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Prayer 2

I wanted to continue this week with more thoughts and reflections on the topic of prayer: (excerpts taken from Prayer and the Knowledge of God)

Day 1. The Lord's Prayer is a pattern for prayer, but must be understood in its context of Jesus' redemptive ministry. Each part of the prayer has it background in the redemptive work of God revealed in the Old Testament. The prayer focuses on God the King, the coming of his kingdom, and what these mean for the subjects of the kingdom. The pattern of the Lord's Prayer demonstrates that all prayer is tied to God's self-revelation of his plan of salvation through Christ. Reflect: Have you become so used to the Lord's Prayer that praying it has become almost mechanical? If so, try spending some time each day reflecting on the significance of the main words and petitions of the prayer. Day 2. Prayer in the N.T. is presented as the climax and fulfillment of prayer in the O.T.. Biblical theology surveys the history of God's people and notes that God must first address his people befoe they can have anything to say to him. Prayer is tied to the covenant-relationships of the people of God, who know God only through this relationship. The O.T. emphasized the function of the mediators of the convenant - prophets, preists, judges and kings - as intercessors for the people. The high point of Israel's history comes with Solomon, who links prayer with kingship, wisdom, covenant and temple. Reflect: When you think about your relationship with God as a praying person, do you think mainly about:

  • your practice of approaching God in prayer, or your mediator who makes prayer possible through his intercession for you?

Day 3. The book of Psalms provides the most extensive examples of prayer and praise as it came to be used by all the people of God in the O.T.. Christians can connect with the individual psalms becae all the O.T. people from whom they came find their fulfillment in Jesus, who is the one mediator between God and us. The different kinds of prayer in the PSalms show the different ways pryer came to be used by the people of God. The book of Psalms emphasizes the covenant framework for all prayer, and thus foreshadows the person and work of Christ.Reflect: If the practice of prayer has become mechanical for you, try beginning your prayer each day by reading a psalm 'on your knees'. As you pray a psalm, think about the pathway from the psalm to you through the mediation of Christ. Where relevant, reflect on the psalm's testimony to:

  • the being and character of god

  • the great things he has done for us

  • the suffering we share with the True Israelite, Jesus

  • our destiny to 'dwell in the Lord's house forever'

  • the fact that God knows us better than we know ourselves.

Day 4. Prophetic eschatology (Eschatology is the technical term meaning the end or last things {Greek: eschatos, last}). The prophets emphasize certain themes centered on the prayers of repentance of a faithful remnant of Israel who will seek the Lord and call upon him. This prayer activity focuses on the nature of God as the Savior who is faithful to his covenant promises. The temple is seen as central to the redemption as God's house of prayer and the place where the redeemed sing a new song of joyful praise.Reflect: On how the prophets' perspectives on prayer help us to put meaning into the petition 'Your kingdom come' when we pray the Lord's Prayer. Think about the global view of the prophetic eschatology and its implication for the focus of our prayers:

  • in praise and thanksgiving for the saving work of Christ

  • for mission

  • for perseverance in faith until Christ comes again

Day 5. The dimensions of prayer in the O.T. are now fulfilled in the earthly ministry of Jesus. There is a transition from the O.T. content of prayer to its fulfillment based on the final revelation of God in Christ. Jesus is shown to be the teacher of prayer, and to give the perfect human response in prayer to the knowledge of God. Acts shows the difficult adjustment of the disciples to the reality of the ascended Christ and the fulfillment of the O.T. promises. the epistles exemplify the full transformation of perspective from O.T. covenant and eschatology to the realization of these in Christ. Revelation points to the consummation of how prayer is related to it. Petition for the reaching of the end is transformed into praise for the glory that is fully revealed.Reflect: Consider the implications for our prayers of the finished work of Christ. When you contemplate God bringing about his purposes, do you mainly think about:

  • a remote future even, or what God has done, id doing, and will do?

Think again about the goodness and love of the Father who allows us to share, through prayer, in the achieving of the goals of his sovereign will. Are you learning to think God's thoughts after him?


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