“Be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:17-18
A friend of mine had the honor and privilege of sharing a meal with a Romanian family shortly after the fall of the Communist regime. At the close of the evening, they offered him some tea, contained in a very special cup. It had been the property of a pastor who had been martyred for his faith, during the harsh days of Communist oppression. They called it “The Martyr’s Cup.” They only used the cup on special occasions, and they kept it on shelf separated from all the rest of the dishes. When the significance of the small cup was explained to my friend, he received it as a great honor. Wouldn’t we all?
Peter’s last words were shared with the members of the early church, under the shadow of his imminent martyrdom. He did so in the face of great lawlessness from inside and outside of the fellowship. The true church has always had to learn how to thrive, not just survive, under the forces of apostasy from within, and the forces of evil from without. Prayer warriors remain on guard against both.
The contemporary church has much to learn from Peter’s prophetic voice. When Peter embraced Grace, he was not taking hold of a concept. He was throwing his arms around Jesus. Amazing Grace, indeed.
“Revival is falling in love with Jesus all over again.” Vance Havner
Tiny, mustard seed-sized, child-like faith receives The Father’s unmerited favor. He provides Grace through His Son, Jesus. The most seasoned saint never arrives at a full knowledge of The Father’s love for them. The learning curve lasts a lifetime, and continues into eternity. The School of Prayer is always in session on campuses in Heaven and on earth, and the Ph.D* is the only degree offered. The education is on earth, but the graduation is held in Heaven. (*Pray Hard Daily)
“To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
Peter’s final words called for the church to grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus. A martyr’s last words hold great significance, and substance. To ignore them devalues the martyr’s sacrifice, and leads to the spiritual bankruptcy of the church. Peter’s cup was full and overflowing with the wisdom needed for this hour.
“We cannot grow into grace. Grace is the unmerited favor we received when Christ is received as Savior. Once He is accepted, we grow in Him. It is only in the school of prayer that we can grow both in grace and knowledge.” Herbert Lockyer
Prayer provides access to The Way to grow in grace and knowledge. To grow in appreciation of The Father’s unmerited favor and to gain an awareness of His great love for His children, time in prayer must be spent with His Son.
“I am the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” ~ Jesus - John 14:6
Jesus prayed early and often. He prayed during the day, and through the night. His prayers were scheduled, and spontaneous. Whether He was alone or walking with the disciples on a crowded road, He sought personal intimacy, and maintained unbroken communication with The Father, through prayer. Prayer was the air He breathed, the compass for His life, and His language of love reserved for His Father.
Those who race to embrace Grace, but express no desire to spend time with Jesus, are taking a walk in the dark, not in The Light. Prayer continues to be The Son’s love language for His Father. He is seated at His right hand in Heaven, and intercedes for those who come to The Father, in His name. The first step to growing in grace and knowledge takes place on bended knees.
Those who desire to grow in grace, and the knowledge of Jesus will enter into The School of Prayer, and learn to pray from The Master. Grace is The Gift from God. Prayer is an expression of gratitude for His Gift. Spontaneous prayer is an appropriate sign of appreciation for an introduction to Grace. Continuous prayer leads to a growing appropriation of the full knowledge of Grace. Prayer moves intimacy with The Father’s Grace from an initial introduction to a growing appropriation.
Growing in grace and knowledge requires spending time with Jesus in The School of Prayer. He is at the head of the class. He invites those interested in learning to pray to move their desks closer to His. When they do, they learn from Him.
“Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me.” ~ Jesus
NOTE TO SELF: When you are prayerless, you exhibit the self-centered character of a thankless child. Remaining prayerless while being a recipient of God’ unmerited favor is a poor reflection on The Father’s love, and shows very little appreciation for The Son’s sacrifice. Failing to pray is like cheating off your own paper. It only leads to more failure. Move your desk closer to Jesus. Learn from Him. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!