Commentary

 

Learning to Pray      

By Rev. Kurt Horigan Asplundh

The Word is full of prayers to express our heartfelt states. They have a special power to open heaven and give us strength against evils and falsities.

"The Word in its literal sense, or the natural, is in it fullness, and also in its power; and by means of it man is in conjunction with the heavens" (The Word 15)

This power becomes effective when the Word is read or recited reverently by people on earth (Divine Providence 256, Apocalypse Explained 1066[4]).

Through prayers from the Word the Lord literally can "give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways" (Psalm 91:11).

Here are some examples from the Word, of prayers for personal strength:

"Direct my steps by Your word,
And let no iniquity have dominion over me,
Redeem me from the oppression of man,
That I may keep Your precepts.
Make Your face shine upon Your servant,
And teach me Your statutes." (Psalm 119:133-135)

"Lord, help me stop worrying anxiously about tomorrow, and give me strength to face the troubles of this day." (Adapted from Matthew 6:3-4)

"I am a little child O Lord, I do not know how to go out or come in.... Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil." (1 Kings 3:7, 9)

Of course, there are many more. Here are just a few more references that you can look up:

Prayers for troubled states: Psalm 4:1, Psalm 7:1, Psalm 42:1, Psalm 86:6-7.

Prayers for mercy and forgiveness: 2 Samuel 24:10, Psalm 25:7, 11, Psalm 130:1-5, Luke 18:13.

Prayers of personal commitment: Mark 12:30, Psalm 37:5.

Prayers of comfort: Psalm 90:1-2.

In so many instances, these prayers have great spiritual power and beauty - not just because of their natural language, but also because, when we read them, we open our minds to the Lord's influx. He says,

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20)

When we pray, we are hearing His voice, and opening the door.

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For you, Lord, are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4)

The Bible

 

Luke 18:13

King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

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13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Luke 18      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Verse 1. That man ought to keep his internal or spiritual mind continually open to Divine influx, notwithstanding all the opposition of the external or natural mind

Verses 2-6. Since however false principles may prevail in the latter mind, yet if the desire of truth grounded in good prevail at the same time in the former mind, it will sooner or later become accepting of the light of truth.

Verses 7-8. Which consideration ought therefore to be attended to, because it proves that the Divine Truth is always present with those who are in the love of it, to deliver them from all false and evil persuasions, however it may appear at times to be absent, and to produce no effect. (First part of Verse 8).

Verse 8. Still, at the end of the Church, when there is no longer any faith, because there is no charity, Divine Truth, though revealed from heaven, will not be received. (Latter part of Verse 8).

Verses 9-15. For at that time man will be under the delusive idea, that he may be admitted into heaven by virtue of his works, without any regard to the principle from which they are done, whereas none are admitted into heaven but the humble and the penitent, whose works are not done from themselves, but from the Lord.

Verses 15-16. That the goods and truths of innocence ought all to be ascribed to the Lord, because heaven consists in such acknowledgement, and the Lord has communication with those goods and truths.

Verse 17. None therefore can be admitted into heaven, unless they be principled in innocence.

Verses 18-28. Nor can any one enter into heaven, unless he acknowledge the Lord, even as to His Human essence to be the God of heaven, and that from him is every good which is good, and unless he live also according to the precepts of the decalogue, by abstaining from those evils as sins, which are there forbidden.

Verses 19-20. For the Lord alone is good, and the source of good, and the way to attain conjunction of life with Him is to observe His precepts, which precepts teach, that man ought not to destroy or pervert in himself the life of love and charity; nor to ascribe that life to himself, but to the Lord alone; nor to call anything good or true but what is of the Lord; thus that he should respect and exalt in himself the Divine good and truth above every other.

Verses 21-22. Yet these precepts cannot be fulfilled, until man removes his heart from riches, fights against cravings, and acknowledges the Lord to be god.

Verse 23. Which things appear grievous to those who are in the knowledges of truth separate from the good of charity.

Verses 24-25. Therefore those knowledges, when so separated from the good of life, are rather hindrances to the attainment of conjunction with the Lord, since it is contrary to Divine order that knowledges of themselves, without the life of love and charity, should introduce any one into heaven.

Verses 26-27. Nevertheless they are no hindrances in case the Divine Truth be respected and exalted.

Verses 28-30. Inasmuch as all who reject their hereditary evils and falsities and acknowledge the Lord as to His Human essence to be god, shall be elevated to communication and conjunction with the Lord, and to all the joys of His eternal kingdom.

Verses 31-33. That in the Church, where mere falsities of doctrine and evils of life prevail, Divine Truth will be blasphemed, and perverted, and its good destroyed, nevertheless the Human principle of the Lord will attain to plenary glorification.

Verse 34. But these things cannot be apprehended even by those who are principled in the goods and truths of the Church.

Verses 35-43. Until they receive spiritual understanding from the LORD.

Verse 38. Asking it of Him from the pure love of truth.

Verse 39. And are the more urgent to receive, in proportion as they meet with opposition.

Verses 40-41. And explore diligently the end or intention they have in view, when they seek the knowledge of the truth.

Verses 42-43. For in such case their understandings receive light by communication with the Lord's Divine Human principle, which they gratefully acknowledge, and which is thus acknowledged by others.

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 874, 4314, 4783

Doctrine of Life 30


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 794

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Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


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