From Praying the Names of Jesus Week Seventeen, Day Three
In the last book of the Bible, Jesus reveals himself as "the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." Present at the world's beginning, Jesus will also be present at its end, when he and his work are finally and fully revealed. When you pray to Christ as the Alpha and the Omega, you are praying to the One who is, who was, and who is to come. He is our all-sufficient Lord, who will not fail to complete the good work he has begun in us.
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." Revelation 22:13
Praying the Name
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:15-20
Praise God: For his all sufficiency.
Offer Thanks: That Christ did not cling to equality with God but emptied himself in order to save us.
Confess: Your tendency to rely on yourself rather than God.
Ask God: To help you face the emptiness inside.
The word "abundance" made a bit of a comeback a few years ago when a feel-good book entitled Simple Abundance scaled the best seller lists. This book of daily readings tapped into the sense many of us have that our lives are long on stress and short on serenity. Though we may live in the midst of affluence, many of us sense that something vital is lacking. We long for a greater sense of purpose and a deeper sense of fulfillment.
But how does our need for fulfillment connect with Jesus as the Alpha and the Omega? Herbert Lockyer, British pastor and author, once described Jesus as "A and Z, and all in between — the Center and Circumference of all things."3 I like that description because it echoes the statement in Colossians that God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus. Christ is indeed the source of all beauty and the end of all yearning. He is truth, peace, healing, comfort, purity, power, and love. He is the beginning of the world and the end of the world, and it is literally true that we have no good apart from him. To say that God's fullness dwells in Jesus is to say that though Christ is human, there is no part of him that is not divine. Deity fills him. As one theologian puts it, "From him as the bearer of the divine fullness . . . vital powers flow into the church, so that he may be said to fill it."
But if "vital powers" are to flow into us by virtue of our belonging to Christ, why is it that we often feel so lacking in power? Perhaps it is because we are so busy trying to fill ourselves with things incapable of satisfying. You can't, after all, fill a bucket with fine-cut diamonds if it is already packed to the brim with potting soil. Perhaps too we fail to grasp an obvious fact: that God's power flows down and not up. In other words, receiving everything that Christ has for us requires a willingness to tolerate our emptiness for a while. It requires admitting our inability to satisfy our deepest needs, all the while believing that Christ will. And this faith, joined with humility and obedience, will act as a powerful force, a kind of spiritual gravity to attract God's gifts and his blessings.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about God's ultimate aim. He says there will come a time when, through the work of Christ, God will finally be all in all. Everywhere you look — God. Everyone you look at — God within. That is God's plan for you, for the church, and for this world.
He wants to fill us with himself, the richest of all blessings. Pray for the grace to admit your need, to empty yourself of all that opposes God's presence. Repent especially of the self-reliance that keeps you from trusting him. Then pray for the wisdom, peace, and power to serve him in a way that will fulfill his purpose for your life.
Two of Ann Spangler's most-loved books have been released in paperback: Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus.
These books help us understand the biblical context in which these names and titles were revealed, and help us gain a more intimate knowledge of the Father and of the Son.