The Praying Christ
In that we are commanded to "walk, even as He walked," born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ must devote ourselves to pray, even as He prayed (I John 2:6).
Few spiritual callings seem more daunting. Prayer in and of itself greatly challenges us. Indeed, many believers would list prayer at the top of the list of matters wherein we require growth, change, and far greater faithfulness. To pray as Christ prayed raises the bar seemingly beyond all hope of fulfillment.
Considering the communion of the Father and Son during our Lord's earthly lifetime graces our hearts and minds with sublime meditation. The Gospels include a number of such episodes, including and especially the 17th chapter of John wherein the Lord Jesus prayed an intercessory prayer for the church just before He went to the cross. Reading the chapter leads us down many paths of consideration, but the one that alway strikes me the most is the strong sense of reality that pervades our Savior's prayerful words. Here was a man and a prayer so genuine and of such substance that I always come away from John 17 with the awed sense that whatever prayer is, that's it.
Other prayers of the Savior recorded in Scripture provide the same awareness of reality. Surely God has no interest in our praying merely for prayer's sake, and neither should we. Once again, we face the challenge of real prayer, such as the Lord Jesus prayed, as opposed to the rote variety that mouths many words, but bears little authenticity. How then do we approach a summit seemingly so high and beyond our capacity?
Our answer lies in the praying Christ of today, as opposed to the praying Christ chronicled in the Gospels. "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6). Ever and always, that which our Heavenly Father commands by His written Word, the Bible, He fulfills by His living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:13;19). Few spiritual callings more require the living Christ to empower us by His indwelling Spirit. And few more call us to acknowledge and affirm His words, "Without Me, ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). Thus, if we are to pray in reality, we will have to "trust the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).
A life lived in genuine prayer is a life lived in genuine faith that our Savior will lead and enable us. He will as we trust Him and submit our hearts to His glory, will, and eternal purpose. Yes, the knees we bow upon as we pray (whether literally or figuratively) declare that we recognize the weakness of our own feet to tread so holy a path as the one which leads to communion with God. The praying Christ must walk in us and we must walk by Him if prayer is to be the experience of blessed reality we all know it must be. May our Heavenly Father remind us often, and may we respond to the truth that authentic prayer is always fruit, the fruit of the Holy Spirit revealing within us the praying heart of the Lord Jesus.
"We are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."