Sunday, April 12, 2015

SPEAK LIFE: LESSON 7 - PRAY IN JESUS' NAME. Part 2

Prayer is an imperative from the Lord Himself and no Christian life is complete without it. The Lord Jesus said the following in Matthew  6: 5 “And you, WHEN you pray…..”. In Matthew 6:6 He said “But you, WHEN you pray…” and in Matthew 7 He also said “And WHEN you pray…”. Previously He said in Matthew 6:9 “In this manner, therefore, PRAY” (All emphasis mine). There are no “if’s”, “maybe’s” or….”do this only when you feel like it” in these major portions of the most significant teaching from the Lord Jesus – the Sermon on the Mount! In fact, He goes on to endorse fasting, in verse 19, something which many people also ignore today, unless it is for a medical procedure or something.

All of these imperatives or commands from Jesus stand true today, as it did when He said it. Jesus Christ, the Same – yesterday, today and tomorrow. So the foundational truth is we are to pray. But not just this,  the under-girding of the Christian’s prayer life and those the main truth is, “on what authority or under WHOSE authority” are we authorized or even qualified to pray?  Three things come into play when we consider the ordered measure of the Power Prayer Life which is expected of us, by the Father. 

Conversely, can you still be a Christian and not have an active, meaningful fulfilled prayer life?  Yes, and that proves itself as the permanent state of the western Christian church. The percent of prayer warriors in the average church is less than 3% after all the factors are swept out of surveys. Even less churches in the west conduct prayer services. One church leader did away with a monthly Wednesday night prayer service after two such separate hours of prayer, because he was concerned that the average 15% of the Sunday crowd would stop coming to his Wednesday night bible study. Stories like this are multifold everywhere. It is different in the persecuted countries like China, India, Pakistan all of the islamic nations, where Jesus is all our brethren there have. 

Therefore what are the pillars of the Authentic Prayer Life of the Believer, who MUST pray in Jesus' Name to be heard? I will go through several steps in this post and the next part of this most critical part in the Believer's Life.


1. QUALIFIED:

We are qualified, authorized and commissioned to pray "IN JESUS' NAME" for this reason: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12). This word in this verse - "RIGHT" - is exousia, or the Power and Authority of Heaven. Thus, as we are now true adopted children of the Father, we have the duty, right and responsibility to come to Him, just as we did with our natural parents. The same is true with our own children, who have access to us as THEIR natural parents.  When our own kids go out in the world, whether they are aware of it or not, they represent us and are going under the banner of our family name. Therefore their conduct ought to reflect that truth. In essence, we are Ambassadors of Prayer. As His Ambassadors, we represent the King of Kings and are duly authorized to go back to His Throne for further instructions or for comfort and more.  Daily communication with "headquarters" is recommended to keep the flow of information, the friendship and relationship on firm fluid footing so we are functioning on all cylinders while on Kingdom business! Anyone who calls him/herself an ambassador and does not recognize or wish to acknowledge or even care to use His Name, should examine him or her self to see whom they are really representing!

2. POSITIONAL:
Because of our right standing as a true child of God, through re-birth, salvation and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we are now in the following position: In Matthew 21:22, Jesus said "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, IF you have Faith

This is amazing. In Scripture, language, the tense of a verb and the original word actually spoken are of EXTREME significance.  This is why the translation of the Bible you read is so important. God is serious about His Word and any modern cultural fad which takes it upon itself to alter or dumb down His pure word will be held up to His Judgment one day.

- Whatever: this really means whatever or as great as any prayer request or petition you have - He will listen. That includes prayer for your relative to recover from cancer; for a young child to find her first job; for your safety on a business trip on a snowy day or for the funds to pay for the new brakes you have been needing on your car. Whatever it is - God knows and will provide.

- Ask: the original word: 'aiteo' implicitly implies the seeking of a response of an inferior person (us, mankind) from the Superior (Creator God, our Father). Would we ask a lost person to help us in finding a good commentary on understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes? Would we ask the butcher at the Shop and Stop grocery store to discern the effects of a statin drug on our cholesterol caused by eating too many cheeseburgers with bacon? No, we, who seek favor and answers and critical help go to the Only One Who can help us. This would be the Almighty God of the Universe, through Christ our Lord. 

- In Prayer: In this positional status and under the old paradigm (pre-Calvary and the Cross); the Synagogue was the main place of prayer. The Jew out in the fields or who had no access and needed to pray, had to find the nearest stream and wash himself before approaching the Lord. Since the Cross, death, burial and Resurrection of Cross, we who are saved by His Name, His Grace and forgiveness now carry the temple in our bodies. The Holy Spirit is embedded in our spirit as the guarantee of that so great a salvation, so He has made us this temple. 
Secondly, because the Spirit (Who is God the Third Person), requires spiritual cleansing, also known as Repentance. Just as you need Repentance and to be saved, you and I need daily cleansing and repentance to be sanctified. Do not listen to those who say you can live as you wish and that will be alright with God, because you said a prayer once and therefore you're a Christian! You and that person will be accountable one day before God - if there is no repentance. Status of the praying person is prime and this is a qualifying attribute, or petitions may receive scant attention.

- You will receive: The literal meaning of this world, which the English translators missed is "actively lay hold of to take or receive". Here is where the believer who prays may get discouraged. How many times have we heard "God did not answer my prayer" or "God does not like me" or "Where are you God, why aren't You listening"? We have all done a version of that, at some point in life. What is note-worthy here, is that if the answer or result does not come for your prayerful petition right away, well, then take hold of this! That is, as a dutiful authorized ambassador and child of the Savior, grab it, own it and keep going back to the Lord in prayerful submission and prayer. This is an ACTIVE verb. God owes us nothing, but through Grace, He has given us EVERYTHING, we do have to work out this growth as a believer. So what Jesus is saying here is "grab the issue", take hold and go to prayer. The persistent prayer warrior who perseveres always has the Ear of the King, Who is merciful, just, loving, kind and generous. He will listen and respond when the time is best for us.

- If you have Faith: If you and I are confident and persuade in the Saving Power of Christ to rescue us from an eternity of fire and hell, why should we not have the same belief and confident faith that He would do as He says? In this context, the pre-condition or qualifying word is this one - "believing or if you have faith".  To avoid wasting words, what this simply means is - "we must believe in order to receive"!

This is the main thing. We have the authority, we positioned to prayer, now what are the conditions and what does God say His response will be....if we ask, in Jesus Name, amen. This will be addressed next.
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