Monday, June 22, 2015

Faith and Prayer Power

Chuckle: Children were in the cafeteria line of a Christian elementary school. The first item was a stack of apples. A teacher had placed a note on the apples, "Take only one, God is watching." At the end of the line was a large stack of chocolate chip cookies. In childish writing was a note. "Take all you want -- God is watching the apples!"
Quote: “Without faith a prayer has only form. Without faith a prayer has not heart or flame.” --Guy Everton Tremaine
"Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (have faith) that you have received it and it will be yours" (Mark 11:24 NIV).
"How can I pray with faith ‘and power?" The first truth we must understand is that it is only in the name of Jesus that we can come to the Father in prayer. Jesus said: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6 NIV). Not only must we come to the Father through faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, we must also come to the Father in prayer in the name of Jesus. Thus, we close our prayers with words like, "I pray/ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen."
Jesus told his disciples that they could ask for anything in his name and it would be given them. "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father" (John 14:13 NIV). This sounds as if we can ask anything our little thumping hearts desire and Jesus is obligated to give it to us. Is this true? Listen to the conditions Jesus describes for this kind of praying. "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you" (John 15:7 NIV).
What does it mean to "remain in Jesus?" It means that we stay connected to him through faith, study of His Word, prayer, and yielding control of our lives to his Holy Spirit who "lives with you and is in you" (John 14:17 NIV). Jesus used the analogy of a vine and its branches to help us visualize this "remaining" in him. "I am the vine; you are the branches . . . apart from me you can do nothing (bear no fruit)" (John 15:5).
Think with me about the relationship of a tree trunk to its branches. All the life-sustaining nutrients, genetic instructions to bear fruit, and all the life-giving moisture comes to the branches through the trunk. In other words, the branches (you and I) are totally dependent upon Jesus for our spiritual sustenance and direction as Christians. No branch decides on its own what kind of fruit it will bear, or the shape of its leaves. All its instructions are received through the tree.
Now, get this picture. When a branch prays, he/she will not pray for anything that is contrary to the nature, character, and will of the vine/tree/Jesus. Jesus knows that if we remain in Him, we will only pray for things consistent with His will and character. That's why He said we can pray for anything we wish and it will be given to us. You see, as our desires becomes consistent with His character and will, we won't ask selfishly for things contrary to the will of the Vine, and He will give us what we desire.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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