Home > Grace, Jesus, Love, New Covenant, Prayer > The New Covenant Way of Prayer

The New Covenant Way of Prayer

May 11, 2011

There is a difference in how we pray in the New Covenant compared to during the Old Testament believer’s time all the way up to Christ’s death and resurrection. Now before starting on the topic of prayer, it’s important to know how to rightly divide the Word of God. We all know that the Bible is divided into the Old and New Testament but let me remind you at the start of the New Testament (Gospel of Matthew), the people during Jesus’ time were still following what was required by the Law. It was only after the cross when Jesus died and rose again that the Law was fulfilled and that was the beginning of the New Covenant, the covenant of grace. So it was Jesus that made all the difference. Hallelujah!

Okay, let’s move on to the topic of prayer in the New Covenant.

Prayer: The Old and New Covenant

There is a big difference in how we pray and how the Old Testament believers pray. In the present, believers nowadays still follow the Old Testament model of prayer. And sometimes, we also make a sort of a deal or transaction with God telling God,”If You answer this prayer, I will do this for You.” We tend to get carried away in the teachings of the Old Testament and actually the New Testament, the way we approach God in the New Testament is totally different.

Old Covenant: Men prayed and strove to know God’s will. We question His willingness. ‘God, will You help me in this problem? God, will You give me a child?’ They are not sure whether God will answer their prayer.

New Covenant: Jesus’ last will and testament clearly explains our complete provision. ‘This is My covenant written in My blood. And in the new covenant, all the provision have been given to you in My last will and testament. ‘

2 Corinthians 1:20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.

Jesus has fulfilled all the conditions that God has laid down for His promises to come true, for His blessings to be upon His people. The Old Testament saints were never qualified (If you obey all my commandments, then I will bless you. Ref. from Deuteronomy 28). None of them can ever come near to that but Jesus came down to Earth to fulfill all the commandments and fulfill it perfectly for us and therefore, all the promises in the Bible are “Yes” for you. God will bless you in everything! One big difference we have when we are praying in the New Covenant is that we are sure that God will answer us.

Old Covenant faith:

– trust in a fair and just God

– looking to the future in hope of what God would do in response to faith

New covenant faith:

– never looks to the future

– always looks to the past: the finished work of Jesus

Every promise is “Yes” in Christ because of what Jesus has done for us. On the cross, He died and rose again. The scripture said when you trust in him, you are in Christ and therefore seated with Him in the heavenly places.

I’m sure you here this a lot.

Situation: Everything seems gloomy around you, the world weighs down on you. You pray and continue to have faith in Jesus for He can always help you in the midst of your situation. And then someone tells you, “Hey, you don’t have enough faith in Him”.

Now, I just want to remind you that the New Covenant faith is not trying to get God to respond to us because of our amount of faith, but responding to God by trusting what He did in Jesus.

Matthew 18:18 Whatever you forbid and declare to be improper and unlawful on earth must be what is already forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit and declare proper and lawful on earth must be what is already permitted in heaven. (The Amplified Bible)

What is permitted in heaven?

When Jesus died and rose again, those who believe in Him will be saved. Whoever trust in Jesus are now not only saints but also the sons of the Living God.

What is not permitted in heaven?

All the curses that the Law that was upon the people are no longer permitted in heaven and hence, when we pray, we will declare what is not permitted in heaven and no longer will it be permitted in our life on Earth. The illness that plagued the people of Egypt are no longer permitted in heaven and therefore no longer will it be permitted in our life on Earth.

The New Covenant prayer is not about trying to make something happen, but looking back and being immovable about what Jesus’ finished work has accomplished and declared to be either lawful or unlawful.

It starts when we are sure of it, knowing about it and believing in it. Faith is the currency of heaven. If you don’t believe that Jesus has died for your diseases then you cannot declare that to be unlawful in your life but if you declare that on the cross of Jesus was attached with all your sicknesses then you can declare that those are also unlawful in your life.

Paul’s Prayer

In the book of Ephesians, Paul recorded two of his prayers. (Ephesians 1 and 3)

Paul’s Prayer for the Ephesians Part 1

Ephesians 1:15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

Paul’s desire

Paul wrote this by inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

– Paul’s desire for the Ephesians is also God’s desire – If the holy Spirit’s desire for the Ephesians, then it is also God’s desire for them too.

– Not just for Ephesians but also for us – It is also God’s desire for us as well.

Paul desired for us to know:

Him better

– the hope to which He has called us

– the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people

– His incomparably great power for us who believe

As you know Jesus better, so will you live! If you know that all that God has already done for you, then you will live that way, isn’t it?

Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation

Ephesians 1:17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.

The Holy Spirit gives wisdom and revelation:-

Revelation : the knowledge of the truth concerning Jesus and His finished work.

Wisdom : how those truths apply to our lives

I know that many people are in their different stages in their Christian life and one of the things that some people asked you is:

“So what does Jesus mean to you?”

So you try your very best to explain, even to other Christians, then others might argue, “No, it should be explained like this… like that…”. Sometimes they don’t get it. Sometimes they don’t even want to understand it. There’s no point arguing because the one thing that we need to know is that Jesus is only know through revelation.

We need to pray that in the same way that the Holy Spirit will open our eyes to see the truth concerning Jesus and that they too, our friends will know Jesus by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. How do we understand all that Jesus has done and how it applies to us is by revelation.

Know Him Better

The word ‘know’ comes from the Greek word ‘epignosis‘, επίγνωσις (from the verb, ‘epiginosko‘) : precise and correct knowledge

To epignosis Jesus : not just His life, the miracles He performed, nor just the parables He spoke nor just His teachings. But also to fully grasp what He has done for us through His finished work on the cross.

To know Christ is to know His hope, inheritance, and power f or us.

Eyes of Heart Enlightened

Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

eyes of your heart (kardias) may be enlightened – not just the mind, but also the heart may be opened to this great truth.

To know that what Jesus has done for you is true and sure. Deep inside you, may your heart be enlightened by this truth like how the Hebrews and Greeks thought and make it the centre of your life.

Hope

18 …know the hope to which He has called you…

We tend to always say, “I hope that I will get the promotion for my job, I hope for this… I hope for that…”. but what does the Bible say about hope?

Hope comes from the Greek word ‘elpis‘ (ελπις) which means a joyful and confident expectation of good happenings.

All the world that is happening can weigh us down (career, relationship, studies etc…) but one thing we have to remember is that the hope that the lord has called us to.

Hope is one component of the great triad of Christian virtues, along with faith and love. (1 Corinthians 13:13) Because Jesus died and arose for our salvation, we can have a confident expectation of a good joyous future.

You may be struggling with something now but the Lord promised us because of what Jesus has done for us there is a joyous future for us, even here now not just in heaven. for many years, what we do is that, right now on Earth, we have to struggle to make ends meet, then when we are in heaven, we will see Jesus and angels singing and playing harps. I want to tell you that it is a good happening now on Earth! Hallelujah!

Hope does not disappoint [does not put us to shame (NIV)] because God’s love poured out on us in our hearts by Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5)

Inheritance

18 the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people

Questions that you may ask: Is it

– the inheritance God has in us OR the inheritance we have in him?

– God’s regard for us as his “treasured possession” OR the glorious riches we have in/ from God?

If you are God’s treasured possession that means you are precious to God already. That means you have all the riches. You are so precious that He is willing to give Himself up for you!

Since God’s inheritance in us and our inheritance in Him are really two sides of the same coin, either interpretation implies the other!

We are joint heirs with Christ of all that the Father has bequeathed to His Son. Promise is not only for the future, but it is also for the present. Not only spiritual blessings but also of material blessings. Physical/material blessings are parallel to the spiritual. If heaven has already declared it lawful and permitted for you, then the physical is also just a reflection of what has already been promised for us. It is His inheritance, through us.

Power

19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

19And what is the exceeding greatness (megathos) of His power (dunamis) to us-ward who believe, according to the working (energeia) of His mighty (ischys) power (kratos),… (KJV)

God has a great power in store for us. So much of His power in store for us that in one verse, He used four different Greek words to tell us the extend or the magnitude of His power has for us.

Four words used to enlarge on theme of God’s power:

– Dunamis : dynamo = inherent power

– Energeia : energy = operative power

– Kratos : dominion = ultimate power

– Ischys : strength = endowed power

Thus, in knowing Jesus, we have:

– mega

– dynamic

– energizing

-dominion giving

SUPER POWER endowed upon us because of our faith in and knowledge of Christ.

Paul’s prayer was that we may know what we have. Not what we may someday have, but what we will have today.

That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

How we “know” such power is guaranteed to us?

By the public demonstration of it in the saving work of Christ.

Three successive public events:

– God raised Christ from the dead

– God exalted Christ with all authority far above all

– God seated Christ as head over all for the church

Because Christ has been raised, exalted, and seated to reign for me, God’s immeasurable power for me is guaranteed!

Paul’s Prayer for the Ephesians

Prayer (I) : To know Him –the results of His finished work for us – hope, inheritance and power – the same power that God raised Jesus from the dead also raised us, enable us to triumph over life and enable us to reign over sin in our life.

Prayer (II) : To know the reason of His finished work for us –His great love and its transforming power

Paul’s Prayer for the Ephesians Part 2

Ephesians 3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

Paul prayed that out of God’s glorious richest they:

-Be strengthened with power in their inner being by the Spirit.

Whenever we are facing the storms of life, and sometimes they seem to overwhelm us, when everything else seems so dark for us, when we become fearful and anxious, our inner being needs to be strengthened. And Paul knows that. His first item in this second prayer says that we may be strengthened in our inner being. That our inner being may be strong and strengthened by the Holy Spirit.

– Experience the indwelling of Christ through faith.

Yes. We all know in our minds when we believe in Jesus, Jesus lives in us. But some of us fail to experience that reality. We think that when we walk through the dark valley, we are somehow all by ourselves but we forget that even though we don’t see anyone around us or we can’t see anyone else, we will always see Christ walking with us through the dark valley.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Rooted – agricultural

             – draw life and nutrients through roots

Established – engineering

                     – grounded, founded upon not in doctrine, in service, or in works righteousness but love

Know the Love of Christ

may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

Power to grasp

Grow to comprehend together with each other – love cannot be in isolation so there is no such thing as a lone ranger when it comes to love.

Only way to grow in love for one another is to get to grips more in understanding the love of God toward us in Christ Jesus.

4 dimensions of Christ love: Width, length, depth and height.

The width of God’s love is the world

The length is forever

The depth is the cross

The height that He takes us to, from the depth of our sin, shame and hell, is heaven itself!

You can’t run away from God’s love. In fact, who would want to run away from Him? It reaches everywhere touching you!

19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

The love of Christ (in 4 dimensions) transcends us, exceeds our abilities of knowledge, beyond our senses. Paul prays that God gives us understanding … beyond head knowledge, a personal revelation to understand what is beyond our senses.

Truth: – We are deeply loved by God

            – the foundation of our new lives in Jesus

If that foundation is not laid, or if we move the “house” of our faith off this foundation, our faith will eventually crumble. That is why many people fall. That is why many people get into trouble, even Christian leaders. Why? Because they ‘move house’. They moved away from the foundation of the love of Jesus for their life. And if we are not rooted in love, where are we going to draw our nutrients to our life from? From dead doctrines? Certainly not!

The only way we can draw our nutrients is from the love of God for us. Paul’s prayer is so amazing! That our life needs to be rooted and established in the love of Jesus. We, together with all the saints need to understand how high, how wide, how deep and how long is God’s love for us. And it is a revelation that God needs to give to us that we begin to understand that which can’t be understood. Let us build the foundation of our faith knowing that God loves us so deeply/

Any activity that is not based on the truth that God is incredibly in love with us will not bear the kind of fruit that God desires.

19 —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

The fullness with which God fills Himself, all that He is and has within His being —agape.

“may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!”

We love God only as much as we are aware that God loves us. Don’t begin by trying to love God first or loving other people first. Begin by understanding how much God is in love with you!

20 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Not only we know that our God is able, He is able to do. He is able to do what we ask. He is able to do what we imagine. He is able to do what we ask or imagine. He is able to do all that we ask or imagine. He is able to do above all that we ask or imagine. He is able to do abundantly above all that we ask or imagine.

HE IS ABLE TO DO EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY ABOVE ALL THAT WE CAN ASK OR IMAGINE!!!!! 


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Categories: Grace, Jesus, Love, New Covenant, Prayer
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