, cooperating with God for His will to be done on the earth in a specific way, we have touched “the prayer of God.”
Watchman Nee gave a very good illustration of this kind of prayer. He said that God’s will is like a train, which is so powerful and can do so much—but it cannot go anywhere, until we, by our prayer, lay down the “railroad tracks” for the train to move on. It is really so!
One of the greatest revivals in the history of the church was the Welsh revival of 1904; that was brought about by much prayer, and surely that must have been “the prayer of God!”
(For a brief, excellent account of this revival, I strongly encourage you to read, by R.B. Jones.)
I remember reading a story about Evan Roberts, who was the leading figure of the Welsh revival. After it was over, he was not seen in public for several years. When someone did finally see him again, he asked Roberts, “Where have you been?” He replied, very simply, “Praying the prayer of the kingdom.” Surely, in that time he also must have touched “the prayer of God!”
How the Lord needs His believers in these days, not simply to pray to Him, but to enter into “the prayer of God,” that His will would be done on the earth!
Lord, raise up such ones today, who will pray the prayer of God in our time, that Your will would be accomplished on the earth in these days!
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— 8 July 2023 —