The Model Prayer (Part One): Introduction

by Richard T. Ritenbaugh

Forerunner, “Bible Study,” October 27, 2021

Most nominal Christians know what is called

Prayer is an intrinsic part of the religion revealed in the pages of Scripture. The Old Testament records many instances of faithful men and women humbly requesting mercy and aid from the God of heaven and earth, whether it is Daniel beseeching God to forgive Israel for her many sins (Daniel 9) or Hannah requesting a son, whom she would dedicate to God for His use (I Samuel 2). A study of the Old Testament prayers reveals a wide range of subjects, attitudes, circumstances, and styles in which God’s people have communicated with the Lord of all.

In Jesus’ time, the act of prayer had devolved mainly into hypocritical public prayers and memorized rote prayers. Because Jesus had shown Himself to be so different from other teachers of God’s way of life, His disciples were understandably confused about how they should pray. When they ask Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1), Jesus responds with what has often been called—mistakenly—“the Lord’s Prayer” (see Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4; the real “Lord’s Prayer” appears in John 17). He does not intend us to recite this prayer mindlessly but offers an outline for our own far longer, deeper, and more personal prayers to the Father in heaven.

1. Does Jesus set an example of frequent prayer? Luke 5:16; Mark 1:35.

Comment: The apostle John provides a primary principle of living for those who follow Christ: “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (I John 2:6). In terms of prayer, our Savior spoke to His Father often. He would often send His disciples away or go on His own into the wilderness to find a private place to pray. It seems to have been a habit for Him to rise early, well before dawn, to pray. Before significant decisions, He would pray all night (Luke 6:12)!

He instructs His disciples to pray always (Luke 21:36), that is, to make it a consistent and regular part of our worship of God. Throughout His long conversation with the Twelve on His final Passover, knowing He would be separated from them later that night, He counsels them to ask the Father in His name for the things they need (John 14:13-14; 15:7, 16; 16:23-24, 26-27). Through prayer, they, too, had direct access to the Father, and He would respond to them in love as He had to Christ Himself. As Jesus says, “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).

2. What additional advice does Jesus give His disciples about prayer? Matthew 6:5-8.

Comment: Jesus’ disciples had grown up in Judaism, which was dominated at the time by the Pharisees, pious laymen who observed and taught strict adherence to the law. However, as Jesus pointed out, the Pharisees put their traditions (their Oral Law, restrictions to keep them from sinning and becoming ritually impure) above the law of God. Their instruction on prayer, then, proved to be insincere, as they prayed publicly to receive the approbation of men rather than to honor God.

Thus, Jesus instructs His disciples to shun the example of these hypocrites. He teaches them to find a private place to pray, away from an audience, so that they could have genuine, one-on-one conversations with God. He also tells them to avoid going to the opposite extreme of using “vain repetitions,” rote prayers repeated endlessly. God is a real Person who desires a real relationship with those He calls. We should speak reverently and respectfully to Him, certainly, but we should not yammer at Him like an unhearing block of wood, stone, or metal, as the heathens treat their idols.

3. What broad principles appear in His model prayer? Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4.

Comment: Jesus’ simple introduction, “In this manner, therefore, pray,” indicates that He intends the prayer to guide His disciples in their everyday prayers. (In fact, the verb “pray” is the present tense, imperative mood in Greek, suggesting habitual performance.) It is a kind of outline or model on which they can hang their own words as their circumstances warrant.

Generally, the outline provides a primary focal point of prayer: the Father Himself. Praise and honor of God begins and ends the prayer, forcing us to acknowledge the Eternal God’s holiness and power. We should never forget that the One listening to our words is the Almighty, Ever-living Sovereign of the universe and that we live and act by His grace.

After this, Jesus points to every Christian’s goal: the Kingdom of God. It is God’s goal, too, the height and culmination of His purpose for humanity. For millennia, the Father and Son have been working (John 5:17) to bring it to pass, first on earth during the Millennium and Great White Throne Judgment, then for eternity throughout the universe. It is God’s will that we cooperate in making it happen, so we must ensure it is top of mind as we pray.

Christ places our personal needs in the middle of the prayer, covering daily needs, forgiveness, and help with trials and Satan’s opposition. God realizes that we are still fleshly beings who need constant physical and spiritual maintenance and frequently fail to live up to His standards. We can take our needs to Him in prayer to receive the help we need, whether food for the table or a respite from the Devil’s attacks.

Jesus never intended His model prayer to cover every situation or problem. For instance, He leaves out praying for the church or the healing of the sick. But it does give us our priorities: God Himself, His Kingdom, and doing His will. If we keep those things in mind, our prayers will grow in spiritual maturity, and our lives will better represent our Savior before the world.


A defense of those saying “NO!” to “vaccine” mandates; and some words about ‘Liberty in Peril’

The October 25, 2021 Lost Horizons Newsletter

…where real knowledge– and actual solutions– intersect with real Americans!

Those Saying “NO!” To “Vaccine” Mandates Are NOT “Quitting Their Jobs”

These good and true Americans are being forced out of (often) public service for refusing to pay homage to a lie.

“There is no safety for honest men but by believing all possible evil of evil men.”

-Edmund Burke

Let’s Start With Some Relevant Facts

I’M GOING TO BEGIN THIS OBSERVATION ABOUT “VACCINE” MANDATES with some illuminating data posted by the CDC which shed light on some of the very key factors guiding many sensible people to refuse the jab. Let’s start with this general US fatality distribution breakdown from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) as of October 20, 2021:

So, 75.9% of all declaredly C19 deaths– that is, of all the deaths included within the scary number hypnotically-repeated by the MSM and many government sources (723,880 at the time of this breakdown and up to 735,717 reported by Johns Hopkins University as of 7 p.m. Saturday, October 23, according to the October 24 Detroit Free Press)– have occurred within the 65-and-over age group. Only 20.3% have involved people between 45 and 64 years old; and only 3.8%– 27,476– have involved people under 45 years old.

Even with just this modest set of data, and even if we pretend that all deaths declared to be C19 deaths are actually from C19 (more on that in a big way in a moment) it is clear that for the 191,060,000 American residents under 45, C19 is a minor hazard. Remember, we are talking about a declared death toll of 27,476 over the course of nearly two years.

For the 82,760,000 American residents between 45-64, the threat is a bit more serious (or so it would appear), but still not even close to a raging plague. Frankly, even for the 65+ group, the number here is more a (notable) statistical uptick than a legitimate fear factor. After all, more than 3 million Americans die each year, and the vast majority of them are from the 65+ demographic. Here, we speak of only 549,716 deaths among a population group consisting entirely of people statistically expected to be steadily dying in large numbers at all times, and again, over the course of not just a year but 22 months.

HOWEVER, TAKE ALL OF THE ABOVE AS YOU WILL, it is just the scary facade of the actual data. The numbers presented are nothing but the sleazy tools of a crass and illiberal political agenda. Nowhere near the numbers cited above have actually died from C19.

Digging a bit further into the NCHS data reported by the CDC, we find some very seriously-clarifying data showing the ACTUAL causes of death for the vast majority of these 723,880 deaths attributed to C19 by those wanting to foment and maintain panic. I’m going to share the charts showing the incidences of the most common of more than 20 non-C19 causes of death involved in the numbers given above (you can click on the link above to see the rest if you wish).

In the top center of the following charts you will see the cause of death being illustrated. On the left side of the body of the chart is shown the number of persons from among the 723,880 to have died from that cause, with C19 allegedly (and in many cases, only assumedly) present (per the fudging guidelines promulgated by the government as shown here and here; highlighting on those docs is mine).

Note the scale on the extreme left of each chart indicating the number of persons from among each age group among the 723,880 in which the given cause of death was involved. The right side of the charts show the comparative prevalence of each individual cause of death and the rate of incidence– itself a very revealing presentation, with three categories each being involved in well over 200,000 of the reported deaths and the other seven shown being involved in ~70,000 to ~150,000 each.



Other Voices (followed by an important afterword)

Liberty in Peril

by George Leef

I finished reading Prof. Randall Holcombe’s book Liberty in Peril: Democracy and Power in US History during the 2020 election. I have yet to hear any candidate say the word “liberty” and would be shocked if I did.

We are bombarded with messages for candidates and messages merely imploring us to vote. Some Americans relish what they think they’ll get as a result of the election; others dread what they fear will happen. In any case, we accept that, for all its flaws, democracy is the way the United States is supposed to work. We almost never think about whether the policies the candidates favor are consonant with the freedom Americans were supposed to have — freedom to live their lives as they choose.

In his book, Holcombe (professor of economics at Florida State) argues that democracy was not the way the country was supposed to work. Our founding philosophy was not that democracy should prevail, but instead that liberty should prevail — that the reason for the government was to protect the individual’s freedom, not to subject him to the will of the majority. Over time, the philosophy of liberty has been shoved aside and today democracy rules to the point where, as the author puts it, liberty has an almost quaint air about it.

As the book’s subtitle suggests, this is a work of history, looking at the shift from the ideology of liberty to the ideology of democracy. Holcombe observes that there is tension between the two. Under the ideology of liberty, the important question is how to put limits on government so that it can protect individual rights, while under the ideology of democracy, the question is who will hold power to do what the public wants. Where the former prevails, the people tend to have a healthy wariness about government and desire to keep it in check; where the latter does, the people eagerly listen to politicians who promise them benefits from the government.