Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Through Christ, Who Bore Our Sins, We Are Able To Pray

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

– Hebrews 4:16-18

Hebrews 4:16-18 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture when it comes to prayer.  I often quote this verse when I begin to pray because this verse helps me quickly to realize that the sole reason that I can approach the throne of God in prayer is because of the work of Christ.  I am not able to come into the holy presence of God Almighty because of anything I have done.  My works, says Isaiah 64:6, are like a polluted garment in His holy presence.  I have no righteousness but that which He has given to me in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Jesus is the sole reason I can pray!

Further, prayer does not involve me working up my emotions though chants or through saying words over and over again.  Jesus rebuked such methods in Matthew 6:7.  Elijah, in 1 Kings 18:25-29, pointed out the utter foolishness that the false prophets of the false god Baal in attempting to call out to their god in prayer.  Baal could not hear them because he was not there.  But Yahweh heard Elijah’s prayer (1 Kings 18:36-37) and Yahweh answered by fire (1 Kings 18:38).  The people saw this and worshiped the one true and living God (1 Kings 18:39).

Millions of false religions pray.  Muslims pray five times toward Mecca out of blind obedience to their false god.  Buddhists meditate hoping to find their inner self and seek a false god of their own making.  Cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses spends hours spreading their false gospel and seeking their false god.  Yet do you and I seek the living and true God?  The only God who exists?  We have the right through Christ to approach the true God.  We don’t come through our confessions or through our creeds or through our Arminianism but through Christ alone.  Jesus is the One who has shed His own blood to redeem us from sin and reconcile us to God (1 Peter 3:18).  Through Christ and His blood, we are able to approach our holy God.

Prayer should not then be viewed as a work we have to do (such as in Islam) but prayer is what we get to do through Christ.  Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that we can pray without ceasing.  Our Father always hears our cries (Psalm 65:2; Matthew 6:8).  Because of Jesus Christ, the disciple is able to ask anything in His name (John 14:13-14).  The delight of the disciple is to please the Lord and to exalt Him in all that we say or do (Colossians 3:17).  Thus our prayers are not focused on us getting stuff from God but instead our aim in prayer is to delight in the Lord our God and know Him (Philippians 3:10).  Our passion is to exalt the Lord Jesus and to see His kingdom come (Matthew 6:10) and to see His glory fill the earth (Philippians 1:20-21).  Our passion in prayer is not to name this or that or to pray for this or that but to exalt the Lord Jesus and bless Him for all that He has done in saving us by His own power (Revelation 5:8-14).  Prayer is not about “positive confessing” things and prayer is not focused on asking God for stuff but rather prayer involves seeking God for who He is and what He has already done in saving us by His grace.  This is why “the Lord’s prayer” begins in Matthew 6:9 with a focus on God and not on us.  In fact, our needs do not even appear in the Lord’s prayer until after our focus has been on God (Matthew 6:11).  Certainly we have the honor of being able to ask God for our daily bread but this should not be the focus for the true disciple.  Our passion is to exalt Christ Jesus in all that we do (1 Peter 1:15-16).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/25/2013 at 11:02 AM

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