John writes: "I am a retired Quality Assurance Engineer, prison minister and hospital Chaplain."
So often we think of our intercessional prayers and petitions as occurring in a vacuum; a one-way plea which we utter in desperate hope of reaching the ears and heart of our Sovereign God. We may tend to ramble with words, begging and dictating “how” God may help in a dire situation, may cure us or others. So often we worry if our words were sufficient and if we were reverent enough in our petition. But we need not struggle with such prayer.
Prayer, whether in praise or petition, is best when God’s own word is reflected from our hearts back to him in remembrance of His faithfulness and promises to us. Scripture provides us clear examples of the work of God's word for our prayers.
Jesus, speaking what His Father gave Him to say, used these powerful words to a leper who said, “Lord, if you are willing you can make me clean.” Jesus answered, “I am willing.”(Luke 5:13) To the blind men begging for mercy Jesus asked, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” In response to their words of affirmation, Jesus spoke, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” (Mt 9:27-30) Jesus always spoke His Father’s words with the divine power to heal. We can do no better that to reflect on His word.
If we’re going to reflect God’s word back to Him, we must know that His word is precious to Him. Men don’t use the word “precious” too often. Women will readily speak of a baby as being “precious.” Men will say, “Cute kid. “ Jewelry is often considered precious. But the word “precious” takes on a far greater meaning when it comes to God’s word. His word is powerful, purposeful and unchanging.
The Psalms, written a thousand years before the birth of Christ, praise God’s word which brought forth the majestic and incomprehensible work of Creation. God’s word for man in Genesis 3:15 is personal, purposeful and merciful. He promised “the seed of woman,” which set the path for fallen man’s reconciliation to Him; through the Incarnate Infant, His Son Jesus Christ, The Lamb of God, Faithful Redeemer on the Cross and The Risen, Living Word. These eternal words defining Christ’s identity fill the heavens. His word is powerful, purposeful and immutable. The Gospel teaches us that His word is unfathomably personal and sufficient, as is His grace for us. (2 Cor 12:9) Truly, God’s word is precious to Him.
When we reflect God’s own word back to Him, we are praying in the Spirit. We acknowledge that we abide in Christ and that our prayer is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Like the leper and blind men, let our reflection of God’s word back to Him be an affirmation of our trust in His decision and His intimate, mighty and immutable word. Like the Psalmist, we reflect His word in praise of His incomparable majesty. We can prayerfully rest in His immeasurable wisdom and grace.
“Father, you know my need and concern. You have said, “I am willing,” “I am able.” May your Sovereign will be done and may your precious word bring about an outcome which will be un-mistakably seen by many to manifest your glory. Amen.
Charles John Ellicott (1819-1905) says this about prayer:
As Christians, our place in prayer is but to receive on our hearts the bright rays of His words of truth and promise and flash them back to heaven from whence they came. It is this that binds the efficacy of our prayers.