Praying like a saint
September 17, 2020
“To the church of God that is in [Canada], to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (1 Co 1:2)
What a privilege we Christians have, to have confidence that we are accepted before God’s throne in heavenly realms because of the righteousness imputed to us by Jesus’ blood – by faith, not works, so no one can boast! (Heb 10:19-22, Eph 2:8-9) Our prayers are welcomed and heard! So how can we optimize our privilege and confidence? What does it look like to pray like a saint?
Seek Him first – He is our first resort. “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man” (Ps 118:8). And what if “first” also means first thing in the morning, before the newspaper, the shower, before the radio gets turned on? I’ve started meeting with the Lord again for an hour each morning immediately upon waking. It makes all the difference to my perspective on the day.
Do we seek Him first or trust our own understanding?
Cleanness – “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god” (Ps 24:3-4). Jesus washed us clean with His blood and is faithful to do regular “spot cleanings” as we confess sins that the Holy Spirit graciously reveals to us (1 Jn 1:9).
Do we respond quickly when the Spirit convicts us?
Freshness – We partake of daily bread, fresh manna, and experience His new mercies every morning. Holy Spirit is always available to make God’s eternal word come alive to us and pour revelation into our spirits.
Have we been munching only last month’s bread?
Intimacy – The Lord actually enjoys our presence!
We’re on a first-name basis: He knows our names (Ex 33:17, Isa 45:3), we know His (Ex 3:14-15, Mt 1:21, Ac 17:3). And we get to know what He’s like and how He does things by reading His written word.
Do we respond to His love with attention and affection?
Peace – Even when the world around us is in chaos and turmoil, Jesus’ peace reassures us in our prayers: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (Jn 14:27).
Do we fear Him alone and trust Him more than our circumstances or the devil?
Muslims are at a great disadvantage in prayer. They pray as slaves, not as children or heirs of the promises, to an impersonal god they think cannot and does not want to be known. They pray mainly memorized prayers at set times during the day. They must ritually cleanse themselves before praying and are never sure if their works are enough to earn forgiveness. However, their prayer has a certain power through their faithfulness to observe the rituals of prayer. In their early morning prayer time, they awaken the dawn and take control of the day (Job 38:12). And generally speaking, Muslims know the fear of their god. In fact, some say Islam is essentially a prayer movement.
The halos pictured above Christ and the saints in iconography represent God’s glory. As we behold God’s glory in the face of Christ, we are transformed “from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord…” (2 Co 3:18, 4:6). Let’s make the most of this gracious gift by excelling in Christian prayer as we worship Him with reverence and awe and faithfully present our Muslim neighbors at the throne of grace.