Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple


If and only if… part 4

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Jesus makes bold and audacious promises about the power and effectiveness of prayer.  If we ask, we will receive. But in the process of making claims Jesus also connects specific conditions to these promises.  Here’s one final dangerous “if/then.”

 

Special access: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you ask whatever you wish and it will be given you” John 15:7.  Here is a controversy.  Christian prayer is discriminatory.  When Christians pray they do so wielding a special password: the name of Jesus, who they believe to be the Son of God. 

 

This narrow, and narrowing condition has cost Christians dearly.  Down through history many cultures of reacted vehemently to the explicit exclusiveness this condition claims. That is, those who pray in Jesus’ name have access, and those who pray without Jesus’ name do not.  The Romans of the first and second centuries would not mind an additional deity added to their pantheon. But when Christians insisted their path was the only true course, all hell broke loose, literally. Followers of Jesus in India today suffer under similar persecution.  Some Hindus who worship many gods do not object to anyone adding Jesus to the list.  What they do not tolerate his soul allegiance to Jesus alone.  Hundreds of Christians in recent years have lost their lives because of such allegiance.

 

Pluralism is a simpler course. But like it or not Christian prayer is narrow.  Jesus said, “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” John 14:14.  That tag line “in my name” means through my access. Having Jesus’ name prefacing a prayer guarantees an audience with God. The right to leverage Jesus’ name in prayer is literally the power of attorney to assign his identity to our intercession.  And this, Christians believe is the key to the release of restorative spiritual power into this broken world.  “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” John 13:6.  As hard as it is for pluralists to swallow, Christian prayer is not generic. 

 

This is not to say that God only answers Christians’ prayers. There are many examples of God acting in response to non-Christians’ requests. It is a claim that a Christian’s prayer is given special access because of the relationship Christians have with God through Jesus. Family matters. I will listen and respond when my neighbor’s child asks me to untangle his kite from my tree. I will listen and respond with a higher level of commitment if my son makes the same request. Family matters and Jesus is family. When I use his name I get special insider treatment.

 

What do you think? Does God grant Christians special access because of their association with Jesus?  



  • Russ

    Yes, God does grant special access to Jesus and anyone who follows Him in complete obedience. Presuming one believes in the Bible, then there is only one God and only one way to heaven. (Whether we are talking about prayers reaching God or eternal life in heaven)
    1. There is only one God.
    Psalm 86:10
    For You are great and do wondrous deeds;You alone are God.
    2. Yes, we need Jesus to come to God Almighty.
    John 14:6
    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
    3. God hears everyone, (He is omniscient and omnipresent) but only responds to people who believe and obey God.
    John 9:31
    “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.

  • Toni

    Christian prayer is NOT discriminatory – you go on to say that other religions pray to their God or deity. If they can pray to their whoever, why can’t Christians pray only to God and include Jesus in their prayers??
    Personally, I believe God hears all prayers – regardless of the religion.

  • Jennifer

    God is sovereign and he heard and answered prayers before Jesus. As a Christian I don’t always pray in the Name of Jesus and go to God directly because it is before I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior who God in flesh. Prayers are a matter of the heart through the spirit man. The Old Testament speaks volumes of the miracles performed by God using fallible human beings. When Jesus came in the flesh it was through the love of God who saw the need for the blood of a perfect man to cover our sins. God is who He is and is available to all – no matter what you call him. We get bogged down with “religious” practices instead of spiritual development. God saves all – really want him.

  • anonymous

    Ah, no. I’m not into bigotism in any form. I believe that ANYONE of ANY religion who leads a good and faithful life has access to God’s ear. Thanks for stirring up more animosity. Try opening your mind.

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