Want to learn more about building a life of prayer? Me too. Meet me here on Wednesdays for an ongoing series exploring prayer using Dr. Andrew Murray's book, With Christ in the School of Prayer. I'm honored to learn alongside you.
"The first thought suggested here by the Master is that there must be harmony between God and His worshippers; such as God is, must His worshippers be."
The recent snowstorm brought icy conditions to the country roads we live on. We stayed home for most of two days, but with the holiday coming and the grocery supply dwindling I finally had to venture out. It was a slow journey, creeping along the back roads, trying to avoid slipping and sliding. Coming to a shaky stop at a corner, I waited and watched as an older man in a large truck crossed in front of me. Following too close behind him was a young man in a smaller truck. He had a tight grip on the steering wheel and an intent look on his face which surprised me - until I saw the heavy rope tying the two vehicles together. The smaller truck was being towed. The first man was giving his engine's power to the second man, whose job was to steer his truck, stay alert and follow the lead to their destination.
This illustration hints at the amazing revelation Dr. Murray is trying to introduce us to in this second lesson, In spirit and truth or The True Worshippers.
All things in the christian life must be rooted in the work and power of Christ alone - and so it is with prayer. We begin with the gospel. Through redemption we gain not only access to the Father but the indwelling of His very Spirit. True worship (and prayer is a vital part of worship) springs from this "harmony between God and His worshippers." The indwelling Spirit awakens us and animates us, instructs us and prays through us. In some way like the trucks I saw that icy morning, the Spirit leads, but also gives the power and direction. Our job is to stay alert, respond to the movements and leading of the Spirit as He goes. The Son's will works through us to bring glory to the Father.
"The worship of the Father is only possible to those to whom the Spirit of the Son has been given. The worship in spirit is only possible to those to whom the Son has revealed the Father, and who have received the spirit of Sonship. It is only Christ who opens the way and teaches the worship in spirit."
Before we can pray we must first receive the spirit of adoption and sonship. We are part of the family of God, not slaves who must perform or risk punishment. We are children of a loving, gentle Father who not only invites us into the family business, but also provides the engine and the wisdom to do the work.
The "spirit and truth" in which we must pray and worship is not something we are to manufacture, it is Jesus Himself, the Holy Spirit, the God of the universe.
This work of prayer is the work of the Spirit Himself. We are not left alone to strive and flail and falter (as we must without His help.) What He asks of us is possible because He Himself is the supplier.
This week I continue in asking the Lord to teach me to pray, but I am adding to that prayer a plea for the Lord to renew my mind and my thinking and help me understand that "To have Christ the Son, and the Spirit of the Son, dwelling within us, and revealing the Father, makes us true, spiritual worshippers." Will you join me?
First of all, reveal to us what it means that You are our Father and that we are Your children. Show us what this relationship, this amazing privilege means for us. Wash our minds free of all the wrong thoughts and confusion and fears that have kept us from being at home with You. Please, renew our thinking. And Lord, reveal to us what it means that Your Son Himself dwells in us in spirit and truth.
We come to You now seeking understanding. Teach us how to yield to You; teach us how to hear Your call and respond with eager hearts. Make us receptive to Your leading. When You whisper, "Pray," may our hearts cry "Yes, Lord!" When You say, "Pray in this way..." may we simply obey and not worry that we are not doing it right or not working hard enough. May we rest in You.
We lay down fear, we abandon old habits. We come to You with a new hunger and a new openness to Your Spirit. Meet us here and change us, Lord.
In Your precious name, Jesus, we pray,
Next week I will be posting thoughts on lesson three, "Pray to thy Father, which is in secret or Alone with God."