And He prayed

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:20-26 NKJV)

Jesus knew what was before Him. Every detail from His arrest to the Cross. He knew what He would suffer; all of the pain and agony. But He stopped and prayed. He prayed for “those who will believe in Me through their word”. The word of His disciples. Jesus was praying for His Church. The Church He knew would be established by His shed blood and the power of the Holy Spirit and through the words that would be given to His disciples. Jesus was praying for you and for me. Jesus prayed that “they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me”. He was praying for His Church, to be one in Christ, so the world would know the Name of Jesus. He saw the greater need.

I’m reminded that my life at one time was headed to eternal suffering and death. I’m reminded of the man whose name was Mark, who set aside what he was facing; his suffering, his cancer, his daily challenges and how he took me by the hands in his office, in the middle of a busy day and prayed for me. And two days later, I’m reminded of when I knelt before Jesus and asked Him to forgive me. The single most important day of my life when I called upon the Name of Jesus and was saved. This man lived out every day demonstrating the love and compassion of Jesus and took time for me because he, too, saw the greater need.

Who will we encounter? What will we need to set aside? Will we demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus as Mark did for me? Will we see the greater need? Will we pray?

Oh dear Jesus, thank You for praying for us. You knew what You would be facing, but yet again, You set that aside and saw the greater need. You saw those whose lives would be trapped under the burden of sin and You prayed. You prayed that we too, would believe. That we would be one with You. Oh thank You Lord. May others see Jesus in me and know that You love them with an everlasting love and desire for them to call You Savior and spend eternity with You. In Your Holy Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 14:1-4 NKJV – Will you call upon the Lord?

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”  They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good.  The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God.  They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupts; there is none who does good, no, not one.  Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call on the Lord?

This psalm causes me to seek a place of meditation and pray.  The psalm itself focuses on human evil.  What is the fool except someone focused on the world’s standards.  The fool denies that there is a God and is convinced that God is unconcerned.  The fool defines godlessness.  A lifestyle which does not acknowledge God.

Man’s inner thoughts and feelings are opposed to God; rejecting the person of God and God’s love.  Man is blind and ignorant.  Ephesians 4:18 NKJV says, “having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.”  Man must be regenerated.   Regeneration requires the work of the Holy Spirit to transform the heart, enabling it to love and obey God.

Conversion of the heart comes when we are convinced that we need to change our heart.  “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:8 NKJV)  There are none who are good.  No not one.  That is why we need to seek after the only One who is good, who is Love.  God’s desire is that all people should seek after Him and find Him.  Those who seek God with all their heart are rewarded.  “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity.” (Jeremiah 29:13-14a NKJV)

The way to seek God with all your heart is to have a prayer relationship with Him.  There are consequences to a life of prayerlessness.  Without prayer we are alienated from God.  “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:6 NKJV)  Without prayer we suffer spiritual poverty.  “You lust and do not have.  You murder and covet and cannot obtain.  You fight and war.  Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” (James 4:2 NKJV)  And without prayer, your ministry will be ineffective which literally means you have no fellowship with the Lord.  “Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” (John 15:4-5 NKJV)

The foundational verse asks, Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call on the Lord?”  If we do not pray, what does this say about us?  Are we fools?  Do we not believe?  Unbelief can be defined as the lack of faith and trust in God that challenges His truthfulness and finds expression in disobedience and rebellion.  Harsh words?  Maybe.

What we need to do is turn our unbelief into belief.  And we do that in prayer.  Prayer is calling upon the Lord.  Prayer is having conversation and fellowship with the Lord.  Prayer brings us to the point of decision and a right relationship with the Lord.

Friend, I was at the place of no return when I came to know the person of Jesus Christ.  Prayer, heartfelt prayer; weeping prayer brought Jesus and I together.  I didn’t know how or what to say except that I didn’t want to go on another minute lost and dying both inside and outside.  You may not agree and think the life you are leading will give you exactly what you need.  A life outside of Jesus Christ will not give you what you need, it will give you what you deserve.  I made a choice to follow Jesus.  A prayer brought us together.  The life I live now will get me everything I don’t deserve which is more than I could have ever done for myself.  If you’re ready to pray, we can do that now.  If you’re ready to meet the One who is good, let me introduce you to Him.

Precious Jesus.  I don’t want to be known as a worker of iniquity before You.  I desire to call upon You.  Come near to me, Lord and have fellowship with me.  I need You, Jesus, to take me from this world and bring me into Your presence and love.  I deserve nothing Lord, but know that in You, I receive everything.  Come into my life Lord.  Be my Savior.  I believe in You, Jesus.  I believe that You died for my sins and You rose from the grave to defeat my sin and my death once and for all.  Lord, help me grow closer to You in prayer and may my life give You honor and praise.  In Jesus Name.  AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!