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


Mark 12:30

King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

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30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Mark 12      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Explaining the Inner Meaning of Mark 12

Verse 1. THAT spiritual truth is communicated from the LORD by the Word to man, as a security against evils and falsities, and for the procuring of heavenly good, and for elevation to interior intelligence, whilst the LORD Himself appears absent.

Verse 2. For the LORD is continually intent on producing in man's mind the good of love and charity, and on instructing man by His Word that this good ought to be acknowledged as a Divine gift, and thus returned to Himself, the giver.

Verses 3, 4, 5. But they who are in the science of truth without its life, either pervert, or reject, or falsify the truth.

Verses 6, 7, 8. Insomuch that they reject the Divine Truth itself, or the Word, when manifested in the flesh, and thus appropriate all good and truth to themselves, instead of ascribing them to their Divine Source.

Verse 9. Therefore they perish in the day of judgement, being deprived of all knowledge of the truth, which is transferred to those who are principled in good.

Verses 10, 11. Thus fulfilling the prediction which teaches that the LORD'S Humanity, which is Divine Truth, should, by such rejection, be exalted to union with the Divinity through its own proper power, and should thus become the supreme object of worship and adoration.

Verses 13, 14, and part of 15. That they who are in hypocritical worship treat the Word with outward respect, and consult it for the regulation of the external man as to things of moral and civil life.

Verse 15, latter part. But this they do without any regard to the regulation of the internal man.

Verses 16, 17. Whereas the Word teaches by significatives that the external man bears the image of the world for which it was created, and therefore ought to be regulated by and submit to the laws of moral and civil life; but that the internal man bears the image of heaven for which it was created, and therefore ought to be regulated by and submit to the laws of heavenly or spiritual life.

Verses 18-24. That they also who deny the Scripture doctrine of regeneration consult the Word respecting the heavenly marriage of good and truth.

Verse 24. But being perplexed about it, they are instructed that their perplexity is the effect of their ignorance, in consequence of not admitting into their minds and lives the Divine Truth and Good of the Word by regeneration.

Verse 25. Which heavenly principles must be admitted during man's abode in this world, otherwise they cannot be admitted after death; and which, if admitted, form angelic life.

Verses 26, 27. Therefore the Word teaches that all celestial, spiritual, and natural good and truth are from the LORD, and that none can attain such good and truth but in the degree in which they renounce self-love, and cherish heavenly love.

Verses 28-30. The Word further teaches that the LORD, in His Divine Humanity, is Divine Love and Divine Wisdom United, and is thus the Only GOD; and that He ought to be loved by man with the whole of his will, and of his understanding, also with those things which are of the will and of the understanding in the external man.

Verse 31. In like manner man ought to love the good and truth which are from the LORD in others as in himself.

Verses 32-34. Which doctrine is assented to even by those who are of the perverted church, and who, on that account, are pronounced by the LORD to be in the way of advancement towards heaven.

Verses 35-37. The Word further teaches that man ought to consider well the quality of the LORD'S Humanity, so as to discern clearly, that although before glorification it was the Son of Mary and of David, yet after glorification it ceased to be so, being then one with the Eternal FATHER, and thus having Omnipotence and Omniscience.

Verses 38-40. Caution also is necessary respecting those in the perverted church, who seek preeminence in the communication of good and of truth, and to be thought better and wiser than others, whilst under a pretence of piety they deprive those of truth who are in the desire of truth, and thus increase their own condemnation.

Verses 41, 42. For the LORD, from His Divine Love, perceives the quality of everyone's worship, as proceeding either from the knowledges of truth in the understanding, or from the desire of truth in the will.

Verses 43, 44. But the worship proceeding from the latter source is more acceptable to Him than the worship proceeding from the former source.

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 36, 344, 1017, 1038, 2037, 2049, 2116, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 681

Conjugial Love 315

Doctrine of the Lord 45

True Christian Religion 81, 697

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 750

Marriage 81

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

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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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