Sanctified By The Word And Prayer
By Kim Butts
“Nothing but the knowledge of God, as the Holy One, will make us holy. And how are we to obtain that knowledge of God, save in the inner chamber, [our private place of prayer]? It is a thing utterly impossible unless we take time and allow the holiness of God to shine on us.” – Andrew Murray
Whenever Moses entered the presence of the Lord, his face shone: “Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him” (Ex. 34:29). His appearance was transformed by being with a holy God.
In the same way, the gaze of God, shining upon us as we meet with Him in the inner chamber of prayer, is able to transform us into His holy disciples. Being in the presence of God changes us...and the more time we spend with Him, the more He renovates our hearts so that our lives reflect Jesus to everyone around us. Such an inward journey is known as sanctification. It is something we cannot do or accomplish on our own without the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
For everything created by God “is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Tim. 4:4-5).
In Genesis 1, our loving Creator saw that the creation of man and woman was good. Even though we are sinful and flawed, we are invited to enter into a process of sanctification in cooperation with the Spirit to become pure and holy as He is holy!
Since all that has been created by God is sanctified by the means of the Word of God and prayer, it would seem that one very practical way to live this out is to begin to pray the Word of God.
Here are some scriptures that will help us to prayerfully ask for the holiness of the Father to be made manifest in us. May His Holy Spirit guide us in this transformation to holy living.
We Are Chosen to Be Holy: “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him…” (Eph. 1:4). We were chosen to be holy before the world came to be! What an amazing insight into the heart of God. He envisioned us as holy people even before He breathed us into existence.
Prayer: Father, what an amazing truth! You chose me to be holy and blameless in Your sight even before You created the world. I can hardly comprehend how it must grieve Your heart that Your people are so careless with this gift – myself included! Teach me to more fully understand what it means to be set apart for the purposes of Your kingdom! Shine on me and sanctify me, Holy God!
We Are Called to Be Holy: “For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness” (1 Thes. 4:7). After God chose us to be holy, God called us to seek after holiness. Knowing that we have a choice multiple times a day to reflect the life of Jesus in our actions and in what we say, He keeps calling us to choose the way of holiness. How well do we respond to His call?
Prayer: Righteous One, I bow my heart in anguish over my sinful ways and worldly choices. You have called me to be holy and I have not honored Your desire for me to be set apart for Your purposes. Teach me to obey Your call! Shine on me and sanctify me, Holy God!
Worship God Because He Is the Holy One: “Give unto the LORD the glory due His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” (Psa. 29:2). In order to journey more deeply into the transforming work of God to make us His holy people, we must first focus on the glory of our Father, worshiping Him in His holiness. We cannot begin to comprehend the holiness of God in our own lives if we do not spend time in His holy presence.
Prayer: Father, I am in awe of Your holy splendor! You alone are worthy of worship and honor! You invite me into Your presence to give myself as an offering so that You might transform me by Your holiness. May I grow in holiness as You shape me into the image of Your Son, Jesus, so that I might be a living reflection of His character. Shine on me and sanctify me, Holy God!
Be Holy Because He Is Holy: “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Pet. 1:15-16). Holiness is not an option – it is a command from Scripture! We cannot fully obey this mandate when prayer is a duty rather than a desire. Prayer is relationship with the Holy One – the One who desires us to be holy as He is holy! When we neglect this relationship, we cannot obey the call to be holy and to be holy in all we do.
Prayer: Holy One of Israel, deepen my desire to fully know You as I am fully known by You. Forgive me of my prayerlessness and thinking I can work my way toward holiness apart from seeking Your face. Show me what it truly means to be holy as You are holy! Shine on me and sanctify me, Holy God!
Share in His Holiness: “For [our earthly fathers] indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but [God] for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:10-11). So many of us look at affliction and suffering as something to be avoided; however, God utilizes these things to refine us. We cannot just arrogantly expect to step into holiness without being purified and cleansed. We should therefore welcome our suffering as the training ground for holiness. Zechariah 13:9 says, “I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” If we are unwilling to walk through the fire, we are unwilling to be holy as He is holy.
Prayer: Father, if I am truly honest, I do not like discipline, and I would never choose to suffer if it was dependent upon my selfish desire to avoid discomfort. But I know that if these things were not a part of my life’s journey, I would stay an immature, ineffective believer rather than growing into a purified, kingdom-changing follower of Jesus. Give me the strength to endure Your loving discipline, faith to believe that You are in the midst of my suffering, and a submissive spirit to allow the refining fire to do its work to make me holy as You are holy. Shine on me and sanctify me, Holy God!
Righteousness Leads to Holiness: “And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness” (Rom. 6:18-19). We are weak in our natural selves! We must guard ourselves from making unholy alliances with the ungodly culture around us. Jesus has set us free from sin and death; yet, we keep entangling ourselves in darkness and giving in to the temptations of seemingly harmless distractions. It is in prayer where the alliance with righteousness is made strong and kept whole!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, because of You, I have been set free from sin, and Your righteousness has become my own. Give me strength to choose holiness over the temptations of the world. Set off alarm bells in my soul whenever the evil one attempts to distract me from the purpose of Your kingdom. Shine on me and sanctify me, Holy God!
Perfect Holiness Out of Reverence: “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1). Even in this moment, each of us is likely aware of how easily entangled we can become with what contaminates our desire to be holy people. We cannot walk in integrity of heart when we harbor darkness within us.
Prayer: Holy God, show me how to purify myself from what pollutes my body and spirit! Guard my heart and help me to focus all that I am upon the beauty of Your holiness! Give me strength to walk away from the arrogance of my own thoughts and actions so that day by day I look more like Jesus. Show me how to walk towards a more perfect holiness. Shine on me and sanctify me, Holy God!
A. W. Tozer brings this all into a completed whole for us: “Holiness, as taught in the Scriptures, is not based upon knowledge on our part. Rather, it is based upon the resurrected Christ in-dwelling us and changing us into His likeness.”
As we allow the presence of God to impact our lives, He will transform us from the inside out. God’s holiness will be manifested in and through our lives so that our faces truly will shine with the glory of Christ. May each of us be sanctified for the purposes of His kingdom!