My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

19 June 2008

Prayer, 2

Here are a few more thoughts on prayer from our recent series through the Lord's Prayer.

First, prayer is God-connected. That connection is specifically the connection of adoption, so Jesus teaches us to approach God in prayer as our Father. It's fascinating that there is extremely little said about the Fatherhood of God in the Old Testament, but it's all over the New Testament. This points to the greatness of living in the new covenant, of following the one who tore the temple curtain in two. Also, this God-connection aspect of prayer means that prayer is inseparably connected with the gospel. In fact, we could say that prayer is living out the gospel of our adoption.

Second, prayer is God-centered and so Jesus teaches us to orient ourselves around our great God by addressing Him not only as Father, but as our Father in heaven. An illustration may suffice to make the point: when you are getting directions from Google maps or Mapquest, you may know full well your destination, where you want to end up. But if you don't start at the right place, you're going nowhere. So it is with prayer. We may have a clear sense of what we want or need from God, but if we are so quick in prayer that we skip past praise, we have not begun in the right place.

Third, prayer is God-captivated: our first request is "hallowed be thy name" or "make your glory more known in my life and the world." Where does the heart of adoration come from but meditation? One of the greatest passages of praise, one of the most God-captivated portions of Scripture is Romans 11:33-36 (O the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God...). how did the Apostle Paul cultivate such a God-captivated heart? Well, by meditating upon and writing about the great truths of Christ's redemption for eleven long chapters. So meditation begets adoration. Deep prayer requires deep thinking.

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