On Fridays, my prayer list is focused on the needs of family and friends. As I was praying this morning, I was overwhelmed by God’s grace in several prayers that have been answered in the manner in which I had been asking the Father. It is utterly humbling to see God at work in the lives of His children!
It is also humbling to see how God has answered other prayers in a different manner. This summer we fought together as a congregation for several members who were battling cancer. The Lord answered our prayers for complete and total healing by ending their suffering on this earth and bringing them into His presence.
I must also confess that on this list there are several prayer requests I am still bringing before the Lord, and they remain unanswered-prayers for physical healing, marital restorations, immediate financial needs. Nevertheless, as I reflect on God’s past faithfulness I know that He will continue to be faithful in all things, and I am reminded that the very existence of prayer is a privilege of the gospel restoration we have received through Christ.
A Biblical Theology of Prayer
A biblical theology of prayer reminds us that we were created to be in the presence of the Father (Gen. 1-2); however, because of Adam’s rebellion, humans were cast out from the presence of God (Gen. 3). Adam, who once enjoyed full and free relations with the Father, was the disobedient son who refused the Father. Thus, sin disrupted the fellowship between the Father and His children. Yet, there was the promise that a child would come who would conquer evil (Gen. 3:15), giving hope that God would once again enjoy fellowship with His children. The Bible reveals that this faithful Son, this last Adam is Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one who comes from the Father’s presence into our world (see John’s gospel) in order to vanquish evil by His own death and lead us back into the Father’s presence (Hebrews 2:9-18). So, by His death, He gained access to the Father’s presence for us once again (Hebrews 4:14-15; 7:26-28; 9:11-14, 23-28). Therefore, through Jesus, we may now approach the presence of God with boldness as little children (Hebrews 4:16; 10:19-25). Through Christ, we have come into the presence of God once again (Hebrews 12:18-25)!
What is Prayer?
So prayer is a privilege of the gospel. Prayer is talking to the Father through the mediation of the Son in the power of the Spirit. Prayer is taking part in the future NOW, in light of the full and free relations we will enjoy in the presence of our heavenly Father (Revelation 21:1-7).
What is the Purpose of Prayer?
The purpose of prayer is to join the Father in accomplishing all His holy will here on earth as it is being done in heaven (Luke 11:1-2; Matthew 6:9-10). In the mystery of His sovereign will, our Father invites us to take part in His work through prayer. In other words, God has ordained that prayer is one of the means by which He accomplishes His will. Therefore, we are to pray according to the will of God (Matthew 6:10; James 4:2-3, 13-17), and ultimately, it is God’s will to sum up or unite all things under Christ (Ephesians 1:9-12).
How Should We Pray?
Thus, we offer prayer in the name of Christ, whose person and work is the basis of prayer, believing God to be faithful to accomplish all His holy will through Christ. And we pray in the power and fullness of the Holy Spirit so that even when we don’t know how to pray, the Spirit prays through us (Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 6:17-18).
We pray as the Lord Jesus taught us to pray (Luke 11:1; Matthew 6:5-15)—that God’s name would be hallowed, that He would expand His kingdom, that His will would be embraced. As we pray, we are reminded of our utter helplessness and total dependence on the Father for our daily bread, forgiveness of sin and protection from evil.
Prayer is a wonderful gospel privilege! Let us run to the Father through the door of the Son and in the power of the Spirit, and let us fellowship with Him fully and freely in prayer.