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.
In today's lesson we are going to look at the power and impact of Christ IN us and THROUGH us in all things, including prayer.
The Christian life is no longer the vain struggle to live right, but the resting in Christ and finding strength in Him as our life, to fight the fight and gain the victory of faith. This is specially true of the life of prayer. As it too comes under the law of faith alone, and is seen in the light of the fulness and completeness there is in Jesus, the believer understands that it need no longer be a matter of strain or anxious care, but an experience of what Christ will do for him and in him—a participation in that life of Christ which, as on earth, so in heaven, ever ascends to the Father as prayer.
Prayer is not a burdensome task of the disciple. In Christ, we learn, it is the simple outflow of His life and work within us.
The whole of salvation is Christ Himself: He has given HIMSELF to us; He Himself lives in us. Because He prays, we pray too. As the disciples, when they saw Jesus pray, asked Him to make them partakers of what He knew of prayer, so we, now we see Him as intercessor on the throne, know that He makes us participate with Himself in the life of prayer.
Dr. Murray uses John 17 to show us how Jesus revealed prayer on His last earthly night and its ongoing work for His disciples:
He shows us how and what He has to pray to the Father, and will pray when once ascended to heaven. And yet He had in His parting address so repeatedly also connected His going to the Father with their new life of prayer. The two would be ultimately connected: His entrance on the work of His eternal intercession would be the commencement and the power of their new prayer-life in His Name.
We see Jesus first as our Intercessor:
In all conversion and sanctification, in every victory over sin and the world, there is a real forth-putting of the power of Him who is mighty to save. And this exercise of His power only takes place through His prayer: He asks of the Father, and receives from the Father. ‘He is able to save to the uttermost, because He ever liveth to make intercession.’ There is not a need of His people but He receives in intercession what the Godhead has to give: His mediation on the throne is as real and indispensable as on the cross. Nothing takes place without His intercession: it engages all His time and powers, is His unceasing occupation at the right hand of the Father. [...]
And we participate not only in the benefits of this His work, but in the work itself. This because we are His body...We are partakers of His life, His righteousness, His work: we share with Him in His intercession too; it is not a work He does without us.
And because of this sharing of His life, we are intercessors too.
His life in us is an ever-praying life. When it descends and takes possession of us, it does not lose its character; in us too it is the every-praying life—a life that without ceasing asks and receives from God. And this not as if there were two separate currents of prayer rising upwards, one from Him, and one from His people. No, but the substantial life-union is also prayer-union: what He prays passes through us, what we pray passes through Him...
This union with Him is why we can ever dare enter prayer with expectation of answer. God the Father has promised to give the Son all that He asks. We are brought into that promise when we are joined with the Son and His prayers.
To many a believer it was a new epoch in his spiritual life when it was revealed to him how truly and entirely Christ was his life, standing good as surety for his remaining faithful and obedient. It was then first that he really began to life a faith-life. No less blessed will be the discovery that Christ is surety for our prayer-life too, the centre and embodiment of all prayer, to be communicated by Him through the Holy Spirit to His people.
Prayer is simply the outflow of the life of Christ. But the power of prayer is not for us alone - it radiates out to bless and provide for others as well.
The thought of our fellowship in the intercession of Jesus reminds us of what He has taught us more than once before, how all these wonderful prayer-promises have as their aim and their justification, the glory of God in the manifestation of His kingdom and the salvation of sinners. As long as we only or chiefly pray for ourselves, the promises of the last night must remain a sealed book to us. It is to the fruit-bearing branches of the Vine; it is to disciples sent into the world as the Father sent Him, to live for perishing men; it is to His faithful servants and intimate friends who take up the work He leaves behind, who have like their Lord become as the seed-corn, losing its life to multiply it manifold;—it is to such that the promises are given. Let us each find out what the work is, and who the souls are entrusted to our special prayers; let us make our intercession for them our life of fellowship with God, and we shall not only find the promises of power in prayer made true to us, but we shall then first begin to realize how our abiding in Christ and His abiding in us makes us share in His own joy of blessing and saving men.
Let's pray together:
Thank You for Your life and death and Your continual loving ministry to us. Thank You for interceding for us and through us.
As we learn to rest more fully in You for all our life, help us yield to Your Spirit of intercession and learn to pray as You do. May prayer be the simple, constant expression of our dwelling in You.
More of You, dear Lord, that is what we seek. More of Your ever-giving Spirit. More of Your heart to intercede for the needs of the world. May we decrease that You may increase.
In Your precious Name,
Next I'll be sharing my thoughts from Lesson Twenty-Eight: ‘Father, Not what I will’ Or, Christ, The Sacrifice. I hope you'll join us.
Previous entries in this series can be found here: Wednesday Prayer Series