Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: "Christ-Centered Prayer"

The Pastor’s Perspective
Vol. 30 Num. 16
“Christ-Centered Prayer”
First Published: May 8, 1997

So far we have seen that Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:3-14, is trinitarian (that is, it highlights the work of the blessed Trinity in our salvation), decretal (that is, it accents the sovereignty of God in the whole work of redemption), redemptive (that is, God’s redeeming, saving blessings are systematically rehearsed in it), and Father-focused (that is, the Father’s goodness, love, and initiative are celebrated repeatedly).

But there is yet more gold to be mined in this glorious prayer. For instance, we may note that the prayer is Christ-centered (that is, the integral role of the Son’s redemptive work is accentuated). Over and over Paul brings us back to thoughts of the centrality of Christ in every aspect of God’s saving work.

Paul emphasizes that every Spiritual blessing is enjoyed IN CHRIST. This means, among other things, that all God’s benefits are experienced only in a vital faith relation to Christ. Many today (even in the evangelical world) are toying with the idea that salvation can be experienced apart from a saving faith relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul utterly rejects such an idea, insisting that all those and only those who are “in Christ” are the beneficiaries of His redemption.

But Paul’s emphasis on every Spiritual blessing being enjoyed “in Christ” also reminds us that all the benefits of God are obtained when one has been united to Christ in faith. Thus Paul , as He catalogs his list of God’s lavish blessings stresses that they are experienced “in Christ” (that is, in covenantal relationship to Him). According to Paul, God blessed us IN CHRIST (3); chose us IN HIM (4); predestined us THROUGH JESUS CHRIST (5); bestowed grace on us IN THE BELOVED (6); lavished grace on us (8), made known his plan to us (9), and purposed his whole divine plan IN HIM (9, 7a & 10b) and sealed us IN HIM (13).

Furthermore, our every blessing is based on Christ’s work. For we have REDEMPTION through his blood (7); and our INHERITANCE is solely in Him (10b-11).

As William Guthrie said so long ago: “Less would not satisfy. More is not to be desired.” Have your prayers been characterized by such a Christ-centered focus in adoration? May God refresh us with such a thirst for Christ, that our focus of praise falls directly upon Him.

Your friend,

Ligon Duncan


donsands said...

Very good lesson.

Thirst can be a painful thing, and yet at the same time a good thing; and when it is quenched, the time of being refreshed can be immensely rewarding and joyful.

Anonymous said...

interesting blog