When you pray
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” Matthew 6:5-8
Prayer is not to be a show of religious piety but the sincere communication of the heart and soul to God the Father. Jesus urges His followers to quietly and, in the privacy of their own homes, pour out their hearts before the LORD God, trusting in Him to mercifully hear and answer their prayers. Those who make a show of their prayers to be seen by men have their only reward, but those who pray to God in secret will be heard by God in secret and rewarded openly.
Nor are Christians to use vain or empty repetitions in their prayers, as the heathen do, thinking that God will hear and answer their prayers because of their many words. Jesus teaches us that God desires the prayers of our heart and not empty words uttered by our lips. Thus, the mere repetition of prayers will merit us nothing before God and are not really even prayer at all! Rather, Christians are invited by God to come before Him with their petitions and thanksgiving, trusting that He indeed will hear and answer us for the sake of Jesus and His atoning sacrifice upon the cross for the sins of the world (cf. 1 John 5:11-15).
It is not our many words or our religious piety which persuade God to hear and answer our prayers. Rather, it is His love and mercy toward us for Jesus’ sake that moves Him to reach out to us and invite us to come humbly before Him with our prayers and petitions, knowing and believing that He will hear us and grant what is best for us as His dear children through faith in Christ Jesus. And, as Jesus says, our Father knows the things we need before we even ask them of Him.
Dear Father in heaven, we thank You for Your grace and mercy toward us for Jesus’ sake, and we thank You for the privilege of coming before You in prayer. Move us to come before You in humility, trusting that You will hear and receive us for the sake of Jesus and His blood shed for us on Calvary. Amen.
“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11:5 (Read Genesis 5:21-24)
The Bible tells us of Enoch, the seventh generation from Adam, that he “walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:24). At the relatively young age of 365, Enoch was taken directly, without seeing death, to be with the LORD God in heaven. Enoch was translated; that is, changed from a temporal, earthly existence to an eternal, heavenly one. His body and soul were taken from this earth into his eternal and heavenly home. Such a translation is hard for us to understand.
In all of human history, Elijah the prophet is the only other human being to escape death and be taken directly to his heavenly home (cf. 2 Kings 2:11). Even the Lord Jesus Christ first died for the sins of the world before He rose again on the third day and then 40 days later ascended into heaven.
Enoch walked with God by faith, trusting that God’s ways are right and that God would send the promised Seed of the woman to redeem him from sin and eternal death. In the book of Jude, we learn that Enoch also testified in his time of God’s coming judgment upon all who continued in their ungodly and rebellious ways (v. 14f.).
To walk with God by faith is no different today. Believers know and believe that God’s ways are true and right and trust in God’s mercy and forgiveness for the sake of His Son, Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for the sins of the whole world and rose again on the third day. Believers walk in fellowship with God the Father, agreeing with Him about their sinfulness but trusting in Him to graciously forgive their sins and accept them as His own dear children for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lived a righteous and holy life in mankind’s stead and made full atonement for the sins of the whole word when He suffered and died upon the cross (cf. 1 John 1:7 – 2:2).
Like Enoch, believers are pleasing to God and righteous in his eyes because all their sins have been washed away in Jesus’ blood. Their works too are pleasing in His eyes because they flow from faith in Him and are made pure through the shed blood of Jesus.
Believers have already been translated. The Bible says of believers in Jesus that the Father “hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14). God has graciously translated His children from the kingdom and rule of darkness and sin into the kingdom of grace and forgiveness – the kingdom of His own dear Son.
And believers will be translated into God’s eternal and heavenly kingdom when Jesus returns. The Bible says to all who believe: “Our conversation [way of life] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).
Enoch walked with God by faith and was translated directly into heaven. All who today walk by faith in the Son of God, trusting in Him for mercy and forgiveness, have been translated from the kingdom of darkness and spiritual death into God’s kingdom of grace and life. On the last day, they too will be translated – their earthly body will be changed into a glorious and heavenly body like that of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus, let me ever walk with You by faith so that, as Enoch was translated from this world into your heavenly kingdom, so I may arise and live with You forever in Your eternal and glorious kingdom. Amen.
Preparing for Sunday
Scripture Readings for Sunday are: Psalm 36; Hebrews 13:1-25; Luke 12:13-59. Please read them in their context as you prepare for worship.
Sunday Adult Bible Class will continue its study of 1 John, in chapter three.
Verse to Remember
“And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Luke 12:29-31
Remember to Pray
Remember to pray for our church and for all our members, that none be lost to Christ’s kingdom but that all continue in repentance and be strengthened and built up in the true and saving faith in Christ Jesus through the hearing and study of His Word. We continue to pray for all who have been sick or who are suffering among us – for Sam Rusch, Ray and Bonnie Hawes, Robert and Dawn Hiebert, Mel Boren, Freda Stueland – for our extended families and for believers who are alone and have no congregation. Remember also Lorene, who is in need of money to pay her rent and other bills.
Choir will practice on Sunday, meeting in the choir room following the worship service.
A pot-luck dinner will be held on Sunday, Nov. 3, following our morning worship service.
Our next evening Bible study will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
The Annual Voters’ Assembly is tentatively set for Sunday, Nov. 17.