Things to Remember about Prayer - Lesson VI
If two agree on anything they ask, the Father will do what they ask. The common union each believer has with the Father, also brings a union with other believers. So often Jesus gave us the example to pray 'Our Father'. Our being all children of the same Father makes us close family. Also remember all believers are members of Christ's body, the church. We depend on each other, our calling is union and cooperation in order for the greatest manifestation of the Power of the Holy Spirit.
This began at Pentecost, with 120 believers. Agreement is essential, in spirit and in truth, being specific and according to God's will. We must also have confidence that His promise is sure - His answer is just as certain.
The absolute necessity of meeting in the Name of Jesus recognizes that only in Him and through Him do we have any right to call God our Heavenly Father. Jesus said that to meet in His Name is to have Himself in the midst. The value of His Name is above every other name that can be named, both on earth and in heaven, both now and forever more. What He has already done for us, should give us an understanding of His love for us, and then what He is ready and willing to do for us together even now.
And then the promise - no if's, and's, or but's - "It shall be done for them of my Father." The unity in the Spirit in the Power of the Name and Presence of Jesus, makes the answer more certain. When there has been this kind of prayer, the proof is in the fruit, the receiving. We should grow in prayer, as we expect an answer. God is able; we must agree that what we ask will be given. Every meeting should center in prayer - the greatest strength and ministry of every Church must be in prayer.
Paul considers it essential to the success of his ministry that others pray for him and each other. He asks for prayer in many of his letters and expects their prayers to bless his ministry in spreading the Gospel, through great adversity and tribulation.
Every Church should be dedicated to fervent prayer for power to spread the Word, to bless those that serve God. Also pray for the ministry of the Holy Spirit in comforting, strengthening, and equipping the weakest believer. We should build each other up, and encourage each other, all to the glory of God. We should share in the life of prayer, both alone and in assembly. That is what brings answered prayer as Jesus has promised.
The unity of one faith and the love shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit guarantees the presence of Jesus in the midst. Then when touching one thing we pray together, guarantees the Father's answer. We must continue to pray for this spiritual union to be effective and have power from God. All this to further His kingdom, to His glory, and that of our Savior's, in Whose Name we must always pray. Amen.
Luke 18:1-8 - The Parable of the Widow and the Judge
"1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
2 saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3 and there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5 yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
Pray without ceasing - always to pray and not to faint. Once a stand is taken upon God's Word and in Jesus' Name, delay should not be discouraging. Prayer of this kind has power and cannot be resisted.
As rain is gathered in a stream, and the stream grows and comes down in greater force, then it breaks through and finds the sea. As the farmer prepares the soil and plants the seed, and fertilizes, and the rains come, all in preparation for the final harvest.
We cannot see the working of the Spirit, the melting of hearts, the preparation that is necessary to bring forth the fruit of salvation to anyone. Nor can we measure the time involved. We must therefore pray with perseverance, and stand on the Word and Power of the Living Creator of the Universe.
We must keep ourselves in quiet patience and joyful confidence. God's timing is always perfect. Although to us in our impatience it seems so long, yet when the answer comes it seems to come 'speedily'. Yet the farmer has longsuffering patience that the fullness of time is absolutely necessary for the maturity of the crop. Do we not always grow and mature spiritually in the same way?
In God's Hands are the times and seasons. Just so are we in His process of growth and fruit-bearing. As we grow we are given more responsibility and also privilege. At the right time, God is ready to bless us in answered prayer. We must practice patience in God's timing and faith in God's certain answer.
We hold the answer as part of the promise, which it is in God's Word - in spirit and in truth. We must rejoice in its coming, even before it arrives. We must praise Him for its certainty.
It is this kind of prayer that also produces maturity in the believer, more closely united with the Lord and aware of the blessing of that loving and continual fellowship in the Spirit. We know the love of the Father desires to bless His children, but for what is best for them, and at what time. That is where our trust in His infinite wisdom comes in. We must not be tempted to give up, give in, or give over. It may be that delay is God's way of asking us to spend more time with Him, to open our hearts to His fellowship, to see His love and longsuffering towards us so that we may grow in faith and trust in Him for every part of our lives.
Each prayer develops the fruit - the leaf, the bud, the bloom, the beginning green fruit, its growing and ripening to the perfect time that it is harvested. We are God's trees to bear fruit of the Spirit, or God's vines to abide in Christ and partake of His life and bear this fruit unto salvation and reaching out to others. As we have become more His, so also does He become more ours.
As we become aware of hindrances to this growing and intensifying relationship, we must push them aside and discard them. As we spend more of our time abiding in Christ, so does He give us more of His life: faith, strength, peace, and love. May we continue learning of Him. What He offers goes beyond what we in our limited understanding can even conceive of.
The Word and prayer are our teachers. The amount we can learn and grow has no limit or boundary. Our goal is before us and is also our Mentor and Savior, Jesus Himself. To be more like Him is also the Father's desire for us. Let us persevere and pray for this path to be the most important that could ever happen in this life. Praise God for His Son, His grace, mercy, forgiveness, His infinite love and patience for us as His children.
May we continue to pray for the strength of the Church and its ministry in the face of the indifference and intolerance of the world. Pray for the powerful movement of the Holy Spirit among churches, that believers would be revived to the promise of His coming, that unbelievers would be converted and that all of His people would join together in persevering prayer for al these things, to the eternal glory of God and His Beloved Son.
Keep the life and death of Christ ever before us as the perfect example of God's love and our goal. We need to learn to love as He loved, to give as He gave, and to pray to the Father for strength for the task and the perseverance to keep on by the Spirit. We need to remember that the answer is as certain as every other promise that God has made and fulfilled.
Let us be patient as we grow and mature, and wait for the harvest in God's proper time. Help us not to become weary but strong in faith and trust in the Father's perfect timing. Keep our hearts mindful of how essential prayer is in our growth and fruit-bearing. It is our source, like sunshine and rain. The more we receive, the more we grow and mature. It is always available to us without measure or restriction. So perseverance is always beneficial to us.
In effect, the greatest benefit of prayer is the communion and communication with our Heavenly Father and His beloved Son. Where else is our time better spent? Pray always and do not grow weary, for thus do the blessings flow to usward. Amen.
This article was written by my father T.O.D. Johnston, who was licensed to preach the Gospel by Paran Baptist Church on May 26, 1979. He has been a student of Scripture since 1972. View more lessons at his Bible Study Lessons page.