Jehovah`s Witness/How to direct your parayers?
Salutations Brother Drake,
You folks believe that Holy Spirit is God's active force. Right? I can go along with that even though I'm a hard-shell Baptist lay-preacher. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you folks also pray to or pray for God's Holy Spirit at times, right? Here is my question. When do you pray to Jehovah and when do you pray for His Holy Spirit? In JW beliefs, does it matter to which one you direct your prayer?
Caring with love,
PS. I have had some very good discussions with your people. I would advise anyone reading this blog, don't close your doors when JW's call on you. I have found them very polite, they really know their Bible and they never ask you for money.
Even though I have studied the Bible for years, I will be the first one to admit; it is an on-going learning experience sharing scriptures with one anotherand getting more Bible knowledge..
Thank you for inquiring with All Experts and Jehovah thanks you for those wonderful comments. This is His work therefore all recognition, credit, and honor is for Him.
The holy spirit is a vital in any person’s life Carlton who is dedicated to our God. Without that, our world, our solar system, and our universe would not have been created. Lets break down the word using the original language that it was used, Hebrew and Greek.
The Greek pneu′ma (spirit) comes from pne′o, meaning “breathe or blow,” and the Hebrew ru′ach (spirit) is believed to come from a root having the same meaning. Ru′ach and pneu′ma, then, basically mean “breath” but have extended meanings beyond that basic sense. We’ll use two Bible texts. The first is Habbakuk (Compare Habakkuk 2:19; Revelation 13:15.)
(Habakkuk 2:19) . . .“‘Woe to the one saying to the piece of wood: “O do awake!” to a dumb stone: “O wake up! It itself will give instruction”! Look! It is sheathed in gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it. . .
(Revelation 13:15) And there was granted it to give breath to the image of the wild beast, so that the image of the wild beast should both speak and cause to be killed all those who would not in any way worship the image of the wild beast.
Carlton, they can also mean wind; the vital force in living creatures; one’s spirit; spirit persons, including God and his angelic creatures; and God’s active force, or holy spirit. In the books of Koehler and Baumgartner’s Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros, Leiden, 1958, pp. 877-879; Brown, Driver, and Briggs’ Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, 1980, pp. 924-926; Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by G. Friedrich, translated by G. Bromiley, 1971, Vol. VI, pp. 332-451. All these meanings have something in common: They all refer to a force that is invisible to human sight and which gives evidence of force in motion. Such invisible force is capable of producing visible effects.
To understand this easier and clearer lets consider first the sense that is perhaps easiest to grasp. The context in many cases shows ru′ach to mean “wind,” as the “east wind” (Exodus 10:13), “the four winds.” (Zechariah 2:6) The mention of such things as clouds, storm, the blowing of chaff or things of similar nature appearing in the context often makes evident this sense. (Numbers 11:31; 1Kings 18:45; 19:11; Job 21:18) Because the four winds are used to mean the four directions—east, west, north, and south—ru′ach at times may be rendered as ‘direction’ or ‘side.’—1Chronicles 9:24; Jeremiah 49:36; 52:23; Ezekiel 42:16-20.
Job 41:15, 16 says of Leviathan’s closely fitting scales that “not even air [weru′ach] can come in between them.” Here again ru′ach represents air in motion, not merely air in a motionless state. Thus the thought of an invisible force is present, the basic characteristic of the Hebrew ru′ach.
Evidently the only case in the Christian Greek Scriptures in which pneu′ma is used in the sense of “wind” is at John 3:8.
Man cannot exercise control over the wind; he cannot guide, direct, restrain, or possess it. Because of this, “wind [ru′ach]” frequently stands for that which is uncontrollable or unattainable by man—elusive, transitory, in vain, of no genuine benefit. We can compare these elements to Job 6:26; 7:7; 8:2; 16:3; Proverbs 11:29; 27:15, 16; 30:4; Ecclesiastes 1:14, 17; 2:11; Isaiah 26:18; 41:29.) So, for simplicity sake Carlton, the spirit in these examples would mean an unseen dynamic force.
Believe it or not Carlton, it wasn’t until the fourth century C.E. the teaching that the holy spirit was a person and part of the “Godhead” become official church dogma. It was not in the first century congregational teachings. In fact, the early church “fathers” did not teach that concept. How do we know? Justin Martyr of the second century C.E. taught that the holy spirit was an ‘influence or mode of operation of the Deity’; Hippolytus likewise ascribed no personality to the holy spirit. The Scriptures themselves are in harmony to show that God’s holy spirit is not a person but is God’s active force by which he accomplishes his purpose and executes his will.
It may first be noted that in the King James Version the words “in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” found in older translations at 1 John 5:7 are actually spurious or unauthenticated additions to the original text. A footnote in The Jerusalem Bible, a Catholic translation, says that these words are “not in any of the early Greek MSS [manuscripts], or any of the early translations, or in the best MSS of the Vulgate itself.” A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, by Bruce Metzger (1975, pp. 716-718), traces in detail the history of the spurious passage. So, if it was not in the original writings, why is it there? It must be to promote the Trinitarian doctrine. It states that the passage is first found in a treatise entitled Liber Apologeticus, of the fourth century, and that it appears in Old Latin and Vulgate manuscripts of the Scriptures, beginning in the sixth century. Modern translations as a whole, both Catholic and Protestant, do not include them in the main body of the text, because of recognizing their spurious nature.—RS, NE, NAB.
It is true that Jesus spoke of the holy spirit as a “helper” and spoke of such helper as ‘teaching,’ ‘bearing witness,’ ‘giving evidence,’ ‘guiding,’ ‘speaking,’ ‘hearing,’ and ‘receiving.’ In so doing, the original Greek shows Jesus at times applying the personal pronoun “he” to that “helper. In Greek it would be “paraklete”. Again Carlton, we can compare it with John 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-15. However, it is not unusual in the Scriptures for something that is not actually a person to be personalized or personified. Wisdom is personified in the book of Proverbs (1:20-33; 8:1-36); and feminine pronominal forms are used of it in the original Hebrew, as also in many English translations. (KJ, RS, JP, AT) Wisdom is also personified at Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:35, where it is depicted as having both “works” and “children.” The apostle Paul personalized sin and death and also undeserved kindness as “kings.” (Romans 5:14, 17, 21; 6:12) He speaks of sin as “receiving an inducement,” ‘working out covetousness,’ ‘seducing,’ and ‘killing.’ (Romans 7:8-11) Yet it is obvious that Paul did not mean that sin was actually a person.
So, likewise with John’s account of Jesus’ words regarding the holy spirit, his remarks must be taken in context. Jesus personalized the holy spirit when speaking of that spirit as a “helper” (which in Greek is the masculine substantive pa•ra′kle•tos). Properly, therefore, John presents Jesus’ words as referring to that “helper” aspect of the spirit with masculine personal pronouns. On the other hand, in the same context, when the Greek pneu′ma is used, John employs a neuter pronoun to refer to the holy spirit, pneu′ma itself being neuter. Hence, we have in John’s use of the masculine personal pronoun in association with pa•ra′kle•tos an example of conformity to grammatical rules, not an expression of doctrine. John 14:16, 17; 16:7, 8.
Carlton we conclude with the evidence present that since God himself is a Spirit and is holy and since all his faithful angelic sons are spirits and are holy, it is evident that if the “holy spirit” were a person, there should reasonably be given some means in the Scriptures to distinguish and identify such spirit person from all these other ‘holy spirits.’ It would be expected that, at the very least, the definite article would be used with it in all cases where it is not called “God’s holy spirit” or is not modified by some similar expression. This would at least distinguish it as THE Holy Spirit. But, on the contrary, in a large number of cases the expression “holy spirit” appears in the original Greek without the article, thus indicating its lack of personality. Compare Acts 6:3, 5; 7:55; 8:15, 17, 19; 9:17; 11:24; 13:9, 52; 19:2; Romans 9:1; 14:17; 15:13, 16, 19; 1Corinthians 12:3; Hebrew 2:4; 6:4; 2 Peter 1:21; Jude 20.
At Matthew 28:19 Carlton the reference is made to “the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit.” A “name” can mean something other than a personal name. When, in English, we say, “in the name of the law,” or “in the name of common sense,” we have no reference to a person as such. By “name” in these expressions we mean ‘what the law stands for or its authority’ and ‘what common sense represents or calls for.’ The Greek term for “name” (o′no•ma) also can have this sense. Thus, while some translations like the King James and the American Standard follow the Greek text at Matthew 10:41 literally and say that the one that “receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous man’s reward,” more modern translations say, “receives a prophet because he is a prophet” and “receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man,” or similar. (RS, AT, JB, NW) Thus, Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament (1930, Vol. I, p. 245) says on Matthew 28:19: “The use of name (onoma) here is a common one in the Septuagint and the papyri for power or authority.” Hence baptism ‘in the name of the holy spirit’ implies recognition of that spirit as having its source in God and as exercising its function according to the divine will.
Further evidence against the idea of personality as regards the holy spirit is the way it is used in association with other impersonal things, such as water and fire (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8); and Christians are spoken of as being baptized “in holy spirit.” (Acts 1:5; 11:16) Persons are urged to become “filled with spirit” instead of with wine. (Ephesians 5:18) So, too, persons are spoken of as being ‘filled’ with it along with such qualities as wisdom and faith (Acts 6:3, 5; 11:24) or joy (Acts 13:52); and holy spirit is inserted, or sandwiched in, with a number of such qualities at 2 Corinthians 6:6.
It is most unlikely that such expressions would be made if the holy spirit were a divine person. As to the spirit’s ‘bearing witness’ (Acts 5:32; 20:23), it may be noted that the same thing is said of the water and the blood at 1 John 5:6-8. While some texts refer to the spirit as ‘witnessing,’ ‘speaking,’ or ‘saying’ things, other texts make clear that it spoke through persons, having no personal voice of its own as compared to Hebrews 3:7; 10:15-17; Psalm 95:7; Jeremiah 31:33, 34; Acts 19:2-6; 21:4; 28:25.)
It may thus be compared to radio waves that can transmit a message from a person speaking into a microphone and cause his voice to be heard by persons a distance away, in effect, ‘speaking’ the message by a radio loudspeaker. God, by his spirit, transmits his messages and communicates his will to the minds and hearts of his servants on earth, who, in turn, may convey that message to yet others.
Carlton we established that Ru′ach and pneu′ma, therefore, when used with reference to God’s holy spirit, refer to God’s invisible active force by which he accomplishes his divine purpose and will. It is “holy” because it is from Him, not of an earthly source, and is free from all corruption as “the spirit of holiness.” (Romans 1:4) It is not Jehovah’s “power,” for this English word more correctly translates other terms in the original languages (Heb., ko′ach; Gr., dy′na•mis). Ru′ach and pneu′ma are used in close association or even in parallel with these terms signifying “power,” which shows that there is an inherent connection between them and yet a definite distinction. (Micah 3:8; Zechariah 4:6; Luke 1:17, 35; Acts 10:38)
“Power” is basically the ability or capacity to act or do things and it can be latent, dormant, or inactively resident in someone or something. “Force,” on the other hand, more specifically describes energy projected and exerted on persons or things, and may be defined as “an influence that produces or tends to produce motion, or change of motion.” “Power” might be likened to the energy stored in a battery, while “force” could be compared to the electric current flowing from such battery. “Force,” then, more accurately represents the sense of the Hebrew and Greek terms as relating to God’s spirit, and this is borne out by a consideration of the Scriptures.
Jehovah God accomplished the creation of the material universe by means of his spirit, or active force. Regarding the planet Earth in its early formative stages, the record states that “God’s active force [or “spirit” (ru′ach)] was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2) Psalm 33:6 says: “By the word of Jehovah the heavens themselves were made, and by the spirit of his mouth all their army.” Like a powerful breath, God’s spirit can be sent forth to exert power even though there is no bodily contact with that which is acted upon. (Compare Exodus 15:8, 10.) Now Carlton we compare it to a human craftsman would use the force of his hands and fingers to produce things, God uses his spirit. Hence that spirit is also spoken of as God’s “hand” or “fingers.” Compare Psalm 8:3; 19:1; Matthew 12:28 with Luke 11:20.
Modern science speaks of matter as organized energy, like bundles of energy, and recognizes that “matter can be changed into energy and energy into matter.” (The World Book Encyclopedia, 1987, Vol. 13, p. 246) The immensity of the universe that man has thus far been able to discern with his telescopes gives some slight concept of the inexhaustible source of energy to be found in Jehovah God. As the prophet wrote: “Who has taken the proportions of the spirit of Jehovah?” Isaiah 40:12, 13, 25, 26.
Jehovah is not limited to only inanimate creation but also all animate creation owes its existence and life to the operation of Jehovah’s spirit that produced the original living creatures through whom all living creatures today have come to exist. We can compare to Biblical text of compare Job 33:4. Jehovah used his holy spirit to revive the reproductive powers of Abraham and Sarah, and therefore Isaac could be spoken of as “born in the manner of spirit.” (Galatians 4:28, 29) By his spirit God also transferred his Son’s life from heaven to earth, causing conception in the womb of the virgin Jewess Mary. Matthew 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35.
Jehovah also used his spirit force to inform, to illuminate, to reveal things. Therefore David could pray: “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Your spirit is good; may it lead me in the land of uprightness.” (Psalm 143:10) Much earlier, Joseph had given the interpretation of Pharaoh’s prophetic dreams, being enabled to do so by God’s help. The Egyptian ruler recognized the operation of God’s spirit in him. (Genesis 41:16, 25-39) This illuminating power of the spirit is particularly notable in prophecy. Prophecy, as the apostle shows, did not spring from human interpretation of circumstances and events; it was not the result of some innate ability of the prophets to explain the meaning and significance of these or to forecast the shape of coming events. Rather, such men were “borne along by holy spirit”—conveyed, moved, and guided by God’s active force. (2 Peter 1:20, 21; 2 Samuel 23:2; Zechariah 7:12; Luke 1:67; 2:25-35; Acts 1:16; 28:25; So, too, all the inspired Scriptures were “inspired of God,” which translates the Greek the•o′pneu•stos, meaning, literally, “God-breathed.” 2Timothy 3:16 The spirit operated in various manners in communicating with such men and guiding them, in some cases causing them to see visions or dreams as stated in Ezekiel 37:1; Joel 2:28, 29; Revelation 4:1, 2; 17:3; 21:10), but in all cases operating on their minds and hearts to motivate and guide them according to God’s purpose. Daniel 7:1; Acts 16:9, 10; Revelation 1:10, 11.
God’s spirit, then, not only brings revelation and understanding of God’s will but also energizes his servants to accomplish things in accord with that will. That spirit acts as a driving force that moves and impels them, even as Mark says the spirit “impelled” Jesus to go into the wilderness after his baptism. (Mark 1:12; compare Luke 4:1.) It can be like a “fire” within them, causing them to be “aglow” with that force (1Thessalonians 5:19; Acts 18:25; Romans 12:11), in a sense ‘building up steam’ or pressure in them to do certain work. Lets compare Job 32:8, 18-20; 2Timothy 1:6, 7.) They receive the “power of the spirit,” or “power through his spirit.” (Luke 2:27; Ephesians 3:16; compare Micah 3:8.) Yet it is not merely some unconscious, blind impulse, for their minds and hearts are affected as well so that they can intelligently cooperate with the active force given them. Thus the apostle could say of those who had received the gift of prophecy in the Christian congregation that the “gifts of the spirit of the prophets are to be controlled by the prophets,” so that good order might be maintained. 1Corinthians 14:31-33.
Even as an electric current can be used to accomplish a tremendous variety of things, so God’s spirit is used to commission and enable persons to do a wide variety of things. (Isaiah 48:16; 61:1-3) As Paul wrote of the miraculous gifts of the spirit in his day: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but there is the same spirit; and there are varieties of ministries, and yet there is the same Lord; and there are varieties of operations, and yet it is the same God who performs all the operations in all persons. But the manifestation of the spirit is given to each one for a beneficial purpose.” 1Corinthians 12:4-7.
The really amazing aspect of Jehovah’s spirit has qualifying force or capacity; it can qualify persons for a specific work or for an office. In other words, it can help and teach you to accomplish any task that is in Jehovah’s will. A good example is Bezalel and Oholiab may have had prior knowledge of crafts before their appointment in connection with the making of the tabernacle equipment and priestly garments, God’s spirit ‘filled them with wisdom, understanding, and knowledge’ so that the work could be done in the way purposed.
It heightened whatever natural abilities and acquired knowledge they already had, and it enabled them to teach others. (Exodus 31:1-11; 35:30-35) The architectural plans for the later temple were given to David by inspiration, that is, through the operation of God’s spirit, thus enabling David to undertake extensive preparatory work for the project. 1Chronicles 28:12.
God’s spirit acted on and through Moses in prophesying and performing miraculous acts, as well as in leading the nation and acting as judge for it, thereby foreshadowing the future role of Christ Jesus. (Isaiah 63:11-13; Acts 3:20-23) However, Moses as an imperfect human found the load of responsibility heavy, and God ‘took away some of the spirit that was on Moses and placed it upon 70 older men’ so that they might help in carrying the load. (Numbers 11:11-17, 24-30) The spirit also became operative on David from the time of his anointing by Samuel onward, guiding and preparing him for his future kingship. 1Samuel 16:13.
Joshua became “full of the spirit of wisdom” as Moses’ successor. But the spirit did not produce in him the ability to prophesy and perform miraculous works to the extent that it had in Moses. (Deuteronomy 34:9-12) However, it enabled Joshua to lead Israel in the military campaign that brought about the conquest of Canaan. Similarly, Jehovah’s spirit “enveloped” other men, ‘impelling’ them as fighters on behalf of God’s people, fighters such as Othniel, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson. Judges 3:9, 10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:24, 25; 14:5, 6, 19; 15:14.
The spirit of God energized men to speak his message of truth boldly and courageously before opposers and at the risk of their lives. Micah 3:8.
Its being ‘poured out’ on his people is evidence of his favor, and it results in blessings and makes them prosper. Ezekiel 39:29; Isaiah 44:3, 4.
By his spirit God exercises judgment on men and nations; he also carries out his judgment decrees—punishing or destroying. (Isa 30:27, 28; 59:18, 19) In such cases, ru′ach may be fittingly rendered “blast,” as when Jehovah speaks of causing “a blast [ru′ach] of windstorms to burst forth” in his rage. Ezekiel 13:11, 13; compare Isaiah 25:4; 27:8. God’s spirit can reach everywhere, acting for or against those who receive his attention. Psalm 139:7-12.
In regards of how the out working of the holy spirit is when it is coupled with prayers to Jehovah, it accomplishes his will. So with that, we can surmise that it is to Jehovah that prayers must be directed to.
The entire Scriptural record testifies that Jehovah is the One, the only One to whom prayer should be directed (Psalm 5:1, 2; Matthew 6:9), that he is the “Hearer of prayer” (Psalm 65:2; 66:19) and has power to act in behalf of the petitioners. (Mark 11:24; Ephesians 3:20)
King David made this very clear in Psalm 5:1, 2 in which he says,”. . .To my sayings do give ear, O Jehovah; Do understand my sighing. 2 Do pay attention to the sound of my cry for help, O my King and my God, because to you I pray”
To solidify our direction of prayer, Jesus in the Model Prayer or the Our Father prayer taught his followers to pray in this manner to Jehovah in Matthew 6:9-15 . . .“YOU must pray, then, this way: “‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth. Give us today our bread for this day; 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.’ 14 “For if YOU forgive men their trespasses, YOUR heavenly Father will also forgive YOU; 15 whereas if YOU do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will YOUR Father forgive YOUR trespasses.
Jesus understood that all prayers are always directed to his Father. King David in Psalm 65:2 he says to Jehovah, “O Hearer of prayer, even to you people of all flesh will come. . .”
(Psalm 66:19, 20) 19 Truly God has heard; He has paid attention to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, who has not turned aside my prayer, Nor his loving-kindness from me.
Though some claim that prayer may properly be addressed to others, such as to God’s Son, the evidence is emphatically to the contrary. True, there are rare instances in which words are addressed to Jesus Christ in heaven. Stephen, when about to die, appealed to Jesus, saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59) However, the context reveals a circumstance giving basis for this exceptional expression. Stephen at that very time had a vision of “Jesus standing at God’s right hand,” and evidently reacting as if he were in Jesus’ personal presence, he felt free to speak this plea to the one whom he recognized as the head of the Christian congregation. (Acts 7:55, 56; Colossians 1:18) Similarly, the apostle John, at the conclusion of the Revelation, says, “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20) But again the context shows that, in a vision (Revelation 1:10; 4:1, 2), John had been hearing Jesus speak of his future coming and thus John responded with the above expression of his desire for that coming. (Revelation 22:16, 20) In both cases, that of Stephen and that of John, the situation differs little from that of the conversation John had with a heavenly person in this Revelation vision. (Revelation 7:13, 14; compare Acts 22:6-22.) There is nothing to indicate that Christian disciples so expressed themselves under other circumstances to Jesus after his ascension to heaven. Thus, the apostle Paul writes: “In everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God.”—Philippians 4:6.
Carlton in approaching God, the position of Christ Jesus as the one through whom prayer is directed. Through Jesus’ blood, offered to God in sacrifice, “we have boldness for the way of entry into the holy place,” that is, boldness to approach God’s presence in prayer, approaching “with true hearts in the full assurance of faith.” (Hebrews 10:19-22) Jesus Christ is therefore the one and only “way” of reconciliation with God and approach to God in prayer. John 14:6; 15:16; 16:23, 24; 1Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 2:18
We acknowledge that Jesus said that we could ask for more holy spirit to accomplish God’s will. The prayer coupled with the spirit can involve confession (2Chronicles 30:22), petitions or requests (Hebrew 5:7), expressions of praise and thanksgiving (Psalm 34:1; 92:1), and vows (1Samuel 1:11; Ecclesiastes 5:2-6). The prayer given by Jesus to his disciples was evidently a model, or a basic pattern, because later prayers by Jesus himself, as well as by his disciples, did not rigidly adhere to the specific words of his model prayer. (Matthew 6:9-13) In its initial words, this prayer concentrates on the prime issue, calling for the sanctification of God’s name, which began to be reproached by the rebellion in Eden, as well as for the realization of the divine will by means of the promised Kingdom, which government is headed by the prophesied Seed, the Messiah. Genesis 3:15 Such prayer requires that the one praying be definitely on God’s side in the issue and according to his will. What is his will? Anything spiritual to lift his name above everything else and above reproach as Satan has accomplished.
Jesus’ parable at Luke 19:11-27 shows what the ‘coming of the Kingdom’ means—its coming to execute judgment, to destroy all opposers, and to bring relief and reward to those hoping in it. (Compare Revelation 16:14-16; 19:11-21.) The following expression, “let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth,” thus refers primarily, not to the doing of God’s will by humans, but, rather, to God’s own acting in fulfillment of his will toward the earth and its inhabitants, manifesting his power to realize his declared purpose. The person praying, of course, also expresses thereby his own preference for, and submission to, that will. (Matthew 6:10; compare Matthew 26:39.) The request for daily bread, forgiveness, protection against temptation, and deliverance from the wicked one all relate to the petitioner’s desire to continue living in God’s favor. He expresses this desire for all others of like faith, not for himself alone.—Compare Colossians 4:12.
These matters in this model prayer are of fundamental importance to all men of faith and express needs they all have in common. The Scriptural account shows that there are, on the other hand, many other matters that may affect individuals to a greater or lesser degree or that result from particular circumstances or occasions and that are also proper subjects for prayer. Though not specifically mentioned in Jesus’ model prayer, they are, nevertheless, related to the matters there presented. Personal prayers, then, may embrace virtually every facet of life.—John 16:23, 24; Phillipians 4:6; 1Peter 5:7.
Thus, all rightly seek increased knowledge, understanding, and wisdom (Psalm 119:33, 34; James 1:5); yet some may need such in special ways. They may call on God for guidance in matters of judicial decisions, as did Moses (Exodus 18:19, 26; compare Numbers 9:6-9; 27:1-11; Deuteronomy 17:8-13), or in the appointment of persons to special responsibility among God’s people. (Numbers 27:15-18; Luke 6:12, 13; Acts 1:24, 25; 6:5, 6) They may seek strength and wisdom to carry out certain assignments or to face up to particular trials or dangers. (Genesis 32:9-12; Luke 3:21; Matthew 26:36-44) Their reasons for blessing God and thanking him may vary according to their own personal experiences.—1Corinthians 7:7; 12:6, 7; 1Thessalonians 5:18.
At 1 Timothy 2:1, 2, the apostle speaks of prayers being made “concerning all sorts of men, concerning kings and all those who are in high station.” On his final night with his disciples, Jesus, in prayer, said that he did not make request concerning the world, but concerning those whom God had given him, and that these were not of the world but were hated by the world. (John 17:9, 14) It therefore appears that Christian prayers regarding officials of the world are not without limitation. The apostle’s further words indicate that such prayers are ultimately in favor of God’s people, “in order that we may go on leading a calm and quiet life with full godly devotion and seriousness.” Christians prayed concerning the threats of the rulers in their day (Acts 4:23-30), and undoubtedly their prayers in behalf of imprisoned Peter also involved the officials with authority to release him. (Acts 12:5) In harmony with Christ’s counsel, they prayed for those persecuting them.—Matthew 5:44; compare Acts 26:28, 29; Ro 10:1-3.
Giving thanks for God’s provisions, such as food, was done from early times. (Deuteronomy 8:10-18; note also Matthew 14:19; Acts 27:35; 1Corinthians 10:30, 31.) Appreciation for God’s goodness, however, is to be shown in “everything,” not only for material blessings.—1Thessalonians 5:17, 18; Ephesians 5:19, 20.
Carlton we can agree that it is knowledge of God’s will that governs the contents of a person’s prayers, for the supplicant must realize that, if his request is to be granted, it must please God. Knowing that the wicked and those disregarding God’s Word have no favor with Him, the supplicant obviously cannot request that which runs counter to righteousness and to God’s revealed will, including the teachings of God’s Son and his inspired disciples. (John 15:7, 16) Thus, statements regarding the asking of “anything” (John 16:23) are not to be taken out of context. “Anything” clearly does not embrace things the individual knows, or has reason to believe, are not pleasing to God. John states: “This is the confidence that we have toward him, that, no matter what it is that we ask according to his will, he hears us.” (1John 5:14; compare James 4:15.) Jesus told his disciples: “If two of you on earth agree concerning anything of importance that they should request, it will take place for them due to my Father in heaven.” (Matthew18:19) While material things, such as food, are proper subjects of prayer, materialistic desires and ambitions are not, as such texts as Matthew 6:19-34 and 1 John 2:15-17 show. Nor can one rightly pray for those whom God condemns.—Jeremiah 7:16; 11:14.