I think what is often missed in discussing freedom is the distinction between ‘freedom to’ and ‘freedom from.’ I may be free to engage in illegal activities, I am not free from the physical consequences if caught and in God’s economy I am never free from the moral consequences. A further example, I am free to jump off a very high cliff, I am not free from the sudden stop at the bottom, unless of course I have a parachute, glider or squirrel suit! Any of these additions enhance my freedom to overcome my freedom from.
Romans 8 encapsulates how Jesus provides freedom from when we exercise our freedom to embrace the gospel.
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1–4 (NKJV)
The law of the Spirit of life in Jesus provides freedom from the penalty of the law, I overcome the law of sin and death when I walk according to the Spirit. Given the freedom to that is found in following the Spirit let us turn to prayer and apply the concept.
I don’t know about you, I do know about me, I don’t always find prayer a delight, in fact often it can be difficult. I know that I always have freedom to pray. I also know that I am not free from the things that hinder prayer, things that include distractions, time pressures or just a feeling of trying to slog through spiritual mud. The reality is that prayer works, which is why it is so opposed in the spiritual realm. This leads to a question of how we incorporate freedom from into our prayer lives, something that would provide the ability to overcome the hinderances in our freedom to.
To go back to my analogy of needing a parachute or something similar as freedom from the restrictions of gravity, in prayer my freedom from is anchored in a verse He spoke to me over 30 years ago. I have never forgotten it.
13 A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out. (Leviticus 6:13 NKJV)
The original version of the NKJV said, “There shall be a perpetual fire on the altar; It shall never go out.” What stood out for me all those years ago was the phrase “perpetual fire.”
A fire needs fuel, without fire the sacrifice would simply lay on the altar and without fuel a fire cannot be sustained. In my experience I find that worship is the fuel that feeds the fire of intercession. Whether worshipping in a corporate setting or hiking in the mountains and quietly worshipping as I walk, I find prayer rising up from my spirit. There are other occasions in any given day that I am drawn to pray for someone or something but the regular fuel is worship. When I choose to worship intercession is released. The next time you find prayer a challenge try adding some fuel to your fire. Engage in worship, become from restrictions and let the incense ascend.
Here is a good song to kickstart the process. Jason Upton, Freedom Reigns