Friday, April 30, 2010

Prayer and God the Son (part 2)

“For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” (Eph. 2:18)

Access unto the Father is secured unto us solely on the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ.  When we pray, we address our petitions to the Father in Jesus’ name.  John 14:13-14 says this: “(13) And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  (14) If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”  There is no other name given, no other basis or foundation whereby God could answer our prayers.  Our own name is insufficient.  All our merits or good works are as “filthy rags.”  Had it not been for the saving work of the Lord Jesus, we would have no way of approaching God.  And so we gladly pray in His name.  We understand that if we are to gain any blessing or favor from God the Father it will be through His only begotten and beloved Son.  Some may think, “great! I’ll just ask for a million dollars, and pray that in Jesus’ name.”  This is a gross misunderstanding about the essence of prayer.  When we pray, we ask God for things, not to seek our own glory, but to seek His glory.  The Bible clearly says: “that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”  This tells us that God’s glory is the main concern of prayer, and it should be in ours as well.  Invoking the name of the Lord Jesus as an attachment to a faulty prayer is worthless and blasphemous at best.  The best rule of thumb in prayer is that we ask in faith (James 1:6), we ask as we seek to please Him (1 John 5:14) and we ask in Jesus’ name (which means for His sake or through Him) because we know that the Lord Jesus alone is well pleasing unto God (John 14:6; Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Lk. 3:22; 2 Pet. 1:17).   

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Prayer and God the Father (part 1)

“For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” (Eph. 2:18)
A closer look:
Him – in this verse, referring to the Lord Jesus (see v.13)

When we pray, we address God the Father.  He is who we pray to.  In Matt. 6:6 the Lord Jesus taught the importance of private prayer.  Within that instruction He told them to “pray to thy Father.”  In verse 8 the Father already knows our needs.  When the Lord Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He instructed them (and in doing so, He instructs us as well) to pray to “our Father” (Mat. 6:9; Lk. 11:2).  In other passages, He is referred to as our “heavenly Father” (ex. Matt. 6:32).  In Matt. 7:4, God the Father gives good things to those that ask Him.  The Lord Jesus Himself prayed to the Father (e.g. Matt. 11:25-26; Matt. 26:42).  It isn’t wrong to pray to Jesus.  There are many examples of people who approached the Lord Jesus and ask Him for things.  Stephen prayed to the Lord Jesus in Acts 7:59.  I wouldn’t say that it is wrong to pray to the Holy Spirit, although one would be hard pressed to find a clear Scriptural example of such.  What we do have in the Bible is a preponderance of example and teaching to address our prayers to God the Father.
We go to God the Father and ask because the Bible teaches us to view the Father as the Source and Giver.  James 1:17 puts it this way: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”    

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Names of God (Olam)

“And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.” (Gen. 21:33)
A closer look:
Everlasting – eternal, always, continuance, and perpetual

There is a famous adage that says, “All good things must come to an end.”  This concept of course is flawed thinking.  God is everlasting.  The Psalmist says, “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting…” (Ps. 41:13).  He is from everlasting to everlasting (Ps. 90:2).  Because God is everlasting, He grants everlasting things to us.  To His children, He grants His perpetual aid (see Deut. 33:27; Is. 26:4).  To repentant sinners, He grants “everlasting life” (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47).  His name “Everlasting God” suggests two things about Him:

1.  He is infinite in nature.

2.  He is able to preserve all that He has created.