To pray in the Name which is above every name, the Name of Jesus our Lord, does not only mean to pray on the ground of the Atonement. It means that, but it means more. We are not simply reconciled to the Father by the blood of the Redeemer’s Cross. We are brought by the same Cross into a glorious position before the Father. The teacher of the Word is that in lieu of the Saviour’s identification with the children of men – bone of their bone, flesh of their flesh, tempted in all points like as they, in truth and indeed the Son of Man – what befell Him as man’s great Representative, the Second Adam, befell man. He was crucified, then man was crucified, “the old man,” together with Him (Rom. 6:6). He died, then all died (II Cor. 5:14,
RSV). He was buried, we also were buried in the likeness of His death (Rom. 6:5). He arose – with Him we arose (Eph. 2:4,5). He ascended and is seated at the right hand of the Father. We, too, are in this same position of ascendancy, seated in heavenly places with Christ our Lord (Eph. 2:6).
Now to fail to take into account the plain teaching of the Scriptures regarding the exalted position of the Christian as co-heir (Rom. 8:17) with Christ, as seems to be the case with many books on prayer, cuts the central nerve of this most holy function, robbing prayer in a large measure of its efficacy. We would not attempt to come into the presence of some high earthly magistrate and seek an audience without taking into account the established order of procedure, much less in our approach to God. If as a Christian I assume the groveling attitude of a beggar when all the time the Heavenly Father bids me bear in mind that I have been made a king and a priest unto Him in Christ, sharing His death and His resurrection, seated
with Him in heavenly places, I shall most certainly and myself at cross purposes with Him and prayer is to no small degree stripped of its rightful power. True, one must be humble, but a feigned humility, however sincerely manifested, is of no avail. It must be a humility wrought into the deepest fabric of my being, natural and unfeigned, as a result of my oneness with the Saviour whose “death – resurrection – mid-process” I share, old things having passed away and all things having become new.
All this has a profound bearing on prayer. Prayer can only be effective in its highest Biblical sense – the prayer of the righteous man which availeth much – as it springs from the “new creation,” the old having come to an end in the Cross. The “old man,” however religious he may be, cannot in the truest sense of the word, pray. He cannot hold communion with God. The “carnal mind,” which according to Romans 8:7, is at enmity with God, cannot approach Him in an acceptable way. It is under the verdict of the Cross. It was put out of God’s sight “judicially” at Calvary. A lion may be tamed, but he is still a lion, and some sudden change of circumstances may arouse the beast.
The “flesh” (as we have it in the overwhelming picture given to us in Galatians 5, where not only are there obscene and loathsome things which one blushes to mention, but also things which in the church’s life pass as quite innocent if not commendable, such as rivalries, divisions and strife) is, however polished with religious zeal, still “flesh” and can never be anything else. God cannot look upon it. Christians, Paul tells us, have crucified it. Now if I pray, let us say, for revival in my church (and where is the church that does not need revival) from a sectarian position with sectional, denominational rivalry as the secret motive, it takes no profound discernment to see that I am at cross purposes with God and grieve Him even as I call, upon Him. I must “die” before I can properly pray. I must enter into an ever deeper participation in the Cross if the heinous “self-life” with its lust for praise, “the flesh” with its greed for the limelight of religious publicity, “the old man” with his self-infatuation, are to be kept from nullifying the effectiveness of my prayers. How much of the travail of God’s people as they pray for the great work of the church comes to naught because the deeper aspects of the Cross are not allowed to operate!
A pastor was given a dream in which he heard the voice of the Lord who asked him to take an invoice of the motives which dominated his ministry. The revelation overwhelmed him with shame. It was found as the Spirit of God searched the hidden springs of his being that something like thirty percent must be charged to sectarian pride, thirty percent to vain-glory over oratorical achievements, twenty percent went to ecclesiastical bigotry, social position and family pride. When the count was over a measly five percent remained of actual love for God and genuine zeal for His glory and honor. Now to really pray as did Paul and the great peers of the church down the ages, as did Knox who cried, “Lord, give me Scotland or I die,” as did Praying Hyde who through his groans and tears and intercessions brought revival to India, there must be an application of the Cross by the Holy Spirit to the innermost citadels of the “self-life,” so that “the new creation” in the power of Christ’s resurrection which alone has a bona fide, gilt-edge claim on the things of God may exercise its power.
Here is where much praying for what is called “a baptism of power,” comes to naught. God dare not answer prayer for power, power from on high, which springs from wrong motives. The oil, as we read in Leviticus, was applied to the flesh. The Father cannot give power to that which in Christ He put to death. Power given to the “old creation,” far from promoting the interests of the Kingdom of God, would only be material for Satan to exploit in the interests of the kingdom which he rules. The Holy Spirit cannot entrust the servants of the Church with the treasures of Pentecost until He has led them to a vital experience of the deeper implications of Calvary as they are set forth in Romans six.
Furthermore, when a Christian’s prayer life springs from a right position (a thorough adjustment to Christ in His death and resurrection), a vast change in procedure follows. Much of the mere begging type (though of course asking is always in order for the Lord says, “Ask and ye shall receive”) gives way to a positive and unspeakably joyous appropriation. Much of our begging fails to register in heaven because it fails to spring
from right relations with Christ in death and resurrection; in which position one simply appropriates what is already his. “All things,” says the apostle, “are yours, for Christ’s and Christ is God’s.”
When I stand by faith in the position, for example, assigned to me in Colossians 3:3, where it is written: “…ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (the judicial standing of all Christians), my prayer
life takes on a totally different character. Such a position sets me apart and in truth takes me where Christ Himself is, makes me a co-heir of God with Him and invests me with an authority and a glory like Christ’s. It could not be otherwise. Even in the days of His flesh before the consummation of Calvary and the resurrection with Pentecost following, the Saviour was wont to hint at the glories which were to come for the believer. He said in effect, “If ye say to this mountain, be thou removed and doubt not in your heart, what ye say shall be done.” We often plead for the removal of some mountain of oppression and difficulty when what God expects of us is the command of faith, speaking directly to the prince of darkness and as those who sit with Jesus in heavenly places, claiming the destruction of His works: When we do this the mountain disappears. We may have to wait some times to actually “see” what was commanded in naked
faith. But if we doubt not, we shall at last see what faith without any evidence of the senses simply took.
In this position of oneness with Christ the Lord in His exaltation where we “reign in life” by one, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5), praise takes the place of petition. Not that petition altogether ceases. We still ask and receive. But now we properly measure our riches. The measure of our riches is the measure of the riches of our royal Brother. We are one with Him. He is our life. His death is our death; His resurrection our resurrection; His exaltation our exaltation. Where the Head is, the body is also found. As the body finds in the Head its joy and crown, so the Head finds in the body its fulfillment (see Eph. 1:22, 23).
In the light of these facts the believer needs much time for praise. And as he sings and rejoices and praises, he finds to his infinite delight that God works and His promises become real in actual experience. “Delight
thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Ps. 37:4). Throughout all eternity we will be praising God for our inheritance in Christ, so let us lose no time, let us begin now. Let us by
faith embrace all the implications of the Cross the Holy Spirit would apply, and in a new freedom we will pray from the lofty position of “the new creation.”
(The above material was taken from Prayer’s Deeper Secrets.)
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