The beginning prayer
Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 28, 2009
For three weeks I have been presenting simple truths relating to exploring the frontier of prayer. The emphasis has been on going further into personal experiences in prayer than we have ever gone before. My focus group has been those who are already true believers.
Today we pause in order to give emphasis to “the beginning prayer.” In order for a person to be a Christian (born again/saved/justified), there must be “a beginning” and that beginning can be experienced in “the beginning prayer.”
I will use two very brief Bible passages to explain the beginning prayer. The first is Luke 18:9-14. Here Jesus tells about two persons praying. The first was informing God, in prayer, about the good things he had done and was doing, which he thought should make him acceptable to God. But Jesus responded that the man was only trusting in himself and what he, himself, had done and therefore was not accepted by God. The other man in true humility prayed, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” Only a seven-word prayer, but Jesus said that what he felt and expressed in that prayer made him accepted before God.
Let’s see three things the “accepted” person felt and expressed in his seven-word prayer. First, “me, a sinner” expressed that he knew that he was a sinner and was separated from God. Second, “have mercy” expressed that he knew that he could not save himself and God’s mercy was his only hope. Third, “God…to me” expressed that he not only knew that he was a sinner separated from God and that God’s mercy was his only hope, but he believed that God would respond to his personal prayer. So, he took the step of faith and called upon the Lord in prayer and God responded to that prayer by forgiving and accepting him. Jesus said so!
The second Bible passage is Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved.” What a great assuring promise from God! Faith is believing what God promises and trusting upon it. But understand that words alone in prayer mean nothing. That is why that earlier in Romans chapter ten the Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you shall be saved. For with the heart a person believes and is made right with God.” So, two times God says that you must believe with your heart and then you are ready to pray “the beginning prayer.”
There is a great frontier for experiences in personal prayer but it is first necessary to experience “the beginning prayer.” Are you a person who desires to begin the Christian life? Do you have a family member or an acquaintance that desires such? Use the simple truth from God’s word in this article for a beginning guide.
Can you truly mean these words? “God, I know that I have broken your commandments, have turned to my own ways, left you out of my life and now I am separated from you. I believe that you love me and that your one and only Son died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead. I want to confess and turn from my sins to you. I want Jesus Christ to be my personal Savior and Lord. I call upon you to forgive me and make me your child. I ask this in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.” If you can truly mean those words, then use those words, now! This will have been your “beginning prayer.” Then, take God at his word: “For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Then you can say, “This is my beginning!”