Monday, January 23, 2012
The Perfect Prayer
My daughter, Teya, has been showing more and more signs of spiritual interest. In fact, I've been wondering if she is indeed a "Christian." I say this somewhat tongue-and-cheek because I am growing more and more aware of my own tendency to rely on steps and formulas rather than the living God.
This is especially true when it comes to salvation isn't it? I want so badly to make sure who's in and who's out by separating those who have prayed an effective prayer and those who haven't.
But what is an effective prayer? "Um, God, I need you" may be every bit as effective as "Dear Father I recognize that I have sinned and fallen short of your perfect standard and that I need Jesus Christ to be substitutionary atonement on my behalf and I want to accept his sacrifice and follow you as my Lord from this day on."
I like the first prayer, because to me, it just sounds a little more honest, doesn't it? We need God. We simply need him. Every moment, every second, every stage of our existence we need God. We need this God who saves.
So while I think all of the concepts in the second prayer above are important and vital, I think that they are understandings that we grow into, and on our first utterance at our "point of salvation" hardly even understand. I mean, I hardly understand them now, and I've been a Christian for 30 years!
"Important they are, but saving they are not." - I say it like this because it's Chinese New Year today. Yeah!
This gives me peace when I think about my children. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts and saves, not me. And while it is my job to help Teya understand her growing convictions and desire for God, it is his job to save.
So in my book, whatever her prayer sounds like is cool with me. Of course now she'll probably say something like, "Dear Baby Jesus, I am so glad that I am a good person and that when I am good enough and at the height of my goodness, I will pray the perfect prayer and you will come in your clouds to take me to your heavenlies. Amen, Oh Sweet Dear Baby Jesus."
And just for fun let me take a stab at the perfect prayer of salvation. Here goes: "Dear Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three persons but one God, I understand that I am a sinner, born into original sin, totally depraved, completely tainted in every way by the Fall - due to Adam's disobedience as our federal head (Eve having tempted Adam as we all know). Your Holy Spirit has quickened my soul to see that I am a sinner in need of your sovereign grace. Your grace came to us in the person of Jesus Christ, the second person of the trinity, the word made flesh in incarnation, fully God and fully man, who on the cross was our full penitentiary substitution and atonement as he bore God's full wrath towards our sin and cried the cry of dereliction. I believe that the Spirit's calling is effective upon my rebellious soul, convicting me of my need for this atonement and new life that is now exhibited in my regeneration and rebirth, having moved from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of everlasting light, and I now look forward to the perseverance and sanctification that is granted to God's children or saints. Amen. a-A-a-a-men..."