Prayer can be approached one of two ways. In the first, we bring our troubles and problems to God. We wheel our dumpster of issues up to his throne and unpack the problems one by one, laying them at his feet. I’ve done this so, so often.
This is not to say there isn’t value in it. Peter instructs believers, “Humble yourselves… casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1Pe 5:6, 7). We need to take time to throw things at the feet of Jesus, but that’s not all there is to prayer, though.
There’s another side of the coin, another approach. If we really believe the truth about Christ finished work, we also believe that the Lord is not nearly as stressed about our issues as we are.
For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
It’s one-and-done, in the purest sense of the words. Perfected forever…
We have to remember God doesn’t live in our time zone. That means the Lord is sitting in a reference frame where everything is already accomplished, every problem has already been solved, every hurt has already been healed, and every stressor has already been released. From his point of view, everything is completed, done, finished.
In this sense, prayer is no longer a checklist of submitting a petitions to God, but entering into another realm, another world. It’s centering ourselves in the reality that the Spirit can access—a dimension where everything is completed and finished, just as Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished.”
When Jesus said that…
The church had not yet been birthed.
The day of Pentecost had not yet come.
The Gentiles had not yet come into the faith.
Jesus still had to descend into the grave, wrest the keys of death from the devil, resurrect, and ascend into glory.
Yet Jesus said, “It’s done.”
He had tapped into the heavenly place where God sits, in a timeframe called Omega.
In this sense, prayer, in its purest form, is a reprieve from our labors, a break from our striving. Prayer is an oasis where we connect with the truth that God has perfected forever those who are being made holy.
Prayer is the exercise of a spiritual discipline known as Sabbath rest, where we allow the truth of God‘s finished work to give us permission to take our mind off our responsibilities and settle it into God’s sufficiency.
Prayer is not only a resource where we get needs met but also a refuge from those needs that beg for our attention.
As a recovering perfectionist, this speaks to me on a deep level.
As we rest in the truth that we are made perfect through the sacrifice of Christ, we enter into what seems like a silence, but in truth, the silence is not a break from communication but a transition to a level of deeper communication, where the deep places of our spirit commune with the deep places of God beyond the activity of our conscious thought. In that, we begin to receive from him in a profound way that goes beyond mere words.
It’s only half the equation for us to see that Christ is the finished work. This we can mentally acknowledge and remain tumbling amidst our stressors. We think, “Of course Christ said, ’It’s finished. He did what he was supposed to do.’”
Then, we must add to that truth that we are also a finished work and that we have been perfected forever, and that when God looks at us, that is what he sees, because he sees that which has yet to manifest but that he’s already established in his truth and in his providence.
But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool.