If We Are One Why Do We Pray?
By Fred Pruitt
(I received this below as a public comment on my blog, and I thought others might find this useful for understanding. It isn’t a great exhaustive treatise on “prayer,” just a few comments on the questions asked below which have been common questions as long as I have been sharing Christ in us. The writer is using Google Translator to write me as well as to read my stuff, and I am not sure what her native language is. That’s something of an obstacle, the language barrier, but praise God for Google’s help but most especially to the Spirit Who is the real Translator and somehow gets our meanings across since there is no language barrier in the Spirit!)
So if I am the presence of the Lord why do I have ( I don’t mean as an obligation but just that the bible recommends it) to pray then?
And if 1 thess.5:17 suggest a lifestyle then why did Jesus pray?
And if prayer means to meditate and to remind yourself of who you are ….this makes no sense, I don’t need to remind myself that I am me, right ? And if it is a talk between two persons since I am me and He is He yet one ( like a team or so, since there is no I in a team) then why don’t l hear him?
Oh by the way what does it mean to know His voice …
(Sorry; englisch is not my firs language and google translate was my helper😉 )
Hello! Glad to meet you! I hope it will not be too difficult to communicate using Google Translator. What is your primary language? Google does a good job, but it is hard to get meanings across when going from one language to another. But this is what God has given us so I will reply to your questions and hopefully through the Spirit we will both hear an answer from the Lord.
When I say we are the presence of the Lord, I am not meaning that we are the Transcendent God of the Universe. That is, we are not the Father. In Christ, we are the Sons. But before we can begin to grasp Who the Sons are, it is good to have an understanding of Who the Father is. The Father is the “Universal” God, that is, He is present everywhere and is the same everywhere. He does not dwell in time and space but dwells only in Himself and He transcends all time and space. Paul says He is the invisible and unapproachable God, dwelling in a light that no man can see, and Jesus says in several places that He came to declare the Father and to draw all men to the Father through Him.
So that is why Jesus prayed. Not because He wasn’t the “presence of the Lord” where He was on the earth, but because He was a “particular and specific” expression or manifestation of the Living God. In his capacity as a man, and He called Himself “Son of Man” all the time, He was not the invisible Transcendent God of the Universe. That is why in one place He said, “My Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28).
Jesus was “one” with the Father in Heaven, but when He was born on earth He gave up all aspects of Divinity. See Philippians 2: 5-7 — “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
What does that tell us? It tells us that Jesus was completely one of us, a human being with all the same capabilities, drives, desires, thoughts, that all human beings have. And just like all other human beings, He was tempted by Sin. The Father upheld Him (see Isaiah 42:1) and caused Him to walk in His ways, and when we come into Christ the Father through the Holy Spirit also upholds us and causes us to walk in His ways, as the prophet Ezekiel said in Ezekiel 36:25-27, “25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
That is the promise of the New Testament, that He writes HIs laws in the new hearts He has given us through the Son, and that He causes us to walk in His ways.
As far as Jesus “praying,” there is no one answer for that. In all things He was led of His Father. He makes that perfectly clear throughout the gospels. Sometimes it mentions Jesus going off alone in the hills to pray, or rising up early in the morning to go commune with the Father. Other times Jesus prayed public prayers for this and that, while often saying He was not praying out loud for His own sake or because He doubted the Father would accomplish whatever He asked, but for the sake of the others who were present, that they might see the communion of the Father and Son and “see God’s approval” toward the Son, that they also might believe Him and find Life.
The scripture seems to document the fact that when about to face certain circumstances that He knew were coming, Jesus would retire to some place alone and hear the Father’s Word on the matter. I really do not know what He prayed in those times, because we are not told.
Bottom line, on this issue of prayer, is that we are led of the Spirit when and how and what we should pray. Or sometimes prayer is not saying anything at all, and just listening. Another form of prayer that we often do not think of as prayer, is confessing the faith Words the Spirit gives us for various circumstances, people or needs. When we say, “It Looks like the cupboard is running a little bare, but we trust the Father and know that He meets all our needs and His supplies will be showing up soon,” that is prayer. This is prayer when we speak outwardly what God has spoken inwardly.
And that is the office or position the Father has given each of us in Christ. We are now the Sons on the job, the ones on the spot right here in the present moment in our present circumstances with our present problems and appearances. I see people all the time ask, “Why did God let this happen to me?” I wish I could help them to see, He let it happen to them that they might be the conduit of the Father’s Life into their circumstances of life, that they might overcome by disregarding the current appearance and instead focusing on God only, and by that focus through faith they could see Christ in all things, the Father above all, through all, and in all. That is liberation, to begin to see the Father’s plan and manifestation in everything, everything working together for good for those who are called into the love of God. (Rom 8:28).
You asked about how it is when we “pray,” that is, are we like two people talking to each other? When people start out as beginners in Christ, we all start there. We see God as separate from us and we somehow have to close the gap that exists between us. But that isn’t the case; it is just our baby understanding.
The real truth is that He has come into me to be one person with me, and to live my life, and to live your life. That is what Galatians 2:20 means. The first phrase: “I am crucified with Christ.” We were there in Christ when He endured the Cross. We don’t have to understand it or know how it could be, but we can trust the Father’s Word to us. We died (our old self) when He died. We rose (our new self) when He rose. It becomes active in us on the day we realize or accept it, but that is the truth for everyone, at least potentially.
The second phrase: “Nevertheless I live.” This is Paul talking. Ok, I died with Christ, he says above. But now he says, “But wait, I am still living!” What can this mean, that “I died” and at the same time I am still alive?
But wait a minute, Paul says. Yes, I am alive, and it “seems” to be “I,” but something is different. “Yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” It isn’t me living, it is Christ living! How can that be?
So let’s review thus far:
- I am crucified and as a result I am dead.
- But I still seem to be alive.
- Wait, I thought it was me Who was still alive, but it wasn’t me — it is not I who is living, it is Christ!
What has happened?
Paul moves off his identity now, on into activity.
“And the life I now live in the flesh”
Excuse me, Mr. Paul, but WHO is now living this life in the flesh? “The life I now live in the flesh.” Where did that come from? Which person referred to above is living this life? Paul or Christ?
Who is the writer who is also the observer of these facts? The writer is Paul, obviously, and Paul goes through a metamorphosis in this one verse.
He is speaking of his own inner consciousness. That is where all of this has taken place and is taking place. In inner consciousness, Paul went from his normal self-identity (for lack of a better term), to the death of that self-identity (something we can explore later), to the rising of a new identity, which he first identifies as himself, “nevertheless I live,” but immediately has to correct himself (by the Holy Spirit), to put things in their proper order: “Yet not I, but Christ lives in me.”
What Paul has witnessed in himself and is describing for us is his own death and resurrection in Christ, which he describes variously in other places. This particular passage is the most succinct. Paul is not figuring out theology here. He is, instead, witness to the work of Christ in his own inner being, and this letter to the Galatians is his testimony to that and great desire for them to see the same thing he has seen, that “Christ might be formed in them,” something Paul has travailed for as a woman travails in birth until her child is born. “Christ formed” in all of us is God’s goal for all the sons. This little passage and understanding that Paul relates here is the inner central key to the whole Christian life.
It all comes full circle in the last major phrase in the verse: “And the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
A great transition took place in Paul. He started out with his false independent “I’m just me” consciousness that arose from Sin, and saw that falsehood die in the death of Jesus. Next he inwardly identified with Jesus’ resurrection when he wrote, “Nevertheless I live.”
Here is where the transition in consciousness starts to hit pay-dirt: “Yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh …” There it is! He has seen it! The old me suffered death in the crucifixion. The new me rose in Christ’s resurrection! And the new me was truly a “new me.” The old me had been an old union, union with the spirit of error, and running around in the world doing by nature the lusts and desires of the spirit of error. But now that old me is gone, gone forever! Now I am a new me, not just an improved, dusted-off and cleaned-up old me. But the new me is not just “me” by myself trying to live a spiritual life. The new me is He in me as me living His life of the Spirit in and as my life. Now it is a union, or a unified life, where He and I are one.
One more question you had, about “how” to know His voice. I can’t teach you that. There is no formula for it. And by voice, I do not mean hearing an audible voice, though some people say they do. I have never heard an audible voice from heaven speak to me that I was aware of. I found the only way to know what spiritual life is and how to live it, is to believe and trust the Spirit that He will teach you His ways, including what it is for you to “know” His voice. It is unique for each of us I believe.
I’m sure I haven’t covered everything, but hopefully something I said will help you. Please write back with any questions if you would like.