This blog is in reality a continuation of the last two blogs on prayer – Is prayer really important part 1&2. I confess these titles are not the best descriptive heading I could have chosen and I apologize if such was mis-leading.
In summary; I have gained an understanding that supplicatory and intercessory prayer, in particular, need to have the following. Firstly one needs to pray ‘according to HIS will.’ Secondly one needs to ‘watch and pray.’
Tonight’s blog adds a third truth. Once again this truth has come with a struggle on my part to integrate this into my mind. I can be a slow learner. When we pray, we must do so standing on the redemptive, finished work of the cross and resurrection. This is easy to say, but almost nigh impossible to put into practice.
So often we become over whelmed by our emotions and in this state of mind we cry to the Lord. To be consumed by our grief. To be drowning in our sorrows. To be crushed by our anxiety. To be out of our mind with pain. To not see past our frustrations and worry. To cry out to the Lord in this negative state for those who have been made victorious in Christ is to bring death on our heads.
For me my mis understanding concerned not distinguishing between the prayers of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Under each covenant Gods people approach the throne of grace with a different mindset. As Oswald Chambers sets this difference out so clearly as he writes; and I quote from his booklet ‘If ye shall Ask.’ “The OT basis of prayer is set upon Gods character and appeals to his mercies whereas the NT prayer is based on a relationship with Christ. “The prayer in the OT as from an earthly people in an earthly setting, whereas the NT prayers are from people with a heavenly state of mind while living on this earth.”
The book of Hebrews sets out that the new order under Christ’s death has done away with the rituals and religious acts based on the law. The only foundation of effective prayer, from a NT disciple must be based and grounded on the redemptive work of Christ. Nothing less will suffice. This excludes crying out to God in our distress. Such crying is typical of the OT saint but we have a much better and living way to approach our Father.
Through the death of Christ we have been made more than conquerors and we have not been given the spirit of fear. Grief, anxiety, frustration, sorrow, and any negative thoughts are from the dark side and dwelling on these thoughts to me is not walking in faith and the power of the cross.
What does this mean for me then. Whenever I am overwhelmed with negative thoughts and all I can think of is the frustration or anxiety, I take stock and remind myself to put on the amour of God and battle those negative thoughts. I say to my soul: I am redeemed, I have been set free, I am healed, I am victorious, I am sanctified, I am not a slave of fear for I am a child of God. All this because of the blood of Jesus. I plead the blood and my rightful place in the heavenlies. Once I have established my rightful place before Gods throne and the devil has fled; then standing on the blood of Christ’s finished work I lift my petitions before God my Father.
I believe Jesus was attempting to change the disciple mind set regarding prayer when the disciples and Jesus were sailing across Lake Gethsemane when a terrific storm blew up and the disciple were consumed with fear and became sick with anxiety. They saw Jesus asleep in the stern and cried out to him. Jesus awoke and rebuked them for not having faith. Instead of seeing these as a harsh comment from Jesus why not see this as a lesson in prayer. In that, from now after my death the basis of approaching God is grounded in Faith – faith in finished work of the cross.
The shed blood is our victory and strength. Satan will do all he can to cause the followers of Christ to forget this. Satan is a bully and we, in Christ, to stand up to the roaring lion. Jesus said as quoted in John 16
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
May we always take on the mind of Christ who has overcome the world with its negative thoughts and stand firm in the cross of Christ as we come before him in prayer. May we always pray from a position of strength given to us by the finished work of redemption.
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