Today’s Daily Light:
The Essential Nature of Prayer
(Let’s look at prayer and seek to learn the essential necessity of prayer for our lives ‘so that’ we can realize ‘more’ of God’s will in our lives.)
An Article from John Piper from August, 2016: Part 2 of 3
What’s Better Than Good
How then do they pray? Generally, they do not ask God to do bad things. They ask him to do good things without asking him to do the best thing. They pray as though God were the giver but not the gift. They pray for protection, and shelter, and food, and clothing, and health, and peace, and prosperity, and social justice, and comfort, and happiness.
All of these good things are things the world wants. You don’t have to be born again to want these or love these. And you don’t have to be a Christian to pray for them — for yourself or for others. Every religion prays for them, more or less. So do the non-religious, when things get scary enough.
So then, what is the difference? How should Christians pray? Do they not pray for these good things?
What Makes Prayer Christian
The difference is that Christians are people who have a new nature through the new birth. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6).
§ ThThis new nature is formed by the presence of the Holy Spirit whose mission is to glorify Christ (John 16:14).
§ ThThe Spirit forms our inner being by a new dynamic of faith in the promises of God. “The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20).
§ At At the heart of this faith is a new experience of valuing Jesus above all things. “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).
§ ThThe new Christian heart longs for God to be seen as glorious in every event and every act and every affection. “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
§ ThThe Christian heart is eager that “Christ will be honored” in everything — every answer to every prayer (Philippians 1:20).
True Christians do not pray for less than what nominal Christians pray for. They pray for more — infinitely more. The heartbeat is always that the supremely treasured Christ be supremely magnified in answer to every prayer.
Praying for Protection
For example, every prayer for protection (if miners are trapped underground, or soldiers are going into battle, or Christians are leaving on mission, or sons and daughters are heading for college, or police are in harm’s way, or hostages are threatened with death, or children are playing where bullets fly) — every Christian prayer for protection should be a prayer for the best protection, not the least.
The best protection is protection from Satan, unbelief, sin, and eternal perishing. The Christian sees the world as it really is. Temporal dangers are shadows of eternal dangers. And the eternal ones are far more destructive. To pray for temporal protection without caring and praying for the far greater protection sounds compassionate to the world — and to nominal Christians — but not to those who live in the light.
Father…help each of us to practice ‘prayer’ this week..to ‘work’ at prayer. Amen