Pray BIG Prayers – Salvation

Maybe you don’t think you need to pray about this. Perhaps you already did pray about this when you were a child and have operated on the ‘I prayed a prayer when I was 8 so I know I am saved’ kinda thing. 

Since then, maybe you’ve just lived your life in your own way, pursued your own goals, chased your own dreams. Perhaps you haven’t really thought about ‘being saved’ since you prayed that prayer as a child. 

Just think – if that was someone else, would you hold them to something they said as a small child 30/40/50 years later? 

Just think – why do people renew their wedding vows?

Just think – why do you tell your kids you love them a thousand times a day?

Just think – is repenting of your horrible sinful hell-bound life of a handful of years really enough, if since then you’ve been doing your own thing?

No, I didn’t think so.

See, often, we think the prayer of salvation is a one-and-done thing: we pray it and move on knowing we have ‘ticked that box’ and don’t need to think about it anymore. But what does the Word say?

Since praying that prayer, sincerely, since repenting of a life lived for self and crying out to the Lord to be saved yes, your past present and future sins have been forgiven. But, have you prayed about your salvation since then?

In Ephesians 2 there is a great passage that talks about how we are saved by grace, through faith (vv.8-9). This means that there is nothing you can do to earn your salvation, the forgiveness of your sins, the removal of the consequences of your sins, eternal life. But, if we read a few more verses on, we see that we are to remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated…having no hope and without God…(v.12). When was ‘at that time’? That time was before you prayed for salvation, asked Jesus to cancel the record of debt your sin had accumulated, asked to be brought from darkness to light and to be born again. The Word tells us to remember that time, remember yourself pre-salvation. 

So, how does all of this lead to a BIG prayer? Well, remembering this ought to drive you to prayer in gratitude and for the endurance to keep going. If you have never prayed for any of this, then do! But, if you have prayed for this, received this by grace, through faith, then keep on praying for this. 

Today, there is a BIG prayer for you, whether this is the first time or the fifty-first time. It’s most probably the best place to conclude our look at BIG prayers.

First, if you have never prayed about this, try this BIG prayer.

Lord, I humbly come to you and admit that I am a sinner, that I have missed the mark in how you made me to live. I ask for forgiveness, and I thank you that you have made this available to me by the great and all-encompassing sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. I believe He died, and I believe He rose. Today I submit and commit to Jesus as the Lord of my life. Take me from darkness to light, from death to life, from old creation to new. 

If you are renewing your vows, so to speak, then try this BIG prayer.

Lord, I thank you that you have taken me from death to life, from darkness to light. I know that my eternal destination is to be in your presence for all eternity. I thank you and worship you for the life-giving forgiveness you have shown me, and continue to show me. I remember my life before, and I pray today that you fill me afresh with your Holy Spirit so that I keep on walking away from my old self, and towards you in the person of Jesus and in the manner He lived. 

Pray BIG Prayers – Help

Many of us have grown up in a culture where being self-sufficient is prized. The idea that you need to ask anyone for help is anything from slightly frowned-upon to outright taboo. 

Where would you put yourself on that scale? Do you feel strange asking for help? Dare you even ask anyone for help with anything, ever?

So much of our Christian faith (which, at it’s most basic, is believing that Jesus rose from the grave) is about admitting that we need help. We admit that we cannot do anything in the here and now to influence where we spend our eternity. We admit that we cannot guarantee our eternal destination by anything we do from our current earthly station. 

When we do it’s liberating, it’s justifying, and it’s saving. 

When we move away from self-sufficiency to dependency we are freed from the pressure of advancing our own little kingdoms. We take the burden off ourselves, and give it to someone else. We realise that as a stream, we are fed by a spring.  

Asking for help from a God who created the world, from a God who raised Jesus from the grave, from a God who is still present and active in the world today is not weak. Giving Him the burdens you carry, the worries you feel, the outcomes of your life is not weak. Admitting that you need help is not weak, it is quite possibly the strongest decision you can ever make. 

Modelling this for us, Jesus prayed many times for help (see John 17 for example). Today’s BIG prayer is asking for help.

Father, I know that nothing I can do in my earthly station can influence at all my eternal destination. This, along with all my fears, worries, and anxieties I give to you as a declaration that I need help. I cannot change the things that truly matter in my life, and I need you to help. I give you my life, all of it, and ask you to help me to use it well and that you would guide me to a path that leads to life everlasting.

Titus 3.4-7 – He Did So That You Can Have

If we’re honest, we were all the kind of people detailed in 3.3, and when we were living in that state, the state of our natural human fleshly self, none of us thought totally of our own volition ‘Do you know what, I am such a sinner and I need to repent of this and put myself right‘. Today, Paul platforms his exhortation for Titus to teach the people (3.1-2) on a steadfastly-sure foundation. So, simply, teach the people these things Titus because God has done all of this for them.

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3.4-7

So, having been living a life that was severely lacking in Godliness (v.3), Paul now says, butbut when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us…Notice with me that the first action, the impetus, the beginning of this wasn’t with you or with me, but with Him; the goodness and loving kindness of God…He saved us

This pattern of God being the initiator in our salvation is repeated throughout this mini-poem, did you see it? He saved us…not because of works…according to His own mercy…of the Holy Spirit…He poured out…through Jesus Christ our Saviour…justified by His grace…

With all of this done for us by Him, what are we to do? Simply, we become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

He does everything so that we can have everything.

This wholehearted, whole-life, wholly others-focused offer can only be made by an entirely loving person for the object of their love. This is not the natural way of interacting with people, is it? The good news for you and for me is that God who made heaven and earth is that entirely loving person, and that you are the object of His love. That’s why He did everything so that you can have everything. 

 

In Paradise

Our second last word of Jesus on the cross is also found in Luke 23 and is given in response to one of the criminals crucified next to Him (v.32).

And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Luke 23.43

The only deathbed conversion in the Bible gives us hope that it is never too late to turn to the Lord, but, it is the only deathbed conversion in the Bible, so it shouldn’t give us a false sense that we can wait until the very last minute to ‘get religious’ as many people see it. 

Imagine floating down a river towards a waterfall and there is a big rock right on the edge of the drop that you plan to grab on to. Whilst you are floating towards the edge there is a man on the side of the river calling out to you with a life-saver but you reply ‘Don’t worry, I’ll grab that rock just before I fall‘. But in the course of floating down the river the current has taken you so far from the rock you can’t grab it. In the course of your floating you’ve also taken on so much water than you may not be physically able to grab it. The man on the side is willing and able to save you should you call out to him, but you never did, vainly hoping to wait until the very last second. 

Sadly, this is how many people view salvation and eternal life: ‘I’ll wait until I’m old and ready to die, then I’ll think about all that‘. Sadly, for many, they never get this chance meaning that decisions made in the here-and-now become all the more important. 

Friends, who do you need to talk to about salvation and eternal life today?

Who do you need to send this to and have them read it today?

These words spoken by Jesus on the cross are – like many others – a comfort and a challenge. For those that have trusted Him they are a huge comfort but the context they are given in brings a real challenge.

These words were painfully spoken during crucifixion but they were given nonetheless. It can be painful having these kinds of conversations with people, but follow His example and have one today.

2 Timothy 3.12-15 – Never Look Past The Word

After discussing his circumstances and example, Paul makes another strong contrast for Timothy.

12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Contrary to prosperity teaching or word of faith teaching, Paul here writes that all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. This may look different in all of our lives, but the objective truth remains, that those who make a stand for Jesus, His will, His words, and His ways will find push-back and persecution from the world at large. Paul writes that there are, basically, two kinds of places this will come from, evil people and impostors. This is those who are flat-out against Jesus, and those who think they are for Him, but there is no evidence of this. One group deceives, the other is being deceived

The contrast comes when Timothy, and we, are told but as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed…Interesting that learning comes first, we really do need to know what we are believing, so that when push-back and persecution come, we know on what we are relying, we know on what we are believing, and we know in Whom we are trusting.

Timothy has been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. This is what we would refer to as the Old Testament, and Paul says that it is able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Friends, we must never look past the Word of God to make us wise for salvation. It all points us in the direction of Jesus, it all whispers His name, it all urges and encourages us to put hope, faith, and trust in Him for salvation

Maybe you have started the new year with a reading plan arranged in this way or that way, but the best reading plan you can start is one where you read the Word every day. So, let us continue in what we have learned and firmly believed, let us turn to the sacred writings, and let us look to Christ alone for salvation, as the Word of God urges us to do.