Posted by: William | May 2, 2008

Seven Sayings – Chapter One

For more information on this edition of Reading Classics Together, swing by Challies.com or pick up the book, The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross by Arthur W. Pink.

This week in the Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross Arthur Pink begins his discussion on Jesus’ dying words. The first chapter focuses on Jesus’ “word of forgiveness”. In Luke 23:34, some of Jesus’ dying words are “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.”

Something that really stuck out to me was to point out that as Jesus was dying, as he was ending his life, some of the last duties that he performed was to pray for his enemies. That’s a heavy word about prayer and about love. As Jesus is in the process of being executed, he prays for the very people who are bringing about the deed.

Pink’s observation is one that strikes home, because fervent prayer is something I’m constantly desiring and often attempting to achieve, but rarely actually attain to.

At a conference a while back a speaker made a statement about prayer that has always stuck with me and I’ve often repeated to groups that are trying to pray. He pointed out Luke 22:31-32, where Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat…” Satan had asked to send Peter through turmoil. If the statement were left at that, Peter might be left shaking in his boots. But Jesus doesn’t leave it there, he continues and reassures Peter saying, “but I have prayed for you…”. Jesus is fully assured in his prayer’s effectiveness. He believes that God will answer his prayer for Peter and as scripture confirms, he did.

Jesus’ prayer for his executioner’s forgiveness is not unlike his effective prayer for Peter. As Pink points out, it isn’t but a short while later when Peter is standing before the crowd on Pentecost and exclaiming that this Jesus they crucified God had made both “Lord and Christ.” It was following that sermon that God answered Jesus’ prayer and saved the 3000.

Pink’s observation is yet another coal in the fire urging me to prayer, urging all of us to prayer. As strange as it sounds, I pray now for a heart to pray more. If we can’t muster the strength or mind to pray, perhaps we can pray for just that.

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