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

 

Psalms 25:7

Study the Inner Meaning

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7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy Remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Exploring the Meaning of Psalms 25      

By Rev. Julian Duckworth

Psalm 25 is a psalm of humbled requests and of repentance. Deeply personal, it is given in accountability and authenticity, and with a quiet heart.It follows a path of realisations: an acknowledgment of the Lord, a wish to be taught and led by the Lord, a remembrance of the past, a central acclaim of the Lord’s goodness and guidance, an understanding of the nature of the person who fears the Lord (“fear” more truly meaning holy fear or honouring), and a heartfelt prayer for the Lord to show mercy and forgive sins.

This is so different to the majestic broadcast of the Lord’s glory, in many psalms. It carries the hallmarks of temptation having brought the speaker to honesty, integrity and the confession of need. There is no vainglory or pride here, only submission.

The true nature of evil is well-described in verse 3, where it says “those who plot against me without a cause”; evil does not punish for wrongdoing, it just aims to bring down whoever it can bring down. (See Heaven and Hell 547.)

Then comes a fervent request to be shown, taught and led (verses 4 and 5).

- Spiritually, to ‘show’ and ‘be shown’ is to be given perception, and from this comes inspiration which means to breathe in, or to make ours. (See Arcana Caelestia 8354).

- To ‘teach’ and to ‘be taught’ is to be able to understand and have the form of spiritual life with which to think about it. (Ref. Sacred Scripture 26 and Divine Providence 172)

- To ‘lead’ and to ‘be led’ means to be brought from one state to another, from one way of thinking to another, ultimately from hell to heaven. (Cf. Spiritual Diary 5796)

The next two verses, 5 and 6, bring out the importance of remembrance in both a positive way and a harmful one. The Lord remembers us in a divine way of always regarding us from love and mercy, and from this always seeking our spiritual progress. We remember and even dwell on our sins of past times, but the Lord does not. He knows them but he does not remember them. He only remembers our need and his intentions for us. (Arcana Caelestia 1049)

Verses 8 to 11 are like an anthem of all that has been said so far, ending with a confession that our iniquity – our wrongness – is great. In confessing it openly to the Lord, the Lord will pardon it, because we have brought it to him, and opened ourselves to his help.

Verses 12 to 15 give praise to the one who fears the Lord, describing how he shall be taught and be blessed. The frequent Biblical word ‘fear’ and the phrase ‘fear of the Lord’ are not to do with our common idea of being afraid of something. True fear of the Lord is reverence, honouring and a holy fear of thinking or doing anything which would be contrary to the Lord’s way and his commandments. (See Arcana Caelestia 3718.)

The final part of this psalm, verses 16 to 22 is a moving testimony of our afflictions and a prayer that the Lord will bring us out of them. There is no cringing or grovelling over our sins and faults. It is simply an honest statement that these are there in us and we realize that we cannot remove them by ourselves -- but only with the Lord’s divine work and care. “Keep my soul.”

Finally, there is the powerful realisation that our integrity and uprightness (from the Lord) will preserve us. (Refer to Arcana Caelestia 1875.)

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 275


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 9156, 9849

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Spiritual Topics:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Job 13:26

Psalms 106:3, 4

Isaiah 43:25, 48:11

Jeremiah 31:34

Bible Word Meanings

remember
'To remember,' as in Genesis 41:9, signifies conjunction. 'Remembering' denotes conjunction because the remembrance of anyone in the other life joins them together, because as...

sins
'Bound up transgressions,' as in Lamentations 1:14, stands for falsities coming up towards interior or rational things.

youth
'Tender of age' denotes the state of truths newly received not yet genuine.

Transgressions
In the Word three terms are used to mean bad things that are done. These three are transgression, iniquity, and sin, and they are here...

mercy
In regular language, "mercy" means being caring and compassionate toward those who are in poor states. That's a position we are all in relative to...

lord
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

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.


 Blessings: The Way to Heaven
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 How the Lord Can Lead Us
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Inspirational Quotation - Paths of the Lord
Poster showing a path with a quotation from the Psalms about the paths of the Lord.
Picture | Ages over 10

 Memory Verse: Jacob's Ladder
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: The Way to Heaven
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Quotes: The Way to Heaven
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Spiritual Paths
Each person is on a spiritual journey. The actions a person chooses lead the person closer to heaven or to hell.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Teach Me Your Ways Bookmarks
Colorful bookmarks with quotations from the Word.
Project | Ages over 15


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