Few issues are as important to understand to the Christian life as the role of prayer and spiritual warfare in the Christian life. Some Christians, in my experience, treat prayer like a genie in a bottle. They think if they “pray” (or “rub the genie’s bottle”), then they will magically get all their wishes and needs met. What this approach to prayer fails to understand is how wonderful our access to prayer is, and the cost that was paid to give us such access in prayer to the Lord of Glory. Let’s briefly review this as you open up this Issue of Theology for Life Magazine on prayer and spiritual warfare and discover great truths.
In the Old Testament, access to God was restricted to one person—the High Priest who had to perform priestly sacrifices and wear priestly garb to enter into the Most Holy Place. Only once a year was this man consecrated beforehand and allowed access to the Holy of Holies before the face of God. When Christ lived a sinless life and died, He tore the veil that separated man from God on account of his sin. Now man—after the death of Christ—doesn’t have to wear priestly garments or perform priestly sacrifices before the Lord. Jesus fulfilled all of these sacrifices and satisfied the wrath of God in His death forever. He obliterated the need these requirements and now invites and even summons His beloved friends, redeemed through His blood, to come to His throne. And this is what is so amazing about Hebrews 2:17-18 and Hebrews 4:14-16: the summons of God to come boldly before the throne of His grace on account of Jesus.
As Christians, we have been united to Christ. We have what theologians call “union with Christ”, which is only possible because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Theologians also call union with Christ the center of the doctrine of salvation. Through union with Christ, Christians have communion with Christ. The twin truths of union and communion with Christ provide the doctrinal and theological foundation for how and why we are to come before the Lord in prayer. Like a train engine that continues on the tracks, taking its cargo wherever it may go, union and communion with Christ work as both the fuel and the engine of our prayer lives as Christians.
This is why we aren’t praying to a genie in a bottle. No, we aren’t even just making our requests known to God—although He invites us to do so. Instead, we need to understand that when we come to God in prayer, we are coming to One who wholly accepts us by His grace, through the Son, and continues to help us grow in Him, through the Holy Spirit. It is more than just our petitions and concerns that God wants. He made all of this access possible through everything Christ did for us, so we could know God personally and intimately. We don’t have a right, therefore, to treat the grace of God—and our access to God in prayer—as anything but precious.
That’s kind of the point, isn’t it? We must treat the grace of our access to God as something other than merely precious—it’s a treasure. This is a struggle I know well, as does almost every Christian. We want to pray, but often we only lay our petitions before the throne of God’s grace, or offer a short prayer for a friend, a colleague, etc., and the list goes on and on. Over time, we come to think of prayer as only what we get from God rather than a gracious, humble, and holy summons to know God personally and intimately.
In this Issue of Theology for Life, we are inviting you to expand your vision of God by discovering for yourselves the vast resources available to you through your union and communion with Christ. The summons of God to come to His throne is a gracious invitation from your Creator and your Lord. He lovingly longs for you to come and know Him intimately. He desires you to know that He goes before you to make war on your behalf. Even now, with His sufficient all-covering blood, He pleads before the Father for you and goes to battle for you. How great is the love of God, and the greatness of His grace truly knows no end.
I invite you to discover the wonder and riches of prayer available to you, as a born-again Christian. Your life may seemingly be going off the train tracks today, and life may seem to leave you feeling defeated, overwhelmed, and worse. By reading this Issue, I hope you’ll be refreshed and encouraged. Most importantly, however, my prayer is you’ll discover how your union with Christ fuels your communion with Christ. I know that once you discover the twin truths of union and communion with Christ, your prayer life and your walk with God will never be the same. Your love of Jesus will sink even deeper into the endless ocean of His sufficient, transforming, and preserving grace.
In Christ Alone,
Executive Editor, Theology for Life Magazine
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- Passionate Prayers by James Forbis. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- Elijah’s Suicide Prayer and the Whisper of God by Landon Coleman. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks: A Way of Life in Christ by Charlie Handren. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- Praying with George Mueller’s Faith and Joseph’s Results by Rick Hanna. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- How I Started Praying the Bible by Don Whitney. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- Persistent Prayer to a Loving Father by Jason Helopoulos. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- Five Benefits of Praying the Psalms by Don Whitney. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- Three Keys to a Better Prayer Life by Dave Jenkins. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- Prayer: A Precious Remedy Against Satan’s Devices by Jason Garwood. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- Spiritual Warfare and the In-breaking Kingdom by Jason Garwood. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- The Importance of Prayer to Theology by David Dunham. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- The Grace of God in Prayer by Dave Jenkins. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- The Practice of Corporate Prayer by Chris Poblete. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- The Practice of Private Prayer by Chris Poblete. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- The Work of the Holy Spirit in Prayer by Brian Hedges. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- Seven Ways To Pray for Persecuted Christians by Chris Poblete. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- Spiritual Warfare in the Realm of Assurance by Jason Helouplos. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- Spiritual Warfare and the Power of Scripture by Dave Jenkins. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- Spiritual Warfare and Our Spiritual Growth by Dave Jenkins. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- Pastoral Ministry and Four Strategies for Spiritual Warfare. Read the article in PDF or Web.
- Recommended Books on Prayer and Spiritual Warfare. Read the article in PDF or Web.