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)

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #1066

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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1066. The other is not yet come, and when he is come he must remain a short time, signifies the profaned truth that the Lord's authority over heaven and earth, assumed by them, is said not to be Divine, and yet it is Divine. This is evident from the signification of "the other king" of the two that remained besides "the five" of the seven that "had fallen," as being here the other truth profaned, which nevertheless is one with the former, with the difference that the Lord's authority over heaven and earth, which they have transferred to themselves, is said not to be Divine, and yet it is Divine. And because it is Divine, although this is denied, it is said that "this king," that is, this profaned truth, "is not yet come;" and that "when he is come he must remain a short time," which signifies that that authority is Divine, although it is said that it is not Divine. This is the signification of "that other king," because he acts as one with the former king, only with the difference as to whether that authority is Divine or not. That he acts as one with the former with this difference is evident from the following verse, in which the beast is said to be "the eighth king, and yet of the seven;" therefore as the beast is said to be one king of the seven, it follows that these two that remain after five of the seven had fallen, and that are called "the one" and "the other," have respect to one matter, that is, to one profaned truth; and that the other profaned truth is what is signified by the beast, so far as that is said to be "one king of the seven. "

(References: Revelation 17:10)


[2] In respect to the thing itself it is well known that they claim that the authority over heaven, and over the souls of men to save them, is not Divine, since it was the authority of the Lord's Human transferred to Him from God the Father, and from the Lord to Peter. But this is said from a fear that the common people may withdraw from them. Nevertheless, that authority is Divine as is clearly evident from this, that after God had created the universe, the chief object of the Divine power is to deliver men from hell and to save them. For man is not saved in a single moment, since he is reformed and regenerated by the Lord by successive steps from infancy even to the end of his life in the world, and afterwards to eternity; and to this no human power can contribute in the least. That man is thus reformed and regenerated by the Lord they do not know, because they do not wish to know it; consequently they persuade themselves that salvation is instantaneous, and is simply an admission into heaven, which is a huge falsity. But on this more will be said elsewhere.

(Continuation respecting the Word)

[3] In a summary: The Word is Divine truth itself, which gives wisdom to angels and enlightens men. As Divine truth proceeds from the Lord, and as what proceeds is Himself out of Himself, the same as light and heat proceed from the sun and are the sun, that is, are of the sun out of it, and as the Word is the Divine truth, it is also the Lord, as it is called in John (John 1:1-3, 14). Inasmuch as the Divine truth, which is the Word, in its descent into the world from the Lord, has passed through the three heavens, it has become accommodated to each heaven, and lastly to men also in the world. This is why there are in the Word four senses, one outside of the other from the highest heaven down to the world, or one within the other from the world up to the highest heaven. These four senses are called the celestial, the spiritual, the natural from the celestial and the spiritual, and the merely natural. This last is for the world, the next for the lowest heaven, the spiritual for the second heaven, and the celestial for the third. These four senses differ so greatly from one another that when one is exhibited beside the other no connection can be recognized; and yet they make one when one follows the other; for one follows from the other as an effect from a cause, or as what is posterior from what is prior; consequently as an effect represents its cause and corresponds to its cause, so the posterior sense corresponds to the prior; and thus it is that all four senses make one through correspondences.

[4] From all this these truths follow. The ultimate sense of the Word, which is the sense of its letter, and the fourth in order, contains in itself the three interior senses, which are for the three heavens when a man on the earth is reverently reading the Word. Therefore the sense of the letter of the Word is that from which and through which there is communication with the heavens, also from which and through which man has conjunction with the heavens. The sense of the letter of the Word is the basis of Divine truth in the heavens, and without such a basis the Divine truth would be like a house without a foundation; and without such a basis the wisdom of the angels would be like a house in the air. It is the sense of the letter of the Word in which the power of Divine truth consists. It is the sense of the letter of the Word through which man is enlightened by the Lord and through which he receives answers when he wishes to be enlightened. It is the sense of the letter of the Word by which everything of doctrine on the earth must be confirmed. In the sense of the letter of the Word is the Divine truth in its fullness. In the sense of the letter of the Word the Divine truth is in its holiness.

(References: Revelation 17:10)

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References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 1060, 1141


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Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.


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