Archive for the ‘prayer’ Category
I have posted new prayer thoughts and homiletical points at A Pastor’s Prayer Journal. Here’s an excerpt:
I have studied through Mark in depth five or six times and taught it in various situations at least four or five times. It is my favorite Gospel of the four perhaps because of it’s quick pace, literary value, and brutal honesty. The Gospel itself is marked (no pun) by the constant use of a small Greek phrase ‘kai euthus’, which means something like ‘and then’ or ‘immediately’ or ‘at once.’ The NIV, as do most translations, I noticed translates it differently so as to give the Gospel ‘flavor’ (although it appears that the NASB is fairly consistent in its use of ‘immediately’). This creates a sense of urgency in the Gospel as if Mark were always in a hurry to get us from one point to the next, never content to leave us lingering too long at one scene. In the overall picture, we know where Mark is in a hurry to get us and by the time we get to the crucifixion the pace has slowed (in my judgment) considerably. He wants us to drink deeply at this point.
The thoughts are from Mark 1 and 2.
I have posted prayer thoughts for this week. The focus here again is Psalm 40 and this is part 2 of the 3 part series I am writing on Psalm 40. I hope you will stop by and be encouraged in the Word. Click the link below and be transported as if by magic to A Pastor’s Prayer Journal.
Continuing my series of posts at A Pastor’s Prayer Journal, Prayer Thoughts, I offer you my latest post: Prayer Thoughts, Septembr 8, 2008.
In this post, I offer prayer thoughts on the following Scriptures: (Adoration) 2 Samuel 7:1-29, (Confession) Joshua 7:1-26, (Thanksgiving) Isaiah 7:1-17, (Supplication) Matthew 7:1-29. Thanks for stopping by.
Tonight I updated A Pastor’s Prayer Journal with a new entry on my ongoing series of prayer thoughts. In this latest post I share prayer thoughts from the following Scripture: Revelation 18-19 (Adoration), Psalm 38 (Confession), Psalm 95 & 100 (Thanksgiving) and Ephesians 6:10-20 (Supplication).
If you are seeking help praying the Scriptures, this page will be of much help to you. I am an advocate of praying the Scripture as you will see in the newest post.
Always For God’s Glory!
I have started to regularly update A Pastor’s Prayer Journal. I am in the process of developing a seminar on prayer. I delivered my first session this past weekend at Family Camp at our local Christian campgrounds. The session was titled: Praying the Scripture. (I will be producing a semi-transcript of the hour long session soon and posting it at PPJ.
This new feature I am posting is simply called ‘prayer thoughts’. During my morning devotional time I have been following the ACTS pattern of prayer and reading the same four passages of Scripture for one week at a time. (This is also in conjunction with my practice of praying the Scripture.) My first installment of this series of posts has been posted tonight and is available.
The four parts include: Adoration (Habakkuk 1-3); Confession (Daniel 9:1-21); Thanksgiving (Revelation 4-5); Supplication (Acts 4:23-31). Click herefor an online Bible.
Join me in prayer.
Always For God’s Glory!
I nipped this from another blog: Always Ready:
“The reason why many fail in battle is because they wait until the hour of battle. The reason why others succeed is because they have gained their victory on their knees long before the battle came…Anticipate your battles; fight them on your knees before temptation comes, and you will always have victory.”–R. A. Torrey
Then there is this from the same blog, the same post:
“Hell is larger today than it was yesterday, because many of us have failed to pray.”–David Smithers
I thought they were worth reproducing here, but you should visit the other blog too.
This blog has just about served its purpose. I do plan to continue updating, but I realized a while back that I was getting side-tracked from my original intent.
I have started a new blog with a friend of mine from Indiana. Dave is also a preacher. I have known Dave since 1991. He is a good friend and I think you will appreciate his insights on Christian ministry and the Word of God.
We have tentatively title the new blog A Pastor’s Prayer Journey, but I’m fairly certain that will change. The new blog will be totally non-confrontational and will be prayerful, meditational, and Scriptural. It will be sort of a lighter side of Life Under the Blue Sky.
Stop by when you get the chance and say hello to my friend Dave. I’ll look forward to your visits and comments as we begin this new journey together.
Yesterday a friend of mine gave me my very first copy of the Book of Common Prayer. I am so pleased to possess this book and share its depths with you.
Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love.
We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side.
We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.
We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.
Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.
Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.
For the Harvest
Most gracious God, by whose knowledge the depths are broken up and the clouds drop down the dew: We yield thee hearty thanks and praise for the return of seedtime and harvest, for the increase of the ground and the gathering of its fruits, and for all the other blessings of thy merciful providence bestowed upon this nation and people. And, we beseech thee, give us a just sense of these great mercies, such as may appear in our lives by a humble, holy, and obedient walking before thee all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost be all glory and honor, world without out. Amen.
For Heroic Service
O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For the Mission of the Church
Almighty God, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to reconcile the world to yourself: We praise and bless you for those whom you have sent in the power of the Spirit to preach the Gospel to all nations. We thank you that in all parts of the earth a community of love has been gathered together by their prayers and labors, and that in every place your servants call upon your Name; for the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours for ever. Amen.
Have a Blessed Thanksgiving Holy-Day.
Soli Deo Gloria!
John 17:20-26 (90 Days with Jesus, Day 79)
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24″Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25″Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter loneliness may be brief indeed. Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren…Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. No Christian community is more or less than this. Whether it be a brief, single encounter or the daily fellowship of years, Christian community is only this. We belong to one another only through and in Jesus Christ” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 20-21).
Our problem in the church is that we have tried to forge unity on the grounds of every conceivable construct imaginable to theologians and preachers. You name it, and it has been the next great thing in Church unity. We have tried Reformation, Restoration, Regeneration. We have tried Purpose, Pentecost, and Premillennial. We have tried Aquinas, Calvin, and Campbell. We have tried Wesley, Luther, and Zwingli. We have thought that the best way to forge unity in the church was through doctrinal purity or baptismal sanctity. We are now working on a unity based on the assumption that everything in the past is degenerating and a new kind of church is emerging—one that, presumably, understands things far better, has a greater insight, and a deeper compassion for people. We have tried to unite the church around health, wealth, and miracles-a-plenty. We have tried evangelism, millennialism, and Pentecostalism. We have tried modernism, postmodernism, and post-post modernism.
The problem is that what we have thought was the unifying feature we were missing, the one just beyond our grasp, was always, in fact, just beyond our reach. If we think a little harder, have a few more conferences, host a symposium or two, bring in some young, good looking articulate and charismatic up-and-coming, on the rise, just published a million seller book preacher to expound on the glories of oneness we will suddenly, magically, be one. That one thing we needed—perhaps a pope or a creed—never makes an appearance. We continue, then, to be divided along denominational lines, along theological bunkers, and along differing schools of thought: And every single hunkered in a bunker, believer in a particular theological construct believes in their hearts that theyare protecting the faith once delivered. There’s not one Christian, with the exception of the stalwart geniuses in the Emergent Church movement, who has figured this out yet. And those who have, the Emergent Church Movement, have gone so far in their efforts so as to be labeled by most orthodox evangelicals as theological heretics who border on blasphemy and Marcionic types of heresy.
I belong to a tradition, the so-called Restoration Movement or Stone-Campbell Movement, that has had this air of hunkered-in-a-bunker mentality. WE are the ones, we have thought, who will restore theology to its proper orthodox understanding and thus build a Church where there is no Creed but Christ, and no Book but the Bible, but we have spent so much energy and effort trying to be accepted as evangelicals that we are far behind the theological curve and, frankly, lack a prophetic voice. We have had to prove that we are even orthodox to those ones in the know, the judges of all things Christ, in the more established traditions. I’m not complaining. I am pointing out the history and reality of the situation. We have traditionally believed, I think somewhat naively and bravely, that if we could just ‘get back to Scripture’ then all would be well. This worked well for the first 50-75 years (in the late 17 and early 1800’s) when people in America were getting fed up with the denominations that pocked the countryside. Anymore, sad to say, we are just ‘another denomination.’ Many will disagree, but the truth is we have forgotten the Pleain our efforts to be accepted as legitimately evangelical and necessarily Biblical. Now we are trying to legitimize our existence by planting and growing megachurches and sending love letters to Britney Spears and by imitating the Purpose Driven Willow Back Church of the Prairie Lake.
I confess that the Essential Oneness of the Church is far too narrow a perspective for these verses, but I’m willing to take the chance that our Oneness is important enough to exclude a little for now. The essential aspect of our oneness is Jesus Christ. I think that much is clear from reading these verses. Jesus prayed about our oneness, our unity, and said quite specifically that our oneness is found in no other place but himself. And he prayed about our oneness. I don’t think this means that the presence of the denomination in the world is an un-answer to prayer. Nor do I think the denomination defeats the will of Christ in this matter. But there is a greater oneness that I believe transcends the denomination that we have missed or forgotten or ignored. If Jesus prayed for it, shouldn’t we and not just at our local parish level. I mean at a worldwide wide, transdenominational level.
When Jesus began this final section of his prayer, his first priority for ‘those who believed’ the apostles’ message was that we would be one. I don’t understand why it is that we have failed to make this a priority in our prayers, in our symposiums, in our conferences, in our theological studies, in our preaching, and in our churches. Why is it that we have no theological classes that discuss and teach the essential, biblical, constitutional oneness of the Church in Christ? We claim to be the Church of Christ—all of us, not just a denomination—but we have very few Churches in Christ, don’t we? Even that is not entirely true. We do talk a big talk when it comes to the oneness of the church and of our affection for those of other denominations. But it is always an ideal we need to grasp or an ideal that Jesus spoke of that we have failed to achieve. We always speak of the oneness of the church in terms of our failure to achieve instead of in terms of Christ’s prayer for it and it’s true existence in Jesus. We speak highly of Jesus’ priority in prayer for the oneness of the church, but we are an impediment to this oneness; we are the stumbling block.
I’m not lamenting this. In Christ we are one whether we like it or not. This is not something we can help. It’s not something we can destroy any more than it is something we created to begin with. The problem is that we simply will not acknowledge the truth and I think the reason is nailed by Bonhoeffer: We do not have a central focus on the Grace of God who made us what we are. Thus, we are apt to confess more easily and readily our denominational by-laws and catechisms than we are Christ. In truth, however, our oneness must have as its foundation the grace of God in Christ. Where we are dis-unified it is because we have thoroughly forgotten about the grace of God and cluttered and littered our churches with dis-unifying ideas that are focussed more on the things of men, the ideas of men, than they are on the things of God. What about grace? What about the love of Christ? Is not the love of Christ enough to bind us together as one people?
I need to ponder and pray on this matter some more. Also, I fully realize that I have not approached these verses completely exegetically. Still, there is something to be said about our unity in Christ and I hope these thoughts spur your own even a little to understand the grace of God and the oneness of the church.
Soli Deo Gloria!
John 17:13-19 (90 Days with Jesus, Day 78)
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
I always had the impression that when this prayer was prayed Jesus was hunkered down, hands over his head, and quite alone. Then one day I sort of discovered that there is nothing to indicate that Jesus ever left the company of his disciples between chapter 16 and chapter 17. These verses are testimony that Jesus was with them when he prayed and that they did hear what he prayed when he prayed it. In other words, they are privy to the mystery of divine prayer. They not only heard what Jesus was saying, but they heard what he was praying.
Imagine being in the room and hearing the Son of God praying specific prayers for you! Even though I know Jesus is praying for his disciples, those 11 still there, isn’t there a sense in which Jesus prays these words for us too? I take comfort from that. It is often that we hear about the prayers we ought to pray, the words we ought to use when we pray, the posture we ought to assume when we pray, and the absolute necessity of bathing every step we take, every chicken nugget we eat, every cold beer we drink in a prayer ‘in Jesus’ name.’ I’m not disputing that for a minute. But how often do we stop and consider the prayers that the Son of God prays for us even today? So the book of Hebrews says:
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:7-10)
There is also the idea that the Spirit still prays for us even now:
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. (Romans 8:26-27)
The idea, again, is that it might be helpful if we paid close attention to the things that Jesus prayed for us. This will undoubtedly give us a clue into His priorities for our lives and also, surely, give us a significant direction for our own prayer priorities. For the balance, let’s look at the priorities of Jesus’ prayer here in verses 13-19 bearing in mind that he specifically prayed these things “while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” Jesus wanted his disciples to hear what he prayed and he wanted them to take great joy from the prayer he prayed.
First, he says that he has given them ‘your word’ and the world has hated them. Well what sort of prayer is that? Is that a good thing? From the perspective of faith, yes, it is. In other words, it is better to be on the side of Jesus and be hated than to not be on the side of Jesus and be loved. This is a paradox that the world surely cannot understand. But perhaps there is something to be said, also, about being hated and being in line with the Word that Jesus gave them. Could it be that the hatred or love of the world is one way of determining whether or not we do have his word? It seems to me that the world will not hate its own, but that those who go against the grain and preach the Gospel of Christ, the Word of God, will be hated precisely because the world hated Jesus. I don’t think this means we need to look for hate because I am confident that if we faithfully preach the Gospel the hate of the world will find us. (Just read through some of the comments folks post in reply here.)
Second, Jesus prays notthat God take us out of this world. Well what sort of prayer is that? Doesn’t this world, well, suck? Isn’t there all sorts of violence and persecution and hatred? Why should the Christian wish to remain behind in this place so full of people who hate us and so much opposition? Can any possible good come from being in a world like the one we are in especially when we are not, in Jesus’ own words, a part of this world? Well, sure there is if it is God who is doing the protecting of us while we are here. So what does the Scripture say? Paul’s words make better sense to me than anything imaginable:
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:31-39).
This is sufficient reason for Jesus to pray that God notremove us from the place where the opposition is greatest, the hate the fiercest, and the violence most egregious. I can only assume that it is in this place, in spite of these oppositions, that God will sanctify us. Here in the fires of this present darkness God purifies his people. Yes, leaving us here is, in his good will, a blessing.
Third, Jesus prays that God will send us out into the world. He is no more content to leave us idle and ambition-less than he is to take us out of this world. Well what sort of prayer is this? Here we have already established that this world hates us and is full of violence and opposition to the Word of God. Not only is the world opposed to the Word of God but it is also vehemently opposed to those who happen to carry this Word with them wherever they go. So what does Jesus pray? “Go. Father I pray that you send them out. Like Lambs among wolves. Like doves among serpents. Send them out into the world. Father, as you sent me, send them.” Of course, this is a good thing. How will others hear the good news if we do not obey? He specifically prays that we will be sent. So again the Gospel:
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)
Fourth, Jesus prays for sanctification. Jesus prays that his disciples will be as steadfastly dedicated to the task at hand as he is. There is no negative here, only positive. In Carson’s words, “Jesus dedicates himself to the task of bringing in God’s saving reign, as God’s priest and prophet; but the purpose of this dedication is that his followers may dedicate themselves to the same saving reign, the same mission to the world” (The Gospel According to John, 567). Our work of dedication to the saving reign is dependent upon Jesus’ dedication to the same task. Jesus’ dedication carries him to the cross. The question is, are we are steadfastly dedicated to the work of bringing God’s saving reign to bear on this earth?
He gives us His word to take. He protects us by the power of the Father. He sends us out into the world. He sets us aside for the Work only after setting himself apart for the work. Will we truly walk in the footsteps of Jesus? We will be those of beautiful feet even as those eleven he prayed for that night? Furthermore, do we take joy that Jesus prayed these things? After all, he did pray these things to be heard and received with joy.
Soli Deo Gloria!
John 17:1-5 (90 Days with Jesus, Day 76)
1After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
DA Carson wrote, “To see God’s glory, to be given eternal life—these are parallel, and, lest the reader miss the point, the two themes are drawn together in v. 3. Eternal life turns on nothing more and nothing less than knowledge of the true God. Eternal life is not so much everlasting life as personal knowledge of the Everlasting One” (The Gospel According to John, 556).
The first thing that must be remembered about what is preserved for us in John 17 is the nature of what is said. That is, John 17 is not merely a history or a biography or a transcript of some conversation or parable of Jesus (I’m not implying that those things are bad or inferior.) What I’m concerned about here is this: If Jesus is who he claimed to be in John’s Gospel, namely, the Great I Am, and here in John 17 he is praying, then what a prayer this is! Furthermore, we should take careful note of his words, the what of his prayer. The what, though, is only important to the extent that we understand the who and the how.
Simply put: This is the Great I Am praying a prayer! It seems to me to be of utmost importance to pay close attention to this prayer, but as prayer before content. What are the words that Jesus uses? What are the ambitions he prayers for? What is he concerned enough about to pray for? What matters to him when he prays? And, if this is true, are his concerns important enough that perhaps we should model our own prayers after his? Bryan Chapell has written a little book called Praying Backwards: Transform your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus’ Name. In the introduction he writes,
“How would your prayer change if you began where you normally end? We habitually end our prayers with the phrase ‘In Jesus’ name, Amen.’…When we pray ‘in Jesus’ name,’ we pray for his sake more than our own. We still present our desires and concerns to God, but we do so in the context of yielding our priorities to Christ’s priorities. The final phrase of our prayer reminds us, as well as commits us, to submit all our requests to the glory of God. Yet that is not always the way we pray. Often we focus on asking God to ease our worries and satisfy our wants before adding ‘in Jesus’ name’ as an obligatory spiritual seasoning to make our petitions palatable to God” (13).
If that is true, then shouldn’t the content of our prayers be the content of Jesus’ prayers? Should we not imitate the one who taught his disciples to pray? This is precisely the point of Don Carson’s book A Call to Spiritual Reformation even though Carson expands the well of content to include the prayers of the apostle Paul that are scattered throughout his writings. Carson writes that the ‘greatest need for churches today is a deeper knowledge of God’ (15). Carson says that when we pray the prayers of the New Testament our prayer priorities change—he believes that we actually start knowing God better. How can this be? Well, if Scripture is the Word of God, God breathed, then what better thing than to pray the very thoughts of God back to God? The shape of our prayers change, the content of the prayers change, the priorities change. I might go so far as to suggest that even our posture will change. Certainly our attitude will change. Perhaps then our prayers will be more lucid, less frenetic, less frantic. Perhaps we will be more trusting in God’s Sovereignty.
“….Jesus is not like a genie in a bottle whom we can command by invoking his name. When we pray, we should be doing more than looking heavenward, believing with all our might that our wish will come true, and instead of repeating, ‘star light, star bright, bring the wish I wish tonight,’ saying, ‘In Jesus’ name, amen.’ Two problems immediately arise when we treat prayer like a surefire wishing star. First, we limit God by the wisdom of our wishes…The second problem with making prayer a wishing well is forcing the conclusion that prayers, like wishing wells, are fantasies…When we pray ‘in Jesus’ name,’ we have the assurance that he will answer our prayer in a way that brings glory to Jesus and furthers his kingdom” (13-14, 15).
So the idea of praying the Scripture is not so far-fetched after all and it makes all the more sense when we see the way that Jesus prayed. What comes first? Does a renewed recipe, invigorated content, of prayer lead to a renewed vision of the Greatness of Christ? Or does a renewed vision of the Greatness of Christ lead to renewed recipe and invigorated content in our prayers? Maybe it is somehow linked together in ways we don’t really understand.
What about the content, then, of Jesus’ prayer in John 17? Well, if the content of this prayer doesn’t revitalize our content and renew our vision I suspect very little will. Let’s look at it briefly.
First, Jesus was concerned about God’s glory, and not his own. Yes, Jesus prays, “Father, glorify your Son, in order that…” Jesus is not concerned about himself. He is concerned about God’s glory—an important theme in John’s Gospel (see 12:27-34). Jesus’ first prayer priority is the Glory of God. When you pray, is this always your priority? Is this always your first request, petition, thanksgiving, and prayer?
Second, Jesus was concerned with the things of eternity. “For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.” Jesus is not merely concerned with the temporal. His plans are ambitious so to speak. He has a grand vision. I think sometimes our prayers on earth are far too temporal, far too mundane, far too ‘things of man, not things of God.’ Just imagine for a minute: The Son of God prayed about our eternal destiny. He prayed the big picture—do we?
Third, Jesus prayed that we might know God: “Now this is eternal life: That they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent.” Carson is surely right: Eternal life is not just about living or existing. Someone commented the other day, “Won’t we get bored doing all that eternal living?” My question is, “How could we get bored spending an eternity knowing the Infinite God? How could our knowledge of Him, His mysteries, and Jesus Christ ever be exhausted?” Surely this is eternal life! Surely, this is Living!
Fourth, Jesus again prays about the glory of God and about “…completing the work you gave me to do.” But even this work that Jesus prayed about was still very concerned with God being glorified. Maybe sometimes we pray that God will help us finish or we do finish something just so it can be done or so we can get some praise for ourselves. Jesus says that he finished the work God gave him to do so that God would be glorified. This is a difficult lesson to get into our heads, but get it into our hearts we must. What greater work can we be about than the work of bringing glory to the Name of God?
Fifth, Jesus prays very simply, “Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” So we understand that Jesus gave up something in order to come here. I can’t imagine this because we humans cling tenaciously to what little glory we have. A little lower than the angels we may be, but we are not going any lower (and fight with the angels if we could)! We are just not as able to let go and let God. Jesus did just that. Can you imagine being strong enough to so entrust yourself to God? Can you imagine being so emptied of pride, ambition, and self that you pray, “Father, I’ll leave it up to you to glorify me in whatever way you choose”?
Thus it comes full circle. Jesus begins by praying that God be glorified, his prayer is filled with concern for God’s glory, and he ends with God’s glory. It does make one wonder amidst the prayers for healing, bill paying and world peace where God’s glory fits in doesn’t it? And if we dare to suggest such a thing as God’s glory is more important, most important, we are ridiculed and God’s Name is blasphemed. But God’s glory will not be surrendered, nor will it be sacrificed, and it makes perfectly logical sense that our prayers will be filled with this same priority as Jesus’ was.
Soli Deo Gloria!
this link is from the Christian Post RSS feed I have below, but it is so vitally important that I’m putting an extra link to it here. Remember…
“Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”–Hebrews 13:3
“I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!”–John 16:33
Pray for our brothers in Christ who suffer while we blog. Forgive us Lord! Have Mercy on those who go ahead of us. Forgive those who transgress against you Lord, who lift their hands against your anointed ones, against the Lord Jesus. I pray for their courage to stand the test. I pray the Spirit be a powerful witness to the murdering unbelievers. I pray in all things Christ be glorified and exalted through these faithful believers. May their testimony be honored among the unbelieving. May your word spread rapidly among them. Amen.