Friday, April 16, 2010

Praying in Restful Confidence in the Character of God

And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
- Matthew 6:8 -

Jesus is teaching us that the purpose of our prayer is not to twist God's arm. We are not going to God to try and change His mind so that He'll do something that He didn't originally want to do. We do not go to our Father to haggle, bargain, and finally
purchase blessings. We go to Him to receive the blessings Christ has purchased for us on the cross.

Piper clarifies:
In other words, every answer to prayer that would be good for us, Christ purchased by His blood. We did not and cannot purchase them. So when we go to our closet, we are not going to make a purchase. We are not going to negotiate. We are going because God has ordained that what Christ obtained for us, we receive by asking.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones helpfully adds:
I must get rid of this thought that God is standing between me and my desires and that which is best for me. I must see God as my Father who has purchased my ultimate good in Christ, and is waiting to bless me with His own fullness in Christ Jesus.
We must see God as our Father. Jesus says that we do not need to use meaningless repetition in our prayers because our Father knows what we need before we ask it. He is not a tyrannical despot who cruelly and whimsically gives and withholds to suit His caprices. He is our loving, caring, and infinitely wise Father who knows our needs better than we do. He will give us what is best for us.

And so our prayers must reflect the rest we have in the confidence of God's sovereignty, wisdom, and goodness.

Our many words do not twist God's arm, for He is absolutely sovereign.

Our persistence does not change His mind, for He is infinitely wise.

And we wouldn't want to do either of those things, because He is relentlessly good.

So when you pray, pray in the restful confidence that, as Luther said, you are "not overcoming God's reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness."

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