Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of New Georgia Baptist Church.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Closing Your Prayers With Gospel Consideration

People do not choose to do things that they find boring. And repetition-- doing the exact same thing in the exact same way-- is one of the surest paths to boredom. One of the reasons that some Christians falter in their duty to pray is because, after awhile, prayer gets boring: the same basic prayers are brought before God again and again, and the prayer is ended with "in Jesus' name, amen;" thus, prayer becomes a rote exercise.

One opportunity for a greater degree of variety in our prayers, which many of us may miss, is at the end of our prayers. Christians should certainly pray in the name of Jesus. But instead of simply rattling off "in Jesus' name" at the end of your prayers, consider giving serious attention to who Jesus is and what He has done as you pray.

In considering who Jesus is when you pray, think of who He is in your personal experience. For example: if you have found Jesus to be dear to you, you might end some of your prayers with, "in the precious name of Jesus I pray;" if you have found Jesus to be mighty in answering prayer, you might end some of your prayers with, "in the powerful name of Jesus I pray."

Also, pay close attention as you read your Bible day-by-day. If you have just read Genesis 1, for example, you might end your prayer with, "in the name of Jesus-- the Word through whom the worlds were created-- I pray;" if you have just read Genesis 3, you might end your prayer with, "in the name of Jesus-- the true seed of Eve-- I pray." One benefit of ending your prayers in this way [or in including this type of consideration at any point when you pray] is that it will help you to see how all Scripture points you to Christ, and it will help you to get to know the incarnate Word through means of His written Word.

Additionally, give attention to categories of Systematic Theology as you pray. When you think about perseverance, for example, you might end your prayer with, "in the name of Jesus, who keeps my soul safe safe until the end, I pray;" as you think about imputation, you might end your prayer with, "on the basis of Christ's righteousness alone I pray."

Prayers using terms from the Bible and from systematic theology will also lead you to think about what Jesus has done as you pray. Thinking of Jesus' obedience to the Father on our behalf-- obedience to the point of death-- and thinking of Jesus' victory over death, can also invigorate your prayers. And so you might end some prayers with, "in the name of Jesus-- who died for our sins, and was raised for our justification-- I pray." Speaking to God in such gospel terms will train your heart and mouth to speak the good news of Jesus Christ before the people for whom you are praying.

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