Monday, August 9, 2010

we don't get into the room unless Jesus goes first

The Word for today:
Psalm 99, 100

mark this: Psalm 100:4
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

Prayer is the working out of a relationship with God.  Is that phrasing too technical?  Then how about this:

Prayer is the practice of the presence of God.  Too alliterative?  Then how about this:

Prayer means you're in the room.

We enter that room through what Jesus did on the cross:
Therefore we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus. (Hebrews 10:19)

That's the reason we say "In Jesus' name I pray."   We should pray in Jesus' name.  We have to pray in Jesus' name.  But it is a serious misunderstanding when we tack Jesus on the end of our prayers as if we were pinning the tail on the donkey.

We should heed this advice from Psalm 100:
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

The name Jesus is not a magical incantation; inherently, it has no power.  It is a shorthand acknowledgement and affirmation of all that he is.  He re-opened the lines of communication with God.  He took the curtain down. We enter through his ripped flesh,
by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body.  (Hebrews 10:20)

I might startle some of you with this declaration:
Scripture indicates that God doesn't hear a syllable of prayer until he hears Jesus.  With one technical exception--God, have mercy on me, a sinner (1)--the phone stays on the hook until Jesus rings in the Father's ears.  That's why Jesus explicitly says that we should pray in His name:
  • John 14:13--"Ask in My Name..."
  • John 15:16--"...ask in My Name."
  • John 16:23-24--"...ask in My Name."
  • John 16:26--"...ask in My Name." 
Someone might think that I'm making a bigger deal over this than it deserves.  But I think that waiting until we exit to enter is asinine. 

Don't let Jesus' name be the tail on the donkey.  Thankfully speak his name as you enter into the presence of God in prayer.  Because we don't get into that room unless Jesus goes first.

(1) Luke 18:13

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