Prayer as Jesus Taught

God Understands Our Prayers
Pray without ceasing… —1 Thessalonians 5:17

Our thinking about prayer, whether right or wrong, is based on our own mental conception of it. The correct concept is to think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood from our hearts. Our blood flows and our breathing continues “without ceasing”; we are not even conscious of it, but it never stops. And we are not always conscious of Jesus keeping us in perfect oneness with God, but if we are obeying Him, He always is. Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life of the saint. Beware of anything that stops the offering up of prayer. “Pray without ceasing…”— maintain the childlike habit of offering up prayer in your heart to God all the time.

Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer. He had the unlimited certainty of knowing that prayer is always answered. Do we have through the Spirit of God that inexpressible certainty that Jesus had about prayer, or do we think of the times when it seemed that God did not answer our prayer? Jesus said, “…everyone who asks receives…” (Matthew 7:8). Yet we say, “But…, but….” God answers prayer in the best way— not just sometimes, but every time. However, the evidence of the answer in the area we want it may not always immediately follow. Do we expect God to answer prayer?

The danger we have is that we want to water down what Jesus said to make it mean something that aligns with our common sense. But if it were only common sense, what He said would not even be worthwhile. The things Jesus taught about prayer are supernatural truths He reveals to us.

by Oswald Chambers

Strength Beyond Self – Calming The Storm

Calming The Storm
storm on water
He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. —Mark 4:39

While Hurricane Katrina headed toward the coast of Mississippi, a retired pastor and his wife left their home and went to a shelter. Their daughter pleaded with them to go to Atlanta where she could take care of them, but the couple couldn’t get any money to make the trip because the banks were closed. After the storm had passed, they returned to their home to get a few belongings, and were able to salvage only a few family photos floating in the water. Then, when the man was taking his father’s photo out of its frame so it could dry, $366 fell out—precisely the amount needed for two plane tickets to Atlanta. They learned they could trust Jesus for what they needed.

For the disciples, trusting Jesus in a storm was the curriculum for the day in the dramatic narrative of Mark 4:35-41. Jesus had instructed His disciples to cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee and then He went to sleep in the boat. When a quick and violent storm blew in, the disciples dripped as much with fear and anxiety as water from the waves. They woke Jesus, saying, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (v.38 niv). Jesus stood up and with three words, “Peace, be still!” He muzzled the storm.

We all experience storms—persecutions, financial troubles, illnesses, disappointments, loneliness—and Jesus does not always prevent them. But He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). He will keep us calm in the storm.

Are you in a storm? What do you know about God’s character that could help bring calm to your heart?

In the storms of life, we can see the character of our God.

By Marvin Williams

Strength Beyond Self

2 Corinthians 1:8-11

“Into every life a little rain must fall.” So goes the familiar saying about the inevitability of hardship. But what if the rain turns into a torrential downpour—a life challenge that requires strength beyond what is humanly possible? Paul describes such a situation in his second letter to the Corinthians. He wrote of an affliction that weighed so heavily on his heart and body that he didn’t expect to survive.

The apostle’s approach to his problem still works today: “We would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead . . . and will deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:9-10). The strength that we need during trials is available through Jesus Christ, whose supernatural energy flows through every believer’s mind, body, and spirit.

How does this happen? When someone receives Jesus as Savior, His Spirit comes to live inside the new believer (John 14:17). As a result of this indwelling, the power that Christ demonstrated while on earth prevails in those who now call upon Him for aid. However, for us to access His supernatural strength, we must trust His promise to supply what we need when we need it (Philippians 4:19). As long as we attempt to muddle through using our own abilities, we will prevent His Spirit from unleashing divine help.

Jesus Christ’s power is released into our life when we acknowledge our helplessness. The effect is immediate. As soon as we surrender to the Lord, His might is working within us so we can endure hardship while maintaining our joy and peace.

The Pillar and Ground of the Truth

“These things write I unto thee, hoping to come into thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:14-15)

The church has been ordained by God to be the primary instrument through which His work on Earth is to be accomplished. Here Paul uses three phrases to describe three aspects of the church:

The house of God: The Christian family with husband, wife, and children performing their God-given roles, provides a beautiful picture of the relationship of the church (the “bride” of Christ) to the Lord. The household of God consists of a family of believers where love controls and where He is honored. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

The church of the living God: The ekklesia, or “called-out ones,” serve the living God. “The blood of Christ [shall] . . . purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14).

The pillar and ground of the truth: A facade pillar of a building is not used for support, but rather for display by elevating or calling attention to something else. The ground provides the support. The church should function to support and display the whole truth in such a way that all men can see and believe it.

It should be a family of believers exhibiting brotherly love, individually and corporately serving the living God out of a pure conscience, defending the truth, and displaying it to the lost. May each of us as church members enjoy and support such a church. JDM

Imperfect Interpreters

Being born again… by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever…. This is the word [of the Lord] which by the gospel is preached unto you. —1 Peter 1:23, 25

Often our missionaries have told us of difficult times they have had with interpreters. The expression of the missionary may go in one way and come out with a different sense to the hearer, and I think when we expound the Scriptures, we are often guilty of being imperfect interpreters. I shall do the best I can to catch the spirit of the man, Peter, and to determine what God is trying to say to us and reduce the interference to a minimum.

Now, I suppose more people would like me if I were to declare that I preach the Bible and nothing but the Bible. I attempt to do that, but honesty compels me to say that the best I can do is to preach the Bible as I understand it. I trust that through your prayers and the Spirit of Christ my understanding may be right. If you pray and if I yield and trust, perhaps what we get from First Peter will indeed be approximately what Peter would say if he were here in person. We will stay as close as we can to the Word of the Living God.

Guide me constantly by Your Spirit so that I may be a faithful mouthpiece. Amen.

Are You a Settled and Contented Christian?

…Let us go on unto perfection…. Hebrews 6:1

I wonder why the people of God in our churches are so reluctant to leave the things which are the “first principles” of the doctrine of Christ?

Some of you have heard the gospel many times. You say you have believed and that you have turned away from idols to serve the living God and to wait for His Son from heaven—and yet you do not behave as though you are a settled and contented Christian!

You are not satisfied until you have tried out the latest gospel peddler or the sensationally popular evangelistic services down the street.

If a gospel troupe comes along, you are satisfied for a while because they have cowbells and a musical handsaw and a lot of other gadgets.

In our day we seem to overlook the divine principle of what ought to happen in the life of a truly born-again person. What do we do? We get them into church and then after we get them in, we try to “work” on them.

My reading tells me that in an earlier day believers were better Christians when they were newly converted than many of today’s so-called deeper life people—because a miracle had taken place!

They would not accept a pale, ineffective and apologetic “believing.” They insisted on a miracle taking place in the human breast. Jesus Christ was their Hope, and they knew full well the guarantee—God had raised Him from the dead!

Man’s View of This World

Choose you this day whom ye will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. JOSHUA 24:15

If you have ever given much thought to this present world in which we live, you have some idea of the power of interpretation. The world is a stable fact, quite unchanged by the passing of years, but how different is modern man’s view of the world from the view our fathers held.

The world is for all of us not only what it is; it is what we believe it to be, and a tremendous load of weal or woe rides on the soundness of our interpretation!

In the earlier days, when Christianity exercised a dominant influence over American thinking, men conceded this world to be a battleground. Man, so our fathers held, had to choose sides. He could not be neutral—for him it must be life or death, heaven or hell!

In our day, the interpretation has changed completely. We are not here to fight, but to frolic! We are not in a hostile foreign land; we are at home! It now becomes the bounden duty of every Christian to reexamine his spiritual philosophy in the light of the Bible. So much depends on this that we cannot afford to be careless about it!

Lord, with Joshua I say to You today, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”