Speaking of Prayer...
- July 26, 2012
- James Firnstahl
In CBMC we acknowledge that Jesus Christ and His Gospel are the foundation of our faith; but prayer is the foundation of our Ministry (service) with God. So how would Jesus describe the essence of prayer?
For God's Son, prayer appears to be at all times a reflection of one's faith position in Christ and unwavering commitment to a mighty God who loves us more than we can imagine. Therefore we ought to pray for Godly, righteous things and in righteous ways which the Father can agree with: our love relationship with God and others, loving others, helping others, sharing His Gospel, revealing and doing the work of His glorious Kingdom of heaven at home, work and church; for His Holy Spirit to have wisdom to know and do and ask the right thing, for peace, strength and courage. We ought to pray with single-mindedness (James 1:5-8) in purity, impartially, humbly, submissively and persistently as these are the hallmarks of prayers desired by our heavenly Father.
Our first priority may be to receive an answer to prayer, a solution, resolution; God, who knows our needs even before we pray, desires our attention, fellowship, deeper relationship, faith and trust. In this way our earthly needs and trials serve to draw us out of ourselves and this world to God, the one for whom "nothing is impossible". God's answers to our prayers are never a question of capacity to answer but of alignment and proximity to the perfect will of God. God is perfectly responsible in what and how He answers our prayers. He controls the outcome of prayer as He should. We can only control how, in what attitude and circumstances we pray, and what we pray for. If prayer causes us to genuinely and earnestly seek God and His will, it has already accomplished much. As in most things, we focus on outcomes while God remains focused on the deeper elements of life such as our love relationship with Him. He hears our prayers with a sensitivity and compassion we can scarcely imagine and almost always brings His unsurpassable peace to us as evidence of His hearing.
In the end, He alone can and must shape His final response to these prayers with a depth, insight and foreknowledge only He possesses. There is no magic formula to prayer taught in the Scripture. The Father's love for us allows for His precious children to approach him honestly and in whatever circumstances they find themselves: anxious, upset, impatient, troubled as well as peaceful, trusting and perfectly submissive.
The perfect prayer? Jesus said "Pray then like this:
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." (Matthew 6:5-13 ESV)