Friday, November 19, 2010

Experiencing Friendship with Almighty God by James Ryle

“One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4, KJV).

Three things happen as we pray. First, we become friends with Almighty God.
I’m talking about real friendship; not some imaginary exercise of reciting religious phrases toward some divine place in the sky. No. David said we would behold the beauty of the Lord, and inquire in His temple. This is not some abstract thought about a make-believe world, nor merely a poetic license for things that are not literally real. I’m talking about actually talking with God….and having Him talk back.

“Call unto Me, and I will answer you,” He says, “and show you great and marvelous things to wonderful to know; things of which you are unaware; things that you don’t know and can’t find out without asking Me; things you can never figure out on your own.” (Jeremiah 33:3).

The New Living Bible says, “Ask Me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.”

Jesus invited us to pray to “Our Father, who is in heaven.” This is a bond greater than any other relational connection we know. He has even placed His Spirit deep within our heart, whereby we call out, “Abba, Father.”

From infancy to our elder years, God’s Fatherhood is the undergirding and over-riding truth of our lives. And it is the single, most compelling factor in how we are to pray –

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:7-11).

The purpose of prayer is to strengthen, deepen, broaden, and lengthen our fellowship with God, our Father.

Have you talked to Dad lately?

Working Together with God in this World  
“Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as in heaven.” (Luke 11:2).

Three things happen as we pray. First, which we looked at yesterday, is that we have fellowship with God. The second thing that happens is that we cooperate in bringing God’s Kingdom to Earth.

What exactly does this mean? Simply stated, it means doing our part to see God’s will happen in our sphere of influence.

Practically speaking, it means you should never pray a prayer that is not already God’s will. This is what the Bible is talking about when it says, “You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss; that you may consume it on your own lusts” (James 4:3). In other words, our prayers are not answered when we pray for selfish reasons, wanting to indulge our own desires.

“THY will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Whenever we pray what God has already decided to do, our prayers cannot miss! “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15).

But this not only means we are never to pray a prayer that is not already God’s will; it also means that you should never pray a prayer that you are not willing to be the answer to. In other words, don’t ask God to bless the poor if you are not ready to do your part in becoming the means whereby He does it.

Don’t pray for change in the courts, in the schools, in the marketplace, or in the church — if you’re going to sit passively by the side to see if any change comes. Otherwise you are praying empty prayers — mere religious words that have no meaning….and no power.

You must pray your passion — for it is in such prayers that God’s answers come; and they come through you. He gives you wisdom, opportunity, patience, resource and power from on high to actually effect the answers for which you cry out to heaven.

“Thy Kingdom come,” we pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Pray as though it depended totally upon God; work as though it depends totally upon you.

What are you prepared to do today to become the answer to the prayers you have been praying?

Destined for the Throne! 
“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Revelation 3:21).

Three things happen as we pray. First, we become friends with God. Second, we work together with God bringing His will to Earth. And, third, we are being prepared for Eternity. In other words — we are destined for the Throne!

One thing is certain about Heaven — we will not sit around on fluffy clouds strumming harps and eating yogurt, preening our wings and polishing our halos. No; nothing like that at all. Instead, we will reign with Christ, for that’s what the Bible tells us.

To him that overcomes,” Jesus said, “will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”  (Rev. 3:21).

John gave us a glimpse into this exalted place, and we hear a mighty host of ransomed men and women from all nations singing, “You are worthy O Lord, for You have made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” (Rev 5:10).

And the standing promise of the Ages, which fills our hearts with unshakable faith — the kind that overcomes the world — says it in perfect clarity: “They shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light: and they shall reign forever and ever.” (Rev 22:4-5).

Our struggles here on earth, which intensify our resolve in prayer, become the very means whereby God is readying us for that place where we shall reign with Jesus. One old preacher called prayer, “reigning training.” Its the process whereby God deepens our faith, broadens our vision, sharpens our discernment, awakens our passion, and unleashes His power.

The purpose of prayer is to train you to reign with Jesus. So when you bow your head to pray, remember — every king kneels in order to be crowned. You, my royal friend, are destined for the Throne!

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