“The Gospel is the difference-maker, all the difference in heaven and earth.”
– [from the book: A Reason to Pray at Mountainview]
Until a Christian wins the battle over guilt, shame, and regret, over the image of being unworthy to be heard by the Father, the promises and benefits of prayer will be like a far distant country. The child of God must learn to embrace and live by faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is then that prayer is a delight. That is why the child of God must learn to preach the Gospel to himself. The child of God must continually remind himself of the freedom that is in Christ, because of Christ, and secured by Christ. Guilt, shame, and regret will smother any other attempt at liberty and acceptance with God.
The Gospel is why God listens to prayer. Meaning, it is because of who Jesus Christ is and what He did. It has nothing to do with a person’s piety or religious goodness. If you have been persuaded that God will not listen to your prayers because you are not good enough for Him, you are right. God does not listen to you because you’ve earned His favor. IF … you are expecting the Father God to accept your prayers because of your own goodness and merits, you’re sadly out in left field. He NEVER listens to prayer because we are worthy to be heard. Why? Because we’re not worthy to be heard. Seriously, is your heart pure enough—from selfishness, pride, coveting, and … the list can go on and on—to earn God’s favor? If that were the case, then Jesus didn’t come to die for you. You don’t need a Savior to forgive you. You’re up there with Him, self-righteous and sinless. Okay, I’ve made my point, haven’t I?
You can agree with the thoughts that you are unworthy, because you are unworthy. You have God’s favor solely because of Jesus Christ. Everything is because of what Jesus Christ did at the Cross, the Grave, and is doing in His present-day ministry at the Right Hand of Power. It is solely, completely, and wholly by and through Jesus Christ that God the Father desires to hear you pray. Get this truth and every time you prepare to talk to the Father remember … JESUS. It’s all because of Him that you can pray with freedom and assurance that the Father is listening and is with you.
Doesn’t this take all the weight off of you? If you and I had to wait until “WE” were ready–spiritual enough; good enough; religious enough; pious enough–to be received by the Father, phew … we’d never pray. By the way, isn’t this the reason WHY Jesus came; to fix our relationship with God; to enable us to be accepted before God? Our relationship with God is secure because it is secure in Christ Jesus. We cannot rely on anything else to secure our relationship with God. So remind yourself of the Gospel–What and Who Jesus Christ did and is. That settles the issue of worthiness to approach The Throne of Grace.
The next blog post will take this simple, essential truth to the extreme place in our prayer lives that Christ put it.
Father, forgive me of ever looking to myself to decide if I can talk to you and bring my prayer requests. It is not of me, but of God the Son, my Redeemer. Thank You, Jesus, for clothing me with Your goodness and righteousness so that I am accepted and enjoyed by God the Father. In His righteousness I stand and live. All of my prayers, Father, are in Christ, in His Name and not my own. Therefore, Christ gets all the credit for my ability to pray right now, and for all the grace that You give me. Amen.