If you remember from last month’s Grace Notes article I was giving some catechesis regarding the Latin phrase “Soli Deo Gloria” (which means, “To God Alone be the Glory”). There were three areas that I was highlighting regarding the use of this term; they were (1) God’s Divine Service to us (which was discussed last month); (2) Prayer; and (3) good works. This month we look at Prayer.
God’s Divine Service is about passively receiving from God because we really have nothing to offer Him. He is the One serving through the Word and the Sacraments - bringing the old Adam to die and the New Man to arise and live by the Gospel - bringing the New Man to have a voice (or response). Thus, a prayer life is not of our fallen, sinful flesh. It is born on the surety of God’s Word.
In other words, God’s Holy Scripture reveals how the glory always goes to God in His bringing us to pray:
John 15:7 proclaims, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (emphasis mine)(NKJV)
Many want to skip over this first underlined part just to get to the “ask what you desire” part, thinking that we can just flippantly throw any request God’s way and He HAS to give it to us. But what this verse reveals is how a proper prayer life comes from abiding IN Christ and His Word. In other words, a Christian’s prayer life is formed by God working in you through His Word. ANY abiding IN Christ and His Word brings the old Man to die and the New Man in you to pray for godly things that will bring God more glory.
John 14:13-14 proclaims: “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (emphasis mine)(NKJV)
Again, look at the emphasized words in the text. Prayers are to be prayed in Christ’s name - and how is that done unless it is the New Man (who is Christ) in you praying. This then explains the rest of the text that proclaims, “that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” So it’s the Son (Christ in you) getting the glory - not you of your own sinful flesh! The old Man would simply pray for selfish things and his own glory.
1 Thes. 5:16-18 proclaims, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (emphasis mine)(NKJV)
When looking at this verse it becomes clear that the old Adam would NEVER be able to do this - while the New Man would say, “Why wouldn’t I?” Why do you think maintaining a prayer life is so hard? Because your sinful flesh is constantly pulling at you to reject God and His will in Christ Jesus for you and it means his (the old Man’s) death through Christ.
Doesn’t this help in understanding why, just prior to prayer, the sign of the cross is done while saying, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”? Because in doing this practice there is a remembrance of one’s Holy Baptism, where the old Man was and continues to be put to death - that the New Man would be given a voice.
Therefore, Soli Deo Gloria! To God alone be the glory - for HIS bringing us to pray! Next month the catechesis continues as we look at God getting ALL the glory regarding His good works through you.
With you IN Christ!