Pray always常常禱告

Jesus admonishes us to pray always and never give up.今天,耶穌勸導我們要常常禱告,不可放棄。

How should we practice incessant prayer? 我應當怎樣實踐不住的禱告?

This sermon from The Chinese congregation at Tao Fong Shan, Shatin, Hong Kong deals with one of the most important practices of Christfulness and the experience of “Christ with me”. Read the full sermon below.

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Pray always常常禱告

Sermon in Tao Fong Shan Chinese Congregation 13th October 2019 

Readings 2. Kings 5:1-3,7-15c; 2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:5; Luke 18:1-8

經文:王下五1-3, 7-15下;提後三14-5;路十八1-18

Rev. Ole Skjerbæk Madsen

Translation: Jason TOO

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus,在基督耶穌裡親愛的姊妹弟兄:

Today Jesus admonishes us to pray always and never give up.今天,耶穌勸導我們要常常禱告,不可放棄。

Prayer is a hallmark of Christian faith practice. 祈禱是基督教信仰實踐的標記。

We are waiting for the full manifestation of God’s Kingdom,我們正等候上帝國度完全地彰顯,

and this is the reason for Jesus today to exhort us to pray always (Luke 18:1).這是今天耶穌勸勉我們常常禱告的理由(路十八1)。

At other occasions he admonishes us to be on the watch by praying (Luke 21:36), 在其他的場合,他勸導我們要警醒,不斷地禱告(路二十一36),

and to be alert! “You do not know when that time will come” (Mark 13:33). 要警醒,「因為你們不知道那時刻甚麼時候臨到。」(可十三33,《現代中文譯本修訂版》)

Also the apostles exhorts us to pray incessantly: 並且, 使徒們也勸勉我們不住禱告:

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)「要常常喜樂,常常禱告,在任何環境中都要感謝。這是上帝為你們這些屬於基督耶穌的人所定的旨意。」(帖前五16-18,《現代中文譯本修訂版》)

We should pray in the spiritual battle;在屬靈的爭戰中,我們應當禱告;

it’s through prayer that we put on the armour of God so that we will stand against the devil’s schemes. 我們乃藉著禱告,穿上上帝的盔甲,以致我們可以抵禦魔鬼的詭計。

And St Paul continues: 保羅並繼續說:

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel  for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” (Ephesians 6:18-20).

「你們要在禱告中祈求上帝的幫助,常常隨從聖靈的帶領禱告。要事事警醒,不可放鬆;要不斷地為信徒們禱告。也要為我禱告,求上帝賜給我適當的話,在我該講的時候,能夠大膽地開口傳揚福音的奧祕。雖然我帶著鎖鍊,我卻是為這福音的緣故作特使的。你們要祈求主賜給我勇氣講應該講的話。」

(弗六18-20,《現代中文譯本修訂版》)

How should we practice incessant prayer? 我應當怎樣實踐不住的禱告?

On the personal level we may somehow have a prayerful awareness in the middle of ordinary life, and thus often communicate with God. 從個人層面,我們或許在平常的生活中有禱告的意識/覺察,因而慣常與上主溝通。

This prayerful awareness all day long is a living in never ending prayer這種整日的禱告意識/覺察其實是一種生活在不停的禱告中,

even though we do not speak out loudly or think the words of prayers all the time. 縱然我們沒有大聲說出來,或全時間都想及祈禱的說話。

We just know that our life is walking with Jesus.我們只知道我們的生命一直與耶穌同行。

The prayerful awareness means that conscious contact with God can be made at every moment.禱告的意識/覺察表示,在每一刻都可以和上主有意識的接觸。

As a help to have this prayerful awareness it’s good to have specific more or less fixed times for prayer during the day. 要幫助這種禱告的意識/覺察,在日常中定立相對定時定候的祈禱,會有好處。

The first church in Jerusalem as well as the early church had prayer times several times every day, but most importantly at evening and at morning.最早在耶路撒冷和初期的教會每天都有幾次禱告,但最重要的是在晚上和早晨的時間。

In Acts 2 we read使徒行傳二章42、46及47節(《現代中文譯本修訂版》)這樣說:

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 他們專心向使徒們領教,參加團契生活,分享愛筵,一起禱告

46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts [for prayer]. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,他們同心合意,天天在聖殿裏聚會[禱告],又分別在各人的家裏分享愛筵,以歡喜純潔的心一起用飯,

 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.頌讚上帝,跟人人保持和睦的關係。主天天把得救的人數加給他們。

And from Acts 3 we know that從使徒行傳三章我們知道,

it was for the appointed prayers in the Temple that the apostles met in the temple courts:使徒們在聖殿的院內的時候,正是為了那定時的禱告。

1One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.

1有一天,下午三點禱告的時間,彼得約翰上聖殿去。」《現代中文譯本修訂版》

The apostles knew that it pleased God to receive the prayers of his people, since God had ordered the prayer times in his Law (cf. e.g. Numbers 28:1–8). 使徒們知道,上帝喜悅聽祂子民的禱告,因為上帝在祂的律法中吩咐他們按時祈禱(參民二十八1-8)。

Outside Jerusalem there was no Temple, but this didn’t hinder the first generation of Christians to assemble for prayer, e.g 1 Corinthians 14:26-33. 在耶路撒冷以外並沒有聖殿,這卻沒有阻礙第一代的基督徒聚集祈禱,例如哥林多前書十四26至33節。

And the purpose was to make “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving … for all people for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4). 目的是「要為所有的人向上帝祈求,禱告,代求,感恩;也要為君王和所有在位的人禱告,使我們能過安寧、和平、端正、虔敬的生活。這是好的,是我們的救主上帝所喜歡的。上帝要人人得救,都認識真理。」(提前二1-4,《現代中文譯本修訂版》)

 

These daily prayer times, especially evening and morning, has set the pattern for the daily prayer life of the church and of individual Christians up to now這些每天的禱告時刻,特是晚上和早晨,已確立了教會和基督徒個人的日常禱告的模式,直至現在,

– not the least in Orthodox, Catholic and Anglican churches –不單在正教會、天主教會和聖公會,

and we also do so on weekdays in Christ Temple: Morning, Midday and Evening. 我們在平日的早上、正午和晚上,也在這聖殿祈禱。

These fixed hours for prayer set the pattern for our daily prayerful awareness of being in God’s presence.這些固定的祈禱時間,也為我們每天在上主臨在中的祈禱覺察,確立了模式。

Another help for this incessant prayer is to use short prayers that are easy to remember. 另一種有助不住禱告的,是運用容易記憶的簡短禱文。

You may change Bible verses that contain Christ’s promises into short prayers. 你可以將包含基督的應許的聖經經文轉變為簡短禱文。

As an example you may have read Romans 8.38-39:你可能讀過的羅馬書八章38至39節,可以作為例子:

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

因為我確信,甚麼都不能夠使我們跟上帝的愛隔絕。不管是死,是活;是天使,是靈界的掌權者;是現在,是將來;是高天,是深淵;在整個被造的宇宙中,沒有任何事物能夠把我們跟上帝藉著我們的主基督耶穌所給我們的愛隔絕起來。(《現代中文譯本修訂版》)

 

You may want to remember this promise. 你可能想記住這個應許。

To do so you extract the essence of the promise and make it into a short prayer:這樣做的話,你可以抽取這應許的精髓,化為一段簡短的禱文:

No power on earth地上掌權的

can separate me from the love of God都不能叫我和上帝的愛隔絕

that is in Christ Jesus.這愛就在基督裏

God, I thank you!上帝,我感謝祢!

 

Now you have a short prayer that you may use at any time and in any place, 如今你就有一段禱文,可以隨時隨地都用得著,

even the most stressing situations as you need to affirm your contact with Jesus Christ 即使在最大壓力的景況下,當你需要確定和耶穌基督接觸的時候,

Such a short prayer is a kind of affirmation. 這樣的短禱其實是一種堅持。

You affirm the presence of Christ or God as well as your confidence in God-in-Christ to God himself, to yourself,你向上帝祂自己,也向你自己,堅持基督或上主的臨在,堅持你對基督裡的上帝的信心,

and you confront every life-threatening power.以致你也向每一種威脅生命的權勢對質。

Thereby reality often is experienced in a new way consistent to the content of your affirmation.因而你往往就以一種新的方式體驗真實,這種體驗和你所堅持的是一致的。

This kind of short prayers helps us into the experience that Christ is with us always – 這種形式的簡短禱文幫助我們進入基督乃常與我們同在的經驗中-

even unto the ends of the earth and the end of times. 甚至直到世界的盡頭和時代的終結。

I hope these thoughts may help you to pray always and never give up.我希望這些思想可以幫助你們常常禱告,永不放棄。

Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit願榮耀歸與父、子、聖靈

as it was in the beginning, now is, and ever shall be. Amen昔在、今在、永在,永無窮盡,阿們。

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