In the previous part of this topic, we discussed about how not to pray under grace.
So how do we pray? I would make every effort to resist the temptation of giving a formula for prayer, else, it becomes mere religiosity. We see several examples by Jesus, the Apostles, and the early church on prayers as well as instructions on prayers to the believer in the Epistles. The Bible in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, and in many other places, invites us to pray without ceasing (also Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2).
When we receive the truth of the gospel of grace, one area that immediately becomes challenged is our prayer life. When you realize that the way you had been praying had not been in harmony the finished work of Christ, our new identify, and the new dispensation that we are in, we are deflated and disarmed in the area of prayers. Some may even think that since they now know who they are in Christ, they do not need to pray. If that were true, that would mean that Jesus and the Apostles did not catch this revelation of their identity in Christ!
To discuss this matter any further, we must first define what prayer is. Prayer is simply talking with our Dad. It is about communion and fellowship. When we pray in this understanding, we do not waste time confessing sins, asking for things for selfish lust, or pleading for the lives of our enemies. We rather find ourselves loving God, praying for the gospel, and for the needs of others – both spiritual and physical. We use our authority in Christ to reorder things and establish other things in the place of prayer. We pray in faith with a heart motivated by love and in line with the will of God as revealed in the new covenant. At this level, prayers cease to be about our selfish interests but about establishing the purposes of God on earth. This was how Jesus prayed. This was the examples the Apostles left for us.
When we approach prayer this way, it becomes a delight that we look forward to and not requirement that we must fulfill to score points with God or move God to do things that He didn’t want to do. In the place of prayer, we exercise our spirits, develop the consciousness of our intimacy with the Father, and grow in confidence.
In the subsequent series, we sharing be sharing about how we are to pray spirit-led prayers from the New Testament for different categories of people: the unsaved; fellow believers; ministers of the gospel; the church; and those in authority.
For now, we conclude this part thus: When we pray, we trust that our Father hears us and that we receive the petitions that we ask of Him (1 John 5:14-15). This is not because of anything we have done to merit such favors, but because He is our Father. Everything we have in Him and receive of Him is by grace through faith. This is the gospel.