Prayer: A weapon in this spiritual war

I wrote this paper for a Trinitarian class as a final project for the semester. It was written as Christmas approached and our new baby girl was less than a month old. Having a child causes a person to do much reflection, as well as much praying. I prayed a lot for grace and help to be a new dad. I prayed so often just to know what to do with this child. A child we had waited so long for, yet as she cried, we were left scratching our heads many times trying to figure out what to do. A child is a beautiful gift that we were blessed to have, but just as marriage reveals our own selfishness, adding a child to the mix increases that to another degree.

Prayer is one of the most beautiful, special and powerful gifts a Christian has. There are many distractions and things that take us from this act. It doesn’t have to be done in a certain place or in a certain way, God just asks us to talk with Him. We get the chance to have a discussion with the Almighty. We can thank Him and offer up requests. We can give our anxieties away. Through it all, He is there. He is listening. Waiting. Wanting to talk with His children.


 

It is the Christmas season at the time of this writing and as this writer thinks of what all this means, images of the Father sending His only Son to this fallen world for the purpose of redeeming the lost keep coming to mind. This world was blessed in the form of Jesus Christ, Immanuel, when God became man and walked this earth. The Father at times may seem distant and seem uninvolved, but the Christians great Father gave this world exactly what they needed in the form of Christ. To quote John Owen in talking about the Father, we must “remember he is our most loving Father.”[1] In Matthew 7:7-11, Jesus compares the fathers of this world with His good and perfect Father. As the worldly fathers that are full of evil can give their children good gifts, then how much more will the Father in heaven give good gifts to those that ask Him. As this world spends so many billions on that perfect Christmas gift, I am reminded of the perfect gift the Father gave in His Son. Our Father in heaven is never distant or far away, but always with us, especially in the form of the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.

As a new father, I realize I will not always be there for my child or be able to provide them the right gifts. I will try to give her what she needs, but what is provided may not be the right gift, action or whatever else. I may say yes to something that should be a no or vice versa. In comparison, each member of the Trinity knows exactly what we need at the appropriate time. As we come before the Father in prayer and our two mediators, the Messiah and the Spirit, intercede for us to the Father, I and all of us can be confident that the Almighty Father is working everything out for good. We may not see it or even know it, and might even question it. But as this exercise has displayed, we have the beautiful gift of prayer to come before the throne of grace and ask, seek, and knock (Matt 7:7-8). We have a loving Father that has given us this gift of prayer to not only communicate with Him, but also with our Savior and the Comforter.

Prayer is one of those foundational tools that can be easily neglected. We get in a rush to get to work that we either do not pray or just say a quick prayer to check off a mental box to make ourselves feel better. We know that we should, but we do not pray like we should. In this regard, prayer becomes a thing to do before a meal or another religious, legalistic instrument that really does nothing else but take up time and make us feel guilty. But, prayer is truly a way to build intimacy with the Father, the Son and the Spirit. It is a way to admit our inadequacy and discuss our great need for God’s help throughout the day. It is a way to bring our urgent cares to request God’s intervention, but we can also bring our Father the normal, everyday concerns that may be small, but matter to us.

The application of this paper is simply to pray to the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. It is this writer’s intention to remember the separate roles of the Trinity, not only in prayer but in the everyday life, and the harmony that each Person has with the other. It is to remember that while each is different and has a distinct role, everything that one Person does, the other two are also involved in. The application is to pray, all the while enhancing my relationship with the Triune God. Why would we not want to talk to the Almighty? He is our help, our strength, our refuge and our everything.


[1] John Owen, “Communion with God,” in The Works of John Owen, ed William H. Goold, 24 vols, (1850-1855; republished, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1965-1991),  2:36.


Bibliography

Anselm. Proslogium. LaSalle, Ill: Open Court Publishing, 1903.

Barth, Karl. Prayer. London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002.

Bloesch, Donald. God the Almighty. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2005.

Bloesch, Donald G. The Struggle of Prayer. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1980.

Bunyan, John “A Discourse Touching Prayer.” Internet. Accessed 2 December 2014, http://acacia.pair.com/Acacia.John.Bunyan/Sermons.Allegories/Discourse.Touching.Prayer/2.html.

Cole, Graham. Engaging with the Holy Spirit. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008.

Grenz, Stanley J. Theology for the Community of God. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2000.

Hamman, Gauthier Adalbert. Prayer – The New Testament. Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1971.

Heiler, Friedrich. Prayer. Trans. and Ed. Samuel McComb and J. Edgar Park. New York: Oxford University Press, 1958.

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Owen, John “Communion with God,” in The Works of John Owen. Ed William H. Goold. 24 vols, 1850-1855; Republished, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1965-1991.

Perman, Matt. “What is the Doctrine of the Trinity?” Desiring God. 2014. Accessed 30 November 2014, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-is-the-doctrine-of-the-trinity.

Piper, John. Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books, 2012.

Reeves, Michael. Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2012.

Sanders, Fred. The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010.

Ware, Bruce A.  Father, Son, & Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles & Relevance. Wheaton: Crossway, 2005.

Wright, Tom “The Prayer of the Trinity.” Internet. Accessed 1 December 2014, http://ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Prayer_Trinity.htm.

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