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 4:1

Study the Inner Meaning

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1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and Hear my prayer.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Exploring the Meaning of Psalms 4      

By Rev. Julian Duckworth

In Psalm 4:1-2, there's a foreshadowing of the Lord's severe temptations during his life on earth; it's very much like Jesus's despairing cry from the cross - "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

But then, in Psalm 4:3, there's confidence again that all is not lost, and that the Lord's love for us is powerful enough after all, to save us if we'll let him.

Next, in Psalm 4:4-8, there's a pep talk. It's pretty plain language; the genuine truth is right at the surface. It's not complicated, but it's hard to train ourselves to do these things:

- Stand in awe. Make time to focus on spiritual things.
- Sin not.
- Commune with your own heart.
- Be still.
- Sacrifice - give up things you love that lead you astray, and do what it takes to be righteous.
- Trust in Jehovah.

And then... good things will come. Spiritual peace. Dwelling in safety.

---

For reference, see The Inner Meaning of Prophets and Psalms 254.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 254


Other references to this verse:

Apocalypse Revealed 376, 861


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 471

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Spiritual Topics:


  Bible Study Videos:  (see all)



Bible Word Meanings

hear
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

call
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

God
When the Bible speaks of "Jehovah," it is representing love itself, the inmost love that is the essence of the Lord. That divine love is...

righteousness
The word "righteous" has taken on a bit of negative shading in modern language. That may be because we hear it most often as part...

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: Glory of the Lord
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 Memory Verse: Trusting in the Lord
Activity | Ages 4 - 14


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