Prayer in Christ

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Prayer is often misunderstood. The purpose of prayer and how prayer works is not about changing God’s mind, giving Him “new” ideas or using God like a vending machine. A sense of superstition can also find its way into our concept of prayer. One might think, “if we just get enough people praying for this one particular need, then maybe we stand a better chance of God blessing our request.” Unfortunately this kind of bad thinking is all too common. However, that’s not to imply how God uses prayer can be fully understood. We know that Scripture instructs us to pray and that prayer accomplishes much (James 5:16). But we also know God is sovereign and all-knowing. Isaiah 46:10 tells us that God will accomplish all of his purposes. So what is the purpose of praying then? Do you ever feel that tension when you go to pray? I would encourage you not to allow it to discourage you from living up to 1 Thes. 5:17 where we are told to pray without ceasing, or Luke 18:1 that teaches us that we must always pray without losing heart. It certainly did not stop God’s most faithful saints in Scripture from devoting themselves to this spiritual discipline. “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance,” says Martin Luther, “but laying hold of his willingness.” Prayer does not assume God might have chosen wrongly or was neglectful in acting. The truth of the matter is, prayer brings our will in alignment with God’s and deepens our dependence on Him. Just as God fought for the nation of Israel because Hezekiah prayed for deliverance in Isaiah 37, so we can be assured that God’s sovereign plan incorporates the prayers of His people. Such perplexing yet beautiful truth ought to fuel our desire to draw closer to God in prayer—to know and love Him all the more and to seek His face. Such a desire is modeled for us in our text this week. In Ephesians 1:15-19, the Apostle Paul prayed for believers in Ephesus to come to a greater transforming knowledge of God. Not only does Paul demonstrate a faithful prayer life, but he was intentional in praying for God’s will. May we rightly order our understanding of prayer and more faithfully give ourselves to it as we grow in our knowledge and affection for God.  –Pastor Nate

Sunday at Liberty

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