Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Prayer with understanding

I have got a silent spell in my blogging recently as busyness of my work so as to meet deadlineshas has spilled over into my evenings . I know this is not healthy physically, but I praise God that He has not left me nor forsake me eventhough I spend less time with Him. He has given me the strength to complete it in time. He is wonderful and gracious.

I want to share with you on my journey with God on prayer. Thousands of books on prayer are found in book stores but I have found none that works for me. Instead, I have become more frustrated as a result. This sharing is not to be thought of as a method or another solution but how the Lord has been personally leading me.

Sometimes when I pray, I can become so mechanical and traditional in my prayer that I forget to pray with understanding. I am slowly getting more conscious of praying with an understanding that we are now in Christ, no longer like all those saints in the old covenant who prayed and longing for the coming Redeemer. The Lord is always gracious to us eventhough we pray without understanding but as we journey with the Lord, He will help us to grow into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4 :13)

The Psalms contains deposits of King David’s prayer, praise and thanksgiving. However, David did not enjoy the priviledge that we now have in Christ. A number of David’s psalms are prophetic and are now fulfilled in Christ. For instance, Psalm 51 is David’s cry to the God, after he committed adultery with Bathsheba.

1 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. 2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. 3 For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. 4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.[a] 5 For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. 6 But you desire honesty from the womb,[b] teaching me wisdom even there.

7 Purify me from my sins,[c] and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me— now let me rejoice. 9 Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. 11 Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit[d] from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. 13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. 14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. 15 Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you.

16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. 18 Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit— with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings. Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.

If King David were alive today, he would have prayed differently. The first thing David realises is that all his pleas are now rendered needless as they are now fulfilled through the death of Jesus on the cross. King David only needs to step in faith and embrace what Jesus had already done for him on the cross.

David did not have to plea for a clean heart or loyal spirit (v 10) as he becomes conscious now that he has got a new heart, a new creation when he is born again. He did not have that priviledge back then because Jesus had not come. David did not have the staying power or loyal spirit to resist sin because of his sinful nature, but Christ Jesus has now dealt with his sinful nature through the cross. Now, David has the resurrection power living in him to cause him to walk in step with God.

In the book of Ezekial, 36:26-27, God’s promised a new way of dealing with men – He will give us a new spirit which will cause us to walk in His ways :

"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My Statutes, and ye shall keep My Judgments, and do them... Without Me ye can do nothing"

This is now fulfilled in the new covenant. Amazingly wonderful.

Hebrews 10 (NLT)

15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says,
16 “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day,[
c] says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”[d]

17 Then he says,
“I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.”[
e]
18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.

David does not have to remind God not to keep looking at his sins (v9) for now God says he will never again remember his sins and lawless deeds, all because the judgement for his sins has been met by Jesus on the cross 2000 years ago. David now recognises there is nothing more he can do once he has been forgiven, he only needs to embrace the truth.

David does not need be anguish that God will forsake or banish him or Holy Spirit taken from him (v 11) as God now says in Heb 13:6 that He will never leave him nor forsake him. David knows that now, Christ lives in him.

Rejoice. We are more priviledged than David, now that we are living in the new covenant. As we become conscious who we are in Christ as sons of the living God, as we understand more on His finished work on the cross, as we grasp the immensity of the good news of Jesus death and resurrection, our prayer will gradually shift away from that of King David.

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