Sovereign Grace: The Prayer Debt
(week 03/04)
Olubi Johnson

Hebrews 4:14-16 NKJV: Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Here, we are told to come in prayer to God in the time of need so we can obtain mercy and grace, through the High Priestly ministry of the Lord Jesus which is activated when we pray in tongues as the Lord Jesus prays through us, for us, by the supernatural utterance of the Holy Spirit (Act. 2.4, Jn. 16.13, Rm. 8.26-27).

So, ordinarily, we receive God’s grace and mercy when we pray in the spirit.

How then does God’s grace and mercy come to people who do not pray or do not even know God?

God gives them His grace and mercy sovereignly: without their asking for it or even deserving it.

2 Chronicles 16:9 (NKJV): For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.

For instance, Cornelius was a gentile that did not know God: he was not born-again yet God sent an angel to him sovereignly to get Peter to come to his house and get him and his household born-again and filled with the Spirit.

Acts 10:1-6 (NKJV): There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.”

It is interesting to note that Cornelius was a gentile: he had no covenant with God so there was no legal basis for God to answer his prayers:

Eph 2:11-12 (NKJV): Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh–who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands– that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

True his prayers and alms came up as a memorial before God to show that God acknowledged the honesty and sincerity of his heart, but those prayers and alms could not save him and God had no legal basis to answer them or reward them, so what God did He did sovereignly.

Many times, even in our lives as Christians, God moves in our lives by His sovereign grace and mercy when we are not praying as we should or are in unbelief or even sin.

So in times of failure or despair remember God’s sovereign grace is there to cover for you.

However, it is important to know whenever God moves sovereignly in the earth He incurs a prayer debt, because God can do nothing legally on the earth except a man asks Him to do it: This is the reason why we have to pray.

Psalms 115:16 (NKJV): The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s; But the earth He has given to the children of men.

In this end-time God has to pay all the prayer debts of all He has done sovereignly in the earth since Adam’s fall in the garden of Eden before Jesus can return.

This is similar to God having to pay the sin debt of all the sins that had committed from Adam to Christ that he had temporarily covered by the blood of animals, by the death and sufferings of Jesus before anybody could be born-again and go to heaven.

That is why the Old testament saints did not go to heaven but to Abraham’s bosom under the earth, until after the Lord Jesus had paid the price, preached to the spirits in prison and lead captivity captive to heaven (Luke 16.23-26, 1 Pet. 3.18-19, Eph. 4.8-10).

Heb 10:4 (NKJV): For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

Hebrews 9:14-15 (NKJV): how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

In the Old testament God made a covenant with Israel to produce one Son who paid the price for sin debt.

In the New Testament God has made a covenant with the Church through Jesus Christ to produce many sons who will, through praying spirit, pay the prayer debt before Jesus can return to this earth.

Hebrews 2:10 (NKJV): For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Romans 8:18 (NKJV): For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Romans 26:30 (NKJV): Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

So, while you can enjoy God’s sovereign grace and mercy remember after God has been good to you when you did not deserve it, to help him to pay off the prayer debt by being diligent in your prayer life, especially prayer in the spirit.