In my last post on prayer I discussed how we can use what the Bible says about Jesus as a gide to pray for the nations. The basic principle behind this is that when we pray for God to be in a specific situation what the Bible says He is always, we can be confident our prayers will be answered. On top of that, by praying according to what the Bible reveals about Jesus, we become more deeply aware of His character in other situations. We have looked at how to do this for the big issues that face the world, but now I’d like to talk about inviting Jesus into the issues we face on a personal level. Again, the Scripture we will be using comes from Isaiah 9:6:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
We can pray that Jesus will be our wonderful counselor, both when we need wisdom and when those around us do. Jesus’ counsel is wonderful, in that the things He tells us transcend what earthly counselors have to offer. Jesus can counsel us at all hours, in all places, and concerning all things. His presence and wisdom have no boundaries. We can ask Him to be our counselor for our job, for our relationships, for our mental health struggles, and for our spiritual growth. We can trust that the counsel He gives is not only true but that it also leads us toward His miraculous provision. So whatever situation faces us, we can ask Jesus to be our counselor in prayer.
Sometimes we face challenges in our lives that are too big for us. Sometimes the issues are so complicated and muddied that we can’t see to the root. Other times we face issues we are powerless to change. Illness often leaves us with no recourse, as do financial struggles and broken relationships in our families. Perhaps the most overwhelming struggle is the brokenness within our very selves that we cannot seem to get rid of. Amid these things we call on Jesus to come as the Mighty God, to overwhelm our insurmountable problems with His earth-shattering power, and to transform us with His grace. Only the Creator of the universe can change the nature of a situation, so we are blessed that the Creator has come near to us in Jesus, and invited us to call on His name.
Whether we know him or not, each one of us has a father. The quintessential relationship between father and child is something that God gives us so that we might have a relationship on earth that makes us aware of what it looks like to walk with Him as the Heavenly Father. Jesus is the representation of the Father and His heart for us. Every earthly father must eventually be absent, sometimes from death or abandonment, but more often just through work or the natural rhythm of children growing up and moving away. But Jesus, the Everlasting Father, is never absent, but is present everywhere and lives inside His children, that He can be a father to us wherever we are. Whatever you need a Father’s comfort, strength, or advice in today, ask Jesus to provide it for you.
Prince of Peace
We all know that we need peace. But Jesus is not just peace, but the Prince of Peace. To walk in His peace we come under His authority and leadership in our lives. In the Book of Judges, the people of Israel stumbled whenever they lacked a leader, and God had to send a judge to deliver them from their enemies. It is true with the people of God today as well that we need a leader who can deliver us into peace. Jesus has made God manifest to us so that we can have the highest authority as our ultimate leader. He is not a tyrant, but a Lord who takes responsibility for the wellbeing of His people. So when we pray, we can come under the authority of Jesus and experience the peace of dwelling within His kingdom and resting under His protection.
Prayer that Builds Intimacy
As we learn to pray from what the Bible says about God, we can grow more intimate with Him, coming to know Him as He truly is. We will start to recognize Him working in our lives and to see His grace and mercy. This will lead to trust and trust will lead to intimacy. Jesus has made it this way because He wants to know us and for us to know Him, for Him to be all in all so we can be all in Him. This is what it looks like to pray from Him.