Normally when Christians with a positive orientation, or word of faith background, think of the impossible being possible they do so in light of what Jesus said. Mar 9:23 And Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Jesus further states that God makes impossible things possible. Mat 19:26 …Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
There is another form of the impossible however, that many Christians try to do daily, that really is impossible! They try to live the Christian life apart from Christ. They try to live as a Christian without daily interaction (abiding) with Jesus. Jesus said this was impossible! John 15:1-6 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
The word “abide” means “to continue, dwell, or linger.” It has to do with an ongoing interaction with Jesus. In the context of John 15 Jesus equates “abiding,” with prayer, which is communication with God. John 15:7-8 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (8) “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
What Jesus said is very true, but unintentionally Christians can try to prove Him wrong every day, “apart from Me you can do nothing.” IT ISN’T WISE TO TRY TO PROVE JESUS WRONG!
Trying to do the will of God in any area of life apart from an ongoing relationship with Jesus (rooted in prayer) is impossible! It is similar to trying to be justified under OT law apart from the work of Christ. It is impossible to obey all the commands and be justified by our own efforts, Gal 2:16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus,…by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
When I attempt to offer help to Christians who are struggling in various areas I often ask the most important question, “how is your prayer life with God? Are you consistently abiding with Christ in prayer?” Usually the look of shame comes on them because they are not. I know at that point that any advice I give will do little good because what Jesus said is true, “apart from Me you can do nothing!” Yet if they are walking with Jesus in prayer Godly advice will tend to work.
Three things prayer brings to our life
We must understand that prayer has a much broader effect than simply coming to God and asking Him for things. Scripture speaks of three broad roles that prayer plays in our lives that are critical to living for God.
1. Prayer first affects our inner life, attitude, and outlook. Through prayer, we become more Christ-like and we become more inclined to do God’s will. Our attitude and outlook is affected by prayer, thanksgiving, and reflection. As we come under the force of His gaze (sight) we become softened towards repentance in the things that are hindering the will of God working in us. We are also stimulated to do the things of God that may be dormant in our life at that time. Truly He works in us what is pleasing in His sight. Heb 13:20-22…, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
2. Prayer affects our revelation and understanding. By praying and seeking for God’s direction, we allow Him to influence our thinking and it sharpens our grasp of His will. As this happens we are better able to determine the best of His direction, dreams, and goals for our life.
3. Prayer intertwines us with God’s heart and has an influence on God and His will being done. The Bible never implies that we can manipulate God through prayer. But it does emphasize that God purposely chooses to connect much of what He does through what we pray for. Our hearts also become intertwined with His causing us to progressively live more for “His sake” nor ours.
These first two roles have to do with prayer’s effect upon us and the third is its effect on God and His will being done. All three of these roles are intertwined together. This third role cannot function effectively without the first two. Our single greatest need as Christians is to stay in a daily relationship with Christ where He can encourage, equip and guide us as we participate in effecting His will being done. Prayer clearly nurtures our relationship with Him in the three roles of prayer.
Through prayer there is an important sense of partnership and co labor (abiding in Him and Him in us) with Christ in what He is doing. James Stewart said, “To the man who prays habitually (not only when he feels like it — that is one of the snares of religion — but also when he does not feel like it) Christ is sure to make Himself real.” The main mystery we need to embrace about prayer is this, Do it! Do it! Do IT!
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