There are times in our Christian walk that God shifts us from all that we have known so that He can grow us in new areas of understanding. The shifting is not always an easy thing because what happens is that we try to walk in what has been used of the Lord, but it no longer has the glory it once had through the power of the Holy Spirit. When God begins to topple something over in our lives, no matter what its value has been in the past, if we just keep trying to prop it up, we are going to find ourselves frustrated and walking in our own strength. I’ve been on this kind of shift. And I’m not very shifty. 🙂
So what has God been shifting me too? The understanding of how important prayer is in our Christian walk. I cant tell you that I am an expert on prayer. I can tell you that what I think intimidates alot of us concerning prayer is that we see those that we consider prayer giants and we know that we are not. But you know what I have learned about these people that truly pray in the power of the Holy Spirit is that they dont see themselves as prayer giants. They have just come to understand their desperate need for Jesus and there has been an emptying of themselves so that the Lord can have His way. This is encouraging to me because it tells me that we all have the potential to become mighty in prayer, why? Because we all have a desperate need for Jesus.
However, we need to shift our thinking in order to understand what constitutes true prayer. I dont believe our prayer life will be realized as long as we see it as something we know we are supposed to do so we add it to our to do list and check it off when we think it has been accomplished. Nor is it something that we can truly muster up within ourselves though lofty words and lots of activity. I have come to understand that true prayer is the actualization of our dependence upon God.
If I am looking for a prayer giant in the Bible, the first one that comes to mind is King David. The book of Psalms is a book of songs and prayers and much of them were written by Israel’s great king. The scripture says that David was a man after God’s own heart. God explains what He meant by that statement in Acts 13:22 when he says that David will do whatever God asks of Him. I dont believe that what made David such a great King was his leadership ability, or his wisdom in administering justice; David wanted to know the heart and will of God in order to walk with the Lord. Now we know that David was an imperfect man and we see the effects of that, but we also get a glimps of his dependent heart in Psalm 86.
We hear the same dependent heart in Jesus as He teaches His disciples the same principle in John 15. The word abide there in the Greek is meinate or mino which means to remain, to stay in fellowship with, to continue with.
So what Jesus is saying is that true ministry comes from this place of abiding. If you remain in Me, you can ask anything of My Father and it will be granted to you. See, so often, we have our own ideas of what ministry should be and then we go to God in prayer asking Him to bless our efforts and we find that our prayers seem to hit the ceiling without an answer which frustrates our prayer life and causes it to diminish.
But true ministry is received in this place of abiding, communing, and deep fellowship with the Father. Anything that we accomplish that has any eternal value is going to originate from this place of communing with God. Anything else is man-centered and cannot bring about the benefits of salvation. Jesus summed it up when He said, “Not my will, but Thine be done.”