Jan20WedJanuary 20, 2016
I have used and reviewed many resources for ‘making disciples’. Usually the language is around process, the ‘plumbing’ of following Jesus. The Way of Jesus pathway does not focus on process – Bible Study, prayer – but on the person, one’s relationship with Jesus.
My observation over the years is that it is too easy to focus on the ‘disciplines’ so called, and to even get good at them. But it may do little for one’s relationship with Jesus.
Each of the Seven Markers begins with ‘I’ but each of the Markers is focused on Jesus – being like Jesus, living for Jesus, and depending on the power of the Spirit of Jesus.
The Way of Jesus is about ‘following’ Jesus. The Seven Markers repeatedly and continually focus on Jesus. Over time and with renewed practice and in dependence on the Spirit of Jesus, the life of Jesus begins to show.
Where is prayer in the Seven Markers? It is implicit throughout. Prayer is about ‘talking with’ God. It is about listening for the voice of God and making one’s needs and concerns known to God. It is about being honest with the Lord about attitudes and behaviours that are not ‘like Jesus.’ In particular the second phrase of the first saying, ‘depending on the Spirit’ is where the Way of Jesus training focuses on the subject of prayer and particularly the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer becomes a life-giving framework for life in the Spirit.
It is unimaginable to think that you could follow Jesus without speaking to Him and listening for His voice. As the Scriptures make clear, it is the Holy Spirit who mediates the presence of the Godhead – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When we address our prayers to Jesus, they are prayers that carry to the Father. It is Jesus, who as our High Priest, makes our prayers acceptable to God because of His work on the Cross.
He has made a new and living way into the presence of God!
Heb. 4:14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Heb 4:14-16 NIV)
Jesus is always ready and able to intercede.
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Heb 7:25 NIV)
Moreover, God has not only satisfied the needs of justice through the sacrifice of Jesus, but also provides another Helper, the Holy Spirit, who takes even our inarticulate groanings and turns them into prayers heard in heaven:
Rom. 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
What a God we serve! Hallelujah!