Monday, May 30, 2011

The Praying Christ

        Knowing perfectly our native weakness concerning the matter of prayer, God provides the praying Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ to all who trust Him.
      "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6).
    Few spiritual privileges and responsibilities more challenge us than the matter of consistent communion with our Heavenly Father.  Believers speak often about prayer, we believe in its value, we read books about it, and we actually do some praying, both privately and corporately.  The honest Christian, however, would confess that much of the matter remains a mystery.  Even more, we recognize that the quality and quantity of our praying could stand vast improvement.  Indeed, gather 100 committed believers together and ask them what their greatest lack or failing might be.  Many, if not most, would confess that their prayer life seems woefully deficient.
    We should feel this way to some degree.  The fact that God desires living and conscious relationship with human beings overwhelms us when we consider who and what He is in relationship to who and what we are.  "What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?" (Psalm 8:4).  It's a limited illustration, but I've never seen an ant with whom I wanted to have communication (with all due respect to ants, who are quite amazing creatures).  In one sense, the gulf between God and humanity is even greater than that of humanity and ants.  "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God" (Isaiah 59:2).  Nevertheless, our Creator desires fellowship with us to the degree that "the prayer of the upright is His delight" (Proverbs 15:8).  Even more, He gave His beloved Son to a cross of forsakenness so that we might not be forsaken, and so that we might experience the wonder of relationship with God.  How can we not feel awed and overwhelmed in the light of such loving and gracious condescension on the part of our Creator?
    To those who acknowledge the seeming impossibility of prayer, God directs us to the praying Christ, that is, the praying Christ who dwells within our hearts.  Our acknowledged weakness becomes the springboard for affirming our Lord's strength.  Prayer thus begins with the deep sense of our need for the Holy Spirit's direction and enabling.  We don't always have to directly say it, but the attitude must be perpetually present: "Lord, of all that I cannot independently accomplish in glorifying You and doing Your will, nothing more brings me to my knees than prayer.  You must empower me to commune in a real and living manner, and You promise to do so.  I therefore trust You in this day and in this moment to reveal the praying Christ in me so that my communication with you might be 'effectual' and 'fervent' (James 5:16).  All glory for even one thought or word of true prayer offered by me will therefore be Yours, and I am confident that prayer will be recognized as the gift, the privilege and the responsibility Your Word declares it to be.
    The Lord Jesus is God's supply for us in all things (Philippians 4:19).  He is God's supply for us in the blessed matter of prayer.  Again, "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father."  Let us give thanks so great a gift, and let us avail ourselves of it by trusting our Heavenly Father to lead us in prayer.
"Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit."
(Ephesians 6:17-18)

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