Friday, December 4, 2015

Gospel-Driven Prayer - Part 1

(If you haven't yet, read the Introduction to this series here.)


(11) Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. (12) We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. (13) For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. (14) For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; (15) and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

- 2 Corinthians 5:11-15

Paul Lived with Singular Focus

Paul makes it clear that what he does, he does “knowing the fear of the Lord,” and that he is “known to God”.

In a sense, Paul's ministry was a ministry to One: God.

Did Paul minister to many? He had the broadest ministry of any Christian at that time. But he was so God-centered, so Christ-focused, that even his great love for the church and compassion for the lost was servant to, his love for God.

So it should be with us. We shouldn't categorize our lives, as if one part of our day is reserved for God, and another part for family, and another part for work, and another part for friends.

Rather, everything we do should be worship to God.

The problem is that we're not deeply rooted enough in the gospel. There are still many areas in our lives, in our thinking, in our priorities, that are hardly touched by the gospel.

For Paul, however, the gospel was the driving force behind his singular focus.

Paul's Single-Mindedness Was Rooted in the Gospel

The love of Christ, revealed in the gospel, is what controlled Paul. Paul's boast in the Lord was his unwavering integrity and singular focus, because he was so gripped by the gospel.

We might be tempted to put Paul up on a pedestal, because he was an apostle, and a church-planting missionary with a pastoral heart.

In a sense, Paul really should be on a pedestal, especially because of his apostleship. But not to the point that we stop thinking of his life as an example we must emulate with all our strength.

We need more than a firm grip on the gospel. The gospel needs to grip us, like it did Paul.

Our Prayers Should Be Gospel-Driven and Gospel-Saturated

If the gospel really takes a hold of us, if the love of Christ becomes the dominating, pervasive passion of our souls, our prayers would certainly be affected. If we prayed out of gospel-driven hearts, we would spend more time praying for things like
the spiritual health of our cellmates and other brethren in the church,the protection and sustaining (physically and spiritually) of our leaders and their families,

God's empowerment of the church's ministries,
our involvement in evangelism and missions,
more opportunities and boldness to share the gospel, and
being more of an encouragement to brethren in the church, as well as our unbelieving relatives & neighbors.
A Case Study: Acts 4:24-31

We see this gospel-driven prayer, for example, in the believers' prayer after the arrest of Peter and John.

They could have prayed for protection for the apostles, for themselves and their families. That wouldn't have been wrong or sinful. But instead, their first instinct was to worship God as Creator and the sovereign Lord of the earth. Their second instinct was to ask that they “speak [his] word with all confidence.”

Brethren, let's be deliberate about soaking our minds everyday in God's word, and letting the gospel saturate every area of our lives. Then our prayers will be more pleasing to God, more satisfying to our own souls, and more effective in accomplishing God's purposes for us, for the church, and for the world.

(To be continued next week...)

No comments:

Post a Comment