Living Christ Teaches about Prayer
Grandes lignes: Lessons from 'The Living Christ' #9 - Pictures 36, 69, 82, 102, 108, 119.
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What is prayer? Prayer is talking with God. But does God really hear us when we pray? Will He answer us? Jesus Christ taught us a lot about prayer. Look at the pictures as I tell you what Jesus said.
Picture 36. Teaching about Prayer
Here you can see two men praying. One man is out in the street where everyone can see him. He seems to be very religious, but does he really know God? Jesus said, "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. They love to pray in the meeting places and in the streets. They want men to see them. I can assure you that they already have their reward. When you pray, go into a room alone. Pray to God your Father in private. He sees what is done in private and He will reward you. Do not pray with many words like the people who don't know God. Don't be like them. God knows what you need before you ask Him." Jesus said, "You should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, help us to honour your name. Come and set up your kingdom. Let everyone on earth obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. Give us our food for today. Forgive us for doing wrong to others, as we forgive everyone who has done wrong to us. Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil."
Picture 69. Parable of the Friend at Midnight
Jesus teaches us more about prayer from the story in this picture. Listen. He said, "Suppose one of you goes to a friend in the middle of the night and says, "Let me borrow three loaves of bread. A friend of mine has come unexpectedly and I haven't got anything for him to eat." Your friend's door is locked. His children are with him in bed. He does not want to get up. However, he will get up and give you as much as you need because you are not ashamed to keep on asking." In this story, Jesus taught us not to be afraid when we pray. We should keep on asking God for what we need. He said, "Everyone who asks, will receive. Everyone who searches, will find." He also said, "Your Father in Heaven is ready to give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks Him!" People who have the Spirit of God are God's children. God hears His children when they pray. So don't be afraid. Ask Him to give you His Spirit, and keep asking Him for the things you need.
Picture 82. The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
Luke 18:9-14; Psalm 66:18-20
God is great and very holy. Will He listen to you or me? Or do we have to please God before He hears us? Jesus told another story to answer these questions. The story was about two men who went to the temple to pray. You can see them in the picture. The man on the right was a Pharisee. He was a religious man. The other man was a tax collector. People did not respect him at all. The Pharisee was very proud of himself. When he prayed he said, "God, I thank you that I am not greedy, dishonest, and unfaithful in marriage like other people. I am really thankful that I am not like that tax collector over there. I go without eating for two days a week, and I give a tenth of all I get to You." The tax collector stood at a distance. He knew that he was not a good man. He was even ashamed to look up to God in heaven so he beat his chest as he prayed. He said, "God, have mercy on me because I am a sinner." God heard his prayer. He forgave the tax collector because he confessed his sin. We are all sinful and God wants us to confess our sins to Him. Then God will hear our prayers. God resists people who are proud and He does not hear those who have sinful thoughts. The Bible says, "If my thoughts had been sinful, He would have refused to hear me. But God did listen and answered my prayer. Let us praise God! He listened when I prayed, and He is always kind."
Picture 102. Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
Jesus showed us how to pray. He often prayed to God. In this picture Jesus is praying in a garden. It is night. Jesus was in great distress. God wanted Him to die for the sins of all people. Jesus asked God to save Him from this suffering. However, Jesus said, "Do what You want, and not what I want." Jesus was willing to obey God, even if He had to die. Jesus asked His followers to pray with Him. However, they were too tired and they went to sleep. Jesus woke them and said, "Stay awake and pray so that you will not be tested. You want to do what is right, but you are weak." Jesus wants us to pray like that. We must pray always, especially if we have to suffer for His sake. Then we will be strong and not turn away from God.
Picture 108. The Crucifixion
The enemies of Jesus arrested Him. They accused Him falsely. They said that He must die. They hung Him up on a cross. There He suffered until He died. Why did God let this happen? Did God not hear His prayers? God heard Him, but He let wicked men kill Jesus. Why did He do that? He did it for us. We have all sinned against God. We have gone our own way. The punishment for sin is death. Jesus had to die to take the punishment for our sin. Now everyone who has faith in Him will have life after death. Jesus died as a sacrifice for us, however that was not the end of Him.
Picture 119. Jesus at God's Right Hand in Heaven
Here we see Jesus again. On the third day after He died, an amazing thing happened. Jesus came back from the dead. He was alive again! Hundreds of His followers saw Him. They spoke with Him. Later they saw Him rise up to heaven in a cloud. Jesus is still alive today. He is with God in Heaven. There He sits at the right hand of God. We cannot go to God by our own efforts, but when we pray to God, Jesus speaks to Him on our behalf. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life! Without Me, no one can go to the Father." Jesus is the way to God. Through Him God hears and answers our prayers. Let us give thanks to Him!