Developing A Proper Prayer Life, Part II
Psalm 100:4— “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.”
I want to take you back to the day that Jesus died. As He hung upon the Cross, giving His life as a ransom for all who would believe, at the very moment that Christ breathed His last breath, and the Holy Spirit told Him when to die (Heb. 9:14), the veil of temple—so thick that not even four yoke of oxen could tear it asunder—ripped from top to bottom, granting access to all who will come through the blood of Jesus Christ, directly into the presence of the heavenly Father.
That veil, according to Scripture, was a curtain that hid the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place. It was 30 feet high from the ceiling to the floor, and, as Jewish historian Josephus described, it was four inches thick, and so strong that, as I stated earlier, four yoke of oxen could not tear it asunder. This split, which could not have been caused by mere mortal hands, had been done by the supernatural hand of God, and it happened at the very moment that Jesus Christ breathed His last breath.
The act of the veil being torn asunder signified that the middle wall of partition between the Jews and the Gentiles was broken down (Eph. 2:14-18). Now anyone, if he is a believer, can have access to God without going through a priest or any intermediary.
This cannot be overstated: The veil was torn only when Jesus died on the Cross; it could not have been torn in any other manner. By Jesus giving His life on the Cross, it provided the means for any and all who desire to be instantly saved and washed by the blood of Jesus Christ. As Revelation 22:17 says, “whosoever will, to take the water of life freely.”
This gospel is for the “whosoever.” It is for the drunkard who cannot get through a day without the sip of alcohol on his lips. It is for the drug addict who cannot stop the chase or the experience of that initial high. It is for the one who lives a life of immorality who cannot seem to stop the life that has brought nothing but wreckage. It is for that wayward son or daughter who has lost his or her way with God, or that loved one who refuses to come the altar of sacrifice. This gospel is for the white, black, red, yellow, brown, and for anyone of any social background.
This gospel is for you, and it is for me, and all you have to do is to come to that river of life and drink of those waters freely. This means to accept the price that Jesus Christ paid at the Cross, and that is for you, and believe that what He did was enough to save you from sin and enough to break the grip of sin over your life. He died for you so that you might have life, and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). The only requirement from you is to believe. That’s the beauty of Christianity—it’s not about a set of rules and regulations, or how many hoops that one must jump through, but rather simple child-like faith will suffice, and at the very moment of believing, you will be saved. It’s simple: believe and you shall be saved.
HALLOWED BE THY HOLY NAME
The very next thing that we are to do is to praise Him for all that He has done for us. In fact, that’s what it means when Jesus said, “Hallowed be Thy name” (Mat. 6:9). It means to praise Him, to worship Him, and to thank Him for His many blessings upon our lives. As Christians, we have been so blessed to be grafted into the family of God and to be labeled as an heir of the Father—a joint-heir with Jesus Christ—when we did not deserve such. This distinguishes between the Creator and the created.
The very moment that we open in prayer, as we go to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, this is when the praise and worship begins. We do not go directly to the Father with our needs, but rather with praise and worship, and He is to be praised for who He is more than for what He can do. This, once again, speaks of relationship. This is what He desires from us, and this is what we should desire as well—a personal relationship with our Creator, our heavenly Father.
And as such, we should never go right to our needs, but rather begin with praise and worship. The psalmist declares, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him, and bless His name” (Psalm 100:4). The psalmist speaks here of an earthly temple or tabernacle, but now we speak of the original throne of God, which is made possible through what Jesus Christ accomplished at Calvary’s Cross.
It was the Cross that opened up the way to the very throne of God that we may enter boldly into the throne of God, “that we may obtain mercy, and find Grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). God is holy, and we should approach Him as such. To add to that, the reason why we praise Him is for His goodness, and His lovingkindness is forever, and He is faithful to all generations.
PRAISE, WORSHIP, AND THANKSGIVING
When it comes to our prayer life, praise, worship, and thanksgiving should emanate from every believer. This should come automatically from each of us for what He has done. He saved us when we could not save ourselves. He purchased us from Satan, never to be put back on the auction block of sin again. He healed us when we could not heal ourselves. He delivered us from sin and bondage. He baptized us with the mighty Holy Spirit and has given us power to do and believe for the impossible. That in and of itself is enough to thank Him for an entire lifetime, and then some.
I honestly believe that a relationship with God cannot exist without praise, worship, and thanksgiving. There’s an old saying that I first heard as a young teenager, and it has stuck with me from then until now, and it’s this: “Praise is what we do, and worship is who we are.” That means that in everything we do and in everything that comes our way, we have the ability to praise Him because He is going to see his through, and, at the same time, everything that we do we should do as unto the Lord. As a child of God, praise should come naturally to us, as well as worshipping and thanksgiving.
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