Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Through Christ Jesus"

Answered prayers are the product of requests made in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you" (John 16:23).

Praying in our Lord's name means that we make our requests based upon the merits of His person and work. "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be made rich" (II Corinthians 8:9). The suffering, forsakenness and death of the Lord Jesus on the cross purchased for us not only our eternal salvation, but every gift of God, including answered prayer, that believers will ever receive.

"God... hath raised us up together... that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness to us through Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4; 6; 7).

"Though Christ Jesus." The riches of God's grace "freely given to us" come by way of a cost far greater than we can ever imagine (I Corinthians 2:12). "But none of the ransomed ever knew how deep were the waters crossed, nor how dark was the night our Lord passed through 'ere He found His sheep that was lost" (Elizabeth Cleophane, "The Ninety and Nine"). As we pray, we must remember always that our access is through our Savior's sacrifice. "Having boldness, therefore, brethren, to enter into the holiest through the blood of Jesus... let us draw near" (Hebrews 10:19; 22). And we must also know that the fruits of our access, the answered prayers, are always provided not because of our own merits and person, but because of who the Lord Jesus is, and what He has done.

Keeping such blessed truth in heart and mind will establish an attitude and practice of prayer that will have great impact on every aspect of our lives. Indeed, if the One who is "the heir of all things" is also known as the guarantor of answered prayer, our desire to love, trust, and obey Him will inevitably grow as we "behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord," and are "changed into the same image" (Hebrews 1:2; II Corinthians 3:18). Thus will be fulfilled by grace the qualification for prayer declared by the Apostle John: "Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight" (I John 3:22).

I often wish I had kept a journal of answered prayer during the 34 years of my Christian life. If I had, every testimony would have glorified a Savior through whom all Divine goodness flows to the trusting sons and daughters of God in Christ. Most pointedly, our Father answers our prayers because long ago He didn't answer the beloved Son who had become the object of His terrible wrath against sin. "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46). There was no grace at the cross for the Lamb of God so that floodtides of grace might eternally and perpetually flow to the Blood-washed and Spirit-renewed "through Christ Jesus." Our Father answers our prayers accordingly as we pray accordingly, in the name of Jesus our Lord.

"And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."
(I Timothy 1:14)

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