We saw from last week’s post the incredible power in the prayer promise to those who find their identity in the 41414 Club.
This promise and power must be protected from wrong or immature use. This is why there are two major “bouncers” on the door to this promise club guarding the entrance.
The name of the first “protector” is “Sonship”.
The power of prayer is protected by the proven character of Jesus, the Son, modeled and built into our lives. Like a baby’s first cry as it leaves the womb, so our first Holy Spirit inspired prayer, which births us into the environment of faith, reveals the Son in us.
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15
Jesus underlined that this was the first requirement for learning to pray in answer to his disciples request to teach them how to pray. He gave them the key to the prayer door.
“This, then is how you should pray: Our Father…” Matthew 6:9
Matthew 7:7 – another elite club – “club 77”, also emphasises the strong “sonship” element needed to seize the power filled promise of “Ask and it will be given to you.”
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11
God is working to create within us the character of His Son.
One way of doing this is to spend time remaining, abiding, in His presence. Spending many hours imbibing the character of the Son through His Word in the Bible is a vital part of this process of daily transformation.
Like Daniel in the Old Testament, we need to be able to fuel our prayer through a vital understanding of God’s prophetic word and purpose. ” In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.” How long will the “desolation” of our churches last? At least until dutiful sons give themselves to prayer and understanding of the Word of God. We need a genuine Bar Mitzvah – we must become true sons and daughters of the commandment, entering into the maturity of ministry and prayer.
Flawed character leads to wrong motivation and a frustration of the whole prayer experience. The apostle James puts it very clearly:
“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:3
Hedonism and love for the world will take us out of the genuine prayer experience.
True intercessors are in the “word system” not the “world system”.
The road to sonship is paved with discipline and correction. Hebrews 12: 5-12 puts this very clearly.
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?…No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Allow the painful experience of life to train us for prayer.
The apostle John never gave up on the prayer promise theme, and, even in his old age, he was constantly coming back to the theme. He emphasised that prayer was all about having the right character, the right heart. Being an obedient and pleasing son was far more important than having intellectual gifts or charismatic prosperity formulas.
“Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.” 1 John 3:21-22
And what then ultimately pleases God? What must I do to please Him and obey his commands?
“And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” v.23
Faith and love – Pistis and Agape. Two essential qualities of character which release the power of the prayer promise to us.
And the greatest of these is love…