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.
As we come to the final chapters of our study, Dr. Murray asks us to take what we have learned over these past months and look forward, to the calling and ministry of God.
Each one of us, members of Christ's body, are also brought into the priesthood of Christ. Murray explains what this priesthood means:
There is, first, the work of the priesthood. This has two sides, one Godward, the other manward....A priest is thus a man who does not at all live for himself. He lives with God and for God. His work is as God’s servant to care for His house, His honour, and His worship, to make known to men His love and His will. He lives with men and for men (Heb. v. 2). His work is to find out their sin and need, and to bring it before God, to offer sacrifice and incense in their name, to obtain forgiveness and blessing for them, and then to come out and bless them in His Name. This is the high calling of every believer. ‘Such honour have all His saints.’ They have been redeemed with the one purpose to be in the midst of the perishing millions around them, God’s priests, who in conformity to Jesus, the Great High Priest, are to be the ministers and stewards of the grace of God to all around them.
Then there is the walk of the priesthood.
As God is holy, so the priest was to be especially holy. This means not only separated from everything unclean, but holy unto God, being set apart and given up to God for His disposal. The separation from the world and setting apart unto God was indicated in many ways.
We see this clearly in the Old Testament with the special clothes and ceremonies appointed to priests:
All this is the emblem of what the character of the New Testament priest is to be. Our priestly power with God depends on our personal life and walk. We must be of them of whose walk on earth Jesus says, ‘They have not defiled their garments.’
In the surrender of what may appear lawful to others in our separation from the world, we must prove that our consecration to be holy to the Lord is whole-hearted and entire....And above all, we consent to give up all inheritance on earth; to forsake all, and like Christ to have only God as our portion: to possess as not possessing, and hold all for God alone: it is this marks the true priest, the man who only lives for God and his fellow-men.
Lastly we have the consecration of the priest, the way to the priesthood.
With Aaron and his sons it took place thus (Ex. xxix.): After being washed and clothed, they were anointed with the holy oil. Sacrifices were then offered, and with the blood the right ear, the right hand, and the right foot were touched. And then they and their garments were once again sprinkled with the blood and the oil together. And so it is as the child of God enters more fully into what THE BLOOD and THE SPIRIT of which he already is partaker, are to him, that the power of the Holy Priesthood will work in him. The blood will take away all sense of unworthiness; the Spirit, all sense of unfitness. [...]
And so, when the believer, who had been content to think chiefly of the blood sprinkled on the mercy-seat as what he needs for pardon, is led to seek full priestly access to God, he feels the need of a fuller and more abiding experience of the power of the blood, as really sprinkling and cleansing the heart from an evil conscience, so that he has ‘no more conscience of sin’ (Heb. x. 2) as cleansing from all sin. And it is as he gets to enjoy this, that the consciousness is awakened of his wonderful right of most intimate access to God, and of the full assurance that his intercessions are acceptable.
And as the blood gives the right, the Spirit gives the power, and fits for believing intercession. He breathes into us the priestly spirit—burning love for God’s honour and the saving of souls. He makes us so one with Jesus that prayer in His Name is a reality. He strengthens us to believing, importunate prayer. The more the Christian is truly filled with the Spirit of Christ, the more spontaneous will be his giving himself up to the life of priestly intercession.
Finally, Dr. Murray asks us to truly examine our hearts and minds to see if we are willing to enter the priesthood of Christ and join Him in the ministry of intercession:
You know the surrender it demands—nothing less than the Christ-like giving up of all, that the saving purposes of God’s love may be accomplished among men. Oh, be no longer of those who are content if they have salvation, and just do work enough to keep themselves warm and lively. O let nothing keep you back from giving yourselves to be wholly and only priests—nothing else, nothing less than the priests of the Most High God.
Let's pray together:
You have offered us such grace: to enter with You into the Holiest of Holies; to join You in Your most precious work. Lord, make us hungry to be priests in Your Kingdom.
May we not shrink back from giving You our all. Lord, may we not fear the surrender of ourselves and our desires. But may we be filled with joy as we give up all as You gave up all. May we not fear losing our lives in exchange for something that is infintely more precious.
Lord Jesus, may we be filled with Your Spirit so that we may be ministers of grace in this world. That we would willingly pray and intercede for those whom You have placed around us. That we would be daily concerned with their souls and lives, as You are. Through the ministry of prayer, may we spread the light of Christ to all corners of our world.
It seems so small to say Thank You. But we do, Lord. We are so grateful for the grace which accepts and embraces us. May we be worthy priests in Your house, Lord.
In Your name,
Next I'll be sharing my thoughts from Lesson Thirty-one: 'Pray Without Ceasing’ Or, A Life of Prayer. I hope you'll join us.
Previous entries in this series can be found here: Wednesday Prayer Series