The text before us is certainly a most encouraging one: “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Gal. 4:6).
Our thesis is that prayer is an inevitable accompaniment of our salvation. If you are a Christian, you are able to pray because God is in your heart, and therefore prayer should be as natural and spontaneous as the act of breathing is to your body!
Prayer can be at once the easiest activity and yet at the same time it can also be difficult. Prayer is easy in that a little child can pray and speak to God in an effective way and it can be difficult in that an adult, having walked with God for many years, may find themselves stuck their prayers and find some of them unanswered. There are no easy answers as to why this is so. Some possibilities may include the fact that one may have lost their intimacy with God in prayer, because somewhere along the line, an un-confessed sin has grieved the Holy Spirit (Eph.4:30), and so has shut the ear of God. Perhaps, somewhere along the line, a husband’s prayer is no longer answered because they fail to live with their wives in an understanding way, failing to show honour to her as the weaker vessel. (1 Pet. 3:7). Perhaps there has been a substituting of a religious, legalistic habit as evidenced in a begrudging, “I suppose I have to” attitude, for a glad obedience which is rooted in thankfulness and thus a deep loving relationship with the Jesus who has saved them.
Other difficulties associated with prayer are that God may withhold His presence and answers to prayer for sanctifying purposes. The story of Job fits into this category. It may be that He is teaching us perseverance and faithfulness by withholding answers to our prayers (Luke 18:1ff).
Our focus is however not so much on the hindrances to prayer, but on the fact that all Christians are enabled to pray ! Our text says, “…and because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Every true Christian, despite their many challenges to prayer can call on his /her Abba- Father, because God has sent the Holy Spirit into their hearts.
But before we get to this great affirmation we want to understand the context: Paul had been instrumental in the founding of a number of churches in Galatia, and soon after he had left them, false teachers (also known as the Judaizers) had begun to infiltrate and undermine the freedom that these churches had begun to experience in Christ. The Judaizers were Jews who believed that Jesus was Israel's Messiah but they also believed that Gentile converts to Christianity needed to be circumcised and keep the dietary laws etc. in order to be justified.
The letter to the Galatians is Paul's response to this very dangerous undermining of the gospel. Paul is astonished at the seeming ease and speed with which these Judaizers were able to persuade the Galatians into abandoning the gospel principles which he had so clearly taught them (Gal.1:6,7). He is angry with them that they have so easily accepted this false gospel which is, as Paul says, no gospel at all. In fact, the letter to the Galatians is Paul’s least courteous and loving letter among all his epistles. He is brimming with indignation. For Paul, the sum and substance of the Christian faith is faith in Jesus Christ and in His saving work ALONE!
Now please note that Paul is NOT condemning Moses and obedience to the law as such. He is taking on these Judaizers who claimed that Christ ALONE is not sufficient to save the believer. Paul is condemning the teaching that says that the believer has to add works (i.e. law keeping) to the sufficient work of Christ on the cross for our salvation. The Judaizers said that, in addition to Christ, circumcision and Jewish food laws and the keeping of certain days had to be added to obtain salvation. Again, for the sake of perspective, Paul is not saying that Christians should not be obedient in keeping the moral law of God, BUT he is saying that the keeping of the law is not the standard by which anyone will merit their salvation. And again, let it be said that the basis of the Christian faith is coming to Christ through faith ALONE (3:26). This faith is then expressed by being baptized into Christ and by putting on Christ in our daily walk (3:27), but neither baptism nor good behaviour form the basis of our salvation. They are important New Testament expressions, and out-workings, and extensions of our faith, but faith IN CHRIST ALONE is sufficient for salvation.
Now concerning this primary theological fact Paul says, that Christians cannot go on being childish in their thinking (4:1-3). It is time to grow up. It is time to stop being children, who are enslaved to the elementary principles of the world under the law which at this time held its sway for 1300 years. Paul argues that now, in Christ, the full revelation of God has been granted to every believer. Believers are no longer in a state of childlikeness, under the law which has been acting as a guardian and manager, to whom they were enslaved as it were. The truth is that all God’s children now, having received Christ, having been fully redeemed from the consequence of their sinful nature, and being at peace with God, are adopted by God. (Gal.4:5). By this process they were made members of the great family of God, and the revelation of that great family awaits them when they get to heaven!
Now, following that statement on adoption in v.5 we find our text and thesis in v.6: “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
Here then is the basis of all true prayer! Here is the prime reason why prayer is possible at all!
1. You will immediately notice that the three persons of the Trinity are mentioned in this text. God firstly sends His Son into the world. Secondly, He sends His Spirit into our hearts. Leon Morris observes that ”the presence of the Spirit in believers is in their hearts; it is something that happens in their innermost being and is not a minor disturbance on the surface of life.” Prayer is possible and inevitable because the Tri-une God comes and lives in the heart of every true believer!
2. God the Father has taken the initiative in prayer : God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. Therefore prayer comes to us outside of ourselves. Prayer is not having a conversation with an imaginary friend. Prayer, biblically speaking is an impulse created in us by God who has given us His Holy Spirit in our hearts. And so today when we pray, it is important that we pray according to the sufficient revelation of God, in the written Word of God, which has been inspired by the Holy Spirit. (2 Tim 3:16). The Bible, the ‘outbreathed’ Word of God in its totality, and with every verse in context, provides us with the knowledge and theology of prayer. My personal prayer is enriched by the Spirit inspired Word of God, and therefore I would strongly counsel you that you never start prayer without saturating your prayer in your meditation upon the Scriptures. Praying according to the will of God means praying God’s thoughts after Him. What does all this imply for our understanding of prayer? Who changes what through prayer? The idea of a God who needs to be persuaded by our prayers has no biblical warrant. Again, it is important that we realise that good theology is essential to biblical prayer. If we are to ask for anything “according to his will” (1 John 5:14), then this does not imply a carte blanche, but we must refer to his will as revealed in His word.
3. Prayer is possible because of Jesus. Paul’s frequent description of believers being “in Christ” and “with Christ” indicates that believers, i.e. all who are in union with Christ by faith (Heb. 10:19-22) have access to the Father. The Father has accepted the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus whom He loves , on behalf of every believer. The Father loves us, because He loves His Son. We are accepted in the Father’s Beloved. That is the essence of our justification by faith. If the Father always hears the Son, then he always hears those who, in Christ, are sons. In addition we are also reminded that we are able to pray because Jesus continually intercedes for us. (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25).
4. Prayer is possible because the Holy Spirit indwells us. In Romans 8:26 we learn that the Holy Spirit helps us in our prayer, particularly when we do not know how to pray. That is very comforting. The Holy Spirit in us directs our prayers. This raises an important question: What does it mean to pray in faith? It is sometimes suggested that when our specific prayers are not answered it is because we do not have enough faith. Passages such as these become proof texts :
· According to your faith, be it done to you (Matt 9:29).
· Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith(Matt 21:22).
· Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will (Mk 11:22).
The teaching that puts faith in a subjective way is dangerous and downright discouraging. What if a certain answer does not come in response to the prayer of my faith ? (e.g. when someone is not healed) . We need to be reminded of what faith is and what it is not. This is where the place of the Holy Spirit becomes important. The biblical truth is that the Holy Spirit in me directs my faith. This is how it works .
In the first place we need to understand that our very first prayer for salvation, ‘Lord save me’ , was by the power of the Holy Spirit who directed us into Christ. We would not have believed if the Spirit of God did not first remove our blindness and our hatred of God's truth .
Secondly, the Holy Spirit continues to direct our faith in life, particularly as we look to God through the lens of scripture, and when we learn to pray, “Your will be done!” We may be sure of this always. God is good. He is committed to His children. He knows what we need, and from the Lord’s prayer we know that He is committed to give us everything we need for life: physical , emotional, spiritual. True faith and true prayer is not an emotion or subjectively based feeling. Our faith is being led by the objective, Holy Spirit inspired gospel. We pray according to the Word of God , and as we pray for the means to the end (safety, food, material needs, healing etc.), we must be prepared for God's gracious "no", while we trust Him for the best.
Lastly, remember that at the end of our prayer there is our Abba – Father. Abba is the Aramaic diminutive form of father - daddy. Every true child of God is heard and cared for not by a ‘force out there’ but by a God of whom Jesus said that He cared for the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, and much more so for His beloved children!
Thus, this Trinitarian perspective on prayer is well summed up in Paul’s assertion in Gal. 4:6, “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Thank God that He is at the beginning of all prayer. Prayer is possible because Father, Son and Holy Spirit are at work in stirring up prayer in us. Amen!
 This is a very common problem in Paul’s epistles . As soon as the oversight of a church is gone, the wolves come in very quickly ( see Acts 20 :29-30)
 Gal. 1:8,9; 3:1-10; 5:7-15
 Revelation 7 : 9-12;
 Leon Morris : Galatians : Paul’s Charter of Christian Freedom, IVP , p. 131
 John 6:37, 44-45; 16:8-11; Eph. 2:8-9