Your Ultimate Prayer Partners

Your Ultimate Prayer Partners

…We do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. – Romans 8:26, NRSV

The end of Romans 8 is so rich that one could spend hours contemplating the truths there and still not reach the end. It is encouraging to know that when we are in prayer we never pray alone, for the ultimate partners in intercession are with us. With just a cursory glance we see the Holy Spirit involved in our prayers in five ways (Romans 8:26-27):

1. The Spirit helps us in our weakness

2. The Spirit intercedes when we do not know what we ought to pray for.

3. The Spirit prays with sighs too deep for words.

4. The Spirit and the Father are in sync with one another.

5. The Spirit intercedes in accordance with God’s will.

Each of those principles deserves much consideration, but they demonstrate the reason our prayers are so powerful: it is not our own spirituality but the participation of the Father and the Holy Spirit in our season of prayer. It is by the presence and power of the Spirit that we cry out to our Abba (Rom 8:15-16). Even more, we read in verse 34, “It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.”

The Father, Son, and Spirit are intertwined in your prayers in such a way that we are ultimately confident that our prayers are much more powerful than we can imagine. They are much more in tune with God’s will than we know. They are in process of being answered as we utter the words.

This is why Romans 8:28 is truer than we realize. Never separate that verse from prayer! Your prayers matter because your ultimate prayer partners are tirelessly enmeshed into the eternal providence and power of God! Never be intimidated by prayer! It unlocks a Divine partnership!     

Thanks for reading, JD

Are You Free From Sin?

free sin

This guest post by Ray Hawk considers the concept of being free from sin.

Are you free from sin? Paul quotes from Psalms 14:1-3, “No one is righteous – not even one person” (Romans 3:10). Shortly thereafter he says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). In Romans 6 Paul states, “So, through immersion we were buried with him into death. Christ was raised from death through the glory of the Father. In the same way, we will live a new life” (Romans 6:3-4). Most rejoice, as did the eunuch shortly after baptism, because we have been sprinkled with the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:10, 19). All our past sins are gone and forgotten (Hebrews 10:17). But then, too soon we sin! John tells us very plainly, “If we say, ‘We have no sin!’ then we are only fooling ourselves. The truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). The next verse tells us to confess our sins “then God will forgive us.” There seems to be a period of time between our sin and being forgiven. If one is “in” sin and God cannot fellowship sin, then during that period of time, are we not OUT OF FELLOWSHIP with God?With these

With these thoughts it becomes very discouraging to the Christian when he repeats an act multiple times, asking God’s forgiveness for each. How can he possibly be saved when he disappoints the Father over and over? What if, during one of those periods between committing the sin and asking for forgiveness, one dies? Isn’t he unforgiven? Isn’t he still in his sins? Isn’t he damned? Is our only assurance in being truly saved we must die a Christian martyr’s death or with a prayer on our lips? Some are troubled with such questions. Some have given up, thinking it is impossible to meet those conditions.We often quote Romans 6:3-4 to emphasize the necessity of immersion. However, many fail to look at verse 2 where Paul asked, “How could we live in sin anymore?

We often quote Romans 6:3-4 to emphasize the necessity of immersion. However, many fail to look at verse 2 where Paul asked, “How could we live in sin anymore? WE DIED TO IT!” We fail to see that as the born again, “sinful self” (“flesh”) died with Jesus on the cross and we buried what was DEAD (Romans 6:6)! The “body of sin” has lost “its power” or been “DESTROYED.” Then, verse 7 announces, “A person who DIES has been SET FREE from sin.” He reiterates in verse 11, “In the same way, think of yourselves as being DEAD to sin, but ALIVE TO GOD IN CHRIST JESUS.” Verse 14 states, “For sin SHALL NOT be master over you, for you are NOT UNDER LAW, but UNDER GRACE.” In verse 18 Paul concludes, “And, after you were SET FREE FROM SIN, you became SLAVES TO RIGHTEOUSNESS.” He repeats, “But NOW that you have been SET FREE from sin, you are SLAVES TO GOD.” (Verse 22).If you are “in Christ” you are free from sin. You may not be perfect, but you are kept clean by the blood of Jesus. Some believe the New Testament is no different from the Old. It just has newer laws. Under the Old, innocent animals had to be continually sacrificed because they could not take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). So, with each sin there was a specific kind of sacrifice. Over and over they were offered without a permanent cleansing. One is not

If you are “in Christ” you are free from sin. You may not be perfect, but you are kept clean by the blood of Jesus. Some believe the New Testament is no different from the Old. It just has newer laws. Under the Old, innocent animals had to be continually sacrificed because they could not take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). So, with each sin there was a specific kind of sacrifice. Over and over they were offered without a permanent cleansing. One is not justified by law (Galatians 2:16). Jesus offered himself once. To be added to his saved ones is to receive a cleansing once for all (Hebrews 10:10, 12, 14). Notice verse 17, “I will completely forget about their sins and their wrongs.” Also notice, “Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:38-39 NKJV).

The New Testament is the Good News about Jesus and how his blood keeps us pure. No wonder Paul envisioned himself under the Law, “I am a miserable man. Who will help me escape this body of death!? Thank God, I can escape through Jesus Christ, our Lord. . . .So, there is NO CONDEMNATION NOW for those people who are IN CHRIST JESUS. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has SET ME FREE FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH. . . However, you are not being controlled by human nature; you are being controlled by the Spirit – if it is true that God’s Spirit LIVES IN YOU.” (Romans 7:24-25, 8:1-2, 9).

ARE YOU FREE?

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Ray Hawk is a retired gospel preacher living in Jackson, Tennessee.

In View of God’s Mercy

This is a reflection from reading Romans 9-12. As you read, let your thoughts flow in between our human choices and unfaithfulness and God’s choices and faithfulness.

God has done so much for us, has longed for us and loved us so deeply. In our hearts we have challenged his love and mercy … just as Israel did … we must depend on and allow our lives to fall into His mercy.

1. Never Blessed Enough: the curse of humanity (Romans 9:1-5). In spite of all that God did for/with/through Israel, it was just not enough for them. Identify? I can. Yet in the face of this curse of humanity God boldly chooses to be merciful (Romans 9:6-16).

2. Never Difficult Enough: the curse of religion (Romans 9:30-10:7) When God’s mercy is rejected, religion takes its place. Rules, regulations, judgments, continual failures plague those who trust religion to save them. God emerges as the champion of faith … choosing to show us the path towards His heart (Romans 10:8-13).

3. Never Willing Enough: the curse of disobedience (Romans 10:16-21). God has not demanded the impossible of us … but even while His creation chooses the disobedient path, God has made another choice. His grace reigns in the hearts of those who have faith (Romans 11:2-6).

4. Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy… (Romans 12:1-2)

*Seek Mercy: Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

*Seek Faith: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

*Seek Grace: Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you…

Praise Him for His Wonderful Choices

Doxology: Romans 11:33-36
33Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34″Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
35″Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?”
36For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Thanks for reading,

John