I first chose the subject for this blog post near the beginning of Lent. This has been a real blessing as it has meant that during Lent I have focused on the cross, what it means on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and how it relates to prayer. In one
sense I am barely scratching the surface so I am focusing on just a few things for each day.
On Good Friday we see Jesus dying on the cross in our place because of our sins, and on Easter Sunday we see an empty cross and an empty tomb because Jesus has been raised from the dead. When we pray we must always have both these in mind, whether consciously or sub-consciously, as they will affect how we pray.
When we think of the cross on Good Friday it is the place of repentance and forgiveness, but on Easter Sunday we see it as the place of hope and victory.
If you don't know Jesus then now is the time to come to Him in prayer (which is simply talking to God). You can turn away from your sins and leave them at the foot of the cross. If you believe that Jesus died in your place then you can walk away and be free
from those sins forever. This is what Good Friday is about; it is the first half of the Good News (or Gospel) that you can now be dead to sin.
On Easter Sunday both the cross and the tomb are empty, Jesus has been raised from the dead. The second half of the Good News is that just as Jesus was resurrected from the dead so you too can have a new life in him, and can live this life because the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is now living in you.
Paul talks to the Roman Christians about what it means to be ‘dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Romans 6:11, please read all of Romans 6:1-15). This is what Jesus death on the cross has done for us. Prayer is central to this new life, what could be more natural than to talk to your natural father and God is now your Heavenly Father. It is also through prayer that you can know his enabling, and his power at work both in and through you.
It is because of Christ's finished work on the cross that we pray from a place of victory, not of defeat. On the cross Jesus said, 'It is finished' (John 19:30), and it was. Whenever we pray we must stand on the completeness of his work, and in the power of his blood which was shed for us.
Jesus was raised from the dead; he ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of Father God in heaven. (See Philippians 2:1-11) We are seated with Him in the Father's presence and in a place of power and authority. (You might want to read my last blog post ‘What’s your praying position?’ which talks about this.)
Jesus is also praying for us in heaven which he can do with understanding. (See Hebrews 4:14-16) He knows what it is like to know physical and emotional pain, to feel abandoned, and to be betrayed. Because Jesus died on the cross we can never say to him, ‘Oh, you can’t understand’, in fact we can understand so little of what he went through, not the other way round.
All this is amazing, but there is even more! God doesn’t just give us just enough, he gives beyond what we could ask or imagine. It is from heaven that Jesus baptises us in the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:1-9 and Acts 2:1-13) and gives us blessing and power beyond imagining, and enables us to pray as he is praying (See Romans 8:26-27).I shall look at prayer and the Holy Spirit in my next post.
Lord Jesus, help me never to lose sight of your cross, but help me to know that I can always come to you in repentance for sin and live my life in your power and in victory. Thank you that you are no longer on the cross as you were raised from the dead and are now seated in heaven next to your Father. Thank you for the cross, Amen.
Theresa Grant ( @theresagrant3 )