In the Image of God


Jesus Prayed


The chill and fog numbed his bones. He pulled his cloak around him to little avail. His breath steamed forth like a locomotive huffing up the tiny mountain. His apostles still cuddled warmly to the cacophony of snores when he left. But he had a more important job to do than revel in the dream world.

He looked down toward the town, but the mist shrouded it like swaddling clothes. Up here it was even colder. The stiff climb had warmed him just a bit. Hours later, the sun had already burned off the fog, as he descended.

Another evening, instead of going out on the lake with his apostles, Jesus found a solitary place. He needed to be alone, well, not exactly alone.

One afternoon, Jesus slipped away from the hustle and bustle and went to a place away from all the people.

Each time when he escaped and journeyed off by himself, he closed his eyes and began. “Our Father, in heaven.”

Jesus is the Way. The eyewitnesses of the Gospel chronicled the way Jesus prayed. Jesus needed to
pray as do all God’s people, but he also set us an example of how to pray. Teach us to pray, his apostles entreated. We must ask Jesus the same impelling question.

(See:
Mark 1:35, 6:45-47, Luke 6:12.)

Our Father in Heaven

(In the two following paragraphs, I’m going to use the Hebrew for God to give you a feel for the true God.)

Who do you pray to? Everyone says they pray to God. But who is the God you pray to? His name is Yahweh Elohim, not the Anglo Saxon God derived from the root for good. Jesus prayed to the Creator of the universe, the Yahweh (Lord) of heaven and earth. He prayed to the righteous Father, whom the world does not know. He prayed to the only true Yahweh, the Father. He prayed directly to Yahweh; he did not pray through some intermediary, priest or whatnot.

So Jesus acknowledged the Yahweh in heaven. He acknowledged all that Yahweh has done for the world. He praised Yahweh for the creation, for the light of His Word, which was His first creation. He praised Yahweh for providing salvation to the world. He praised Yahweh for providing eternal life, for the opportunity to be born into the Yahweh-family.

The psalmists glorified God in the most beautiful poetry by elucidating the wonders God accomplished. These examples teach us who the only true God in heaven is.

We must know the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jesus in order to be heard by Him. Our Father in heaven…

(See:
Mat 11:25, Luke 3:21-22, John 11:41, 17:2-3, 24:26.)

Hallowed Be Your Name

Using the wonders God performed, Jesus praised, worshipped, and thanked God for all He has done. He glorified God by word in heartfelt prayer. Jesus always gave God glory and thanksgiving for everything. He thanked God for food, clothing, shelter, opportunities, prosperity, health, life, eternal life, the power at work within, and gifts so numerous that a lifetime of praise could never cover all the good God as done for us.

You must remember that the Hebrew and Greek both explain that a person’s name characterizes who the person is. God’s names, in fact, identify who He is from Creator and Judge to Savior and loving Father. Thus, we have a wealth of information to use in worshiping God’s name.

Jesus also explains to us that our actions give glory to God, or, in many cases, displease Him, to say the least. Jesus knows that actions speak louder than words. People can say anything. What they do counts. Jesus glorified God by his atoning sacrifice, which ultimately provides us with eternal life.

(See:
John 12:28-30, John 17:1, 4, 5.)

Your Kingdom Come

What is God’s kingdom? A little personal history might illustrate God’s kingdom, the Kingdom of God.

In the early nineteen hundreds, my grandfather and grandmother fled the oppression of Hungary. He, a master tinsmith, was slated to be conscripted to fight in a useless war and probably die so some dictator might gain some land, renown, or wealth. He came to America for freedom. They came to America for freedom. After of few years earning a living and studying, he took the test and oath of allegiance. He became an American citizen. He freely gave up his Hungarian citizenship and became an American with all his being. He spoke, read, and wrote American. He voted, obeyed the laws, paid taxes, and never, ever wanted to go back even for a visit. With a bit more than a trace of a Hungarian accent, he extolled the virtues of freedom and the American way of life.

That is like the Kingdom of God. We disdain the oppression of Satan’s world, flee the conscription of being sent into Satan’s forces, and apply for citizenship in the Kingdom of God. We study the new land’s laws, values, and culture. When we are ready, God makes us citizens of His Land, the Kingdom of God.

The only difference between Grandpa and us is we cannot flee to a new land. Our Promised Land comes into existence in the future. So we are like aliens in a foreign land until the Kingdom of God fully comes. Just as the Embassy is part of the home country, where we are is part of the Kingdom of God because our bodies are temples of God, far more precious than an embassy.

(See:
Luke 9-28-35.)

Your Will Be Done on Earth as It Is in Heaven

For Jesus, doing God’s will was his highest desire. Even when praying in the garden before his murder, Jesus agreed to do God’s will in spite of the suffering he was about have inflicted on him.

For us living in the modern world, which has effectively tuned out God even more than any other age, ours is a plea for strength and courage to do God’s will. The commandments though easy to keep by their very nature become nearly impossible with all the distractions of the media, pulls from friends and family, and past habits and desires — all refusing to leave us in peace.

(See:
Mat 26:39, 42.)

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Jesus thanked God for his food. He thanked God when he multiplied the loaves and fishes. He thanked God when he broke bread (actually, matzos) on Passover.

This part of Jesus’s prayer is intended to remind us each day that God provides for us. But we work for our food, clothing, shelter, etc., you might say. Yes, but we have not created food from nothing. The seeds and seedlings are there for the planting. God provides the soil, fertilizer, air, water, and sun. Our food is proof of God’s existence and a basis of faith.

Even though God knows we need food before we ask, we ask only for enough food for the day. We do not pray greedily, or else our prayers go unheard. Our prayer is as much an acknowledgment of God as our Provider as it is a request.

When we ask God for our daily bread, we pray to the only One who can provide it, has provided it, and will provide it. We do not pray to Erde, the earth goddess, you know, Mother Nature. We do not offer sacrifices so the gods will smile on us. No, we go directly to the source of all good, God. He provides for His People in drought, in war, in famine, in good times and bad.

He also gives us the ability to obtain our food. He does not hand it to us and make us spoiled. He does not take food from others to give it to us. He does encourage us, on the other hand, to feed the hungry, in fact, demands we do so. He wants us to be as generous and kind as he is. As He is hospitable, so too, should we. All this, God does for us.

(See:
Mat 14:36.)


Forgive Us Our Trespasses as We Forgive Those

Who Trespass Against Us

Simply put, Jesus’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins is useless unless we forgive all who sin against us from the heart. Jesus gave the example. As he was dying on the cross, he asked God to forgive his executioners because they did not know what they were doing.

God gives forgiveness, and eternal life that comes from forgiveness, to those only who are willing to forgive as Jesus did. Stephen followed Jesus’s example; when he was being stoned to death, he cried out to God to forgive them.

Do we have that attitude in us, even in little things?

(See:
Luke 22:32, John 12:27.)

And Lead Us Not into Temptation

Praying keeps us from temptation. Just our saying the words blocks the forces of evil from tempting us. At Jesus’s hour of greatest temptation, the hour before he was arrested and killed, he prayed so hard that perspiration fell from his body like drops of blood.

At that time, he warned his apostles to pray that night that Satan would not tempt them. Of course, they did not, and Peter renounced Jesus, which was not good. He did repent afterward, but the lesson was learned the hard way.

Paul says that Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are. He was human. But God will never allow anyone to be tempted by Satan and the world system of philosophy and thought beyond his ability to overcome the temptation. Jesus certainly, who knew temptation far greater than we will ever see, helps us to find a way out of the temptation.

We saw how Jesus using God’s Word fought the temptations of Satan. We saw how the promise of eternal life strengthened Jesus in the garden before his death.

God cannot be tempted by evil, nor will He ever tempt anyone. He, indeed, is the One who will lead us away from temptation. Praise God. Say Amen.

(See: John 11:41-44.)

But Deliver us from Evil and the Evil One

The last enemy Jesus came to defeat is death. Where does death come from? It comes from sin; the wages of sin is death. Sin entered the world from Satan. But Jesus defeated Satan by his death and resurrection.

With this reminder, let us see how Jesus prayed to God. When Jesus came to the tomb of the recently deceased, Lazarus, he said that God always heard him, but he was praying out loud for the benefit of the people there. Then he called out to Lazarus to come forth.

Through Jesus, God delivers us from evil and the evil one. When we ask God every time we pray to deliver us from evil and Satan, we are also reminded that it is only God that can deliver us. Our prayer increases our faith in Jesus and reliance on the grace of God.

(See:
Luke 12:27, 22:32, 23:34, Mat 26:27-28.)

Jesus Prayed for Others

Jesus always prayed for others. He prayed for the little children and laid hands on them. He prayed for people he encountered. He prayed for the disciples before his death. He prayed for us almost two thousand years ago. Jesus said he prayed for those — us —s who would believe because of the message the apostles and other writers of the New Testament gave us.

(See:
Mat 19:13, John 17:6-19.)

Jesus Prayed for Himself

In the garden before he died, Jesus prayed most earnestly, that he would not fail God in the great task before him.

Following his example, we ought also to pray for the determination to work toward the glory of God. God knows what we need before we ask. But we have to pray to let God know that we are willing to ask Him, that we really know what we need and really want what we need.

(See:
John 17:20:23.)

Prayer in Action


Simply, we bring glory to God by our actions, just as Jesus brought glory to God by completing the work God gave him to do. Amen.

(See:
John 17:4.)

— Gil Kovacs


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