"The Conditions of Prayer"
His Call; Our Response
So far in our consideration of the conditions of prayer, we have focused on the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ regarding our access to God. We could continue this focus in perpetuity because we will never exhaust the blessed truth that we come to God in fellowship based on who Christ is, and what He has done, is doing, and promises to do forevermore.
"For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father" (Ephesians 2:18).
As always in our relationship with God, however, we play a responsive role of faith. "When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face, my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek" (Psalm 27:8). God's Spirit works within born again believers in the Lord Jesus to motivate, guide, and empower our praying. We nevertheless must respond in the blessed freedom of heart whereby our fellowship with the Lord is uncoerced, real, and meaningful to both God and ourselves. "Thy face, Lord, will I seek." We are persons rather than programmed machines. Indeed, I am grateful for the computer on which I presently type. It has been good to me (with a few exceptions!), particularly in fulfilling its primary purpose of making possible these devotions. However, I do not love my computer, nor does it love me. Even if I programmed it to begin each day by an audible or visual "I love you, Glen!", there would be no true relationship and fellowship. In similar manner, our response to God in loving fellowship requires His working in our hearts through the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. And, we must freely respond. "Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy" (Psalm 43:4).
The first condition we fulfill regarding prayer involves our responsive determination to actually do it. Prayer does not just happen in our hearts and minds, or upon our lips. God's "I will motivate, guide, and empower" must be accompanied by our "I will trust and submit to His marvelous working in my heart to seek His face." He gets all the glory and honor, of course. No true prayer has ever been prayed that did not begin with the Holy Spirit's working in believers' hearts. However, we experience the blessing of knowing we have freely and genuinely responded to our Heavenly Father's beckoning our needy spirits to His throne of grace. The fellowship that ensues pleases His heart beyond anything we can imagine. "The prayer of the upright is His delight" (Proverbs 15:8). Moreover, it also graces us with the wonder of relationship with the God of Heaven and of our hearts. We close with our Lord's invitation through His prophet. May we respond in the Spirit-enabled and freely chosen devotion that delights our Father and blesses us with His goodness…
"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live."
"In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Next: Humility and prayer
Weekly Memory Verse
"I exhort therefore that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men."
(I Timothy 2:1)