in the school of prayer - lesson twenty-three

 

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‘I chose you,’ the Master says, ‘and appointed you that ye should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide;’ and then He adds, to the end ‘that whatsoever ye,’ the fruit-bearing ones, ‘shall ask of the Father in my name, He may give it you.’  

We look again today at the conditions of receiving "whatsoever we ask."  Today Dr. Murray leads us to John 15:16 where he explains that abiding in Christ means producing fruit of His Spirit.  We are going to trace the lines of that intricate dance between faith and works, belief and obedience.  

Entire consecration to the fulfilment of our calling is the condition of effectual prayer, is the key to the unlimited blessings of Christ’s wonderful prayer-promises. [...] take the oft-quoted words of James: ‘The fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much;’ that is, of a man of whom, according to the definition of the Holy Spirit, it can be said, ‘He that doeth righteousness, is righteous even as He is righteous.’

To have faith IS to have works.  To believe IS to obey. 

What we need is to realize that in our  relationship to the Infinite Being whom we call God who has created and redeemed us, the first sentiment that ought to animate us is that of subjection:  the surrender to His supremacy, His glory, His will, His pleasure, ought to be the first and uppermost thought of our life.

Our prayers, birthed from the faith that is wholly submitted to the Master in living obedience, will be answered - because they spring from the heart of God Himself.

...His glory and pleasure should be my one object.  Surrender to His perfect and blessed  will, a life of service and obedience, is the beauty and the charm of heaven.  Service and obedience, these were the thoughts that were uppermost in the mind of the Son, when He dwelt upon earth.  Service and obedience, these must become with us the chief objects of desire and aim, more so than rest or light, or joy or strength:  in them we shall find the path to all the higher blessedness that awaits us.

But we must not "reverse the order" as Dr. Murray says, and seek the blessedness first.  "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—"  First we must exercise our faith in submission and obedience, then we receive: "...so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you."

O how often we have sought to be able to pray the effectual prayer for much grace to bear fruit, and have wondered that the answer came not.  It was because we were reversing the Master’s order.  We wanted to have the comfort and the joy and the strength first, that we might do the work easily and without any feeling of difficulty or self-sacrifice.  And He wanted us in faith, without asking whether we felt weak or strong, whether the work was hard or easy, in the obedience of faith to do what He said:  the path of fruit-bearing would have led us to the place and the power of prevailing prayer.

Let us live to bless others, to testify of the life and the love there is in Jesus.  Let us in faith and obedience give our whole life to that which Jesus chose us for and appointed us to—fruit-bearing.  As we think of His electing us to this, and take up our appointment as coming from Him who always gives all He demands, we shall grow strong in the confidence that a life of fruit-bearing, abounding and abiding, is within our reach.  And we shall understand why this fruit-bearing alone can be the path to the place of all prevailing prayer.  It is the man who, in obedience to the Christ of God, is proving that he is doing what his Lord wills, for whom the Father will do whatsoever he will:  ‘Whatsoever we ask we receive, because we keep His commandments, and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.’

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Let's pray together:

Dear Father,

We continue to marvel at the beautiful synergy of life in You - of the giving and receiving, the laying down of our self to take up Your life, the submission and surrender that leads to fruitful abundance.  Teach us now to bow our will before Your own.  May our whole lives thrum with the single refrain of "not my will but Yours, O Lord."  As Dr. Murray challenged us, may we live to bless and serve and share the love of Christ with all.  And in so following You, may we pray with confidence and assurance that we will have what we ask:  Your glory.   Teach us to be Your true friends, obedient, faithful, full of good works for Your kingdom. 

Today, show us how to obey You in the NOW.  In all the tiniest, most ordinary moments, teach us to be Your servants.  Teach us to pray for Your will in the things You have placed before us right now, not only for great and mighty deeds in some far off future.  Teach us to love our neighbor and to do our jobs with diligence and integrity and thus give testimony to Your great name.  May we be faithful in small things so that one day we may be faithful in more.

Thank You for Your continued instruction, for the multitudes of prayer answered, for the way You are shaping us day by day.

In Your precious Name, Jesus.

amen

 

Next week I'll be sharing my thoughts from Lesson Twenty-Four: ‘In My Name’ Or, The All-Prevailing Plea I hope you'll join us.

Previous entries in this series can be found here:  Wednesday Prayer Series