NEW COVENANT PRAYER – THE FOUNDATION
Prayer is a common activity in all religions. In fact, religion is a felt need because human beings are incomplete within themselves and need a higher power upon which to depend in their weakness and to supply their needs.
Since people are essentially at enmity with God and refuse either to acknowledge His existence or to recognise their accountability to Him as their Creator, they have created gods for themselves which are both figments of their imagination and beings (though non-existent) made in their image so that they can manage and manipulate them for their own ends. Prayer to these “gods” is not true prayer. This kind of “prayer” has no fellowship with its god, and it does not submit to the will of such a god. People relate to their gods on the basis of fear. Whatever they do is often an attempt to appease or to manipulate them for their own ends.
We cannot understand true prayer unless we understand our essential relationship with our Creator. In order to short circuit our accountability to our Creator, we have invented both gods and what we call “prayer” but that does not absolve us from accountability in any way. We can neither make God go away, nor can we shake off our responsibility to Him just because we choose to do so.
God has two very valid reasons for calling us to account for what we are and what we do with our lives. He is both our Creator and our Reconciler.
1. GOD IS OUR CREATOR
There is no other account of creation that gives a simpler or saner record of the event. Unlike all other attempts to explain how the universe came to be, including the theory of evolution that many scientists support that presupposes that everything just “happened”, the Bible explains the origin of all life by starting at the beginning.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen.1:1)
Since God claims responsibility for all of creation, He has the right to direct the affairs of individuals and nations.
I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself (Isa. 44:24).
2. GOD IS OUR RECONCILER
In Paul Young’s book, The Shack, the main character, Mackenzie, asked Papa (the person who plays the part of God the Father), the question, “What exactly did Jesus accomplish by dying?” Papa’s response was both simple and riveting. “Honey, you asked me what Jesus accomplished on the cross; so now listen to me carefully: through His death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world.”
“The whole world? You mean those who believe in you, right?” Mack asked.
“The whole world, Mack. All I am telling you is that reconciliation is a two-way street, and I have done my part, totally, completely, finally. It is not the nature of love to force a relationship but it is the nature of love to open the way,” responded Papa.
God has opened the way for the world to be reconciled to Him. He invites us to change our minds about Him and to return to Him. He reinstates all who receive His forgiveness as His beloved sons and daughters.
…God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. (2 Cor. 5:19).
It is this Father/son relationship which qualifies us to come to God and to call on Him for a response to our prayers. There can be no true prayer outside of this relationship.