Prayer-Preaching

Posted: April 21, 2011 in Devotionals, Shared Thoughts, Study!
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If you have been to many churches, religious gatherings, or have been a Christian for a while now, then I am sure you been exposed to Prayer-Preaching. It is that part of public prayers where the person who is supposed to be praying is actually speaking to everyone else in the room instead of to God. Sometimes people treat prayer like it’s a pulpit in the pocket, any opportunity to pray to them becomes a must take opportunity for them to preach. Now, let me state right off that prayer-preaching isn’t a bad thing . . . but that doesn’t mean it is a good thing always. Sadly, some people just can’t seem to stop themselves from taking public prayer and using it to show others what they know, or pass over a chance to address someone in the room “anonymously.”

I have to admit most of the time when I hear someone prayer-preaching, I feel the sanctity of prayer is being compromise, that it is almost insulting to our Lord. However, sometimes it is the absolute right way to be praying . . . which is why I want to look at some of those last words of our Lord on His Cross.

Matthew 27:46 – And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?

There have been so many conclusions put forth as what Jesus was saying here. Some say that the Father literally turned away and abandoned Jesus on the cross and therefore Jesus cried out in forsaken agony. The reasoning goes that the Father couldn’t look upon Jesus with all the sins of the world placed upon Him.

My first question would be who then laid the sins on Christ, if indeed they needed to be literally placed upon Him? The next question would be why couldn’t God, who sees every sin and wicked thing ever done look at His Son while being our atoning sacrifice?

Job 34:21 For His eyes are upon the ways of man, and He seeth all his goings. 22 There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.

Proverbs 15:3 – The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

Jeremiah 16:17 – For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from My face, neither is their iniquity hid from Mine eyes.

Hebrews 4:13 – Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Personally, I am persuaded the whole atoning work of Jesus from His mock trail, scourging, the cross, to the resurrection were all intently viewed in full by all of the heavenly host as they witnessed the most glorious and pinnacle event of all eternity, God in the flesh, justified in the Spirit and seen of angels.

1 Timothy 3:16 – And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

The cross was the final proving ground; the judging, condemning and casting down of Satan. It was there that Jesus Christ was making a triumphant show of victory over His fallen enemies. The last thing Satan wanted was the Son of man to lay down His life. He tried deterring the mission of Christ after His baptism when Jesus was led into the wilderness. Satan tried again in the Garden to tempt Jesus not to go to the cross for our sins and salvation . . . and I believe the demons were behind the high priest mocking Jesus to save Himself and come down from the cross.

 Matthew 27:42 – He saved others; Himself he cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.

 Mark 15:30 – Save Thyself, and come down from the cross.

One of the first points I would like to make regarding the words Jesus stated is that those words “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me” are actually David’s words used at the intro of prophetic Psalm 22. Now certainly there were times when David felt forsaken of God, and therefore for him to have written a Psalm asking such would not be unusual. But still, that doesn’t mean David was ever forsaken either. David was a man after God’s own heart . . . even though he was a sinner, think on that. God never left or forsook David, rather God was always faithful to deal with David as a son, chastising him because of his sins.

Now the phrase, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me,” is a question in its structure, but that does not mean Jesus was asking a question when He stated them. I think one of the most important things to note here is this is the only time when Jesus “prayed” that He did not say “Father.” That alone is cause to question whether in fact Jesus was indeed “praying” when He so cried out.

Let’s take a look at the whole stage set at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, there were a host of different people there.

  1. Mt 27:38 – Then two thieveswere crucified with Him, one off the right, one off the left.
  2. Mt 27:39 – And those who passed by blasphemed Him, shaking their heads.
  3. Mt 27:41 – And in the same way also the chief priests mocked, with the scribes and elders.
  4. Mt 27:54 – But the centurion and those guarding Jesus.
  5. Mt 27:55 – And many of the women were there . . . who had followed Jesus.

Now, I distinguish all these because Jesus said several things while on the cross, each with a specific purpose. One of the first things Jesus said was “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Now most seem to think this was blanket statement for the masses there, but it wasn’t. It was clearly for those who did “not know what they do.”

Luke 23:34 – And Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. And parting His clothing, they cast lots.

I am personally persuaded that those words were spoken concerning those who actually did the crucifixion of Jesus and then cast lots for His garments.

Matthew 27:35 – And they crucified Him, dividing His garments, casting a lot; so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, “They parted My garments among them, and they cast a lot for My clothing.” 36 And sitting down they guarded Him there. 37 And they put up over His head His accusation, written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

John 19:23 – Then when they had crucified Jesus, the soldiers took His garments and made four parts, one part to each soldier; and also His tunic. And the tunic was without seam, woven from the top throughout.

Jesus came to minister to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” and not the gentile “dogs.” Therefore, many of the Roman soldiers did not know who Jesus was . . . or exactly why they were crucifying Him. They were simply following orders. But the same is not so with the Jews or their leaders –

John 3:1 – And there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
2 He came to Jesus by night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles which You do unless God is with Him.

John 7:40 – Then when they heard the Word, many of the people said, Truly this is the Prophet. 41 Others said, This is the Christ. But others said, Does the Christ come out of Galilee? 42 Has the Scripture not said that Christ comes from the seed of David and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? 43 So a division occurred in the crowd because of Him.

John 9:16 – Therefore some of the Pharisees said, This man is not from God, because he does not keep the Sabbath. Others said, How can a man, a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.

John 12:42 – Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.

It is clear from the above scriptures that many of the religious leaders knew Jesus had to be of God, yet because they loved the praise of men more than God they sought to destroy Jesus –

Matthew 26:4 – And they consulted so that they might take Jesus by guile and kill Him.

Luke 20:14 – But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir! Come, let us kill him so that the inheritance may be ours. 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. . .

They knew what they were doing and exactly why they were doing it . . . “that the inheritance may be ours.” Therefore, Jesus wasn’t asking the Father to forgive His false accusers or those who had instigated His crucifixion. As matter of fact, Jesus testifies that they had no excuse for their sins and therefore it would not be excused.

John 9:41 – Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

John 15:24 – If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father.

Therefore Jesus’ prayer “Forgive them” was not for the Jews, rather those who in ignorance were obliged by orders to carry it out His crucifixion . . . the Romans.

I Corinthians 2:7 – But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

However, we do know amongst the Jews present were Pharisees, scribes and all the elders; all who knew the scriptures intimately . . . though they did not understand what they really meant.

John 5:39 – Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. 40 And ye will not come to Be, that ye might have life. 41 I receive not honour from men. 42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. 43 I am come in My Father’s name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words?

Because the Jews so knew the written word so well, it was their focus and attention that Jesus was now grabbing hold of when He said, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” All their lives the text-book of the Jew was the Holy Word of God. It was their history book, their judicial book for moral and civil laws of the land, their spiritual guidelines for worship and service unto God, and even their hymnal. They knew the O.T. scriptures very well . . . right down to every “jot and tittle.”

It wasn’t because of any sense of abandonment that Jesus was crying out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Rather it was a purposeful and powerful quote from the opening words of a prophetic Messianic psalm of David, Psalm 22. By these few words every Pharisee, scribe and elder there would have thoughts directed straightway to that psalm in its entirety . . . and would have been thoroughly pierced “even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

With the utterance of these few words the Son of God left the Jews with fully exposed, naked in heart and mind before God regarding every single thing happening now before their eyes. Had Jesus “not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin,” (John 15:22).

Please prayerfully consider these select parts of the psalm with other scriptures . . .

Psalm 22:6 – But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

Matthew 27:39 – And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, 40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save Thyself. If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. 41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking Him, with the scribes and elders, said, 42 He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. 43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him: for He said, I am the Son of God.

Luke 23:35 – And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided Him, saying, He saved others; let Him save Himself, if He be Christ, the chosen of God.

Mark 15:29 – And they that passed by railed on Him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, 30 Save Thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; Himself He cannot save. 32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with Him reviled Him.

Psalm 22:12 – Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. 13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

Matthew 27:35 – And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. 36 And sitting down they watched Him there.

Mark 15:24 – And when they had crucified Him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.  29 And they that passed by railed on Him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, 30 Save Thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; Himself He cannot save. 32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with Him reviled Him.

Luke 23:35 – And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided Him, saying, He saved others; let Him save Himself, if He be Christ, the chosen of God.

Psalm 22:22 – I will declare Thy name unto My brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee.

Matthew 26:30 – And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

John 17:6 – I have manifested thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and thou gavest them Me; and they have kept Thy word. 7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given Me are of Thee. 26 And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.

Palm 22:26 – The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. 27 All the ends of the world shall remember [what took place at Calvary] and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations [the Gentiles] shall worship before Thee. 28 For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and He is the governor among the nations. 29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive His own soul.

John 10:18 – No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father

Philippians 2:10 – That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 30 A seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. 31 They shall come, and shall declare His righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that He hath done this.

Psalm 22:30 – A seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. 31 They shall come, and shall declare His righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that He hath done this. 

I Peter 2:9 – But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.

Romans 3:21 – But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Summary – Jesus wasn’t crying out “Why!?” . . . as if He felt the Father had forsaken Him, instead He was purposefully directing the hearts and minds of every Jews there who knew the scriptures to that Psalm which was had prophetically painted a verbal picture of what was going on at that very moment . . . that some may hear at last and believe, repent and be saved.

Jesus wasn’t just praying, He was ministering . . . this was prayer-preaching in its finest hour.

Comments
  1. Suzanne says:

    Wonderfully moving/inspiring post brother!
    Makes us stop and examine ourselves and IF we are truly SEEING as Jesus wants us to see/understand our times. Will He find faith on earth? Will He find people who know their Lord thru His Word, because we have spent time in His Word and understand what is taking place in our time? Thank you for this post.

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