What is Adoration? (What is prayer? Pt 1)

any questions? what is prayer?

Introduction

As Christians, there is a need to speak with God. A defining feature of the Christian God is the fact that we can communicate with him and have a relationship with him. In Fact, we can speak with him on a whole range of subjects. We aren’t limited to a pattern or a script. I’m sure you are all aware that we reject the common book of prayer in favour of open prayer. This is because at the most fundamental level we can speak to God as someone would speak with a friend. Some other religions, God is a big scary being that must not be spoken to outside of the words of a holy book. Muslims have the Koran and pray far more diligently that we do with 5 daily prayers. however, we don’t have this diligence or a need to pray in the same way.

Prayer can commonly split into four ways: Adoration: Praising God, Confession: Asking for God’s forgiveness, Thanksgiving: Showing God gratitude, Supplication: Asking God for erthly needs.

Now I’m not going to say that the structure is to be stuck to or that you have to pray in these 4 parts. In a lot of cases we need to pray a prayer of thanksgiving, or in a case where we find ourselves in great trials, we may need to have a dual prayer of adoration and supplication. This week we are looking at the first one which is adoration.

Why do we need to adore him?

deep love and respect. Worship; veneration. This is the definition of adoration, however. As we were looking at what is a Christian we can see that the key purpose is to worship God. But how does that materialise in the form of adoration? Why do we need to do it? If God is all knowing and all understanding then why would God need us to tell him in prayer what we think of him? If you spoke to a friend the way we spoke to God then it would be flattery. Are we trying to make God feel good before we then start asking tough questions in confession and in Positioning? If this is why you are saying these words then they are as empty as the words of the Pharisees. It’s a waste of time then.

Well no it’s not because if we really mean the words then it’s not a reminder to God but a reminder to us and a reminder to the ones around us. We also would say that it would be wrong for someone not to start some of the truths about God. “Who art in heaven” is a great quote to the hight and the grandness of God the father.

Are we using empty words seeing as God doesn’t need to hear them?

When we praise God for being a creator it’s not that God has forgotten what he has done for us in creation. But it’s not that God needs to hear it either but we can sometimes see that by calling God the creator then makes problems of the worlds become a lot smaller when we address them to the one who created the universe around the problems.

If a friend is diagnosed with cancer is it that God lost control or he made a mistake. If God was not adored then we in a sense are only asking God to work a miracle. Maybe he wouldn’t be able to do it. Maybe it is out of control? Contrast this with a prayer that opens with “God the Creator, the one who formed the body and the soul and has our birth and life planned out from before the formation of the earth”. We can see that all things are in his control and we can be put to rest by this. Without adoration we are shrinking God to a wishing well where we ask for and give thanks.

Can we flatter God?

Flattery is where we say empty words to please a person. Generally, it’s not true and we are only wanting to make them feel better so that they can give us something in return.

If I was setting up a businessman setting up coffee shops I would say this adoration part so that God will then give me the customers and the business know how to run them all. But I would shower God in these empty words so that my request is more genuine.

But prayer doesn’t work that way because God can see straight through the heart and knows how we think. There is nothing wrong with opening a chain of coffee shops or asking God for wisdom and guidance in running them. You should not feel like you have to say them but you should keep in mind that prayer is a privilege and that God desires to hear. Your heart and mind should be constantly desiring to pray to God because it would be odd to do otherwise. To remembering how high above us God then allows us to confess, give thanks and request from God on a better foot than one who only requests and give thanks.

Grace Alone

As we mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation in Europe, we are considering five of the great principles that lie at the heart of the Reformation. These are the five ‘solas’ – the five ‘alones’ – that sum up some of the central emphases of this great time of theological and spiritual revival. Last month we considered ‘Christ Alone’. This month we turn to ‘Grace Alone’ – ‘Sola Gratia’.

A vital emphasis of the Reformation was that salvation is by God’s grace alone, drawing on texts such as Ephesians 2:8-9 ‘by grace you have been saved through faith’. ‘Grace’ is to be thought of as the favour of God to those who deserved only condemnation and it is this grace that is the source as well as the guarantee of the sinner’s salvation.

We need to notice that the pre-Reformation church did speak about salvation ‘by grace’ – it is a caricature to say that the theologians of that period taught salvation by works. The problem was, however, that they tried to combine an element of grace and an element of works. They believed that God gave grace to assist those who made their best effort towards salvation. The ‘grace’ they believed in was thought of as a kind of substance that God infused into people to strengthen their efforts, like a kind of spiritual energy drink.

The Reformers, however, realised that a consistently biblical view of salvation meant that it is ‘by grace alone’. There is no contribution that the sinner makes, and indeed none he could make. With reference to salvation, grace excludes works entirely. One among many significant texts is Romans 11:6 ‘But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace’. Not only does salvation begin by grace, it also continues by grace. That is so despite the attitude of some Christians who seem to think that having had past sins forgiven by the grace of God, they must then stay in God’s good books by their own spiritual efforts. That is a deadly misunderstanding.

The grace of God provides everything required for salvation. God’s amazing love for a sinful world led to the provision of a Saviour, as the familiar words of John 3:16 remind us. That Saviour by his life of perfect obedience, his atoning death and triumphant resurrection, all as the Substitute for his people, provides full salvation for all who belong to him by the divine decree of predestination. Christ gives new life to sinners, so that Paul can say that God ‘made us alive together with Christ’ (Ephesians 2:5). In saving union with Christ we have justification, adoption, sanctification and eventually glorification. Romans 3:24, for example, tells us that we are ‘justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus’. At every point the explanation for what we have as Christians is the grace of God.

Such an understanding of salvation is profoundly humbling. There is nothing left in relation to salvation for which we can take credit. It is, however, also wonderfully liberating. Salvation by grace alone lifts a crushing burden from our shoulders, a burden we in fact cannot bear. We realise now that we cannot contribute to a salvation that is all by grace alone – and we do not have to. We do not have to do the impossible, and so we are set free from the bondage of trying to establish our own righteousness before God by our own efforts.

This was one of Luther’s great (re)discoveries. When he read a text like Romans 1:17, with its reference to ‘the righteousness of God’, he at first thought of a righteousness by which God judges sinners and a righteousness which he demands of them. In his mind this was a righteousness which he had to produce and which he could not, despite having tried everything that the church recommended. Then the Lord graciously opened Luther’s eyes to the wonderful truth that texts like Romans 1:17 actually refer to a righteousness that God gives as a free gift of grace, the very righteousness of Christ. In the Preface to his Latin writings this is how he describes the discovery: ‘Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise through open gates. There a totally other face of the entire Scripture showed itself to me.’ He was free at last!

The truth of ‘grace alone’ flows from the sovereignty of God in salvation. He did not have to save any, yet he has fully provided for the salvation of a vast multitude of sinners (note Revelation 7:9). This Reformation assertion of ‘grace alone’ echoes the truth of Jonah 2:9 ‘Salvation belongs to the Lord’. It is a truth that exalts God and humbles men and women.

A further consequence of the sovereignty of God in salvation which should delight the heart of every believer is the certainty we have that the work that God has begun will certainly be completed. As Paul expressed it, ‘I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ’ (Philippians 1:6). Such certainty strengthens our assurance of salvation and fills our hearts with joy – ‘by grace alone’.