Praying sinners?

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‘But you are …. a royal priesthood…’
1 Peter 2:9a ESV

If only the sinless among us may minister, can the church be of any good in the world?
If only the sinless among us may pray, surely, ‘we are of all people most to be pitied’.
Only in Christ, by grace, through faith alone, may we ever minister, may we ever pray. This third of three brief posts on the theme of intercession comes from Oswald Chambers.

Oswald Chambers wrote… ‘By what right do we become ‘a royal priesthood’? By the right of the Atonement. Are we prepared to leave ourselves resolutely alone and to launch out into the priestly work of prayer?

‘The continual grubbing on the inside to see whether we are what we ought to be, generates a self-centred, morbid type of Christianity, not the robust, simple life of the child of God.

‘Until we get into a right relationship to God, it is a case of hanging on by the skin of our teeth, and we say – ‘What a wonderful victory I have got!’ There is nothing indicative of the miracle of redemption in that.

‘Launch out in reckless belief that the redemption is complete, and then bother no more about yourself, but begin to do as Jesus Christ said pray for the friend who comes to you at midnight, pray for the saints, pray for all men. Pray on the realization that you are only perfect in Christ Jesus, not on this plea- ‘O Lord, I have done my best, please hear me.’

‘How long is it going to take God to free us from the morbid habit of thinking about ourselves? We must get sick unto death of ourselves, until there is no longer any surprise at anything God can tell us about ourselves. We cannot touch the depths of meanness in ourselves.

‘There is only one place where we are right, and that is in Christ Jesus. When we are there, we have to pour out for all we are worth in the ministry of the interior.’

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

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Praying in the Now?

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‘And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends.’
Job 42:10a ESV

As long as we are careful to avoid the temptation to think that God is to be bargained with for blessings, we are on firm ground when we find confidence to expect blessings of His choosing when we choose to follow Him in a life of obedient service. And our service may take many forms but not least is it expressed in our prayers. This second brief post on the theme of intercession also comes from Oswald Chambers…

Oswald Chambers writes…. The plaintive, self-centred, morbid kind of prayer, a dead-set that I want to be right, is never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is a sign that I am rebelling against the Atonement. ‘Lord, I will purify my heart if You will answer my prayer; I will walk rightly if You will help me.’

‘I cannot make myself right with God, I cannot make my life perfect; I can only be right with God if I accept the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it?

‘I have to resign every kind of claim and cease from every effort, and leave myself entirely alone in His hands, and then begin to pour out in the priestly work of intercession. There is much prayer that arises from real disbelief in the Atonement. Jesus is not beginning to save us, He has saved us, the thing is done, and it is an insult to ask Him to do it.

‘If you are not getting the hundredfold more, not getting insight into God’s word, then start praying for your friends, enter into the ministry of the interior. ‘…the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends.’ The real business of your life as a saved soul is intercessory prayer. Wherever God puts you in circumstances, pray immediately, pray that His Atonement may be realized in other lives as it has been in yours. Pray for your friends now; pray for those with whom you come in contact now.’

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

God’s Marvel heroes?

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We come across many valuable lessons in life without learning (m)any of them. The lessons we do learn remain with us. Forty years ago, a friend, not intending to teach me anything about prayer, did. She simply shared her glad discovery that she was fighting far less with her family since she began praying for them (rather than about them). This first of three brief posts on the theme of intercession comes from Oswald Chambers….

“Christ Jesus … who indeed is interceding for us.”
“And … the Spirit intercedes for the saints …”
Romans 8:34, 27 ESV

Oswald Chambers wrote about these verses…”Do we need any more argument than this to become intercessors – that Christ “ever liveth to make intercession” ; that the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints”? Are we living in such vital relationship to our fellow men that we do the work of intercession as the Spirit-taught children of God?

“Begin with the circumstances we are in – our homes, our business, our country, the present crisis as it touches us and others – are these things crushing us?
Are they badgering us out of the presence of God and leaving us no time for worship?

Then let us call a halt, and get into such living relationship with God that our relationship to others may be maintained on the line of intercession whereby God works His marvels….

“God continually introduces us to people for whom we have no affinity, and unless we are worshipping God, the most natural thing to do is to treat them heartlessly, to give them a text like the jab of a spear, or leave them with a rapped-out counsel of God and go. A heartless Christian must be a terrible grief to Our Lord….Are we in the direct line of the intercession of our Lord and of the Holy Spirit?”

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

Sent by God

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God loved us and sent his Son to die for us; once, for all. God loved us and raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at his right hand to intercede for us; forever. God loved us and sent us his Spirit to keep us; eternally. Love acts to glorify the loved ones. This third brief post on the theme of loving Jesus also comes from Oswald Chambers…

“Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.'”
John 21:17 ESV

Oswald Chambers writes…. “Peter realizes now with the revelation of the Lord’s hurting question that he does love Him; then comes the point – Spend it out. Don’t testify how much you love Me, don’t profess about the marvelous revelation you have had, but – “Feed My sheep.” And Jesus has some extraordinarily funny sheep, some bedraggled, dirty sheep, some awkward butting sheep, some sheep that have gone stray! It is impossible to weary that love in me if it springs from the one centre. The love of God pays no attention to the distinctions made by natural individuality. If I love my Lord I have no business to be guided by natural temperament; I have to feed His sheep. There is no relief and no release from this commission.”

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest