From last night's sermon on Galatians 4:6:
A new year has begun, it’s often a time when we assess our Christian lives and think about how they’re going. If I were to ask you ‘how is your prayer life going?’ How would you respond?
If you belong to Jesus, you can look me in the eye and tell me ‘My prayer life is unimprovable’. How’s your prayer life? ‘My prayer life is divine.’
I am clothed in the Son of God and His prayer-life is pretty darned good. And Galatians 4 verse 6 tells me that the Spirit of the Son is in me. And what is He doing? He is praying!
What is He praying? He is praying the prayer of Jesus to the Father. ‘Abba, Father’ is Jesus’ own prayer – He prayed it in the Garden of Gethsemane – it’s Jesus’ own prayer “Abba, Father.” (Mark 14:36) And the Spirit OF THE SON is praying that prayer from within ME.
I’m not just invited to pray, I am already caught up in the prayer life of God. The Spirit is already praying Jesus’ perfect prayer IN me and praying it to the Father.
The Spirit is praying from within you right now, ‘Abba, Father, Abba, Father, Abba, Father’ – it’s as constant as your heart-beat. ‘Abba, Father’ – that is your spiritual pulse. The Spirit of the Son calling out to your Father from the depth of your being.
And those words ‘Abba, Father’ – they are not just the first line of a prayer. ‘Abba, Father’ is the essence of prayer. It is resting like a needy child in the arms of a strong and loving Heavenly Father.
And all our little prayers that we say (when we get around to it) – they are the ‘Amen’ to the Spirit’s continual prayer. We’re always late to prayers – did you know that? However early you get up in the morning – the Spirit has been up earlier, and He’s been praying in you. You join in late and add your own Amen.
And as we go on in the Christian life, the Spirit of the Son will help our little prayers to become more child-like, so that more and more we call out “Daddy” the way He does (Rom 8:15). And then we stop praying like slaves and start praying like sons.
Every time I forget I’m a son, I start praying like a slave and it kills my prayer life. I pray like I’m a slave and He’s a slave-master, like I’m a soldier and He’s a commanding officer. But Jesus didn’t teach us to pray ‘Our Sergeant-Major in Heaven’ or ‘Our Line Manager in Heaven’ – instead: Our Father in Heaven.
We need to be little children in prayer and thankfully the Spirit of the Son makes us exactly that and helps us to pray child-like prayers where we depend on our heavenly Dad.
Our own attempts at praying won’t be very good but, wonderfully, the Spirit takes even our most rubbish efforts at prayer and wraps them up in the Son’s perfect prayer and lifts them the to the Father.