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Who Do We Pray To?
Prayer is commonplace in today’s world and many are dedicated to doing it daily. There has been much talk about the subject and even some controversy has arisen because of it, not only today, but also during recorded times of history long ago. Prayer vigils and open prayer, even in public places, is commonplace. Not all pray to the same “God” as is often referred to today. So, can one know who to pray to? Is there a standard prayer? Is there a certain physical position one should be in to pray? Who has the answers?
A Little History
Let’s take a look at Daniel of the Bible to start getting some answers. Daniel was from the tribe of Judah whose name means, “El is my Judge.” He was one of many Jews of the southern tribes brought into Babylonian captivity under King Nebuchadnezzar. It had been prophesied that because of the Jews’ sins, they would suffer 70 years under foreign rule. The northern tribes of Israel (Ephraim), known by many as the “Lost 10 Tribes,” also suffered a similar fate and were ultimately dispersed through Assyrian captivity into other nations. They are not readily identified today, but Yahweh promises that they will be brought back into a right relationship with Him and into their own land once again in the future.
Daniel was a dedicated believer and follower of Yahweh, the Mighty One of Israel (all 12 tribes). Daniel, we are told, was just a youth (Dan 1:17) when brought into captivity, but his dedication and perseverance in true worship was and is to be admired. Prayer to Yahweh the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is what helped to keep him focused.
Yahweh, at that time in history, gave Daniel the ability to interpret dreams, but it was not without prayer and supplication to Yahweh.
King Nebuchadnezzar was going to put to death all the wise men because they could not tell him what his dream was or meant. Daniel asked his friends, who were also captives in this strange land and culture, to beseech Yahweh that there might be resolve to the situation:
Daniel went at once to see the king and requested more time so he could tell the king what the dream meant. Then Daniel went home and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what had happened. He urged them to ask the Elohim of heaven to show them his mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon. That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised of heaven, saying, “Praise the name of Elohim forever and ever, for he alone has all wisdom and power. He determines the course of world events; he removes kings and sets others on the throne. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he himself is surrounded by light. I thank and praise you, Elohim of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded,” Dan 2:16-23 NLT.
What’s in a Name?
As a side note, the above text was translated from Aramaic (Dan 1:4), though Daniel probably would have also been schooled in Akkadian and Persian, besides his own Hebrew language. The Hebrew term Elohim which is usually translated “God” (a pagan Teutonic deity) in most translations, was inserted above, but would otherwise be translated “Elah” from the Aramaic (Strongs # 426). It is interesting that the Arab peoples of today claim Abraham as their ancestor and call upon “Allah” in their prayers. Where did they get the name Allah from? Yahweh is clearly identified by top Hebrew Linguists and Bible Scholars, such as Frank Cross and the late F.F. Bruce, as the original and Sacred Name of the Heavenly Father.
The Encyclopedia of Islam uses the spelling of “Dâniyâl” for Daniel in their book. Daniel, as mentioned already, means “El is my Judge,” not, “Al is my Judge.” Could Allah be derived from the Aramaic title “Elah,” which has been brought over to Arabic, as more like Alah or Allah?
The Book of Islam, unlike the Bible, was only brought into being around the 6th century A.D., while the book of Daniel (whose author is Daniel, Dan 12:4) dates back more than a thousand years to 573 century B.C.
Is Allah of Islam the Yahweh of Israel? That would be an emphatic “No.” It is clearly and readily proven by a comparison of the two faiths that the two are diametrically opposite to each other. The Quran and the Bible are two different books, both with two different messages.
Daniel Prayed to Yahweh
Daniel being a faithful and prayerful servant of Yahweh used His name in prayer. For example, Yahweh is mentioned by name numerous times in this heartfelt prayer by Daniel, in chapter 9. Notice what verse 19 of the NKJV says,
O Yahweh, hear! O Yahweh, forgive! O Yahweh, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my Elohim, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.
Daniel and all the wise men were spared when Yahweh revealed to Daniel the meaning of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, but there was still trouble ahead as the King decided to make a false idol and a decree that all bow down and worship it, which no doubt would include prayers. Daniel was not about to do such an abomination. What was Daniel’s first act when he heard the King’s new decree? It was to pray:
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his Elohim, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking Elohim for help, Dan 6:10-11 NIV.
When we have difficulties, is our first course of action to seek Yahweh’s help and intervention? It should be. Do we get down on our knees in humble adoration for the Almighty? We better. Daniel kneeled when he prayed and others stood (Mark 11:12). There even are examples of extending your hands (2 Chron 6:12), even while kneeling, 1 Kings 8:54.
You may recall the rest of the account as Daniel and his three friends were thrown into a fiery furnace by the King for failure to worship his idol. But, Yahweh intervened in their lives and spared them. He also punished the King for his arrogance and failure to recognize the One Who is above all and is the only One to be worshipped. The Jews came back from captivity with this understanding.
Abraham Called on Yahweh
Going back further in Scripture we find Abram, meaning “Exalted father.” His name was soon to mean “Exalted father of a multitude,” after Yahweh renamed him Abraham. Abraham was blessed and it was because he obeyed Yahweh’s law:
And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws, Gen 26: 4-5.
Abraham knew Yahweh and His name even before his own name was changed:
And Yahweh appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto Yahweh, who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto Yahweh, and called upon the name of Yahweh, Gen 12:7-8. (See also Gen 13:4)
This may be news to some. Using Ex 6:3 as proof, they say Yahweh Himself said He wasn’t known by name back at that time. However, Ex 6:3 is actually in the form of a question, not a statement.
It is also promoted that Abram was a Jew, but he wasn’t. He was a Hebrew. Gen 14:13 says, “Abram the Hebrew.” He wasn’t even an Israelite. Shocked? You shouldn’t be, as Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, was the first Israelite, Gen 32:28.
Prayer Through The Savior
We must keep in mind that when we talk with Yahweh today, it is in the form of a prayer through a Mediator. Prayer for us is a time of discussing matters of importance with Yahweh.
We know Yahweh sent His Son, whose Name we know was originally like Joshua (with a “Y” and not a “J”) the son of Nun. This particular Name basically means “Yah’s Salvation.” Yahshua (correctly spelled transliteration) holds the Name above all names, “Yah,” Ps 68:4 and Phil 2:9. Yah is the shortened form of Yahweh, as Dave is the shortened form of David or Don is the shortened form of Donald.
Yahshua came as a sacrifice for us, and to magnify Yahweh and His way of living which Abraham was to teach to his descendents of whom we most likely are:
For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of Yahweh by doing what is right and just, so that Yahweh will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him, Gen 18:19 NIV.
Of the 10 commandments, the 3rd and 4th are mostly ignored today, while others are taught in many churches around the world and are a condensed version of everything that is right and true. You cannot break one of them and say you have love for Yahweh and your fellow man because to keep them you must have love for everyone, including Yahweh first and foremost.
Abraham’s Intercessory Discussion/Prayer
In Isaiah 1:18, Yahweh says, “Come now, and let us reason together.” Abraham knew he could approach Yahweh and did so, especially when it came to the well being of others. When Yahweh informed Abraham that he was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their wicked ways Abraham tried to intercede for them by reasoning, saying,
Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? (Gen 18:24-25)
How could Abraham be so bold? Prov 28:1 says, “The righteous are bold as a lion.” If we ourselves are clean through Yahshua’s blood, and being immersed in His name and do what is right in Yahweh’s sight, then wouldn’t we have boldness to go before His throne?
Yahweh is merciful. Listen to what the rest of Isaiah 1:18-19 says,
Come now, and let us reason together, saith Yahweh: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.
There is much more than land being offered today, if we obey Yahweh through Yahshua. Do we desire to be a part of that Family? Yahshua says,
For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother, Matt 12:50.
So, did Abraham stop with his intercession for the people? No, he continued,
And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto Yahweh, which am but dust and ashes: Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? (Gen 18:27-28)
You can read of the whole account for yourself, but it got all the way down to ten. If there be 10, would Yahweh save? The answer was always “Yes.” Yahweh is a wonderful and merciful Elohim, but He will not tolerate the breaking of His laws. It’s something that we all need to be well aware of.
Yahweh Answers, Yes, No, and Not Yet!
A few years ago there was a movie called “Bruce Almighty.” It was a comedy about how one man was given the abilities of the Almighty Himself. During this time he was given all this unlimited power. He also received all the prayers of people around the world.
He decided the best way to handle them all was to put it all into a computer to be able to respond in an expeditious manner. He decided to say “Yes” to all the prayers, and with the hit of one keystroke, they were all answered in the affirmative.
By the way, the computer screen at the top said something like, “Yahweh’s Insta-Prayers.” I remember that the name Yahweh was prominently used. Not sure how many caught that or even understood the significance of how important His Name really is. Indeed, it is a Name that answers prayers.
Speaking of the end times, Scripture says:
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Yahweh shall be delivered, Joel 2:32.
Many times people pray and sometimes receive an immediate answer, but other times there is a delay. Sometimes, the answer is “No.” Yahshua left us an example when He prayed. It’s an example we need to consider ourselves when we pray.
In the Garden of Gethsemane where Yahshua was under tremendous pressure and stress due to what was coming (i.e., His death on the torture stake), He prayed that the figurative cup might be taken away.
The cup, of course, was not taken away. Listen in to what He said though, “Not My will, but Yours be done.” Here is the entire quote: “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) Here was total submission and humbleness toward Yahweh in prayer. Is this not acceptable to Yahweh? Yet, what happened had to happen, as Yahweh had a purpose and is still working out His plan for mankind.
Short Prayers, Big Results
Sometimes the shortest prayer can bring the greatest results!
And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the Elohim of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And Elohim granted him that which he requested, 1 Chron 4:9-10.
Notice it says he was more honorable than his brothers. Doesn’t Scripture say that a righteous man’s prayers avail much? Is Yahweh close to those who do good or to those who do evil? Will He reward a man for his good deeds or behavior? Of course, just as He will punish the one who does wrong. Yahweh is not mocked and we can’t deceive nor hide anything from Him! Yahshua said in Luke 11:28, “blessed are those that hear the word of Elohim and observe it!”
King Solomon received great wisdom because his prayer was sincerely to help the people and not for any selfish reasons. He completely humbled himself before Yahweh:
“O Yahweh my Elohim, now you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am among your own chosen people, a nation so great they are too numerous to count! Give me an understanding mind so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great nation of yours?” Yahweh was pleased with Solomon’s reply and was glad that he had asked for wisdom. So Elohim replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people and have not asked for a long life or riches for yourself or the death of your enemies—I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding mind such as no one else has ever had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and honor! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! And if you follow me and obey my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life,” 1 Kings 3:7-14 NLT.
Yahshua’s Outline Prayer
Yahshua, when asked how one should pray, started out saying “Father, Hallowed be your name, Your Kingdom come.” (Luke 11:2) Giving reverence to Yahweh and his Name and desiring His will to be done is paramount when we pray.
He continued saying, “Give us each day our daily bread.” (verse 3) When we seek him are we asking for more than what we need? And what bread should we really be seeking?
Yahshua said, “It is Written,” meaning Scripture, the only holy writings in the new testament times, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of Yahweh,” Matt 4:4. (See also Deut 8:3)
Verse 4 of Luke 11 continues with: “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”
Having the attitude of “I’m a sinner and I need help” is a sure way to get help. Acknowledgment and understanding we have sinned, brings us to a point of being able to repent. Without acknowledgement of the transgression against Yahweh’s law how can forgiveness come? Sin is that transgression.
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law, 1 John 3:4.
Being able to forgive others is also a prerequisite for receiving it.
Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions, Mark 11:25 NASB.
Yahshua set the example even when He was being put to death. He said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” Luke 23:34. Woe to those who do know, yet choose a different road to follow.
Many times you’ll hear people quoting the prayer verbatim that Yahshua used as an example. It was not meant to be memorized and used in that sense, and we are warned against using vain repetitions. He wanted the listeners to understand what the priorities should be in one’s prayer. He wanted us to know who to pray to and whose name we should hold in esteem.
Who do we pray to? “His Name alone is Yahweh,” Ps 83:18.
-Elder David Brett
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