P R AY I N G
P R AY I N G
TEN COMMANDMENTS BY
© Copyright 2003 – Cleddie Keith All rights reserved. This book is protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America. This book may not be copied or reprinted for commercial gain or profit. The use of short quotations or occasional page copying for personal or group study is permitted and encouraged. Permission will be granted upon request. Unless otherwise identified, Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard version of the Bible. Please note that Destiny Image’s publishing style capitalizes certain pronouns that refer to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and may differ from other publisher’s styles. Take note that the name satan and related names are not capitalized. We choose not to acknowledge him, even to the point of violating grammatical rules.
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Dedication To the other half of my soul, GayNell, and to my children, Krista and Kyle, who have lovingly and unselfishly shared me with an endless stream of people from all over the world.
Acknowledgments To Don and Cathy Nori, who consistently humble me and inspire me with their trust. To Don Milam, who has encouraged me to discover new potential in my own life.
Endorsements Cleddie Keith is without a doubt a pastor to pastors. He has a huge heart for the people and the purposes of God. With that pastor’s heart, Cleddie has done an incredible job with a very difficult subject. Who would have thought you could create a pattern for prayer from the Ten Commandments? Most of us think only of the Ten Commandments as something to be “obeyed,” and not as something to “pray.” I encourage you to carefully and prayerfully read Praying the Ten Commandments. I am convinced the ancient words of these commandments will come alive as you pray them to the One who gave them. When you are done and have put down the book you will never be able to think of the Ten Commandments in the same way. Their words will continue to inspire you and constantly call you back to the place of prayer. —Don Nori Founder, Destiny Image, Inc. Since prayer is the priority of all believers, we should all be constantly on the search for ways to enhance and enrich our prayer lives. Every now and again I happen upon such an idea that leads me to say, “I shall pray more effectively after this!” Praying the Ten Commandments will definitely help you pray more effectively for yourself, your family, and your nation. —Jack and Jerry Taylor Dimensions Ministry
Cleddie Keith is a man of wisdom and integrity with common sense. He has presented us with a new slant on the Ten Commandments and has pointed out their value in helping direct our prayers. â€”Dr. B. J. Willhite Founder, National Call to Prayer
Table of Contents Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14
Salvaging the Plumb Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 We Need the Ten Commandments . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Pray Until You Pray . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Praying the First Commandment— A God Deserving of Our Love . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Praying the Second Commandment— Prayers that Reach Into the Future . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55 Praying the Third Commandment— Confessions of an Eternal Name Dropper . . . . . . . .65 Praying the Fourth Commandment— A Day of Rest for the People of God . . . . . . . . . . . . .79 Praying the Fifth Commandment— Daddy Doesn’t Live Here Anymore . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89 Praying the Sixth Commandment— Life Is God’s Idea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103 Praying the Seventh Commandment— The Marriage Bed is Honorable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .117 Praying the Eight Commandment— Thou Shalt Not Pinch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .129 Praying the Ninth Commandment— The Covenant Way of Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .141 Praying the Tenth Commandment— Things Are in the Saddle, and They Ride Man . . .149 Praying Patterns of Prayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157
Chapter One S A LV A G I N G
FROM ALABAMA TO INDIANA, TO COLORADO, TEXAS,
NEW YORK, the
controversy has raged concerning the public display of the Ten Commandments. The debate has raised the consciousness of the American people as to the place the Ten Commandments played in the constitutional structure of our nation. At the same time it has reminded God’s people of the central role that the Ten Commandments takes in the Scriptures. Without belaboring the point, let me echo the compelling words of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, the Honorable Roy Moore. Judge Moore, who has been called The Ten Commandments Justice, highlighted the battle in this way: “It is axiomatic that to restore morality we must first recognize the source from which all morality springs.”1 His notoriety was established when he authorized the placement of a 5,200-pound granite monument engraved with the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the State Judicial Building located in Montgomery, Alabama. 13
Pr aying the Ten Commandments
Many of us are confused and surprised by the reaction of the secular community to this action of Judge Moore. It is not a surprise to those who have been watching with growing concern the increasing secularization and moral deterioration of our nation. These tragic trends should awaken the Church to her prophetic role as a voice of conscience to the nation. Rather than add another commentary on the Ten Commandments, I have been deeply moved in my own life by the power of these words to inspire us in prayer and intercession. Before we can effectively withdraw to the place of prayer, we must first understand the nature of the battle. The Ten Commandments represent the God-given moral plumb line of the ages. I can understand why some people view God’s Law as imposing and intolerable. The spirit of the day is reflected in these culturally expressive statements: “If it feels good do it.” “Live for the moment.” “I have the right to live my life as I choose.” Judge Moore is simply taking a courageous stand as he seeks to salvage this moral plumb line long ago discarded and lost by this generation. In an effort to stop the immoral slide of this nation, he and others are willing to be accused of being intolerant and legalistic. They understand the nature of the battle and have been willing to pay the price to stop the tide of moral decay. Understanding Justice and Mercy Over a hundred years ago, 500 lawyers of the New York Bar Association invited a minister to speak at their meeting. The minister was also an attorney and felt right at home with the legal experts. In addressing them, he spoke of the difference between public justice and retribution. Retributive justice is the punishment and consequent sentence that corresponds with the nature of a 14
Salvaging the Plumb Line person breaking the law. Public justice is only concerned with the general good and endeavors to secure the authority and influence of the law, as well as inflict a penalty. It may accept a substitute, provided it will be equally effective to the support of law and ensure obedience. Public justice, then, may be satisfied in one of the two ways, either by full execution of the penalty, or by some substitute, which shall answer the ends of the government equally well. “It needs to be understood,” the preacher-lawyer declared, “that divine law originates in God’s love, and has no other than benevolent ends in view.” He further stated that every act of rebellion denounces the law. This action makes a demand on the one who has given the law. As the preacher drew in another breath, he went on to say that God must demonstrate His attitude toward the violation of the law in such a way as to thrill the heart of the universe and make every ear tingle. Justice must be executed in a way that will be more than punitive; it must be redemptive. By this divine demonstration He shows that He is no tyrant, and that He seeks only the highest obedience and consequent happiness of His creation. The speaker was the famous evangelist Charles G. Finney. Finney went on to say, “The sacrifice of Calvary is to be understood as God’s offering to public justice—God Himself giving up His Son to death, and by this throwing open the folding gates of mercy to a sinning, lost race.”2 Finney certainly understood that he was ‘salvaging a plumb line’ in the midst of so many distinguished legal counselors of his day. Former president Ronald Reagan said, “I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses would have run them through the U.S. Congress.” U.S. 15
Pr aying the Ten Commandments
Representative Robert Aderholt also attempted to salvage the plumb line. On March 7, 2002, he said, â€œThe Ten Commandments represents the very cornerstone of the values this nation was built upon, and the basis of so much of our legal system here in America.â€?3 Several years ago David Barton came and spoke in a Sunday evening service in our fellowship. His heart was aflame for righteousness. He was a Wall Builder, working to rebuild the constitutional, moral, and religious heritage of our nation. I made a mental note that evening of his passion for justice. I saw him again a couple of years ago in Washington D.C. on the night before the 2000 inauguration. We had been invited to tour the Capitol building in Washington D.C. with an assembly of citizens from Texas. He took us through the grand old building like a proud tour guide. His face beamed as he shared a history seldom heard concerning our nation. David Barton was salvaging a plumb line. What good is a wall if it has not been erected with a plumb line? A crooked erection of an edifice will lead to eventual collapse of the structure. Understanding this reality, I have joined that expedition to salvage the plumb line. I understand the urgency of the call and I am passionate in my pursuit to rescue this generation from moral collapse. But my salvage expedition is somewhat different than others. I have watched with curiosity as I have observed the marketing of the Ten Commandments on everything from Avon offerings on gold watches to T-shirts and bumper stickers to yard signs. My passion is not simply to get the message of the Ten Commandments out there. I long to see the commandments written on the hearts of all Godâ€™s people. I pray that a true plumb line will be placed in the hand of every believer. 16
Salvaging the Plumb Line A Sign From Above Several months ago in my initial attempt to write this book, I felt something was desperately lacking. After several weeks of prayer I realized it was passion, but not passion for what I was writing. What was required was a true passion for the heart of the Ten Commandments to be effectively expressed. I found myself praying over our immediate city and the three state regions where we live and work. The circle of intercession began to widen and deepen as I asked God for a sign. I wanted to know his heart concerning praying the Ten Commandments. I must confess that this is not something that I am accustomed to doing. I do not normally believe in fleeces. It is an Old Testament concept, for Jesus declared, “His sheep know His voice” (see John 10:27). Why would a believer have to fleece God like Gideon of old, if he is truly one of the Lord’s sheep and on speaking terms with the Great Shepherd? Shortly after this, during the 2002 sniper attacks that took place in the Washington D.C. area, I found myself praying as I know millions were that God would help the authorities find the killers. My heart was broken, and in some strange way I was embarrassed for our nation in regards to this incident. I was praying with intensity. I heard myself praying something that came as a total surprise to me: “God, if this prayer pattern is really from You, give me a sign.” Within a few hours, which may be purely coincidental, a truck driver together with several other truckers stopped what they were doing and prayed that the snipers would be found. I don’t know the trucker who discovered the deadly snipers. However, it was one of the men who led the prayer with these other hard working men who pulled into a rest area and noticed the shooters asleep in their car. 17
Pr aying the Ten Commandments
Interestingly, the trucker who found them lives about ten miles from where I live in northern Kentucky, a part of greater Cincinnati. Both of us live several hundred miles from where the crimes had occurred and the snipers were arrested. I often have said, “When God gives me ten cents worth of confirmation, I can believe Him for His unlimited blessings.” The incident ignited my passion and I began to write this book. So now we ask the critical question: What is the plumb line? The plumb line is anything that directs our hearts toward Him. It is heaven’s line dropped from the presence of the Father straight into our hearts. I love the line written in the book The Lost Passions of Jesus, by Don Milam, a must read for every seminary and Bible student: Jesus stepped into this meaningless cycle of ceremonial ritual as the only “Ascending One.” He coveted for this lost people to know the God of their fathers; to breathe in the rarified air where the Father dwells; and to taste the sweet communion that He and the Father enjoyed. He ached for their lost heritage. He knew that the pure practice of prayer was their right and privilege—but they didn’t know how to pray.4 I believe that prayer sets the plumb line. Prayer is not a static activity. Prayer as Jesus taught it is relational. He taught His disciples to come to God as their father. Fathers want their children to live in peace with one another, and this is the message of the Sermon on the Mount. The Ten Commandments prayer pattern is a relational plumb line between the believer and God. It also is a horizontal line set between the believer and other believers. 18
Salvaging the Plumb Line Sadly, much of what we have received from God has been cheapened by overexposure to the traditions and customs of men. Our plumb line has been lost and must be rediscovered in our times. As this plumb line is salvaged, mankind will be rescued from a casual relationship with God to a place of intimacy on the lap of the Father. Intimacy is the attraction and magnetism of prayer. It is the inherent instinct in all of us that longs for a return to the One who formed us. We are wooed into the place of prayer by the possibility, by the promise, of a love affair with the Eternal God.5 It is not our desire to reduce prayer to a lifeless form or mechanical discourse. My passion is to offer you a strategy of prayer enabling you to set a plumb line in your own personal life. My prayer has become what Thomas Merton referred to as, â€œYearning for the simple presence of God, for personal understanding of His word, for knowledge of His will, and for the capacity to hear and obey Him. It is much more than uttering petitions, we wish to hear Him and respond to Him with our whole being.â€?6 It is this kind of prayer that will salvage the plumb line of the Ten Commandments in our generation. It is passionate prayer. It is intimate prayer. It is effective prayer. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (James 5:16).