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The Open Door

 

In John 14, Jesus promised His disciples, and He promised us, that as believers we could depend on an incredible reality. Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of Truth; Whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, neither knows Him, but you know Him; for He dwells with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world sees Me no more; but you see Me: because I live, you shall live also. At that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you” (John 14: 16-20).

Already in John 14:11, Jesus had said, “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me....” These are among my favorite verses in the Bible because they are such a comfort to me when I feel the weakness of my own fallibility, which, I might add, is daily.

Andrew Murray, in his book “Living A Prayerful Life,” talks about the prolific problem of prayerlessness in the life of the believer. If we understand that there is great power in prayer, and we do, then why are we guilty of such prayerlessness?

As we seek spiritual renewal as Georgia Baptists in our desire to see the 5 Smooth Stones of Spiritual Renewal, Kingdom Generosity, Church Revitalization, Church Planting, and Authentic Evangelism become a living reality in our state, then we must overcome the problem of prayerlessness.

Murray makes this statement: “The greatest stumbling block in the way of victory over prayerlessness is the secret feeling that we will never obtain the blessing of being delivered from it. Often we have tried, but in vain.”

I am convinced that one of our greatest challenges as Christians comes in our failure to comprehend the power that is in us through the Holy Spirit.

Due to many failed efforts to establish the prayerful life, we feel defeated and believe it impossible to overcome the problem of prayerlessness. Murray says that if we are to experience victory in this matter we must understand that such deliverance is included in the redemption that we have in Christ Jesus. It is one of the blessings that God imparts to us through our relationship with Christ.

Perhaps like others you have said, “I didn’t comprehend the reality that the Lord was with me every day as I prayed, ready in His great love to keep me and to bless me, however sinful and guilty I felt myself to be. I had not supposed that just as He will give all other grace in answer to prayer, so, first and most of all, He will bestow the grace of a praying heart” (Murray, “Living A Prayerful Life,” p. 37).

When you think about it, it is ridiculous for us to believe that all other blessings come to us through the power of the Lord, but the blessing of prayer must be obtained in our own power, through our own efforts.

I am convinced that one of our greatest challenges as Christians comes in our failure to comprehend the power that is in us through the Holy Spirit. The John 14 passage makes it clear. In the words of Christ Himself, He said that as believers Jesus is living in us.

Remember John 14:11? Jesus said that He was in the Father and the Father was in Him. Now, Jesus informs us in verse 20 that He is in us. That means that the very power of God is resident in our lives!

Jesus said that nothing is impossible with God, therefore, we can certainly conclude that for the Christian the matter of prayerlessness has already been resolved. All that is left is for us to take hold of it, to seize the momentary and ceaseless experience of communication with the Father through prayer. When we do, spiritual renewal, in terms of power unlike anything we have ever experienced, will come.