28 December 2011

Praying in His Name

From Thomas Boston we read

"Secondly, More particularly, wherein praying in the name of Christ, and for his sake consists,
Thomas Boston
1. Renouncing all merit and worth in ourselves in point of access acceptance and gracious answer saying with Jacob Gen xxxii. 10  "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which thou hast shewed unto thy servant." If we stand on personal worth from the consideration of our doings or sufferings or any thing in or about ourselves we pray in our own name and will speed accordingly. Self denial is absolutely necessary to this kind of praying that stopping our eyes to all excellencies in ourselves or duties, we may betake ourselves to free grace only.
2. Believing that however great the mercies are and however unworthy we are yet we may obtain them from God through Jesus Christ Heb. iv. 15, 16 There can be no praying in faith without this. If we do not believe this, we dishonour his name whether our unbelief of it arise from the greatness of the mercy needed or from our own unworthiness or both. For nothing can be beyond the reach of his infinite merit and never failing intercession
3. Seeking in prayer the mercies we need of God for Christ's sake accordingly So we present our petitions "in his name" John xvi. 24. We are to be ashamed before God in prayer ashamed of ourselves but not ashamed to beg in the name of his Son. Our holy shame respects our unworthiness but Christ's merit and intercession are set before us as a ground of confidence.
4. Pleading on his merit and intercession Psalm lxxxiv. 9, " Behold 0 God our shield and look upon the face of thine Anointed." We are not only to seek but to plead in prayer as needy petitioners whose pinching necessity makes them fill their mouths with arguments Job xxiii. 3, 4. Christ's merit and intercession is the fountain of these arguments and to plead on mere mercy mercy for mere mercy's sake is too weak a plea. But faith founding its plea on Christ's merit urges God's covenant and promise made thereupon; Psalm lxxiv. 20, his glorious perfections shining in the face of Jesus the honour of his name manifested in Christ.
5. Lastly, Trusting that we shall obtain a gracious answer for his sake Mark xi. 24, "What things soever ye desire when ye pray believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them." The soul praying according to the will of God is to exercise a faith of particular confidence in God through Christ which is not only warrantable but necessary Jam. i 6, 7. This glorifies the Mediator and glorifies the faithfulness of God in the promise and the want of it casts dishonour on both." (Thomas Boston, Works, 11:91)

To sum up Boston's points on the critical nature of praying in Christ's name:
1. Renounce our own worth
2. Regardless of our great needs, we may obtain them through Christ
3. Though ashamed, we are to bring our requests to Him in Christ's name
4. We plead based on Christ's merit and intercession for us
5. Trust that we will receive a gracious answer for our requests

Thoughts anyone?

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