One of the most common obstacles hindering prayer may be the issue
already mentioned in the foreword: not understanding that Christ is our
righteousness and that we can approach God through Him. If one does not
understand and fully realize this basic issue, it is almost impossible to pray
Instead, we might concentrate
only on ourselves and our imperfections, and not even expect that God would
answer our prayers. We might feel unworthy and think that only those people who
are holier will get an answer to their prayers from God. As a result of a poor
understanding of righteousness, we may not have a trustful relationship with
God at all.
To make this clear, we are going to study the issue in the
light of the next examples. They show us the right basis, so that we can
trustfully pray to God:
Access through Jesus. First of all, anyone struggling with prayer
should understand that we can come to God at any moment, but only through Jesus
and His blood. Our access to Him is not based on something in ourselves, the
basis is in the fulfilled work of Jesus and His blood. Jesus is our ticket to
God and our Mediator. Therefore, if we try to approach God in some other way or
through our own actions, it is not surprising if we do not have trust in our
prayer. Trust will be missing from our prayer without Jesus:
- (Eph ,18)
But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes
were far off are made near by the blood of Christ.
18. For through him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
-(Eph 3:11-12) According to the eternal
purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
12 In whom we
have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
- (Hebr ,22) Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter
into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with
Watchman Nee described the same thing. He pointed out the usual issue of
people basing their access to God on how well they have succeeded, not on the
atonement of Jesus. People may think that if they have succeeded really well,
then also God will receive them. If they have failed, they may think the
I am almost sure that our
thoughts go like this, "Today I have been very proper. The word of God
felt so warm and alive in the morning – surely I can now go before God in
prayer.” Or, "We had a quarrel at home yet again this morning, and it
hasn’t been sorted out yet. Going before God is impossible now.”
On what basis do
you come before God? On the basis of your own uncertain feelings? Do you think
that what you have achieved today will decide whether God will receive you or
not? Or is your courage based on the blood of Christ having been poured out for
you and that God looks at that blood and is satisfied? You might change, but the
blood of Christ never does. Therefore, you can come to God at any moment
without hesitation. Not even our good achievements today, yesterday, or
the day before can guarantee us access to the Most Holy. It is guaranteed to us
by the blood of Christ alone. Under the shelter of blood you can go before the
face of God, regardless of whether your day has been good or bad, or whether
you sinned consciously or unconsciously. The blood of Jesus is the only way to
God, and it is always open. (1)
His name. Secondly, it is good to understand that when we pray
and turn to God, it only takes place in the name of Jesus, not in the name of
anybody else. In our lives this means that we do not need to look at ourselves
and our imperfect lives, but at Jesus – this was already mentioned above.
God, the Father,
receives us in the name of Jesus, not in our own name. It is good enough for
Him, and in a way, it is like a paid ticket of admission to Him. Other names or
tickets are no longer needed:
- (John 14:13-14) And whatever you
shall ask in my name, that will I do, that
the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If you shall ask any thing in my name, I will do
- (John 15:16) You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and
ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit
should remain: that whatever you shall ask of the Father in my name,
he may give it you.
- (John 16:23-24, 26-27) And in that day
you shall ask me nothing. Truly, truly, I say to you, Whatever you shall ask
the Father in my name, he will give it you.
24 Till now have
you asked nothing in my name: ask, and you shall receive,
that your joy may be full.
26 At that day you
shall ask in my name: and I say not to you, that I will pray the Father
27 For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and
have believed that I came out from God.
His righteousness. The third important issue is the righteousness of
Jesus. For if Jesus has entered our lives and has become our Savior, we have
also received His righteousness. This means that our acceptance before God no
longer depends on ourselves, but on Jesus who has already fulfilled all the
demands of God and the Law. He is our righteousness, and then, we are in fact
as righteous and acceptable before the Father as He is.
Therefore, the best we can do is to stop looking at
ourselves and our faults and look at Him who is our righteousness. If we do
this, it is not difficult for us to approach God trustfully in prayer:
- (1 Cor 1:30-31) But of him are
you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made to us wisdom, and righteousness,
and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory
in the Lord.
- (Rom )
To declare, I say, at this time his
righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which
believes in Jesus.
- (Rom 5:1) Therefore being justified by faith, we have
peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
- (Rom 5:19) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made
sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
In addition, as comes to the righteousness of Christ, it is good to
understand that there is no difference between people. There is no difference,
for example, between Paul and the believers of these days; in the same way
also Elijah, the great hero of faith, was no more righteous than any of us. God
heard his prayer in spite of his imperfection:
- (James 5:16-18) Confess your
faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The
effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly
that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three
years and six months.
18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth
brought forth her fruit.
God hears. It is also important to understand that God hears our
prayers. It is very common that we focus our attention on ourselves or our
faith when praying – do I have enough faith for God to answer me – instead of
simply expecting that God will hear our prayers and answer them. In other
words, we may be stuck in self-observation and consider our own lives and the
degree of faith we have: all of this is of no use.
How can this problem be solved? The
only way is to stop concentrating on ourselves and our faith, and start
focusing on the promises of God. Since there are many verses in the Bible
saying that He hears and answers our prayers, it could be wise to trust them.
We have to pay attention to these promises and not to ourselves or our faith:
- (Gen 17:20) And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him
fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and
I will make him a great nation.
- (1 Sam 1:27) For this child I prayed; and the LORD has given me my
petition which I asked of him
- (2 Sam 22:7) In my distress I called on the LORD, and cried to my
God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter
into his ears.
- (2 King 19:20) Then Isaiah the son of
Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus said the LORD God of Israel, That which
you have prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.
- (2 Chron 30:27) Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the
people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy
dwelling place, even to heaven.
- (Ezra 8:23) So we fasted and sought our God for this: and he
was entreated of us.
- (Ps 66:19-20) But truly God has
heard me; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God, which has not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy
- (Ps 6:9) The LORD has heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.
- (Ps 65:2) O you that hear prayer, to you shall all flesh
- (Matt 7:7-8) Ask, and it shall
be given you; seek, and you shall
find; knock, and it shall be opened to you:
8 For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds;
and to him that knocks it shall be opened.
- (John 14:13-14) And whatever you
shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If you shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
- (Matt 7:11) If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts
to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give
good things to them that ask him?
- (1 Peter 3:12) For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and
his ears are open to their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against
them that do evil.
- (1 John 5:14) And this is the confidence that we have in him, that,
if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us: