Friday, March 14, 2008

Another Biblical Prayer

I just came across another Biblical prayer in Daniel 9 that seems to me would be a great prayer for public use. Except that it, like my earlier attempt at praying a prayer from the Bible, would not be acceptable to many in the church here.

* References to "Jerusalem" and "Israel" would need to be changed to "New Jerusalem" and "New Israel" (not so much out of necessity, but because many Christians in the pews would not realize that WE are now those entities unless it was pretty much spelled out for them, and they would thus be offended, particularly since they would be critically looking for "doctrinal error" since praying a prayer straight from the Bible is "different", and "different", even when straight from the Bible, is so often treated with suspicion).

* Many Christians would be offended at the idea of curses in the Law of Moses being applied to us who are not under that law.

* YHWH has not yet brought disaster on the US, so the past-tense reference of this judgment might need to be converted into a possible (and likely) future-tense.

* Many in the church would be offended at the idea that "we" have sinned; after all, we obey and defend The Truth, unlike everyone else... (John 9, John 9, John 9, repeat to myself, John 9 ...).

* And of course, references to YHWH would generate conniption fits in the aisles and walk-outs, since to use the name God declared as his "name forever, the name by which [he is] to be remembered from generation to generation" (Ex. 3:15) is "different", and as has been mentioned, "different", even when straight from the Bible, is treated with suspicion. (I mostly blame the Bible translators for this ignorance in the church, because they're the ones who changed the scriptures to fit with tradition -- "regarding as doctrine the traditions we grew up with" -- my paraphrase of Matt. 15:9).

* And finally, the phrase "in Jesus' name" would have to be added to the prayer so that everyone would know we were praying in Jesus' name. This despite the fact that we're meeting in his name, in a building marked with his "name" (title, actually), presumably worshiping, "in everything we do in word or deed," in his name, because tradition demands this phrase, even though prayers in the New Testament don't adhere to this tradition. ("...regarding as doctrine the traditions we grew up with...".)

I really didn't mean to be so critical in this post; I started out being moved by this Biblical, spiritual prayer. But on second thought, perhaps it's not a good prayer for public use after all. Sad.

Still, here's the prayer as God saw fit to record it which I would like to be able to pray at church, but probably never will:
[Daniel] prayed to YHWH [his] God and confessed:
"O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

7 "Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 O YHWH, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed YHWH our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. "Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of YHWH our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 YHWH did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for YHWH our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.

15 "Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.

17 "Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name."

I especially love the last couple of verses: "We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy," and "...your city and your people bear your Name." I'm thrilled, and awed, and crushed, to think of bearing the name of YHWH/Yeshua. It's such an honor, and yet such a burden because I know my best right-ness (which I seldom attain to) is as filthy rags.

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