Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Proper Prayerful Worship: A Desire to See God's Will Fulfilled (Part 3)

“I pray that the eyes of your heat may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” – Ephesians 1:18-19 (Context)

We have been focusing on prayer as a purposeful focus on God: His will; His grace; His plans; and His forgiveness. As a Christian, I must be biblically informed in order that my prayers are in “harmony with the will of God” (JM). I want God's will because God's will and counsel is good, wise, and perfect according Him – but don’t miss that God’s countenance is perfect for us, always . This kind of conscious, Spirit enlightened expression communicates "our praise, our unworthiness, our desire to see God's will fulfilled, and our utter dependence on Him for all our needs" (ibid). Thus, our prayer is worshipful.
In his book, “Knowing God,” J.I. Packer poses that the problem of knowing God is that most people, even Christians, do not think highly of – or fear – God. Do you think highly of God (Isaiah 5,6)? The God-ward focus of Jesus’ model prayer is impossible to miss with His opening lines establishing the focal point of non-repetitive, intimate, worshipful prayer. Jesus starts the prayer praising God’s name, expressing active willingness for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done (Matthew 6:7-14).  The supplicant is concerned for the honor of God and the extension of His Kingdom. Everything else fits into that context, so that the whole agenda of prayer is determined by the Kingdom and glory of God. This is perhaps the most important perspective to keep in mind in all our praying.

Alabama Christian Athletes Praying
            Far from being merely a wish list, godly prayer is fundamentally an act of acknowledging God’s sovereignty, confessing our own total reliance on His grace and power, and looking to him as Lord and Provider and Ruler of the universe. God is not some celestial Santa. Any prayers that are self consuming, self indulgent, self aggrandizing; any prayer that seek whatever I want no mater what God wants; any prayer that suggest God must deliver because I have demanded it – those are prayers that take his name in vain. Such praying is egregious sin against the nature of God, against the will of God, and against the Word of God. Because such prayer is an act of worship, to offer a prayer based on such a heinous perversion of God’s character is tantamount to worshiping a false god.

Source: Pulpit Magazine, Premier Issue. Oct 2012. Vol. 1 No. 1. Ipad version.

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