Prayer is a path to discovery of God and self.
Wdnesday September 21,2022
We are still looking at some basic realities of prayer by seeing what it is and seeing how we should execute it.
Prayer is both a communication and an encounter with God in the forms of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.
Our theology, experience, and method in prayer must all be as close to the will of God as it possible, and all of which are dictated from the Scripture.
The traditional forms of prayer - adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication - are concrete practices as well as profound experiences. Prayer then is both awe and intimacy, struggle and reality. These will not happen every time we pray, but each should be a major component of our prayer throughout our lives.
Prayer must be continual – daily at least (multiple times/day). Prayer is a need not a luxury.
How often you desire to pray will increase with age and spiritual growth.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Imagine you were diagnosed with such a lethal condition that the doctor told you that you would die within hours unless you took a particular medicine - a pill every night before going to sleep. Imagine that you were told that you could never miss it or you would die. Would you forget? Would you not get around to it some nights? No- it would be so crucial that you wouldn’t forget, you would never miss. We have to pray. We can’t just let it slip our minds.
No matter what type of prayer of aspect of prayer we are discussing, the need of prayer (not luxury) and the continuous nature of prayer must never be forgotten or overlooked.
Prayer is a path to self-discovery.
Prayer is not simply the solitary exploration of your own subjectivity. You are with Another, and He is unique. God is the only person from whom you can hide nothing. Before Him you will unavoidably come see yourself in a new, unique light. Prayer, therefore, leads to a self-knowledge that is impossible to achieve in any other way.
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.
Rom 8 is a chapter concerning the victorious life that God has given to us. It is a chapter about who we are in Christ and the life that should result from that. Part of that life is assurance of our position in God’s family as sons and daughters who cry out Abba Father, just as our Lord did when He was on earth. We will suffer like the Lord did if we pursue this life, but we are fellow heirs with Him, and therefore, the life of dedication will result in our glorification as it did with Him.
I am convinced that this, a life like Christ’s, is something that we all want, but so many of us lack the faith required to completely commit to it. We have to know this about ourselves in light of knowing the life, if we are ever going to change.
Intelligent, thoughtful, honest prayer is the path of discovery.
We are weak, sinful, and slow to learn, but we have also been given the assets and gifts that Rom 8 describes: adoption, the word, the Holy Spirit, the life that the Holy Spirit gives, inheritance, the guarantee of a heavenly body, election, predestination, glorification, and prayer.
And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
The Spirit’s groaning is in response to our own.
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
It is not that the Spirit groans because of His own weakness. He is God almighty. Our weakness causes us to groan in these bodies and we are unable to converse with the Father on the level we would like (in a resurrection body in heaven). Paul shows us that the response from God is to offer His own groanings, nothing like our own, but having one similarity, we don’t really understand either of them (our own feeble attempts and the Spirit’s perfect communication within the Trinity).
We lack understanding, we lack the faith of full-commitment, we lack the power, and if we want to know how that can change for the better, we converse with the Father about it. And, in light of what this conversation is about, the understand of the life of Christ and how I can live it well, it is no wonder that we find the exact, right words of our intrigues and questions and requests hard to come by. The Father doesn’t turn away from our seeming incoherent babbling, but rather, He and the Spirit converse clearly about us and our specific needs when we pray.
We cry out Abba, Father. The Spirit witnesses to us of our place as God’s children and then we seek an audience with our Father for all the things that children desire from their father and want to share with their father. We don’t quite know exactly how or what to ask, even when we get some idea of what God wants for us.
“I passionately disagree with the notion that prayer is a way to get from God what we want. Christian prayer, as explained in Scripture, seems something else entirely: Prayer is a means God uses to give us what He wants.” [W. Bingham Hunter, The God Who Hears, p.12]