Gospel, Jesus, Prayer

How to pray, the gospel

© June 7, 2018 | Schulter Etyang

Pray, everybody prays. And we pray to a transcendent being. For Muslims, it is to Allah. For Hindus, it is to Brahman. For Judaists, it is to Yahweh. For nominal Christians, it is to God. For Buddhists, it is to Buddha. For Taoists, it is to the Universe. For Confucius’s, it is to the individual self. For agnostics, it is to science and reasoning.

Pray, everybody prays.

And when we pray, we do two things;

  1. We pray to someone – either self, reasoning, science, the universe or to a god.
  2. We pray about something.

For example, if someone is sick, they will pray to self, reasoning, science, the universe or to a god about their sickness, seeking healing from the disease. If they are jobless, they will pray to self, reasoning, science, the universe, or to a god about getting employment. If they are poor, they will pray to self, reasoning, science, the universe, or to a god about getting rich. If they are students, they will pray to self, reasoning, science, the universe, or to a god about studying and passing their exams.

Pray, everybody prays.

This is the nature of all of us. We are praying beings. No one can escape or deny this reality.

This same idea about prayer and praying is evident in a story in 2 Kings 8 but with a twist, a gospel twist.

A famine breaks out and this woman and her family flee to a foreign country to escape the famine. They become immigrants or as we call them here in South Africa, makwerekwere. After seven years, she and her family move back home to find her house and her land in the hands of someone else. So, she petitions the king about her property.

What ensues is somewhat bemusing…

The king asks Gehazi to tell him what his former boss had done. While Gehazi is talking about his former boss, this woman appears and Gehazi goes like, “Look, this is the woman and her son. She is the one I’ve been telling you about” And then the king asks the woman whether the story is true. After that, he appoints a certain officer to restore to her what belonged to her, and all the income that had been accrued over the past seven years.

Here’s what is distinctive about this story. The woman prayed (petitioned the king) however, her petition was fulfilled after the king had found out about what Elisha had done. 

In this story, we see how prayer in the gospel, works. In the gospel, we pray to God about our issues but we pray to God reminiscing with God about what Jesus his son has done for us. Prayer is talking with God about what His son has done for us in his death, burial, resurrection and ascension. In essence, praying is having a photo album session with God about his son, Jesus. 

Prayer is talking with God about what His son has done for us in his death, burial, resurrection and ascension. In essence, praying is having a photo album session with God about his son, Jesus. 

Unlike prayer in other religions or faiths which is based on self, reasoning, science, the universe or to a god about something, in the gospel, it is quite the opposite. We pray to God based on what Jesus has done for us about our things. Gospel believing Christians do not rely on self, reasoning, science, the universe or to a god for their prayers to be answered. They rely on what Jesus has done for their prayers to be answered.

For example, if they are sick, a prayer will sound like this, “Father, I am sick, because of what Jesus has done for me by bearing my sickness, I receive healing for my body.

Father, I am poor, because of what Jesus has done for me by being poor for me, I now receive riches. Sounds like a charismatic prosperity preacher. I know, I know.

Father, I am a sinner, because of what Jesus has done for me by bearing my sin on his body, I now am justified and made righteous.

Father, I feel abandoned and rejected, because Jesus was abandoned and rejected for me, I receive your embrace and welcome.

We pray to God based on what Jesus has done for us about our issues. Our prayers are based on the work of another and not our own efforts of praying or the lack of it.

Jesus confirms this idea of prayer when he asked his followers to ask his Father anything in His name. (John 14:13-14,15:16, 16:23-24 NLT) This is how simple prayer is in the gospel. We pray in Jesus’ name.

This idea of praying based on the work of Jesus eased the pressure I had on, in trying to see results in my prayer life. If you had met me a couple of year’s prior, you would have gotten the feeling that I HAD TO PRAY. Prayer, at that point, was a DUTY, AN OBLIGATION. Since then, prayer is not a HAVE TO. It is a WANT TO. I pray because I want to. 

This, for me, is the difference between praying that relies on self, reasoning, science, the universe or to a god and praying that relies on the work of another – Jesus. One tends to restlessness, uncertainty and lack of assurance; the other tends to rest, certainty and assurance. One tends to duty and obligation; the other tends to relationship and love. One tends to you, your performance or lack of it; the other tends to someone else and his perfect performance. I prefer the latter.

Hey, non-Christian, consider how pressure free prayer is from a gospel viewpoint. Try it. 

Christian, the next time you have a need, pray to God and reminisce with him about what his son has done for you. Just like the woman, your prayers might just be answered and answered bigly. 

That’s what grace looks like

This entry was posted in: Gospel, Jesus, Prayer

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Schulter Etyang leads The Life Place in Johannesburg, South Africa. Schulter is one whom Jesus loves. He loves his wife, Jenny, and enjoys reading, travelling, cooking, running and playing squash. He also enjoys conversations with friends about Jesus and about life.