Why The Gospel Of God's Grace At Calvary Revolutionalises The Way Our Prayers Are Said And Answered
Many of us have our moments when our faith that God will provide becomes a little shaky. I am no different. For the past two years, my family has experienced a few roller coaster rides with our finances and careers at stake. Mostly, I wake up in the morning feeling everything will work out; later in the day, a fearful thought might creep into my mind and I begin to worry about finances.
Questions about the future and what God is doing begin to form so rapidly. It is at these moments that I hang on to this verse from Ephesians 4:7: ďBut unto everyone of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.Ē
To be honest, just as I was about to write this article my mind was disturbed about a financial matter. I know that even if I write about Godís grace and provision, my heart will not be blessed if I am just going through the motions. My heart will not be at peace if I do not have the assurance that He will take care of my needs.
Whenever my peace is stolen from me, I will call upon my Father. I like to call God ďFatherĒ because there is something so reassuring about it. Whenever I think about how God gave His Son up to die to make this father and child relationship possible, I realise God must REALLY WANT to be our father! The beauty of it for me today is the more I call Him Father, the more I feel He is my Daddy.
Many parents become restful when they are reminded that there is a Heavenly Father who looks out for their kids where they cannot. For me, I am always encouraged when I remember that I can sit on my Fatherís lap even as I ask Him all the questions that are on my mind. Sometimes I say to Him, ďI donít understand why this happened Daddy. Why? Did You not promise that You will take care of things? I placed my trust in You, so what happened? I still believe You and I will rest in You, but will you encourage me in some way this day? I need You so.Ē
Of course, our faithful Heavenly Father never fails to encourage me when I ask Him and His Spirit never fails to comfort me. Sometimes, I find myself like a little girl telling her daddy stuff because she knows how much He loves her. I honestly think it delights Godís heart when His children are so confident that He loves them. I want to share with you this precious truth in my life because we will be so blessed when we have confidence in the Fatherís love for us.
I think the last time I was conscious that I was praying was more than two or three years ago. I have developed such a desire to talk with God and I did not even realize this is prayer. Prayer is just talking with God. When I understood how comfortable I am with my own Father, I stopped telling Him things I never really cared to talk about in the first place. In other words, I am free to cut to the chase.
My prayers become honest when I tell Him all of my fears, down to the very last one. So often I would just cry out to Him. There are times when I do not know how to begin, but on so many occasions, Godís Spirit will take over my prayer. I end up quoting comforting words from Scripture as I talk with Him, even Scripture that I have forgotten. Where I was disheartened and helpless before I began, I become so encouraged. It is not me but rather the Holy Spirit who prayed for me.
Other times, I just allow myself to go with the flow and see how I end up praying for other people. I do not have to pray for my friends in church or for their friends, uncles, nieces and co-workers. But when I know I do not have to pray for these people, I almost always end up praying for them some time in a week. There is so much grace even in prayer because God does not demand of us to pray. Before the cross, God's ways were written on two tablets of stone but in Jeremiah 31 God's ways in the new covenant was prophesied; God would write His laws in our hearts instead. Today, the Spirit of God teaches us how to pray because He lives in us. Indeed, we can fully count on His leading because no one knows the mind of God but the Holy Spirit hears from Him. When Elisha told Naaman to go to river Jordan where he would be cleansed of leprosy, the prophet knew that was not a hard and fast rule for every leper. Yet, there is so much beauty when we await to hear the Spirit's guidance because His instructions are always relevant, timely and edifying to us whenever we obey. At all times, the Spirit's voice is ever gentle, soft and reassuring because our Triune God loves us so.
When I have no desire to pray about a matter, I will not force myself believing that the Holy Spirit will lead me along. This frees me to give to God all that is on my heart first. It does not mean He will lead me to pray for my friends in that same prayer. Sometimes, just out of the blue, when I am in the shower or washing my face, I get a strong desire to pray for a friend about the matter I had no desire to pray about just the night before. Most of us will recognise this as the Spirit's leading because the Spirit of God in us is the river of life that flows and He gives to us the thoughts and desires for righteousness, love, peace and joy. This is how I end up praying for the matters and people I know about in a given week when I go by His leading. By the way, His ways are always life giving to me, refreshing and not the least mechanical. Thanks be to God for the gift of righteousness by which His Spirit lives in us and helps us as children of God's kingdom. It is God's spirit that gives us a longing for the things of His kingdom and it is so reassuring to know that Jesus' blood which has established the new covenant is the reason why the Holy Spirit can now live in us. Unlike David and the other Jewish patriarchs and prophets who had the Spirit of God come upon them to minister to and through them and then leave, we have our Counsellor, Helper and Teacher permanently in us. More than the annual atonement of sins or a mere covering of sins which the blood of bulls, goats, lambs and turtle doves accomplished, Christ's blood redeemed and sanctified us. We have become the temple of God and His Spirit never leaves or forsakes us ever!
Am I full of faith each time I talk with God? Sometimes, I hear people preach faith as if it is something we can muster up. I remember a time when my husband and I had more faith when we prayed for evangelistic meetings, but the situation was somewhat different when we prayed for matters concerning our own lives. Boy, how wrong we were! Today, we realize Godís provision rests upon who He is and the covenant promise of God established on Jesus' blood. If we think that God is faithful to answer the effective fervent prayers of the righteous in terms of our 'righteous living', it will affect our faith to receive from God. Many people believe that sanctification is a journey but Jesus promised that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. No longer does God bless His people based on what they do but rather it is based on what Christ has done in our place to justify us to receive God's blessings.
When you understand the inheritance and blessings that God planned for you to receive, you will understand how deeply God loved you at the Cross because that was the only Way to qualify you for them. When we look to the cross as the one and only reason why God answers our prayers today, we will be full of faith independent of our lives. Even so, His grace ministers to us at such a deep place in our spirits and transforms us to the point that we yield to His will to live the righteous life to which we are called. Faith is not something that we muster up and whether we are praying for something beside ourselves or not, faith comes by hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is full of grace. How great is our faith to affect our prayers when we look to Jesus' ministry; all that He has done for us and will continue to do till eternity for He is the author and finisher of our faith. If you lack faith in your life, be encouraged because all you need is to look to God's Grace and faith comes to you.
Ever since I knew God answers my requests because He is full of grace, I have become hopeful and restful. We must know that God does not forfeit us from His blessings when we sin because Grace came to redeem us while we were yet sinners. When you appreciate how valuable Jesus is to the Father, you will understand how much grace extends to you. With this in mind, I know that my prayers do not depend on whether I am a 'good Christian'. Quite the contrary, when I know how much God loves Jesus, it makes me appreciate even more the gift of Christ and what Jesus had to go through to make me righteous in Him.
I know I do not have to forfeit Godís blessings to the righteous whenever I sin because His grace operates independently of me. (Romans 5:13,17) One of my greatest comforts whenever I am in distress is the Holy Spiritís reminder that God has already given me His greatest Gift of grace so freely. My Father will not withhold from me any good thing, for He has already given me Jesus. (Romans 8:32)
The Gospel of Jesusí death, burial and resurrection is your key to answered prayers because it is full of grace. It is beneficial to us to understand that the greatest gift of God's grace is Jesus Christ. When we do we will remember that grace is beautiful because it is undeserved. Indeed, God's grace made me fall in love with our Father, His Son, His Spirit and His Kingdom, and all the laws which govern human relationships are summed up in the law to love thy neighbour. Whether it is to fulfil this law or to receive God's blessings to the righteous, God never meant for us to look to ourselves; otherwise, Christ died in vain.
I thank You, Father, that having faith in You is so easy when I think about how much You love me. You gave Jesus in exchange for me, and this proves how much You love me, Your children and this world. I ask, Holy Spirit, that You will never stop reminding me that I am GodĎs beloved. Father, I want to experience more of Your grace and love every day. As I read Your Word, may Your Spirit show me how deeply You love me. I know I can do nothing for Your Kingdom if I do not know Your love.
Holy Spirit, I invite You to lead me in my prayers. I want them to be edifying, and I can only count on You to make them this way. Thank You, Jesus, for Your sacrifice; without it, I can never get into our Fatherís bosom. I am eternally grateful that I am now a child of God. It is so wonderful to be in His arms of love and protection. Father, thank You for the blessings that will come to me today and every day because of the gift of righteousness in Christ. Triune God, You are so good to me. You are so beautiful. Thank You. Amen
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"Sometimes, just out of the blue, when I am in the shower or washing my face, I get a strong desire to pray for a friend about the matter I had no desire to pray about just the night before." The same with me , the very same and I agree with all Thomas Kittrell has written in his comment above. I pray more will read this and be blessed as I was . Yours In Christ, Julie
I do not remember ever reading a writing on prayer that would surpass this one. I could feel your honesty as you shared with us your honesty with God in your prayers. There should never be a cut and dried prayer that is for everyone. As you pointed out, the Holy Spirit helps us in our praying. The prayer example Jesus gave us, which we call the Lord's Prayer, is just that, an example. He was trying to show us that everything that is important to us should be shared with him in our prayer. Sometimes praying is not asking for something or thanking for something. These two things are important and should be in our prayers. Sometimes, however, prayer can be just a conversation with God. After all, He is our friend, and we talk with friends, do we not? Thank you for sharing this with us. Thomas