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It is an incredible and timely encouragement to me. Thank you! Your post reminds me that Jesus is really the Pray-er in and through us and that is why our thoughts will gradually change as our prayer becomes the will of God through the Spirit that helpeth our infirmities (because we do not know how to pray as we ought). When I turn to Him in prayer and pray in the Holy Spirit, He prompts me to only pray according to the will of God, asking Him to forgive and bless others while also confessing my own sins.
God always wants to apply the life of Jesus Christ in our particular circumstances and this is no less important in prayer.
Like everything in the Christian life, prayer that is not Christ-centered is not effective prayer.
Jesus derived all that he did from His Father and that also included His prayer life. "I do nothing of My own initiative" (John 5:30; 8:28; 12:49; 14:10), Jesus said, "the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. " (John 14:10).
As Jesus lived in faith and prayed in faith, He expressed the very character of God in all that He did and we can do no less if we live and pray in faith, vitally connected to Christ. In so doing, Jesus was "obedient unto death" (Phil 2:8). How will we be "obedient unto death", doing things on our own initiative and not having Jesus abiding in us and doing the works, which include prayer?
Have you ever noticed when you pray and are really in the Spirit, that Christ is praying in and through you? The Christian life is not what we do, but what He does in and through us. Everything in the Christian life is Jesus Christ in action as we depend upon Him in all that we are and do in Christ by His Spirit. Jesus is functioning in our prayers, also and this is the product of being united with Him.
While it is we who pray, we pray not in our own name but in the name of Christ, and yet it is not we but He who prays in us, so that the prayer which we pray in the flesh we pray in the faith of the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us (Gal. 2:20)."
When Jesus Christ serves as the Pray-er of Christian prayer, we allow Him to express adoration and praise to God the Father through us. We have "been filled with the fruit of righteousness through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God" (Phil. 1:11) "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name" (Heb. 13:15).
He is "the High Priest of our confession" (Heb. 3:1), He serves as the Confessor who prompts my confession in prayer. As He is one with the Father He agrees and concurs with God to "say the same thing" about my sin and His sufficiency. "Through Him...our lips are confessing to His name" (Heb. 13:15).
The Spirit of Christ expresses thanksgiving to God in my prayers. I "thank God through Jesus Christ" (Rom. 1:8; 7:25), recognizing the "good grace" of God in all that He does.
And Jesus also helps us in intercession for others. He is THE INTERCESSOR operating in me and my prayers. My prayers are His prayers. "The Spirit helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God" (Rom. 8:26,27).
The Lord Jesus who indwells us and is the basis and foundation and the root of the Christian life is also the Pray-er of Christian prayer. We don't initiate prayer by human effort, it is prompted by the One who is our Life as the Holy Spirit is always giving us personal invitations to turn to God and draw from His grace.
Having a Christ-centered understanding of everything we do and are, helps me to understand what true Christian prayer is. "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:7). As we settle into the reality of Christ being our life and remain in Him and His love (John 15:9) then our supplications will be His supplications and our intercession will be His intercession. To me this is the best interpretation of "praying in the Holy Spirit" (Eph. 6:18; Jude 20), for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ and in Christian prayer we are praying by means of the Spirit of Christ operating within us. James says to pray "according to His will" (James 5:14), and when we are praying in the Holy Spirit we can be assured that Jesus Christ in us will always prompt us to pray according to the will of God.
By remaining in Christ's love in all that we do, we are able to say, "the Devil has nothing in me". Jesus, our Confessor (High Priest of our confession) also leads us to confess our sins.
May the Lord continue to bless you. Your thoughtful and kind posts are always an encouragement to me.
| 2016/8/28 0:11|
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Thanks Julius, it's hard to explain our unity with Christ through the Holy Spirit, but we experience it many times when we pray. I think that's what was meant by "Praying according to His will"
You said in the previous post:
It's sad when the Christian sees other Christians as enemies since the only enemies we really have are the powers of darkness. Men, who are our enemies we are to try to win to the Lord. We are to love our enemies and bless them and do good to them. Just as Jesus did.
This is true.
However what would you do if you perceived that the other Christian really is a wolf? How would you treat that person?
And what if your perception is wrong and he is not a wolf but only a weak christian?
I think it's safe not to attack the person but expose his deeds such as lying etc.
So here I answered my own question: We still are to love them. Even the wolves, but not their deeds...
| 2016/8/28 21:59|
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Interesting that Paul is actually calling people, "Darkness".
First he says that we (men) were sometimes darkness. But now are we light.
Eph 5:8 For YE WERE SOMETIMES DARKNESS, BUT NOW ARE YE LIGHT in the Lord: walk as children of light:
Then he says, have no fellowship with...DARKNESS, but rather reprove THEM. Not reprove works, but reprove the men that he is calling "darkness"
Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
So, we are not to have fellowship with THEM and we are to REPROVE them. How can one have fellowship with darkness unless they leave the light, first? So, we are to continue in the light and avoid the darkness. Avoid the wolves.
Paul did mention "enemies", but said they were "enemies of the cross of Christ."
Php 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
We also were once enemies to God.
Col 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.
But, does the Christian have an enemy that must be burned at the stake or beheaded or is the wolves that call for men to be burned and beheaded?
Let the scriptures answer that:
Rom 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
The Lord warned us that He was sending us forth among wolves.
Luke 10:3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
And I never see Him telling us to slay the wolves but rather to flee them, avoid them and learn how to discern them.
True representatives of Jesus Christ only POINT others to Jesus Christ and not to themselves. True representatives of Jesus Christ do not seek personal followers, nor are they obsessed with your pocketbook, nor do they control your life, or pretend that they have "authority" over you as if they are your Lord and Master. There is ONLY ONE MASTER--JESUS CHRIST (Matthew 23:8-10), and any human leader who proclaims that they are your "head or master or spiritual father" is a liar and a wolf--1 Corinthians 11:3 "But I would have you know, that THE HEAD OF EVERY MAN IS CHRIST... ."
| 2016/8/28 22:33|