Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I Pray For Them

                If you have been reading my blog you will know that our ladies study group is in the book of John. This week, we get the privilege of reading and studying the Lord’s Prayer. When I say this, many will think of Jesus telling us how to pray, found in Matthew 6:9 and Luke 11:2. But, no, I am speaking of the prayer
Jesus prayed before His death, the prayer that Jesus poured out before His Father in heaven- the true Lord’s Prayer. The one found in Matthew and Luke is Jesus teaching us to pray- not His actual prayer. John 17 is the prayer of Jesus, showing us His heart, His glory and His desire for each one of us. As I was studying I came across four words that stuck out at me. These four words have changed the way I look at prayer, and have given me a deeper understanding of what it means to pray in Jesus Name.
“I pray for them.” John 17:9
                Four simple words, but packed into them is faith, power and hope for us, His children. When I dug a little deeper into the context of these words, my mind was blown away. The phrase, “I pray for them”, is defined as asking, requesting and entreating on a footing of equality. It means that the one who is requesting has the same authority and power as the one who is receiving the request. It is used to describe a king going to another king for help. They are both equal, they are both kings. Jesus was equal to God, because He is God. Paul tells us that Jesus did not consider Himself less than God because He was in the flesh, but considered Himself equal to God. (Philippians 2:6). So when Jesus says He prays for us, He is saying that I am God, asking as God, requesting God on your behalf.
                “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16
                Jesus is our High Priest, He is in heaven asking and requesting on our behalf. Our boldness in prayer does not come because of who we are, but is based upon the boldness of Jesus Christ, who has gone through all we have or ever will go through, yet He did not sin. He is the perfect intercessor to God the Father for us, because He is perfect, and He is God the Son, petitioning God the Father for us. We can come boldly to the throne of grace because Jesus paved the way for us.
        “Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25
                What in your life is so terrible that you cannot go to God with it? When I hear people say, “All I can do is pray,” it drives me nuts, seriously? All we should do is pray! Prayer is the first thing that should be on our hearts, because we have a High Priest who is praying for us, petitioning God the Father always for us, and is able to save to the uttermost anyone who comes to Him. He is able to save completely, utterly and perfectly anyone (anyone) who comes to Him. So why is prayer not our first reaction? Because I believe we do not understand what it means to come boldly, we do not understand the footing we stand on when we pray.
                James said we have not because we ask not. (James 4:2) If we could grasp the intercessory prayer of Jesus Christ on our behalf, I believe our prayer lives would be transformed. Jesus is always, always making requests to God on our behalf. We can come boldly to His throne of grace. To come boldly does not mean that we come loudly or with shaking fists. It means to come alongside, to come behind and to come with someone. Who do we come alongside of to the throne of grace? Jesus Christ, our High Priest who has gone before us. To come boldly to the throne of grace means that we come with Jesus, who is making requests with us to God the Father based on His equality and His authority- not ours.
                When we pray, Jesus prays with us. When we come to God the Father, when we come before Him in our prayer time, Jesus is there with us, alongside each one of us and is present with us when we pray. He is standing with us, crying with us, pleading with us, and petitioning God the Father for us, giving us His divine assistance in all our matters of this life. There is no prayer that Jesus does not hear; there is no prayer that God the Father does not listen to. He hears and listens because not only are we requesting and asking, but Jesus, His only begotten Son is requesting and asking too.

   Our prayers are hindered because we do not understand the authority that Jesus Christ has with God the Father on our behalf. Our prayers are the last resort because we do not understand how great of a High Priest we really do have. How do you think your prayer life would change if you understood and grasped the truth that Jesus is right beside you, praying and petitioning God the Father? Your prayers are not just words floating up to the throne of grace- no; your prayers are being repeated with you, spoken as you speak by Jesus Christ our Lord who is alongside you, standing before you and with you always.  Why then is prayer the “only thing left to do?”

                I pray today that all who read these words will see and know and apply the truth that Jesus Christ is our High Priest, He is always making intercession for us, and our prayers are not just words floating to the throne of grace, but that our prayers are being said by Jesus Christ, who is with us as we too bow before the Holy God and His throne of grace. In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen.