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III.

Jesus encourages Prayer by declaring Gods sovereignty


Not my will but thy will be done submission and worship Jesus teaches his disciples that Gods sovereignty does not discourage prayer, but requires it as the means for accomplishing what He has already purposed: In Matthew 9:38, the Lord Jesus teaches His disciples that the the Lord of the Harvest who is sovereign over the harvest seeks co-laborers: Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. The reason for prayer is expressly stated in vs. 37: the laborers are few. Now, the Lord reveals two things about the relationship to prayer and Gods sovereignty: 1) His sovereignty is seen in his title as Lord over His harvest as shown by His role in sending the laborers. 2) His sovereignty includes prayer as the means which precede the sending. The very example of Jesus earthly prayer life demonstrates that agonizing sweat and blood prayer instead of negating Gods sovereignty, elevates it by subduing mans glory while displaying Gods glory. Father, if it is Your will, take this cup from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done (Lk. 22:42). Jesus, the God-man, demonstrated by His constant habit of prayer, that Gods sovereign will like a mighty flowing river channels its course to the earth through the bent knees of Spirit-filled men. No wonder Thomas Hooker can assert, Prayer is the principal work of the minister and it is by this he must carry on the rest.

If the Son of Man by means of prayer accomplished His work that was planned before the foundation of the world, who are we to think that we can bypass prayer in carrying out the good works prepared beforehand (Eph. 2:10) in Christ Jesus? When Jesus displayed ZEAL for His Fathers Name it was due to the unbelief and blindness of the leaders in understanding the true purpose of the temple was to display Gods Name to the nations: Christs first act after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, with the cries still ringing: Hosanna to the Son of David: Blssed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest
Is. 56:7 Even athose I will bring to My bholy mountain And cmake them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on dMy altar; For eMy house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples. Matt. 21:13 And He *said to them, It is written, aMY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER; but you are making it a bROBBERS 1DEN.

Jesus encourages His disciples to pray by showing them it is a privilege by which we bear lasting fruit and glorify God

Jesus reinforced this foundational understanding of the privilege of prayer in His parting words to the disciples on the night He would be betrayed. In response to Phillip's request, Lord, show us the Father, Jesus responds by revealing His essential unity with the Father: The words that I speak to you, I do not speak on My own authority, but the Father who dwells in Me does the works (John 14:10). The unique relationship of the Son to the Father was demonstrated by carrying out Gods will. What is more amazing is His next statement. He extends this privilege to His disciples to join in the outworking of the Fathers will in prayer: Greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son (John 14:12-13). Though He is departing from the earth, the magnitude of His plan would be carried out through His disciples who pray in His name. Jesus had told Peter, On this rock I will build my church (Matt. 16:18). The sovereign outworking of the plan is sure, for it does not originate from man but from God; and yet, Jesus tells His disciples to pray in His Name. The work is clearly being extended to them through the means of prayer. This is reinforced by the metaphor of the vine and branches. The branches can do nothing apart from Him, the Vine. However, the Father prunes and the vines bears fruit through praying branches (John 15:7). The confidence and catalyst for prayer is to rest on this unshakable foundation: You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you(John 15:16). Prayer, then, is drawing closer to God so that His burdens would be on our heart, His will would be on our lips, and our joy would be made full as we see His power flowing through weak earthen vessels. John Piper summarizes this union as the the splicing of our limp wire to the lightning bolt of heaven.