What is the importance of the word, sacraments, and prayer as means of grace? Dr. Michael Allen explains how God gives us the gifts of his Word, the sacraments, and prayer that help us and encourage us as we journey through this life. Below is a lightly edited transcript.
As we think about the Christian life and the high calling we have to journey well with God, we see the gracious gift that God not only calls us to something grand, but he provides grace for the journey. There are many habits, many disciplines, many spiritual exercises that may be useful at different times, but there are certain ways that God promises to show up.
God Promises to Use Means
Now God is free, God is sovereign, God’s powerful. God can speak, we learn in Scripture, through the mouth of a barnyard animal. And yet, if we want to hear from God, if we want to be blessed by God, if we want to be empowered for the journey by God, there’s certain places we’re wise to go, not the barnyard.The Word, sacraments, and prayer . . . are a part of the regular diet where God means to provide the nutrients, the sustenance, the strength that we need to journey by faith well together.
God tells us that things like his Word read and preached, meditated on and hidden in our hearts; his sacraments meant to be practiced together by the communion of saints regularly, that we would be not only baptized, but we would run to his table to receive from him again and again the goodness that Christ lays out for us there; the calling to pray ceaselessly as individuals and regularly together as a church, that these are practices that are not only good for certain times or seasons, but are good for all Christians in all places and times because they are unique spots where God promises to show up in life-giving grace, where God promises to feed and strengthen his people for the journey.
Means of Grace in the Christian Life
You know, there are different therapies, different infusions that might be useful to me when facing a particular medical crisis or a unique trauma. And they may be really important for that season. But there are certain elements of wellness and health that are necessary for all times, for all seasons of life. There are other good spiritual practices, and I may avail myself (and other Christians may avail themselves) of others at different times. But the Word, sacraments, and prayer, these are a part of the regular diet where God means to provide the nutrients, the sustenance, the strength that we need to journey by faith well together.