Friday, September 22, 2017

Keep In Touch

 

Prayer is an unconditional element in a believer’s life. While there are a variety of types of prayer, it would be impossible to make a Biblical statement that discharges the believer from the mandate to pray.  But, do we pray? When do we pray? And, why do we pray?

I’ve often heard fellow believers comment that they don’t spend much time in prayer because God is in control and His will will be accomplished whether or not they pray. I’m sure we’ve all heard the discouragement in reports from other believers that God simply didn’t answer his/her prayer, begging the question of why some people’s prayers are answered and others are not. Are your prayers frequently being answered in a dramatic way? Or, have you grown accustomed to rare positive responses from Heaven to your prayers?

Consider for a moment Jesus own words in John 15:1-8 while paying careful attention to the highlighted verses:

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.”

Could the problem with more unanswered prayer than answered have something to do with whether or not we remain in Him as He taught His disciples? Is He merely alluding to belief in Him or is there more here to consider?

The words “remain in Me” talks about close intimacy, abiding, dwelling, tabernacling. It is a close walk with the Lord, living in Him through total surrender, denying the world while acknowledging Him in all things. Actually, too many believers fail to understand Jesus’ promise that He would come and make His home in us, “if you remain in Me and My words remain in you…” Drawing near to God gives Him entrance to set up housekeeping within us, abiding in us, dwelling within us.

If the presence of Christ is like that of an occasional visitor, is it any wonder we are not experiencing dramatic answers to our prayers?

I love the paraphrase of Jesus’ words to His disciples by Dave Butts; it puts it in perspective and helps frame my understanding of the benefit of remaining in Christ and Him remaining in me:

“I want you to walk through this world in such close intimacy with Me, that it is as though you were walking through My house with Me. In My house you will see the things that please Me and how I desire things to be ordered. You will continually hear My words and know what is on My heart. If you will live like that, you will be so in touch with My will that you will be able to ask Me for anything, and I will do it for you” (Dave Butts).

Think about your spouse or your children … because they dwell with you and share a unique closeness with you to which no one else is privileged, you would literally do anything for them! And, it blesses you to grant their requests, not in a token way but in a big and visible way. You find great pleasure in meeting their needs, especially if they come to you and ask of you something very special!

Jesus said, “…this is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.” It glorifies the Father when our position with Him (abiding, dwelling, sharing intimacy) causes Him to move on our behalf in a dynamic and visible way.

Don’t withhold your prayers. If you have a need, pray. Take it to your Father who delights in your petitions. But, be sure to have an abiding relationship with Him, where He dwells in you and you dwell in Him. Don’t get the cart before the horse and throw out prayers like a spoiled child making demands of his parent without having first shown respect and reciprocated love. Once your relationship with Him is established: “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”

It is amazing how much He delights in relationship with us, how He longs to dwell with us and be a part of every moment of our lives. Don’t be like some and save prayer for urgent needs then wonder why it seems as if your prayers aren’t being heard.

Connect to the Vine, draw your very life-breath from the Source of life. Open the door to your heart and invite Him to set up housekeeping. Make Him the most vital relationship you have in life … He will be glorified as He hears your prayers and meets your every need.

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© 2015 Jan Ross
All Rights Reserved

 

 

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