Talking with God (Prayers) 1
he Alabi’s had five children, three of which were in the university. Somehow, however, Olu never really felt free with his father. He was in the constant habit of sending his requests through his brothers. It seemed as if he was afraid of bothering his parents with his needs. His school fees and pocket money were received through his brothers.
During one of the university breaks, Olu’s class was to go on a field trip. As they sat round the dinner table, he whispered to his brother to remind their dad on his behalf. As usual, his brother did. However, their dad kept quiet.
As the field trip approached, he asked his mom to help him speak with his father again. This was when the father blurted out: “Why must my own son send others to me? Can’t he speak to me directly? I don’t remember hiring a slave in the house.” Olu’s dad was infuriated at his son’s behavior. Do we Christians behave any differently from Olu when it comes to relating with our heavenly Father? The answer is obvious.
The Privilege of Prayer
One of the highest privileges we have received as Christians is that of prayers i.e. conversing with God. But this is probably also one of the most neglected privileges for reasons that abound. Often times at Pens For Christ, we receive mails in which people share with us issues that they would have us pray for. (We appreciate and honour these requests). Crusade grounds are often jam-packed with people who desire to be prayed for by a ‘man of God’. Countless ministries receive variety of prayer points, while pastors and other spiritual leaders have their tons coming.
Honestly, there is NOTHING out rightly wrong in sharing our concerns with other Christians for the purpose of prayers. As Christians, we exist as one large family to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2, Romans 12:15). In many of his letters, the apostle Paul explains to the Christians under his care how he was praying for them. (See Romans 1:9-12, Ephesians 1:16-20, Ephesians 3:14-19, Philippians 1:3-4, Colossians 1:9-12, Colossians 4:12-13, 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3, 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12). We also read that he also solicits their prayers for him (Romans 15:30-31, Ephesians 6:18-20, Colossians 4:2-4). Acts 12:5 records that the early Christians gathered to pray for Peter when he was imprisoned. Jesus Christ, our Lord, certainly prayed for His followers.
We can see, therefore, that praying for others is a scripturally documented and encouraged practice. The fear, however, arises when an individual Christian fails to avail himself/herself of the personal privilege of communing with God in prayers. There is a fundamental problem when we fail to realize that we have direct access to God and as such give out our prayer requests as ‘contracts’ to others. Often times, this comes because we feel that we aren’t good enough or that some others are just more ‘spiritual’ , pray better and that God is more disposed to listen to them.
Is this God’s will for us? There is no biblical basis to think so. Prayer is a privilege available unto ALL believers without any favouritism.
God, Our Father
As Christians, we are ALL God’s children and there is no favouritism. Everyone who has believed in Jesus Christ has become a child of God (1 John 5:1a). No one is more of a child than another. We are ALL accepted on one basis- God’s love (1 John3:1). No one becomes a child of God because he/she lives a good life. No! We were ALL helpless and equally received God’s grace- none of us can take credit. Only the death of Jesus makes us acceptable (Romans 5:6-11).
“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus…. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” (Galatians 3:26-29, NLT)
If there was one thing that Olu in the story above needed to realize, it was the fact that he was a child of his father and had as much access to him as his brothers. Many Christians need to realize this truth as well. As our father, God desires that we enjoy free access to Him; He has no favourites. See how the Bible puts it:
‘So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”’ (Romans 8:15, NLT)
‘We have, then, my brothers and sisters, complete freedom to go into the Most Holy Place by the means of the death of Jesus. He opened for us a new way, through the curtain- that is his own body.’ (Hebrews 10:19-20, Good News Bible).
‘Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.’ (Romans 5:1&2, NLT)
What do all these mean? Jesus Christ has brought us into a place of right-standing with God. Because of what He has done, we can come before God with freedom and with confidence. See Hebrews 4:15&16. This opportunity is open to ALL who believe in Christ. It is not reserved for a few “special people”. We are all made special before God by means of the sacrifice of Jesus. He is the ONLY mediator/bridge between God and mankind. ‘For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time’ (1 Timothy 2:5&6, NLT).
As God’s child, you have direct access to God. All this is because of what Christ has done. See 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. This is your privilege- it’s your right. (But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.’-John 1:12, NLT). Why not make the most of it?
To be continued.....