Thursday, October 6, 2011

"The Fruit of Prayer" Part 4

4 -
A Gift and a Privilege

Because we are commanded to pray by Scripture, and because we know the importance of prayer, born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ sometimes view communication with God primarily as a responsibility.

    Certainly prayer is a responsibility.  However, under grace, God's provision always precedes His commandment.  He must provide and enable before we can trust and obey.  "His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (II Peter 1:3).  God gives Christ to us when we believe, first to forgive us and establish relationship with us.  Then He promises that Christ will also be the means by which we subsequently live the life to which He calls us.  "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13).  The Gift first, and then in its light, presence and power, the commands, including prayer, present themselves as opportunities to avail ourselves of our Lord's dynamic presence in our lives.

    This Biblical perspective causes prayer to be viewed first as a gift and privilege rather than a responsibility (without denying the latter aspect, of course).  We pray from Christ and through Christ, as it were, rather than to Christ.  A different attitude, born of grace, results as communication with God becomes the joyfully grateful experience that surely our Heavenly Father means it to be.  Indeed, He sacrificed so very much to birth a relationship with us.  Certainly He means it to be a blessed wonder to be anticipated and enjoyed rather than a heavy burden that always seems too heavy to bear.

     Solomon declared that "the prayer of the upright is His delight" (Proverbs 15:8).  It should be our delight also.  Recognizing and affirming the gift and privilege of prayer graces our hearts with the genuine desire to commune with God, and to fulfill the responsibilities of prayer from a position of strength.  Anything less besmirches this most amazing bestowal of love, and hinders our experience of walking with the One who loves our hearts and our voices.

"God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father."
(Galatians 4:6)

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