Six aspects of prayer are to be considerd here:

1. In the Old Testament. Prayer in the Old Testament was based on the divine covenants and on the character of God, hence its phraseology "according to thy word" or "for thy great name's sake" (Gen. 18:23-32; Ex. 32:11-14; 1 Kings 8:22-53; Neh. 9:4-38; Dan. 9:4-19). Prayer followed blood sacrifice usally (Heb. 9:7).

2. For and in the Kingdom. This aspect of prayer is based on God the Father's care, though still very largely conditioned on human merit (Ps. 72:15; Matt. 6:5-15; 7:7-11).

3. Under Grace. The basis now is that of the believer's position and privilege in christ. It is offered in the name (i.e., as vitally linked with the Person) of Christ (John 14:14; 16:23-24). Prayer under grace proves to be a ministry of the believer in his priestly office. The Believer is seen thus to be in partnership with Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 1:9). The "greater works" of John 14:12-14 are accomplished by the new partnership of Christ with the believer. Christ in fulfillment of this alliance accomplishes the "greater works," as the believer in fulfillment of his responsibility does the praying (John 14:14). The supreme objective in all such work and prayer is "that the Father may be glorified in the Son" (John 14:13). Here the sole condition for prayer to be answered is praying in "my name." This is the new grace ground of prayer. It means praying from the vantage ground of the believer's position in Christ. He may of course make a foolish and unworthy prayer from that ground, but he never departs from the ground. The words in my name may signify that in this partnership Christ identifies Himself as the real one who is petitioning. It is as though He signed the petition along with the believer. John 15:7 declares that as the Word of Christ abides in the believer, and as the believer is obedient to that Word, which connotes abiding in Christ (John 15:10), he may "ask what he will" (cf. two reasons for unanswered prayer given in James 4:2-3). The all-inclusive "whatsoever" (John 14:13) should be considered in its relation to the name through which prayer is offered, that is, it must designate whatsoever may be agreeable and suitable to Christ.

There is a divine order prescribed for prayer under grace. This is set forth by the words: "In that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you" (John 16:23). Also, judging from another Scripture, prayer is to be offered in the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:20). By use of the phrase "in that day," then, reference is made to the time immediately after Christ's resurrection and the Day of Pentecost, or the dawning of the new age of grace. In other words, this is the prescribed arrangement of prayer for the day in which Christians live and it is distinctly declared that in the present time they are not to pray directly to Christ, but to the Father in the prevailing name of Christ with assurance that the Father will answer their prayer. Praying to the Father in the name of the Son and in the power of the Holy Spirit is an order which has not been arbitrarily imposed. The reason for this order is quite obvious. To pray to Christ would mean to abandon His mediation; it would not be praying through Him but rather to Him, thereby sacrificing the most vital feature of prayer under grace— prayer in His name. It is equally out of order to pray to the Holy Spirit for by so doing Christians imply that they do not need His help; instead of proceeding by His help, they would be ignoring the need of Him.

It is not difficult to adjust one's self to these requirements and to be intelligent in the order of prayer. Let it be restated that prayer in the present dispensation is to the Father and in the name of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit.

4. By Chirst. Christ prayed, and properly so (Heb. 5:7), directly to the Father without mediation or dependence upon the Holy Spirit, so far as any revelation on the subject goes.

5. By the Spirit. In Romans 8:26-27 and concerning the Spirit's help in intercession, it is observed how when praying (even for others) one cannot know all that may be involved: "We know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit ... maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." It is probably true that He "maketh intercession" not only directly to the Father, but also through the believer by inspiring and enlightening him respecting that for which he should pray.

6. By Moses and Paul. The prayers of Moses for Israel and of Paul (e.g., Eph. 3:14-21) for the saints of this age should be studied carefully.

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