Dr. John Hartmann

Proclaiming the Whole Counsel of God

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The Church’s Prayer Mission

March 20th, 2011 · No Comments

As a foundation for effective praying we consider first some aspects of the redemption in Christ, which:

1) takes us from darkness to light (Colossians 1:13; 1 Peter 2:9-10; 1 John 1:1-2:2; Ephesians 5:8-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:5-7; John 8:12; Matthew 5:14-16).

2) takes us from being under wrath to a state of being “justified”, which in turn renders ineffective the work of the accusing demons who seek to slander God’s elect before His throne (Romans 8:31-34; Revelation 12:9-10)

3) takes us from an old creation in which we were slaves to sin in Adam, to a new creation in which God’s grace overflows and delivers us from the effects of Adam’s sin (Romans 5:15, 17, 21)

4) takes from a state of alienation in relation to God to a state of reconciliation in which we have “peace with God” through Jesus’ Cross (Colossians 1:19-23; Romans 5:1-11)

5) takes us from being spiritual paupers to being sons who inherit all things together with Christ (Romans 8:14-17; 1 Corinthians 3:21-23).

Our Response to such a calling:

A worthy walk before the Lord (Ephesians 4:1; Colossians 1:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12).

Aspiring to live a blameless life (Philippians 1:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13)

Being devoted to prayer (Romans 12:12; Colossians 4:2; Acts 2:42)

Prayer Primer: God calls us to pray and promises to answer when we pray according to His will. Knowing how to pray “according to His will” is very important (1 John 5:14-15; James 4:1-3) and is not learned in a day. We learn it through practice (Hebrews 5:13-14).

Where to start?

The picture of the “rent veil” which signifies that we have “confident access” through Jesus’ sin-atoning sacrifice as we come to God in prayer (Hebrews 10:19-22; Ephesians 3:10-13).

With this picture in mind, we then have these wonderful promises, which encourage us to draw near to God in prayer:

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

“He who comes to God must believe …. He is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek for Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and the door shall be opened to you … for if you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask Him” (Matthew 7:7, 11; cf. James 1:17).

“In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Also consider Matthew chapter 6, where Jesus spoke of righteousness before God in terms of 3 practices: alms giving, prayer, and fasting (6:1-18). He then talked about a life of trust, seeking first the kingdom of God as the main focus of life (6:19-34). Jesus expounds on the notion of God’s great care for us. God wants each of us to know this, and to be relieved of the anxiety that weighs the heart down with care (cf. Proverbs 12:25). Jesus teaches that our heavenly Father knows what we need before we ask Him and the He is committed to providing the necessities of life for those who seek first His kingdom and righteousness.

If we are doing this, then this applies:

“Casting all of your care on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Returning to 1 Timothy 2:1-8, we find that God calls the church to pray for: 1) the salvation of all men, 2) the subordination of governmental authorities, so that we may live in an environment conducive to the church doing its work in the ministry of the gospel. All of this accords with: 1) God’s desire that all men would be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth, 2) our call to bear witness to the work of Jesus in His Cross. The Scripture calls us to labor in prayer for the salvation of men who have been blinded by Satan lest they see the light of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

Habakkuk 3:1-2: this prophet lived in a time of judgment, as God revealed to him the impending doom of the nation of Judah in the Babylonian invasion and captivity. But we note that the prophet appealed to God’s mercy, that He would “in wrath, remember mercy” and “revive His work, in the midst of the years”. May we do the same during the foreboding times in which we live.

In closing, Romans 12 challenges us to be fully committed to God and His purposes, individually and as the holy society of God that is called the church. Read, ponder, consider, apply.

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