[b]THE CROSS, THE CONTEXT OF PRAYER[/b]
by Lars Widerberg
Prayer and intercession in its various forms are parts of the heavenly arrangement which allows for the complex and many-coloured work and expressions of the cross of Christ. The richness of the reality of the cross presents to us the very nature of God and the plight and predicament of man. The cross provides for the initiative of God and it breaks mans urge to play his part at the center stage. Its work consists in presenting what is good, it bring goodness into life and prayer. It contains a heavenly quality which is aimed at bringing clarity and a correct focus to every prayer.
The cross is Gods invitation to prayer. Its power is salvation, and it thrusts man into a state of dependency which is to be handled by prayer, prayer only. Within its framework all things are gathered that belong to grace and goodness. Only on this ground there will be a seeing of God as he truly is. The cross of Christ is Gods invitation to fellowship. Its work in a mans heart corresponds with that which sent the Son of God on his sacrificial route before the foundations of the world was laid. A man who begins to pray is taught to carry a cross within according to the same order as the Father carries his. Because of this, it leads to salvation from the wisdom and the power of this age.
Prayer finds its inception at the cross. The cross of Christ stands as the indispensable means of reconciliation throughout the ages. It writes humility in mans heart and supplies all grace and salvation. The cross of Christ, as it operates as Gods means for reconciliation, turns to its second work by no means secondary to the first the second work which is a work of formation unto priestliness, unto likeness in character, made like Christ.
The Father deliberately chooses this, a most horrible instrument of destruction, as a means of self-display. A cross tells the truest truth about God. This Cross tells the truest truth about man. The cross of Christ stands as Gods means in making man a praying man. It produces priestliness, it makes you a priest unto God.
The power of the cross to execute change, its power to eliminate sin, its indisputable ability to bring life finds application wherever man begins to pray. The cross puts the nature of God on display the Creator defends his creation and guards the fulfilment of the purposes of its existence. Prayer never has to turn his mind around. God is always before, the singer states. God is the instigator of all good works. The agreement between the Father and the Son which governs the walk of the cross stands firm and shows forth its absoluteness through all times. Prayer stands safe and secure on this foundation. The work of the cross creates a priestly mindset acceptable before the throne of God.
A life in prayer under the cross of Christ is brought to clarity, it gathers momentum through its proper perspective. It realises and confirms its dependence and confidence in God. It is brought to awareness of the limitations of man, of mans smallness and learns with diligence the lessons of humility. Strenuous efforts according to law and regulations as well as goodness and openness according to humanistic initiative fall short, fall devastatingly short, never producing anything like prayer does. These two, the law and goodness according to man has come to an end, is confirmed to be of no use by the existence of the Savours cross.
The atoning death of Jesus Christ on that old, rugged cross divides for ever between Heaven and Earth. This cross introduces Heaven on Earth. The priestly ministry, condensed and encapsulated in the work of prayer, which lies before us all, opens the way to Heaven. The work of prayer under the cross opens the way for Heaven to you, to each and every little sector in which you engage in. Heaven travels along the paths of prayer in the same way and to the same degree that the Christian travels along these paths. Prayer which takes form with the help of the cross gives room to all goodness, all kindness, all things beautiful, all things holy.
The cross is the tool of discipleship, followers of Christ immediately come under its influence. The rule of the cross is the rule of priestliness and of prayer according to Christ. Its prayer is set to spending, it cannot but give. This kind of prayer never demands. It never sets out for personal vindication. It waits on the Lord, it abides his vindication, it rests in his just rulings. Prayer awaits help from the sanctuary, and strength out of Zion. Its pattern is set by the throne, its attitude is royal Davidic. Its approach and conduct is governed by royal measure. It grows in minds which welcome instruction by the Spirit of God to be able to stand in perilous times. The cross marks a man for discipleship. The mind marked by the cross of Christ follows after goodness and purity. A praying of this category seeks after correspondence the preciousness of Heaven found as goodness and kindness on Earth.
Prayer and praying men is attracted to and apprehended by amiable and compassionate words and wordings. The cross disqualifies rudeness as well as shallowness, it is the overt enemy of covetousness and self-gratification, it puts to death fleshly initiative and ambition. Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Fil. 2:4, 4:8.
Reach out in exploration for the good words, words which represent goodness and holiness. These words do not lend themselves to values other than of the heavenly category. They are therefore easily identified. The cross makes us fit to use them properly. The cross makes us fit to use them in prayer. Lay hold of the good words, blend them into your prayer life, take them to your heart and make use of them in your prayers. Put the good words into your prayers, prepare godly speech, allow them to mirror the very best to be apprehended along the paths of the cross. Prayer of this king will be heard in Heaven.
The cross at work will bring you to the point of becoming an intercessor. The cross at work will throw doors open for you to a seeing of the world around you. The cross at work will produce an understanding of your role in the purposes of God. The cross at work will give you perspectives and proportions other than ordinary mans. The cross at work invites to prayer. The cross arranges for us a stumbling stone, it confronts our seeing, it draws a line of demarcation, it differentiates and divides. It sets before us a stumbling stone, the name of which is only on this ground. . . Only through the work of the cross in our inner beings is the peculiar kind of prayer formed which gathers real prayer answers.
Let us pray in this direction, opening our inner man for the work of the cross, praying for intercessors to be brought forth in this hour of greatest need. . .
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon