The Necessity of Prayer - Lesson IV, Prayer and Faith
Look at the power that is at our disposal though prayer.
Listen to the words that Jesus spoke to his disciples.
These are words we hear often and because we hear them often we tend to treat them casually without understanding their power.
Ask God for the ability to study the word each day as if you were reading the word for the first time.
Try to understand the word afresh without the baggage that familiarity brings.
For familiarity often brings disregard or neglect.
Jesus Christ starts this instruction with the words, verily, verily which means "of a truth, in fact, of a certainty, with great confidence"!
John 14:12-14, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in My Name, I will do it."
He that believeth on Jesus Christ shall do the works that He has done.
And not only do those works but do greater works.
Greater works because he shall ask the father, coming to the Father as though he were Christ, coming in Jesus name, for power to do greater works and the father shall provide that which is needed to do greater works.
What is implicit in this instruction?
It is implicit that Jesus Christ is at the center of my life, he is the fountain of my life, all my thirst is satisfied in Him.
All self interest has been banished and obedience to his word is uppermost.
The will of my flesh has been displaced by His will.
Because of this Jesus Christ can safely commit the praying to my will and grant whatever my will asks of Him.
My wanter has been fixed as He conforms me to his Son.
I come to the Father as Jesus Christ would come to the Father.
I ask for that which Jesus Christ would ask for. I come in his name!
So in another manner of speech I am a company man and I only want what would advance the company, therefore the company sees to it that what I ask is provided.
Are we not created in Christ Jesus to be conformed to Christ Jesus.
Doesn’t that include our askings of the father to be conformed to the askings of his Son?
Doesn’t God always give his Son what he asks?
Jesus Christ repeated the exhortation to: "Have faith in God."
This is where it all begins.
Without faith, praying is empty and simply religious, without the power of God.
Faith will make God’s will your will and praying with that kind of faith will will result in Jesus doing what ye will.
If ye shall ask anything in My Name, I will do it."
How astounding are these statements of what God will do in answer to prayer!
They are astounding because few have the faith to put this engine into drive.
Most of us are still parked in the driveway.
But faith in Christ is the basis of all working, and of all praying.
All wonderful works depend on wonderful praying, and all wonderful praying is done in the Name of Jesus Christ.
How simple this is but how hard for that which is natural in us to execute.
How we complicate prayer into more than the simple asking in the name of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ gives us the formula, a simple formula, that of coming to God in the name of His son that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
So all asking is to glorify the Father in the Son.
Everything else is to be renounced, relinquished and abandoned.
This is the divider of what to pray for and what not to pray for.
Will our praying glorify the Father in the Son?
In light of this we ought to be careful about that which we pray for.
Someone comes to us and asks for prayer for something.
Should we automatically pray for that something?
No, we ought to ponder that something to determine if that something will bring glory to the father before we pray.
Prayer ought to be a disciplined thing.
Askings ought to go though the filter of the word of God before it is lifted up to God though the Lord Jesus Christ.
The name of Christ — the Person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ — must be supremely sovereign, in the hour and the reason for prayer.
Remember that this is much more than the attaching of the words, "In Jesus name" at the end of our praying.
This is done simply acknowledging that we have made every attempt that our askings do glorify the Father in the Son.
It is a reminder to us to only come to God in Christ’s stead.
By adding those words it is our hope to God that what we have asked for does indeed glorify the Father in the Son.
Without that, our ending "In Jesus Name" simply becomes ritual, used like it is a good luck charm.
So effective praying is realized only when Jesus Christ is at the center of my life.
Obedience to Him is that which moves every part of my being.
This being the case He then safely commits to me the praying of my will and He pledges Himself to grant whatever I ask of Him.
And whatever I ask of him includes temporal as well as spiritual needs.
Faith is designed to scatter or dispel or eliminate anxiety and care about what shall be eaten or what shall be drunk or what shall be worn.
Faith and anxiety are enemies.
Faith lives in the present, and regards the day as being sufficient unto the evil thereof.
Faith lives day by day and does not entertain the fears of tomorrow.
Faith eases the mind and brings perfect peace of heart.
Faith believes what Isa 26:3 says for Isa 26:3 is the Word of God, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusted in Thee.
We pray "Give us this day our daily bread," not the bread for tomorrow.
In this prayer Jesus Christ teaches us to shut tomorrow out of our prayer.
We do not own tomorrow nor do we live in tomorrow.
Worrying about or having anxiety about tomorrow is presuming upon God for you may not be given tomorrow.
Does anybody here own tomorrow?
Is anybody here today sure that they will see tomorrow?
As a good steward you are to take care of the business of today and anxiety about tomorrow takes away from your efforts concerning today.
It is sufficiently hard enough being a good steward of this day than to complicate that by being worried about tomorrow.
We are not to seek tomorrow’s grace or tomorrow’s bread.
This teaching of Christ tells us that those who live in the present will get the most out of life.
Dwell on the past or worry about the future and you lose your present opportunity to serve God.
The past belongs to God and the future belongs to God, only the present is given to us.
So those who pray best, pray for today’s needs.
Those who pray best are not concerned about the needs of tomorrow for tomorrow may never come.
And if it does come there will be plenty of needs in it to fully occupy your time of prayer.
The message is that if you concern yourself with the needs of tomorrow then the needs of today will by neglected and the present is the place where the damage will occur.
The damage never occurs tomorrow, it only occurs today.
True prayers are to be concerned with present trials and present needs.
Bread, for today, is bread enough.
Get your daily bread and that should assure you that there will be bread tomorrow.
God provides victory today and in doing, assures us of victory tomorrow.
So our prayers need to be focused upon the present.
Trust God today and leave tomorrow with Him.
He gives us the present to tend to and keeps the future to himself.
Prayer, like the gathering of manna, is the task and duty of each recurring day — daily prayer for daily needs.
It used to be that bread for each day was made for that day but our modern culture has taken that away by preservatives.
Our modern culture has taken away many of the metaphors of the word of God.
But the lesson is still clear as every day demands new bread, so every day demands new prayer.
You can not put prayer into a bank and accumulate prayer.
There are no surpluses to draw upon.
To be prayed up is to be prayed up for that day only.
No one is ahead in the race of prayer.
No amount of praying, done today, will suffice for tomorrow’s praying.
On the other hand, no praying for tomorrow is of any great value to us today.
To-day’s manna is what we need; when tomorrow comes God will see that our needs are supplied.
This is the faith which God seeks to inspire.
So leave tomorrow, with its cares, its needs, its troubles, in God’s hands.
There is no storing tomorrow’s grace or tomorrow’s praying; neither is there any laying-up of today’s grace, to meet tomorrow’s necessities.
We cannot have tomorrow’s grace, we cannot eat tomorrow’s bread, we cannot do tomorrow’s praying.
"Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof;" and, most assuredly, if we possess faith, sufficient also, will be the good of the day.