Monday, February 26, 2018

Monday Morning Pastor: Getting Prayer Right

Pray for and about everything. That's God's command. It's His desire. So, yes, ask Him to heal Grandma Turner's sciatica. Ask Him to help your son do well on his final in chemistry. Ask Him to give you a job when you're out of work. Ask Him to save your neighbor. Ask Him to send laborers for the harvest. Ask Him for everything you need, but prayer is much more than just getting our needs met, much more than even getting the needs of others met.

John 15:5-8:  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

The men who first heard this had been with Jesus for three years. For three years their life was the definition of abiding. He is about to leave them, has told them that, and is instructing them in what to do in His physical absence after His death, burial, and resurrection. And, what does He tell them? 11 times in 4 verses, He tells them to do just what they have been doing - abide, remain, dwell, live, converse, camp out, eat with, talk to, listen to, obey, love Him. Now, how are they going to do that?

They will need four things. First, they will need Him to remove the barrier of sin in their hearts, which He did on Calvary and they received by faith. Second, they will need His Holy Spirit, which He sent to indwell every believer in His absence. Third, they will need His Word, which He had given and was in the process of giving them through the apostles. Fourth, they will need to pray, which is the primary practice of abiding in His presence.

If they abide in Him, their lives will be defined by His presence - spiritual fruitfulness, supernatural love, and abundant joy. If they do not abide in Him, their lives will be defined by the absence of His presence - fruitlessness, meaningless activity, tepid love, and joylessness. We are no different than they are. So, ask Him for everything, but do not neglect abiding in Him in prayer. Here's a simple guide to help you do that.

  • Grab a Bible and get somewhere you can spend some time with God
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to help you 
  • Open the Bible, begin to read and pray as God prompts you
  • Praise Him as the Spirit prompts you through the Scripture 
  • Be still, word open, heart alert, and simply abide in Christ
  • Consider, during these times, asking for nothing more than His presence unless He prompts you through the Word to do so