Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1 John 5:14
Bryan Chapell tells of three ministers—James Philip, George Philip, and William Still—who prayed in the 1950s for God to revive the Church of Scotland and to raise up ministers. After four years of fervent joint intercession, they felt released from their burden of prayer, but they saw little evidence of genuine revival.
Twenty-five years later these same ministers hosted a conference attended by about two hundred pastors. One of the three men who had prayed for revival asked for a show of hands by those who had been converted during the initial years when he and his partners were praying. A number raised their hands. Then he asked how many of the remaining ministers had been born during those four years. Most of the others now raised their hands. Chapell said, “God had answered the prayer of the original three ministers in a way they could not have expected.”
When we ask anything according to His will, He answers in His own unique way and time.
Praying in accord with the will of God presumes that we are praying in Jesus’ name because we are seeking his purposes. Bryan Chapell, Praying Backwards
1 John 5 – Pastor Chuck Smith – C2000 Series
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise. Psalm 96:4
Sitting in his wheelchair at a senior citizens home in Belize, a man joyfully listened as a group of American high school teenagers sang about Jesus. Later, as some of the teens tried to communicate with him, they discovered he couldn’t talk. A stroke had robbed him of his ability to speak.
Since they couldn’t carry on a conversation with the man, the teens decided to sing to him. As they began to sing, something amazing happened. The man who couldn’t talk began to sing. With enthusiasm, he belted out “How Great Thou Art” right along with his new friends.
It was a remarkable moment for everyone. This man’s love for God broke through the barriers and poured out in audible worship—heartfelt, joyous worship.
We all have worship barriers from time to time. Maybe it’s a relationship conflict or a money problem. Or it could be a heart that’s grown a bit cold in its relationship to God.
Our non-talking friend reminds us that the greatness and majesty of our almighty God can overcome any barrier. “O Lord, my God—when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made!”
Struggling in your worship? Reflect on how great our God is by reading a passage such as Psalm 96, and you too may find your obstacles and objections replaced by praise.
Reflect & Pray
As you read Psalm 96, what stands out about our great God? What barriers to worship sometimes halt you? How can you grow from silence to praise?
Our great God, I do hold You in awesome wonder. How great Thou art!
To learn more about who God is, visit christianuniversity.org/CA310.
Our heavenly Father chooses to involve the prayers of His children in the outworking of His plan (2 Kings 20:1-6). But what about a circumstance like a friend’s serious illness? Perhaps you wonder, Why should I pray about it if God already knows how the situation will turn out?
When you pray, God works in your heart so that you are in harmony with His will. Prayer lets us in on what He is doing. In the event that God calls your friend home, He also prepares you with awareness of His presence—that way, when you walk through the valley, you have peace. And in some situations, your prayer may be the very instrument God plans to use in bringing about a result He desires.
No farmer can control the yield of his crops. He can till the soil and plant the seed in the best way he knows, but it is the Lord who causes growth. Of course, God could produce crops without help, but no farmer reaps a fantastic harvest sitting at home. In a similar way, the heavenly Father chooses to work through us because He is a God of relationship. He wants to involve us in His work, and that includes our prayers.
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” (Ephesians 4:1)
The Christian’s calling in Christ is a high calling. Since we are encouraged to walk in a manner worthy of this calling, it behooves us to make careful study of it, lest our lifestyle bring reproach to the One who has called us. Consider the following sampling of the uses of this important word.
First, the calling is “of God” and irrevocable (Romans 11:29). We are called “by his grace” (Galatians 1:15) and “into the grace of Christ” (Galatians 1:6). We are called “out of darkness” and “into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Furthermore, we are “called to be saints” (Romans 1:7). He has “called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9). We are “partakers of the heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1), and in response, we should “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
The New Testament writers as well mention many things to which we are called. We are “called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). We are “called unto liberty” (Galatians 5:13) and are now free to “serve one another,” even though it means accepting the call to suffering. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). The “eternal life, whereunto thou art also called” may not come easily, for it involves the “good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). We are called “to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3), even “his eternal glory by Christ Jesus” (1 Peter 5:10), for we are “called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). JDM
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
None of us can approach a serious study and consideration of the eternal nature and person of Jesus Christ without sensing and confessing our complete inadequacy in the face of the divine revelation….
Now, I have said all of this because my best faith and my loftiest expectation do not allow me to believe that I can do justice to a text that begins: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) and concludes: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (1:18).
This is what we will attempt to do: we will walk along the broad seashore of God and pick up a shell here and a shell there, holding each up to the light to admire its beauty. While we may ultimately have a small store of shells to take with us, they can but remind us of the truth and the fact that there stretches the vastness of the seashore around the great lips of the oceans—and that still buried there is far more than we can ever hope to find or see! CES009, 011
Lord, I glory in the shells I’m looking at this morning—and revel in the vastness of the seashore around me! Amen.
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
I think God looks beyond the situation to the spirit and attitude. I think He is more concerned with how we react to abuse and mistreatment than to the fact that we have been abused by someone.
Some of us have had experiences of being “told off” most eloquently by people with a very descriptive flow of language; but the eloquence is lost completely insofar as God is concerned.
If you are His child taking some abuse or persecution for His sake, His great concern is the attitude that you will show in return.
Will you reveal a stubborn spirit intent upon revenge? If you resist the Spirit of God asking you to demonstrate the love and grace of Jesus Christ, your Savior, you can be sure of one thing: God will resist you! ICH1
He who does not seek and find God everywhere, and in everything, finds Him nowhere and in nothing. And he who is not at the Lord’s service in everything, is at His service in nothing. JAS179
Isaiah 1:18 has long been a favorite text for evangelistic sermons. These are great words to sound in the ear of every sinner who is hungry for forgiveness: “‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool.'” But this verse has an added dimension in its context. God’s people need to “seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow” (1:17).
I believe that God’s people today are still deficient in the area of social justice. We too have neglected the fatherless and the widow. We too have failed to stand alongside the oppressed. We too must come under God’s awesome judgment for our complacent, self-satisfied religion. But, thank God, we too receive His invitation to reason with Him, to discover why the concern for justice must lie at the heart of our Christian life and witness.
It is the calling of every Christian to be holy, to reflect the very character of God. And it is the character of God which gives us reason for our involvement. Our God is not aloof and distant, untouched by human suffering. From the burning bush God said to Moses: “I have indeed seen the misery of My people in Egypt… I am concerned about their suffering” (Exodus 3:7). Our holiness must go far beyond a concern for our personal piety. Our hearts should burn with a love for justice; our consciences should be troubled about the suffering in our world.
Just as the character of God gives us the reason for our involvement, so the incarnation of Christ guides us as to the manner of our involvement. The Word becomes flesh, infinity dwindles to infancy, the hands that flung stars into space are nailed to a cross. God deals with sin and suffering and injustice, not by force, but by the power of costly, redemptive love.
This is the kind of involvement to which we too are called. Jesus still gives to the Christian both the mandate for his involvement and the manner it which it should be undertaken: “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant… For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43).
Chick Yuill, The Salvationist Pulpit