When Praying: Surrender in General, Obey in Particular

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It is worth pondering the crux of this verse: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7).

The crux is in the if. The if covers two conditions—“abide in me, and my words abide in you.” If you surrender to Him in general—“abide in me”—and if you obey Him in particular—“my words abide in you”—then the door is open to His everything; ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you. This is the most limiting and yet the most unlimited conception of prayer ever propounded—limited to two conditions and limited to no conditions.

He binds us and then frees us—frees us to ask anything! If you fulfill the first two conditions, then you will ask only what He would approve and will receive only what He knows is good for you—the best for you. Does God answer all prayers? Some say He does, but the answer is, no!

He cannot, by His very nature, answer prayers of those who do not abide in Him and in whom His words do not abide. They would pray apart from His spirit and whatever is apart from His spirit is apart from our good, for whatever is good in Him is good for us. His will is our weal-th and our wealth.

Here prayer is put on its highest level—every prayer prayed in the spirit of Jesus is answered. That cleanses prayer and consummates prayer. “Love God and do what you like,” could be amended: “Love Jesus Christ and ask what you like,” for you will ask the things He likes.

This cleanses prayer from all self-reference—“the answers are within you,” for they are not; they are in Him. It cleanses prayer from all “much speaking,” for you are not answered for your persistence, but by meeting these two conditions.

Pray this todayO Master of my heart, Thou hast opened the gates to Thy everything. I am free to ask the highest, and the highest is free for the asking. I am rich beyond measure, for everything good for me is open to me. Prayer is possibility. Amen.

Affirm this today: I do not want God to answer my prayers; I want my prayers to answer to God’s will.

In a highly anticipated reprint of In Christ: Devotions for Every Day of the Year, E. Stanley Jones does a thorough study of the 172 times the phrase, “In Christ” or its equivalent is found in the New Testament. Centering on the theme of being in Christ and what that means for daily living, its meditations ring as true in our modern day as they did when it was originally written more than 50 years ago. Get it from our store here.

Would you like to learn more about prayer? [WATCH] Peter Greig talk about how to pray when you just don’t feel like it; [PURCHASE] Our Field Guide to Daily Prayer booklet which can help sustain you throughout the day; [READ] Andrew Thompson writes on how prayer figures into our daily discipleship; [READ] Andrew Thompson shares four kinds of prayer in which every Christian can easily engage.

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Eli Stanley Jones was an evangelical Methodist missionary to India who sought to make a clear distinction between biblical Christianity and Western culture. For 70 years, Dr. E. Stanley Jones proclaimed the Gospel of Christ throughout the world, earning him the title of "the world's greatest missionary evangelist" by Time magazine in 1938, the Gandhi Peace Prize in 1963, and two Nobel Peace Prize nominations during his lifetime. An author of 29 books, he moved among statesmen and among leaders as counselor, friend, and worker for peace and helped hundreds of thousands, from village outcasts in India to molders of public opinion in America, Japan, Europe, and India.

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