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The Doctrine of Christ

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    Section XVI—PRAYER

    LESSON EIGHTY-ONE The Essential Features of Prayer

    1. The basis of true prayer is the recognition of the character of God and of his relationship to us. Matthew 6:9.TDOC 258.1

    2. The purpose of prayer is to glorify God. Psalm 50:23; Daniel 5:23; Revelation 4:10, 11; 1 Chronicles 29:11-13.TDOC 258.2

    3. Praise is a primary element of prayer. Psalm 65:1; 100:4; 35:18; 67:5; 22:22, 23; 150.TDOC 258.3

    4. The recognition of the character of God involves thanksgiving for the constant manifestation of his love and mercy as “our Father.” Psalm 95:2; 116:17; Philippians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18; Daniel 6:10; Hebrews 13:15; Ephesians 5:20.TDOC 258.4

    5. The recognition of God’s sovereignty and of his universal dominion should precede any requests made concerning ourselves. Matthew 6:10; Psalm 103:19.TDOC 258.5

    6. Three classes of petitions concerning our own welfare are legitimate in prayer: Those which recognize God as the one who provides our necessary food; those which recognize our sinfulness and the need of forgiveness; those which recognize God as our refuge against the working of Satan. Matthew 6:11-13, ARV.TDOC 258.6

    Prayer Is the sum, substance, and crown of the teaching of Jesus

    Jesus teaches prayer. This is the sum and substance of his teaching; the object of his life and death. He came to bring us unto. God; he died for our sins, that the love of God may now come freely and fully into our souls, and that eternal life may be ours. He became man, that we, through him, might obtain the adoption of sons. He is a High Priest that we, gathered round him, should be priests unto God and his Father. That his disciples may pray in Christ’s name, as one with him, as standing in a filial relation to God through him, this is the high end of the incarnation and of the sufferings of the Son of God, this is the glorious fruit of his resurrection and of the Pentecostal gift. For prayer is not one among many manifestations of spiritual life; it is not even enough to say that it is the first and most important. It stands by itself, and pre-eminent. It in, the manifestation of our personal relation to God; it is the essential and immediate expression of our filial relation in Christ to the Father. ‘Behold, he prays,’ is the beginning of the new life; ‘Abba, Father,’ is the first word of the regenerate. And as the spiritual life commences so its continuation. Thus it is true, that Jesus teaches to pray, and that the sum and substance, the summit and crown of the teaching of Jesus, is prayer in his name.”TDOC 258.7

    Six to one for spiritual blessings

    “In the Lord’s Prayer there are six petitions for spiritual blessings; only one refers to our temporal wants. What discipline in constantly needed, if we are to enter sincerely into the spirit of this proportion!”TDOC 259.1

    Neglect of prayer is sin

    “He who prays merely from a sense of duty cannot have tasted yet that the Lord is gracious. Yet it is good to bear in mind that when we neglect prayer, we not merely forego a privilege, but neglect a duty and commit sin. How strange it is that we avail ourselves so rarely of the inestimable right of drawing near unto the Most High! This convinces us more than anything else of the worldliness and hardness of our hearts. But God in his Word demands that we should take, as it wore, also a lower and sterner view of the neglect of prayer; for he rebukes his people severely for not taking him diligently, and calling upon him in earnest and persevering prayer. He who gives up regularity in prayer deprives himself of the emblem and safeguard of submission and obedience to God. The bowing of the knee before the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is both the symbol and nourishment of the spirit of filial obedience, of the surrender of out will and the dedication of our energies to God. We should therefore view prayer not merely as an enjoyment, but as a sacrifice in which we present ourselves to God, a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable unto him, which is our reasonable service.”TDOC 259.2

    Prayer a mystery of light

    “There is no antagonism between prayer in time and the unchangeable will of God in eternity, for Christ is the bridge, the solution of all problems, the peaceful light in our darkness. He reveals prayer an a mystery, but a mystery of light, dark by excess of brightness. Jesus is the archetype of prayer. We are made the sons of God in him, and our great High Priest enables us to enter with him into the holy of holies. We pray because Christ is in us, and the Father is in Christ. Even before his incarnation, and before Pentecost, the saints of God prayed, anticipating the revelation of the mystery of union. David prayed in Christ, and Christ in him, so that Christ could adopt the words of David’s prayer, which he himself by his Spirit had wrought in David’s heart.’ But as the revelation of God increases in clearness, the union with his people increases in depth. Jesus, the Son of man, who lived, suffered, and died, exalted at the right hand of God; that same Son whom God bath appointed the heir of an things, by whom he made the world, who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, by himself purged our sins, is the Word in whom God spoke unto us he is the Word in whom we speak unto the Father. Praying in the name of Christ, we pray according to the eternal purpose of God, and we are lifted above sin and death, and all the imperfections of the creature; we are beyond the clouds of time, in the bright region of divine love.”TDOC 259.3

    Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer

    “But do you not see Jesus in every word of the Lord’s Prayer? This prayer has well been designated as the condensed substance of all previous prayers. Here all the desires, petitions, hopes, of God’s servants are summed up; all the strings of David’s harp, all aspirations of patriarchs and prophets, are blended in perfect harmony. And if the Lord’s Prayer were only this, would it not necessarily be full of Christ! How full of Christ are the Psalms! But here is more than the Psalms. Here is the Son of God, there only longed for, and seen from a distance, Jesus, the great Immanuel, the mouth of God speaking, the very heart of the Father revealing to us the fullness of divine love.TDOC 260.1

    “‘Our Father which art in heaven.’ The very invocation is Pentecostal. It is based on the cross, and it breathes the air of the resurrection morn. ‘I ascend to my God and to your God, to my Father and to your Father,’ ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ He is not ashamed to call us brethren. Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, crying, Abba.’TDOC 260.2

    “‘Hallowed be thy name.’ Jesus is the messenger in whom is God’s name. He that bath seen him hath seen the Father. And the name of-Jesus is the name above every name given unto the Son, as our Redeemer, who was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.TDOC 260.3

    “‘Thy kingdom come.’ Is not Jesus the King, the Son of man, who shall come with the clouds of heaven, and to whom shall be given dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that an people, nations, and languages shall serve him.”TDOC 260.4

    “‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ Christ is the only one who fulfilled God’s will, and through whom this petition will find its realization. We are sanctified by that will according to which Christ offered himself.”TDOC 260.5

    “‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ I am the living bread, which came down from heaven.’ The bounty and forbearance of God are f or the sake of Christ and his salvation.TDOC 260.6

    “‘Forgive us our debts.’ Here we behold the sufferings and the death of Christ. If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father.TDOC 260.7

    “‘Lead us not into temptation.’ This is the petition taught and offered by the High Priest, who was tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin; whose sympathy is perfect and whose prayer for us, when Satan desires to have us that he may sift us as wheat, is that our faith-fail not.TDOC 261.1

    “‘Deliver us from evil.’ Here is the great Conqueror, who bruised the Serpent’s head, and shall yet bruise Satan under our feet.TDOC 261.2

    “‘For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever,’ And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of the world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.’TDOC 261.3

    “‘Amen.’ The very name by which the Savior calls himself: ‘These things said the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the creation of God.’”TDOC 261.4

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