Friday, August 23, 2013

Prayer: Advancing God's Program (Final Installment)

            The year has been a year of great awakenings and a journey into the depths of sweet fellowship with the Lord Jehovah. God is good. We are finally concluding an in-depth (but not conclusive) study on the prayerful attributes of worship. The significance of worship and prayer comes down to close communion and fellowship with the Lord as Master, Friend, Priest, Prophet, and King. The King's perfect program is on track to being completed, and I'm on board with it. Well, there are really only two options to choose from and I like the one with the prevailing outcome.

            The closing phrase of Luke 2 is "Your Kingdom come."It is a prayer for the advancement of God's kingdom, which is antithetical to our prayers we typically pray in advancement of our own program. As we strive to build our own empires or pad our own pockets we send up such selfish prayers that are not about God's will being done. But this is prayer should be the filter by which all our prayers are run through. The more we get to know God, the more we come to know His will (Rom 12). The more we realize His will, the more we want His will to be done, and the more our prayers are in harmony with His goals and principles.

            "The Kingdom, of course, is the sphere where Christ rules - the realm where He is Lord." To pray "Your Kingdom come" with sincerity is to submit one's desires and to yield one's heart without reservation to the Lordship of Christ. When I affirm the program of Jesus Christ's Kingdom I am setting aside my own fleshly, materialistic, or selfish requests since I have come to realize that my life is not about the earth, but the kingdom. Romans 14:17 sets the priority straight: "The Kingdom is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

            I'm not saying that we are despicable for praying for needs and desires. There is nothing wrong with praying to God for things we desire - as long as the desires of our hearts are holy. As time goes on it should be evident that our desires are aligned with the will of God. What I find awesome, and happens often, is how such prayers are always answered. Remember, Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you" (John 15:7). Furthermore, Jesus says, "If you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you" (John 16:23). "This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us" (1John 5:14). There are qualifiers and we must pay attention to them - "If"; "In My name"; "According to His will." Any prayer that follows a different pattern is not an act of true worship, and therefore it not a legitimate prayer.

            Worship: True prayer is worship. We go to a loving Father in intimate relationship, accepting that He knows best. Our prayers are reflections of an obedient heart, expressing passion for His glory. Let us press forward for His glory.

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