Monday, June 13, 2016

Praying in Jesus' Name

I've been thinking today about what it means to pray in Jesus' name.  John MacArthur offers a great commentary on this topic, speaking about John 14:14 which says, "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."  I pray that you may be encouraged to pray in Jesus' name, understanding in full what that means.

Jesus’ disciples had left everything and were completely without resources. Without their Master, they would be all alone in a hostile world. Yet, He assured them, they did not need to worry about any of their needs. The gap between Him and them would be closed instantly whenever they prayed. Even though He would be absent, they would have access to all His supplies.

That is not carte blanche for every whim of the flesh. There’s a qualifying statement repeated twice. He doesn’t say, “I’ll give you absolutely anything you ask for,” but rather, “I’ll do what you ask in My name.” That does not mean we can simply tack the words, “in-Jesus’-name-amen” on the end of our prayers and expect the answers we want every time. Neither is it a special formula or abracadabra that will magically guarantee the granting of our every wish.

The name of Jesus stands for all that He is. Throughout Scripture, God’s names are the same as His attributes. When Isaiah prophesied that Messiah would be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), he was not listing actual names, but rather giving an overview of Messiah’s character. “I am who I am,” the name revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14, is as much an affirmation of God’s eternal nature as it is a name by which He is to be called.

Therefore, praying in the name of Jesus is more than merely mentioning His name at the end of our prayers. If we are truly praying in Jesus’ name, we will pray only for that which is consistent with His perfect character, and for that which will bring glory to Him. It implies an acknowledgement of all that He has done and a submission to His will.

What praying in Jesus’ name really means is that we should pray as if our Lord Himself were doing the asking. We approach the throne of the Father in full identification with the Son, seeking only what He would seek. When we pray with that perspective, we begin to pray for the things that really matter, and we eliminate selfish requests

Friday, June 3, 2016

How to Look to Jesus --Part 3

As you know, over these past few weeks we've really been examining different ways we can fix our gaze upon the Person of Jesus Christ.  For me, these things can be so easy to allow to slip to the side.  But I know when I take the time to very purposefully place my eyes upon Jesus, the results are far greater than I have time to tell here.  I pray that the Spirit may move in your heart, drawing you to fix your gaze upon Him.

These suggestions are small ones, not as significant as the ones we have talked about already.  Nevertheless, I thought I would give them to you in the hopes that, in some small way, they might encourage you (and me while I am writing them!).

4. Journal

Although it's so easy to allow this to fall to the side (I speak from personal experience), recording God's faithfulness--in the little things and the big things--has been so instrumental in my walk with the Lord.  It helps me to be more aware throughout the day of what God is doing and saying so that I can write it down.  And whenever I am feeling discouraged or downtrodden, I can look back at those journals, the records of God's faithfulness, love, and mercy, and be encouraged.  There have been countless times when paging through those entries has lifted my spirits and my eyes to the One who loves me with an everlasting love.

5. Talk about Him with Others

This can be so beneficial!  When you gather with fellow believers (and even sharing the gospel with those who do not know the Lord), you will find that turning the conversation to the things of the Lord is so helpful to turning your gaze back to Him.  Even when the conversation is over I find myself reflecting on the things we have talked about and, in turn, praising the Lord.  Just try it!

This is all I have time for today.  Be encouraged my friend!  Consider your Savior, for He has bought you with an everlasting love and drawn you with His mercy.  This Gentle Savior is more amazing than anything this world has ever known!  Let us fix our eyes on HIM.