A self-centered, pleading prayer—the kind of prayer in which I vow to “get right” with God if only he’ll help me—is never found in the New Testament. Am I telling God that I’ll purify my heart if he’ll hear my plea? That I’ll make myself good and righteous if he’ll extend his grace to me? I have to realize I can’t make myself right with God; I can’t make my life perfect, no matter how I plead. The only way I can be right with God is by accepting the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift.

Am I humble enough to accept the gift Jesus bought for me on the cross? I have to stop every effort I’m making and leave myself entirely alone in God’s hands. If I find myself constantly trying to get right with him, it’s a sign that I’m rebelling against the atonement. Many prayers are made in total disbelief of the atonement. We beg Jesus to save us, forgetting he already has. Asking him to do it again is an insult.

“After Job had prayed for his friends . . .” If your fortunes haven’t been restored, if you aren’t getting insight into God’s word, stop praying in a self-centered way and start praying for others. Intercessory prayer is the real business of your life as a saved soul. Wherever God places you, no matter the circumstances, pray immediately for those around you. Pray that the atonement will be realized for others as it has for you. Pray for your friends; pray for your acquaintances; pray for all whose lives have been brought into contact with your own.

Wisdom from Oswald

We begin our Christian life by believing what we are told to believe, then we have to go on to so assimilate our beliefs that they work out in a way that redounds to the glory of God. The danger is in multiplying the acceptation of beliefs we do not make our own. Conformed to His Image, 381 L