Sunday, 11 July 2010

Crucifying our prayers: praying for others over ourselves

This continues my series on the cross of Christ and prayer. I previously posted on how the cross of Christ gives us access to God in prayer. Now I’ll post some reflections on what it means for the cross of Christ to shape our prayers.

There’s nothing wrong in praying for ourselves. Jesus did, in Gethsemane. The believers prayed together for boldness to resist persecution (Acts 4:24-30). Paul commands us not to be anxious about anything, but to pray about everything (Php 4:6).

However, we mustn’t only pray for ourselves. Jesus prayed for others (Luke 22:31-32). In fact, his whole incarnate life in this world was for others. He was a living sacrifice (Mark 10:45; Php 2:5-11). And now, as our risen high priest, he still prays for us (Rom 8:34; Heb 7:24-25). The NT is full of examples of people praying for others (Acts 12:5; Php 1:3-5; etc), and requests for mutual prayer (Col 4:2-4; Heb 13:18-19; etc).

So, one aspect of letting the cross shape our prayers is simply praying for others. It shows we aren't just obsessed with ourselves, but are concerned for others – which is exactly the attitude that sent Jesus to the cross.

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