John 17:1 “Father, the hour has come.”
What is prayer? A simple definition would be “talking to God.” But what does one talk about – to God? To hear most prayers, we would think that prayer is a matter of asking God for things – certain favors, or help of some kind – perhaps for healing, or financial needs, or protection, that sort of thing. And prayer certainly does consist of such things. Indeed, among the things Jesus instructed us to pray about were our physical needs, e.g., “give us today our daily bread.” However, another aspect of prayer that we might not think about as much is simply declaring Truth to God, the Author of all Truth. Jesus did exactly that in John 17 when He said the simple words “the hour has come.” He was talking about the hour of His death. Of course, God already knew this for God knows everything. And of all the people that ever lived, Jesus knew that God knew everything. Yet He still said this.
Perhaps this is a good example of how truth resonates with truth. Simply stating things that are true to the one who is the source of all truth, is a way of affirming our acceptance and love of that truth and in that way glorifying the Father. We see this same kind of thing in the way people say “Yes” or “Amen,” which means the same thing, when someone says something that they heartily agree with. In many church services you can hear a hearty “Amen” from time to time as the pastor preaches and declares things that resonate with the heart of the believer. In a very similar way, God loves to hear things that are true spoken from our lips. Just as we are blessed when someone says something kind about us to us, He loves to hear us affirm our faith in Him by telling Him that He is holy, faithful, loving, kind, or forgiving.
This applies to any true thing we might say to God in prayer, including when we tell the truth about our own sin. The Bible tells us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).” To “confess” our sins literally means “to say the same thing” about them as God does. God already knows all about our sins – every one of them. Trying to hide them from Him is not only foolish, it doesn’t honor Him. But when we say the same thing about our sins that He does, i.e., when we call our sin for what it indeed is, we glorify God and he responds with His gracious forgiveness.
May God help us to glorify Him in our prayers by declaring back to Him the wonderful Truths He has given us – truths about who He is, truths about what He has done, and truths even about our sin. Jesus made a practice of declaring the truth of God back to God in prayer, even the truth about the crucifixion as He was on the way to the cross. He embraced this truth in spite of all it would cost Him, because He knew that all truth glorifies and honors God. May we do the same thing as we pray to the God of Truth, who loves us and gave Himself for us – another wonderful truth.
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