Saturday, December 12, 2015

Gospel-Driven Prayer - Part 2


21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

- 1 Corinthians 1:21-24

1 Corinthians is about how the gospel directs the life of the church. Chapter 1:18-31 is particularly important because it reminds us that Christians are called to walk in the way of the cross. We're not to pursue the power, wealth, and prestige of this world.

The Corinthian church had a problem with the cross. It's not that they denied the fact of Christ's crucifixion, nor did they deny that He died for the forgiveness of sins. 

What they overlooked was the transformative significance of the cross. It is the most powerful display of God's character: His unrelenting holiness, unfathomable love, unmatched wisdom, awesome power, and Trinitarian purpose. The deeper the gospel of the cross is driven into our souls, the more it will transform us and conform us to His image. The more it will shape the life and worship of the church.

The Corinthians missed this entirely. Paul had laid the gospel as the rock-solid foundation of the church (3:11), but the Corinthians were building on top of it with flimsy material—wood, hay, and straw; things that were taken from false philosophies and idolatrous religions.

As believers and as a church, we can't let human philosophies dictate how we live. The world is always trying to impose its standards of wisdom and morality on the church, but we need to sweep all that aside and just let the Word of God teach us and transform our thinking.

How Often Do Our Prayers Reflect the Priorities of the World, not God's?

Let's say a dear brother asks for prayer because he's sick, what would you pray for?

Of course, it's right to pray for physical healing. But would you also pray that he would learn to depend on God more? Or perhaps that through his situation he would be able to witness effectively to others?

Another scenario: A sister asks you to pray regarding a promotion she's been offered. What might a gospel-driven prayer sound like?

“Lord, thank you for enabling sister so-and-so to work well. Please help her understand what a promotion would mean, and not to accept anything that would compromise her time in the Word or her involvement in the church. Lord, please also search her heart, and show her if there are any sinful motives that she may have in relation to the promotion. Please place her in a work situation where she will be salt and light and can share the gospel with her work mates. May she continue to be sanctified through her work. Above, may she be satisfied in you, and not in the things of this world. Lord, please help her to discern whether accepting the promotion would help her in these regards.”


The goal of everything we've discussed so far is not to modify what we SAY in prayer. It's to remind us to become gospel-driven, cross-embracing, self-denying, Christ-exalting, grace-celebrating people, who then overflow with prayers that reflect what's in our hearts.

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