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Calling on the Name of the Lord: Gospel

By Gianluca Cueva

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” John 17:20-21

We’ve been tracing a biblical theology of prayer, from Genesis to Malachi, and now we’ve finally made it to the Gospels. We made note that, “prayer begins in the Bible as a cry for God to do what he has promised.” And on the pages of the New Testament, we are reminded explicitly of God’s greatest promise: God himself (Matt. 1:23).

As we’ve been hearing on Sunday mornings from Pastor Mike: “prayer is not about getting something from God, but getting connected to God.” This statement summarizes the final culmination of a biblical theology of prayer well. Because out of the many promises God gives to His people (e.g. blessings, curses, grace for repentance), His greatest promise is not something, but someone: Jesus Christ. It is in Christ, and Christ alone, that we are able to receive all the promises and blessings of God. In prayer, we cry out to God, for more of God’s presence in our lives and world.

We see this as Jesus not only teaches His disciples to pray using the intimate language of “our Father” (Matt. 6:9-13), but also by the way He models an intimate connection with the Father (especially in the Gospel of John).  One example of this is “the High Priestly Prayer” in John 17. In this prayer we see Christ's heart to be connected with His followers (John 17:24). And because Christ models that prayer is connecting to God, it will also mean that through our union with Christ, followers will also be connected to one another in unity (John 17:23).

In Christ, we are reminded of the trajectory of all of God’s promises. We are reminded that the answers to God’s promises may not always come as we may think; like the Son of God taking on flesh (John 1:14). We are reminded that God uses anyone, in any place or time; like the genealogy of Jesus shows (Matt. 1:1-16). We are reminded that even in moments of despair and darkness God is working; like our Savior hanging on a cursed tree (Gal. 3:13). We are reminded that there is grace for repentance; like the constant intercession of our High Priest (Rom. 8:34).

So as we finish our brief and abridged biblical theology of prayer, think through the promises we have been given in Christ. Dear brother, dear sister, they belong to you as an inheritance. May the Spirit mold our prayer lives accordingly as we call on the name of the Lord!