Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Praying Like Jesus: Prayer is fellowship with God

Hebrews 5:7 "In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety."

Yesterday we looked at how Jesus' prayer-life evidenced the priority and power of prayer.  From the very beginning Jesus made His prayer life the epicenter of His activity.  In today's devotional we consider the importance of fellowshipping with God in prayer. Luke records the opening scene of Jesus' public ministry in Luke 3:21-22 "Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” Jesus came to identify with the very people He would give His life for and to identify Himself publically as the Lamb of God. From all eternity Jesus had been the Son, sharing in Eternal glory with the Father and the Spirit.  What we see happening here at the Jordon is the Father's declaration of this fact to Jesus in His humanity. Notice what the text says: "while He was praying". Prayer can be likened to opening up a window or a door in our lives to give God the opportunity to shine in His light and presence.  In this scene we see the appearance of all three Persons of the God-head: The Father above, the Spirit coming down (as a dove) and the incarnate Son with His people. Prayer is the believer's connecting line to fellowship in and with the Triune God.

Elsewhere in the New Testament we read of this glorious power and mystery of prayer as it pertains to our fellowship with the Father, Son and Spirit. Ephesians 2:18 states: "for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father."  May the reader note the following observations from Ephesians 2:18 with regards to our fellowship with God in prayer. First we come "through Him" - that is to say - the Son, our Mediator and Heavenly Advocate before the Father. (1 John 2:1-2) As the Son was the Mediator between men and God at the Jordon and at Calvary during His earthly life, He is ever the Mediator on the believer's behalf in Heaven.  Second, we read in Ephesians 2:18 "we both have our access in one Spirit" - that is to say - by the Holy Spirit's work in and through us here on earth.  The Holy Spirit is our intercessor here on earth Who takes our prayers directly to the Son and the Father in Heaven. (Romans 8:26-27)  With lightening quick speed He brings back the answer to us and encourages us to pray again.  Then thirdly, Ephesians 2:18 ends with the phrase "to the Father" - that is to say - the destination of prayer is the Father.  Fellowship in prayer is based on the finished work of the Son, proceeds on the continuing work of the Spirit and aims to connect with the Father.

Point of Application: Fellowship with God in prayer is not just a one-way deal wherein we are just talking to God.  Fellowship entails a conversation between God and us and us and God.  By His Spirit He engages us in dialogue through His Son as we with an open Bible talk to Him and listen for His voice. Jesus demonstrated not only His desire to have fellowship with people, but demonstrated His unique fellowship with the Father, and the Father with Him.  By faith in the Son, we enjoy that same access and with the indwelling Holy Spirit we get the opportunity to know the Father more and more through prayer.  This is the most important fellowship you can ever do in life - fellowship with God. 

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