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"Lord, teach us to pray" (4)

 

 IN THE NAME OF JESUS  

 

Last week we emphasised the most basic truth about Christian prayer - it begins with God Himself...Who He is in His nature, person and purpose. We read a variety of Scripture references that identified something of the greatness, glory, holiness and sovereignty of God. While such a revelation enlarges our view of God and evokes a response from us of awe and praise, it also creates for us something of a problem! It is that 'problem' and its solution that is the theme of this session.    

 

Read the following verses (you may recall them from last week) and write in below the 'problem' we have because our God is such a great & holy God.  

*Isaiah 6/5 ____________________________________________________

*Ezekiel 1/28 _________________________________________________  

*Luke 5/8 _____________________________________________________ 

*Revelation 1/17 ______________________________________________ 

 

The four writers above were each overwhelmed with a sense of their own unworthiness - an awareness that was triggered by their vision of God. The more aware we become of God's greatness and glory, the more aware we become of our own unworthiness. The person who thinks that he/she can just come into the presence of God 'in their own right' or on the basis of their own worth or goodness, has never understood the realities of God's holiness or man's sinfulness.  

 

So what is this 'problem'? In short, it's this; How can we mere mortals approach such a great God in prayer? How can we ever have the kind of relationship with Him that makes prayer to Him possible? Job put it like this, "But how can a mortal be righteous before God?"  (Job 9/2)  

 

Let's check the following references and write alongside each one what we learn about the 'solution' to our problem.  

 

*John 14/6_______________________________________________________  

*1 Timothy 2/5 ___________________________________________________ 

*Hebrews 4/14-16_________________________________________________ 

*Hebrews 7/26,27________________________________________________  

*Hebrews 9/14 __________________________________________________ 

 

Jesus Christ has bridged the great gulf that existed between God and us - a gulf that was created by our rebellion as sinners. Now, we understand that fact when it comes to our initial experience of salvation but do we see it as essential for our on-going relationship with God...including our prayer life?  We can come to God only through Jesus - both initially and continually.    

 

But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2/1,2).

 

The Bible teaches that there is One at God's right hand Who is there on my behalf. He is my Advocate...the One who pleads my case and my cause. In other words, I pray TO God but THROUGH Jesus Christ. I pray in the power of Christ's authority. The vital truth that we need to get hold of here is that when we pray we are not alone in prayer   That brings us to a special provision that Jesus has made for us in prayer.   Read the following verses and look for the common phrase; write it down  

*John 14/13,14 ____________________________________

*John 15/16 _______________________________________

*John 16/23_______________________________________  

 

It becomes obvious from these readings that a very fundamental principle for prayer is praying 'in the name of Jesus'. But what does it mean to pray "in Jesus' name"?  

1.It means praying the kind of prayer that Jesus would pray

2.It means identifying His name (or authority) with that prayer

3.It means linking that prayer with all that Jesus is as the Son of God  

 

In other words, for a prayer to truly be "in Jesus' name", it must be in accord and agreement with the character, nature and purpose of Jesus Himself.   Keeping that in mind, discuss some examples of 'prayers' that could never be legitimately offered in Jesus' name.  

1. (e.g.) "Lord, I pray that you will do something bad to my noisy neighbour"  

2. _________________________________________________________  

3. ________________________________________________________ 

 

Could you now discuss some examples of prayers that we could confidently offer to God in the name of Jesus because they are in line with the nature of God.  

 

1. _______________________________________________________  

2. _______________________________________________________  

3. ______________________________________________________    

 

FINALLY........ When we first came to God and committed our lives to Him, we came because Jesus Christ had made it possible for us, as sinners, to come to a holy God. We come to Him each time we pray in exactly the same way...only through the name and authority of Jesus.   We pray TO God THROUGH Jesus Christ.  So where does the Holy Spirit fit so far as prayer is concerned? That will be the focus of our next study together.    

 

FOR YOUR OWN EXPLORATION THIS WEEK .  

 

Sometime during the coming week, take time to look up the following references and make a note as to what each teaches us about prayer. Spread it out over the week .... give yourself time to reflect on each truth.  

1. Mark 15/38    

2. John 14/14    

3. John 15/7    

4. John 16/24    

5. Hebrews 4/16    

6. Hebrews 10/19-23    

7. James 4/7,8    

8. I John 2/I    

9. I John 3/21,22    

I0. I John 5/14,15

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