The Objective Conditions of Prayer
Following our recent discussion of the subjective conditions of prayer, today we focus on the objective conditions of prayer. We have already discussed the basic principles of prayer and the three types of prayer.
The objective condition or principle of prayer is that it is to be addressed to the Father, through the Son, by means of the Holy Spirit. See for example Ephesians 2:18: ‘…for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father’. All three members of the Trinity are found in this verse: for through him [the Son] we both have our access in one Spirit [the Holy Spirit] unto the Father [God the Father]. Prayer is to the Father, through the Son, by means of the Holy Spirit. Another passage teaches the same principle, namely Ephesians 3:14-17. In Colossians 3:17, two of the three Persons in the Trinity are mentioned (the Father and the Son).
The Role of God the Father
All prayers are to be addressed to God the Father, not to the Son or to the Holy Spirit (or to anyone else for that matter). In the Old Testament prayers were addressed to God in general (ex: Psalm 5:2; 42:8; 69:13; Jeremiah 29:7). The concept of the Trinity is clearer in the New Testament (but it does exist in the Old Testament). That prayer should be addressed to the Father is shown in the New Testament. For example, in Matthew 6:9, Jesus teaches that we should address our prayers to the Father. See further examples in Luke 11:2; John 15:16; 16:23; Acts 4:24; Ephesians 1:16-17; 3:14; and 5:20. Our greatest example of prayer life is from Jesus Christ, who prayed to the Father. See also the prayer in John 17:1, 5, 11, 21, 24, 25.
The Role of God the Son
We pray to the Father through the Son. What that means is that we pray in the name of the Son, so we pray in His authority, on the basis of our being ‘in Christ’ — which is our position since our salvation. We have the authority to approach God the Father, and Jesus has given us that authority; so we pray in the name of Jesus. We are told six times in the gospel of John to pray in the name of the Son. See John 14:13, 14; 15:16; 16:23, 24, 26. Another example is found in Ephesians 5:20 where we are to give thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.
The Role of God the Holy Spirit
Our prayers should be ‘in the Holy Spirit’, or by means of the Holy Spirit. We are to pray along the same lines and about the same things that the Holy Spirit is praying. Our prayers are to be in reliance on the Holy Spirit, in accordance with the Holy Spirit. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-20) and building up our faith as we pray (Jude 20).
The Holy Spirit prays not only with us, but also for us. Romans 8:26-27 states that the Holy Spirit prays in order to help our infirmities. The Holy Spirit gives practical help in our prayer life. The problem is that ‘we know not how to pray as we ought’ and the solution is that ‘the Spirit [of God] makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered’ (Romans 8:26).The result is that ‘he [the Father] that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit’. The Father always answers the prayers of the Holy Spirit and the reason is because ‘[the Spirit himself] makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God’ (Romans 8:27).
Prayer is to the Father, through the Son, by means of the Holy Spirit.
If you would like to read more about The Subjective Conditions of Prayer, we suggest you read the original article and source of this post, The Conditions of Prayer, written by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum and published by Ariel Ministries in San Antonio.
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