So that has to be the most Puritan-ish title I’ve ever given a blogpost, and I hope I haven’t lost you already. 🙂 I realize that some of you may not be familiar with triperspectivalism, and if you are in that category, here’s a good list of resources to check out. The purpose of this blogpost is to show how I am learning to practically apply triperspectivalism to my prayer life in order to create a more balanced, continual communion with God throughout the day.
Triperspectivalism focuses on the three offices of Christ’s mediation, namely that of prophet, priest, and king and shows how those offices functionally relate to Christian life and ministry. What I want to do is the make the case how appropriating the triperspectival model can encourage prayer rhythms while at the same time directing us to revel in Christ our mediator. Makes sense?
The way this is unfolding in my day is to break down my prayer times in three specific periods: early morning, noontime/mid-day, and late evening. While there is spontaneous prayer throughout the day, these periods are intentionally set aside for communion with God and to lay of Jesus who is my prophet, priest, and king. Doing this causes me to remain awestruck in wonder of my Savior and cultivates communion in a manner not centered on me and my needs but God and the beauty of His manifold perfections.
Early Morning Prayer: Christ, My Great High Priest
I begin the day meditating on Christ my great high priest because His mercies are new for me every morning. It is easy to begin each day being overwhelmed of sin and guilt or proceed in a spirit of independence and presumption. It is my goal to begin each day by having my soul happy in God, and nothing stirs me more than to meditate on Christ’s ongoing mediation and intercession on my behalf.
The purpose of this prayer time is to go hard after God in personal holiness, so the content of my praying is centered on being renewed in the gospel and all that God is for me in Jesus. Morning praying therefore is a matter of adoration, celebration, confession, repentance, and abiding in the gospel. I am dealing directly with the idol factory of my heart and uprooting anything that threatens my joy in God and treasuring Him with my whole heart.
I conclude with thanksgiving to Jesus, knowing that He has identified with my struggles and temptations in His incarnation and continues to identify with me in His intercession. My merciful high priest welcomes me to the throne of grace to find mercy and help in time of need, and each morning, this needy sinner fetches the great bounty so generously extended in the covenant of grace. Repentance is ripened, pretending is forsaken; faith is renewed, performing is forfeited.
Mid-Day Prayer: Christ, My Almighty King
Usually, the noontime or mid-day period means I am in a public setting. This means I am surrounded by people who do not know God and therefore are not submission to His reign and rule as Lord and King. The goal of this time of prayer is to focus on Christ’s kingdom coming, the advance of the gospel, the salvation of the lost, and the missionary efforts of God’s people both here and around the world.
In the morning, I want to go hard after God in prayer for my soul. In the noontime, I want to go hard after God in prayer for the souls of the lost and those seeking to reach them. I go to King Jesus in prayer, asking that He would establish His kingdom in the hearts of men through the clear, continual, and compassionate proclamation and demonstration of the gospel. I place my total confidence in the kingly rule of Christ and long for others to be set free from sin’s tyranny and brought gladly under the His reign. I give thanks to Jesus because He has been given all authority in heaven and earth, because He speaks with the voice that raises the dead, because He has promised to build His church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, and because He has other sheep whom He is going to effectually call to Himself.
The content of noontime prayers are then centered on intercession for unbelievers and other community contacts, including prayers for greater influence, more opportunities, anticipating open doors, and increase from sowing gospel seed. Additionally, requests are also made for humility and boldness, faithfulness to the gospel message and fruitfulness in the gospel mission, for clarity in proclamation and favor with those in opposition. It is a time of prayer of reorientation to the priority of seeking first the kingdom of God and to be conscious of those who are doing just that–church planters, missionaries, and persecuted believers. This prayer time concludes with requests to be filled and empowered by God’s Spirit, living intentionally for the gospel, and dwelling richly in God’s Word so that my questionable lifestyle among unbelievers could be answered in ways that only the resurrection of Jesus could satisfy.
Late Evening Prayer: Christ, My True Prophet
The evening closes with a time of prayer focused on Christ, my true prophet. This is a time where I seek to go hard after God in prayer for my fellow believers, including my wife, boys, church family, and anyone else who I have the privilege of speaking the word of God. When you look at the prayers of Paul, you find a man determined to see believers firmly established and rooted in the gospel and growing into conformity to the image of Christ. He took ownership of other believers’ delight in God and made that clear by the way He prayed for them and pursued God on their behalf.
The content of my evening prayers focus on establishing new Christians, maturing growing Christians, and reproducing maturing Christians. My prayers are that lives would be dominated by God, saturated with His Word, and filled with the knowledge of His will in order to be and do all that God would have us be and do as a people fully devoted to Him. Included in this time is prayer for the sick, needy, struggling, weak, and wayward. It is a time of praying for our gospel communities that we would signal the realities of the kingdom of Christ and display the transforming power of the gospel.
I conclude this time of prayer thanking Jesus for being the eternal word, the Word made flesh, the Word that sustains us, nurtures us, convicts us, shapes us, and heals us. I thank Jesus for speaking into our lives the truth and exposing lies, deceit, and darkness. His word is living and active, so while I conclude the day in an act of dependence, I realize that His Word is still working by His Spirit to be wielded in such a way to slay sin, cleanse our hearts, transform our minds, enliven our wills, and cause us to make much of Jesus.
Summarizing It All
In the morning, I focus on Christ my Great High Priest; in the afternoon, I focus on Christ my Almighty King; in the evening, I focus on Christ my True Prophet.
In the morning, I go hard after my own soul; in the afternoon, I go hard after the souls of the lost and those seeking to reach them; in the evening, I go hard after the souls of my fellow believers.
In the morning, my prayer is shaped by an upward pursuit of gospel-driven holiness; in the afternoon, my prayer is shaped by an outward pursuit of gospel-centered mission; in the evening, my prayer is shaped by an inward pursuit of gospel-saturated community.
In the morning, my prayers are largely existential–drawing me into worship and experiencing the fullness of God in the state of my desperation and dependence; in the afternoon, my prayers are situational–drawing me into the context and situation of the world around me; in the evening, my prayers are normative–drawing me into the “normal Christian life” where believers are growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
The purpose of structuring my daily prayer life this way is largely due to the realization of my own prayerlessness and lack of treasuring Jesus Christ. It is not a project to consider but a pattern to adopt. The work of prayer for my own soul and those of others is too great, and yet I am so prone to trivialize and marginalize it by the gravitational pull of a busy heart. So triperspectival praying simply serves as a template for re-centering me in ways that deepen my awareness of dependence and plunge me deeper into the mystery, the majesty, and the mission of God.