[Exclusive] Building a House of Prayer, Ten Commandments Prayer

Building a House of Prayer

Eighteen Prayer Models for Approaching God’s Throne

Author | Dr. Joshua Young-Gi Hong

<Ten Commandments Prayer>

“A prayer is the cornerstone of all piety.”—Friedlich Hiler

A Ten Commandments Prayer is giving a prayer while meditating on God’s Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17) one by one. An earnest prayer is not to adapt God’s will to our own will but to adapt our will to His will. Our Ten Commandments Prayer makes this prayer goal possible.

The Holy Place of Prayer

“Looking at one’s conscience” was a custom of the saints of the Early Church. The ceremony to examine one’s conscience was carried out through confession of their sins. Especially, this was a process to examine their daily activities by the illumination of the Ten Commandments.

Ten Commandments have summarized the will of God. Willard once called the Ten Commandments “the mother of all laws.” A Jewish rabbi in the third century said of the Ten Commandments that the Lord gave us 613 commandments in the Scriptures (Old Testament) to teach His people how to live. Among those, 365 were “do not’s” while 248 of them were “do’s.” These 613 commandments were the guidelines for the Lord’s people on how to live. Ten Commandments were the succinct summary of these commandments as delivered to Moses.

What is interesting is that the number of affirmative commandments—248 of them—corresponds to the number of human bones and the number of prohibitive commandments, Then, 365 of them correspond to the number of days in a year. So, humans who are composed of 248 bones should obey the 613 commandments every day of the 365 days in a year. Humans, who were created in God’s image, should obey God’s commands to become a true living being.

God gave these commandments for His own glory and the happiness of mankind. Later, these Ten Commandments are again summarized and sublimated to two great commandments of loving God and loving neighbors. We have to pray so that we can pass the test of each commandment while meditating on each of the Ten Commandments.

The Holy Place of Prayer 1

Resolving to Serve Only God

First of all, read the First Commandment loudly and pray while meditating on it—“You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

Is there anything in your life that is worshiped in place of God? Exodus 34:14 says, “Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” This is one of the most extreme descriptions of God in the Bible. This demonstrates the prohibition of idolatry or the worship of other gods. If your spouse is having an extramarital affair, will you accept it?

We have to reject the different theories about God such as polytheism (belief that there are many gods), pantheism (serving both nature and humans), deism (believing in God’s creation but not His dispensation nor His sovereignty), and atheism (belief that there is no god). Nowadays, such gods of the Old Testament days as Baal and as the goddess Asherah do not exist, but humans still worship money and materials are still slaves of sexual lust.

The voice of Joshua calling for our devotion thousands of years ago is still ringing in our ears—“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . .  But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15). God wants us to place Him in the center of our lives and worship Him only. The spirit of humans can only be satisfied by God (1 Corinthians 8:4-6). So, let’s confess to God like the following: “Jesus, I will serve you alone. Only the Lord is my hope and master of my life. I will serve only you for ever.” Can you pass this First Commandment to serve Him only?

The Holy Place of Prayer 2

Placing God in the Center of Our Heart

Next, you will pray with the Second Commandment—“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath . . .  You shall not bow down to them or worship them” (Exodus 20:4-5). If the First Commandment teaches us the true subject of our worship, then this commandment provides us the right way for worship. The Bible tells us that it is meaningless to make an idol and rely on it. The Bible tells us to rely on God, who is our help and shield (Psalm 115:4-9).

An idol represents everything in the world that is loved more than God. These include material things, beauty, fame, and such. All forms of idolatry start from our greed (Colossians 3:5). The Bible says not to make an idol for yourself.

In South Korea, there are thousands of people who are addicted to gambling. Among these people, there are many who have ruined their family and squandered all their fortune. They served an idol, gambling, by becoming slaves of their greed. Thus, we have to repent if we have anything that we love more than God and make a resolution to serve the Lord only through this Commandment.

A time for a prayer: “Lord, please remove any idols in my heart. I want to serve only you in the center of my heart.” Can you pass the test of this Commandment of God to not worship idols?

The Holy Place of Prayer 3

Calling Out the Lord’s Name in Sincerity and with Heartfelt Emotion

Next, we will pray while meditating on the Third Commandment. “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God” (Exodus 20:7). People place meaning to a name. For example, Isaiah means “Jehovah will save.”

My wife’s name is Mee-Hye Kim, and Mee-Hye means “beautiful grace.” When parents name their children, they have a desire for their children to live up to the meaning of their names. The name of God may have the meaning of “I Am.” God has introduced himself as He who delivered us from the land of slavery, Egypt. These names of God set Him apart from the rest of creatures to reveal himself as the self-existing savior of mankind. The Bible records many names of God such as El Shaddai (almighty God), El Roi (God who watches over us), Yahweh (Jehovah). Rapha (God of healing), Yahweh Jireh (God who provides), and others.

We should not misuse God’s name. We should not call God’s name for nothing, in unbelief, or in a meaningless oath. Also, we should not call God’s name out of selfish desire. If we are called Christian but do not put His name into practice, then we are putting God’s name to shame (Matthew 7:21). The main reason for the decline of the Western Church is nominal Christians. If you have your name registered in the church and do not devote yourselves to the Lord and church, then you are violating this Third Commandment. Thus, when we call out the Lord’s name, we have to be sincere.

A time for a prayer: “Oh, Lord, how wonderful your name is on this land. I praise the Lord’s name.” When you call on the Lord, are you in a state of deep emotion and excitement? Can you pass t God’s Third Commandment, “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD, your God”?

The Holy Place of Prayer 4

Gaining Strength in the Presence of God

Next, you will pray meditating on the Fourth Commandment—“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Exodus 20:8). The Sabbath day, which Christians keep on Sunday, is a gift from God. Humans cannot live without good rest. Humans were created to receive true rest only through God. As tithes signify the sovereignty of God on materials, keeping of Sabbath acknowledges God’s sovereignty over our life. Jesus is the master of our Sabbath day and gave us the rest. Thus, we have to remember the Lord on the Sabbath day and live a life of worshiping Him. Also, we have to live a life of serving our neighbors. We should not do any work on the Sabbath day. Here, the word work is used in a larger sense to include petty labor to gratify greed. Thus, we have to refrain from any recreation purely for personal pleasure on the Sabbath day. Of course, this commandment does not prohibit you from doing good deeds of love.

There were times in my middle school days when I enjoyed reading cartoons and comic books. I used to go to a comic book store (where one can rent the comic book and sit to read) telling my mother that I was going to church. Then, I would return home at the time church ended. By His grace, I already had been baptized in the Holy Spirit, but it looked as if I came to like the comic books more than God. Then one day, upon returning home, my mother grew suspicious and inquired of me where I was. My mother listened to my confession and stressed that I should keep Sunday as my Sabbath day. She also reminded me that only God is the subject of our worship. I would like to express my appreciation for my mother, who kept teaching and encouraging me to go to church even when I was not willing.

If you have children, you have to teach them not to go play on the Sabbath day but keep the Sabbath day holy. Nowadays, more people regard the Sabbath day as another holiday to pursue worldly activities. How can we spend six days for physical welfare and resent spending just one day for our spiritual welfare? On the Sabbath day, we have to get rest and strength in the presence of God.

A time for a prayer: “Lord, please let me keep the Sabbath day holy. Let me worship you, take care of neighbors, and have a time of resting comfortably with my family on the Sabbath day.” Can you pass God’s commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy?

The Holy Place of Prayer 5

Honoring Parents and Pastors

Next, we pray while meditating on the Fifth Commandment of God—“Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12). It is very significant that this commandment was given the first among all the other following Commandments on interpersonal relationships. Parents are the ones whom we first meet upon our birth and to whom we are so indebted. Confucianism and other religions talk about honoring parents, but the Ten Commandments speak of honoring our parents in the Lord. This means that honoring parents must be done by God’s fundamental will. It means that we need to honor our parents just the way we fear and revere God. Also, God must have intended for us to honor Him through honoring parents. Martin Luther said this commandment also included pastors, who nurture us spiritually.

One of our blessings for honoring our parents is “so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” Ephesians 6:3 promises “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” This means that every thing in the world will be given to us as a promise of God to bless us. Joseph was the second in power next to the Pharaoh in Egypt. Nevertheless, he wanted to bring his aged father to Egypt and ran quickly to greet his father when his elder brothers brought him. Honoring parents is clearly specified in the Bible as God’s will. We have to pray and serve our parents by blood and our spiritual parents (pastors).

A time for prayer: “Lord, I repent for not honoring and serving my parents as well as I should. Let me serve my parents and the pastors in my church well.” How are you doing with this Commandment.

Young men and women, how are you treating your parents? If you give me an answer to this question, I will tell you what your future will be like.

The Holy Place of Prayer 6

Healing Hatred and Rage

Next, let’s pray while meditating on the Sixth Commandment—“You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). Here, murder does not refer to all kinds of murder such as wartime murders. This includes murders of premeditation and vengeance (Leviticus 19:17-18), mistake (Deuteronomy 22:8), suicide, and all kinds of murder to be totally inclusive.

You might think that you are not a murderer. However, Jesus regarded such emotions as hating one’s brother or slandering him as an act of indirect murder (Matthew 5:21-22). That is because such feelings of hatred and rage can induce murder (1 John 3:15). God examines the inside of people. He sees through all the hatred, rage, and wickedness in our hearts. If there is someone whom you would like to hate or call names in your heart, then request earnestly for the precious blood of Jesus to cleanse your heart. All of us are indebted to God by ten thousand talents, then how could we not forgive those who are indebted to us by one hundred denarii.

It is a tragedy that reverence for life is fading away. People are destroying each other with extreme hostility. In the South Korean society, there were 350,000 felonies such as murder, robbery, rape, and such committed in 2001. In spite of the enormous increase in Christian population in African countries such as Rwanda, many people in that region kill one other in ethnic cleansing. Christians should treat people with love instead of hatred, by sharing instead of covetousness, and by blessing instead of cursing.

So, let’s pray like this: “Lord, there is someone, whom I hate. Please give me the heart to forgive and love. Please let only the love of the Lord flow like a river in my heart. Lord, please get rid of all murder and violence in this society and let it be filled with God’s love and righteousness.” Can you pass God’s Commandment of “you shall not murder”?

The Holy Place of Prayer 7

Pursuing the Holiness of Our Spirit

Next, let’s pray while meditating on the Seventh Commandment—“You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). Adultery has the premise of a marriage and was so named to protect the institution of marriage. A home existed before a church. Adultery devastates a family and destroys social order. The ruin of Sodom and Gomorrah and the collapse of the Roman Empire were caused by crimes of lust and passion. South Korea also has a serious problem of too many divorces and extra-marital affairs. Over one hundred thousand couples divorce each year, and nearly five million people have extra-marital affairs.

Adultery harms us beyond repair. It’s written in Proverb 6:32, “But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself.” Jesus said having a lustful mind was also committing adultery (Matthew 5:27-32). Having a lustful mind means enjoying lustful acts and thinking about it very frequently as well as planning to do it. Martin Luther said, “We cannot prevent a bird from flying over our head, but we can prohibit a bird from building a nest on our head.” Today, the Internet has developed and distributed pornography so widely and made it easily accessible from our homes. More people are exposed to pornography than ever before. In order to overcome sexual temptation and to escape from adultery, we have to sanctify ourselves by reading the Word of God, praying, and avoiding such environments that encourage adultery (Proverbs 6:27). Additionally, we have to develop fellowship with people who call upon the Lord in a pure heart.

Samson succumbed to Delilah because of lust. In the end, he lost his remarkable strength. David also committed murder because of his lust for a married woman, and God’s wrath was with him. If David did not repent, he would not have been eligible for God’s kingdom in heaven. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” If there is someone among you who has committed adultery, let that person confess that sin to God. When you repent sincerely, God will not forsake you.

A time for a prayer: “Lord, please forgive me of my adulterous sin. How can I make my deeds pure again? I will refrain from such acts by following your Word, for Psalm one hundred nineteen, nine, says, ‘How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.’ Please make my inner self holy by the precious blood of Jesus. Lord, please heal this society, which has been corrupted sexually.” Have you followed God’s Commandment, “You shall not commit adultery”?

The Holy Place of Prayer 8

Developing an Honest Heart

Next, let us pray while meditating on God’s Eighth Commandment—“You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15). Stealing is one of the three biggest crimes along with murder and adultery. Stealing can be largely divided into three categories. The first is stealing what is God’s. The Sabbath day and tithes are the Lord’s, and we should not receive the glory that belongs to God. The second is stealing another’s property. Dishonest trades, nonpayment of debt and wage, application of high interest loans, and bribery are all examples of stealing. The Bible warns, “Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay is the man who gains riches by unjust means. When his life is half gone, they will desert him, and in the end he will prove to be a fool” (Jeremiah 17:11). The third is to steal what is your own. Luxury, wastefulness, and laziness are all stealing in the strict sense. We have to manage properly what God has given us because we are His stewards.

Those of us who live in this modern age should learn how to be satisfied by our means. Being satisfied means that we should be satisfied not by our own efforts but through Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:11-12). We should not love money but be satisfied with what we have. When we enjoy God’s grace abundantly and appreciate His grace, we can be content with God alone.

Thus, let’s pray like this: “Lord, if there is anything that I have stolen from you, I repent completely. Let me be satisfied with what has been given to me and be thankful for it. Let me live honestly and diligently always.” (See Proverbs 6:6.) Have you violated God’s Eighth Commandment, “You shall not steal”?

The Holy Place of Prayer 9

Controlling What You Say with Sincerity

Next, we pray while meditating on God’s Ninth Commandment—“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). Falsehood is the trademark of the devil and his true nature. Satan coaxed Adam and Eve saying, “You will not surely die . . .  For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5).

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is.

Jesus referred to Satan as “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). False testimony, exaggeration, flattery, and bad rumors are all examples of falsehood and lying. At the last day of God’s judgment, all falsehood throughout human history will be clearly revealed. Jesus has said, “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken” (Matthew 12:36).

There is an Italian saying: “One lie makes many.” Once you lie, you have to keep lying to cover up your lying.

James said that controlling our tongue was the touchstone of true faith—“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless” (James 1:26). We have to always pray so that it will become our second nature to compliment someone else’s virtue and to speak in positive and sincere words. There is also a proverb: “A great man speaks of an idea, a common man speaks of an incident, and a lesser man talks behind others’ backs.” The person who makes others else successful rather than destroy them is a true winner.

A time for prayer: “Lord, please have a watchman over my lips. Please help me so that I can speak of the truth always and speak words of virtue to others.” Can you pass God’s Ninth Commandment, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor”?

The Holy Place of Prayer 10

Being Satisfied with Your Own Status and Circumstances

Lastly, you have to pray while meditating on the Tenth Commandment of God—“You shall not covet what belongs to your neighbor.” Greed is the root of all sins. Murder is to covet the life of our neighbors; adultery is to covet the chastity of our neighbor; stealing is to covet the possession of our neighbor; and defamation is to covet the honor of our neighbor. The last Commandment is to warn aggressively against all unrighteous greed against one’s neighbor. There are two kinds of greed—greed for visible things and greed for invisible things. Do you sometimes envy or become jealous of your neighbor’s beautiful clothes, fame, personal achievements, or comfortable environment? If you are greedy because you compare yourself with your neighbor, then you are violating the Tenth Commandment.

D. L. Moody once said of a French billionaire that the billionaire dug a pit beneath his wine cellar to keep his treasures. He used a ladder to have access to his treasures in the pit. Then, he installed a door with a large lock on the entrance to the pit. Later, there was news that the billionaire was missing. People searched for his whereabouts but could not find him. Afterwards, the house was sold, and the new owner came across the door to the pit by chance. When he opened the door and came down to the pit, he found the billionaire dead surrounded by his treasures. When this miser climbed down the ladder, the door closed by itself and he faced a very unfortunate death.

Jesus called the rich man who hoarded his fortune in his warehouse “a foolish one.” The foolish rich man hoarded many treasures for his bodily comfort but did not prepare anything for his spirit. When God took the spirit of the rich that night, the rich man faced his terrible fate because of his greed (1 Timothy 6:9).

Some people are greedy for fame, power, position, pleasure, or knowledge. This greed is exactly what causes us to lose our spirit, deteriorate our health, and destroy our community. “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2). We have to realize that only the Lord can give us true satisfaction. Only being content with ourselves as God created us is the way to keep and honor this last Commandment.

A time for prayer: “Lord, please show me the greed inside me. I truly want to repent. I do not want to compare myself with others but want to thank the Lord for making me just the way the Lord wanted. I confess that only the Lord is the source of all my satisfaction.”

Your first prayer for every day should be the following: “Oh, Lord, please do what you want on the day you want by your way.” Can you honor the Lord’s last Commandment, “You shall not covet what belongs to your neighbor”?

Checkpoint of Prayer

The Ten Commandments Prayer should not be a prayer of formality or habit. The focus of this prayer should be on the restoration of our relationship with God rather than on the Commandments themselves. Honoring the Commandments signifies a development of a deep personal relationship with God. We have to atone for our sins before God and pray so that we can have the heart to love God more. Otherwise, the Ten Commandments Prayer may just end up as a recitation of the Laws of God.

Sweet Rain of Grace

Ten Commandments Prayer is an effective tool to instill in us obedience. Although being obedient to God is a way of the Cross, the Lord allows us the power and grace to be obedient to Him. God encourages us with His words in Deuteronomy 30:11-14: “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.”

George Sweeting said, “There is hardly any case that a Christian is completely depraved all at once. Most likely, he or she will be depraved gradually.” If you become disobedient once, you are turning to a way of disobedience. Thus, to turn away from disobedience is to be obedient once. Let’s walk on the stepping stones of obedience one by one. You can change to live the life of following God’s will completely through the Ten Commandments Prayer.

Praying Time

Ten Commandments Prayer is the most effective when it is prayed for a long time. First of all, we will begin with the praise and prayer of thanksgiving. Then, if we spend five minutes for each Commandment, then we have prayed for an hour easily. It is a good practice to carry out the Ten Commandments Prayer at least once a month. Examining our life of the past month in front of God will be very beneficial to our spiritual growth.

Closed Prayer Room

  • A Ten Commandments Prayer is praying while meditating on God’s Ten Commandments one by one.
  • An Example of Ten Commandments Prayer: Lord, I confess that you are the only Creator God. Please hold me so that I can live the life of obeying your Commandments.
  • My Ten Commandments Prayer:
  • The Order of Ten Commandments Prayer
    >> Praise (Hymn or Chorus).
    >> Confession of thanks
    >> Reading my Ten Commandments Prayer
    >> Carrying out the Ten Commandments Prayer
  • Self-illumination
    >> Have I given the Ten Commandments Prayer carelessly?
    >> Did I repent for my sins as reflected on the Ten Commandments?
    >> Am I giving the Ten Commandment Prayer once a month?
    >> Do I have the joy of obeying God?

One Last Word on Ten Commandments Prayer

A way to overcome disobedience is to begin to obey.

5 Comments

  1. Good written, thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. I hope you have a great day! Very good article, well written and very thought out. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts in the future.

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