Sunday, August 06, 2006

Praying Backwards: Transform your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name

Praying Backwards
Transform your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name
by Bryan Chapell
published by Baker Books 2005

{Phil's underlines from reading Praying Backwards. . . }

How would your prayer change if you began where you normally end?

Often we focus on asking god to ease our worries and satisfy our wants before adding"in Jesus' name" as an obligatory spiritual seasoning to make our petitions palatable to God.

But Jesus is not like a genie in a bottle whom we can command by invoking his name.

We ask for his blessing based on God's wisdom, not ours. We trust in his faithfulness, not in the adequacy of our faith.
So why wait to the end of a prayer to tag on Jesus' name?

When Jesus' priorities come first, our prayers will change. They will be less self-oriented, more Christ-directed, more blessed, and ultimately most satisfying to our hearts.

Praying entire prayers in Jesus' name profoundly alters our priorities and powerfully sends our requests to God.

Our prayers are not more powerful because we chant our Savior's name like a magic spell. If we use Jesus' name as some sort of spiritual incantation, then we fall into the error of the sorcerers in the book of Acts who thought that using Jesus' name was just another way of saying "abracadabra" or "shazam" (see Acts 19:13-16).

Praying in Jesus' name is automatically a confession our unworthiness and a proclamation of his worthiness.
...Prayer in Jesus' name is not an incantation to make us worthy of divine attention; it is a confession that we are unworthy of even approaching God apart from the mercy and merits of our Savior. We pray in the name of Jesus to profess our need of him and to proclaim our trust in the provision of righteousness he made for us.

Praying backwards helps clarify the priorities of our prayers so that we can distinguish childish from mature petitions.
...pray backwards means we back away from making ourselves, our wishes, or our wants the primary concerns of our prayer. We always put the purposes of Jesus first. We echo in heart if not in actual words the attitude of the psalmist who prayed, "Not to us, O Lord, not to us but you your name be the glory" (Ps.115:1).

Praying in Jesus' name requires seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness with the absolute trust that God will then add all that is best for us (Matt. 6:31-33). not let anyone make you feel guilty or ashamed for praying as Jesus did in the Garden Gethsemane.

Prayer is more than a conversation with God.
Praying in Jesus' name is not merely the postscript to a good prayer; it is the prelude to God's providing the best of all things for his loved ones. Putting the name of Jesus first when we pray is not really praying backwards. Such prayer is actually putting first the purposes of the One whose glory and delight it is to give us the best of earth and heaven forever. By praying backwards, we always move forward with the assurance God will use whatever life brings for the Savior's glory and our good. He can do no less than provide his best for those who offer prayer in Jesus' name. Such prayer is our great privilege, power, and peace.

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