Don’t Just Preach the Gospel to Yourself, Pray the Gospel!
You never graduate from the gospel.
I’ve said before the gospel is the doctrine I struggle the most to believe. The little legalist inside of me is always trying to subvert the gospel of grace and make it all about me. Jerry Bridges describes how he preaches the gospel to himself daily in his book, Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate [Aff. Link]. While it is necessary and important to be meditating upon and preaching to ourselves the promise of the gospel contained within the Scriptures, I’d like to suggest an additional way to help beat down the little legalist inside us all.
Pray the Gospel
1. Confess Your Sin
When praying, be sure to confess your sin to God. Chapter 15 of the Westminster Confession of Faith speaks of repenting of “particular sins, particularly” and that you’re “bound to make private confession of [your] sins to God”. Alarm bells should go off if you can’t remember the last time you did. When sinners become ‘other people’ in your mind, it is likely the gospel of grace is slipping from your fingers. Daily confessing sin keeps you in your rightful place before God; a sinner saved by grace.
2. Thank God for His Provision in Jesus Christ
God answers prayer, and we say thank you. Little things, big things, and everything in between. Or at least we should be saying thank you. Amongst the many things that you are thankful for on a daily basis, why not include an element of the gospel? Not something generic, but something specific. Thank God for a specific element of the gospel, and tell Him why you’re thankful for it.
Below are some elements of the gospel. Take some time to consider why you’re thankful for each and then include one element today when you pray.
- God’s election of sinners.
- Christ’s incarnation.
- Christ’s perfect life and obedience to God the Father’s will.
- Christ’s suffering on the cross.
- Christ’s resurrection.
- Christ’s ascension.
- The giving of the Holy Spirit.
- Christ reigning as King.
- Christ’s intercession.
There are more elements to the good news of the gospel, and possibly several ways each could lift your heart in thankfulness to God.
This simple excercise of daily acknowledging your place as a sinner before God through confession of sin; of then considering the gospel, thanking God for a specific element of it, and telling God why you’re thankful for it, will surely aid in keeping your daily life centered on the good news of the gospel.
Is it your habit to pray the gospel? Why are you thankful for the gospel? How do specific elements of the gospel make you thankful?
In future posts, Lord willing, I will post some example prayers demonstrating how you can pray the gospel.