255. The Ministry of Prayer

This issue looks at the ministry of prayer.

You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you (John 15:16).
Read this verse again, paying attention to the order of things. First, we go and bear fruit, and then we come to the Father in prayer. The first must happen before the second can be expected. We act first, and then pray. Initially, it seems like these are out of order. Aren’t we always to pray first? Don’t we expect spiritual fruit only after much prayer? While most things should be prayed over first, this verse warns us not to see prayer simply as a tool that enables the “real work.”
This verse focuses on a particular kind of prayer-the kind where we bring our requests to the Father, but it’s even more specific. It’s talking about those requests that we make in Jesus’ name. So what does this mean? Certainly, it’s more that just tacking on the obligatory “in Jesus’ name” at the end of our prayers. To put it simply, it means that we’re coming to God as an ambassador of Jesus Himself, on His merits, and not our own. We’re representing His interests and His will in our prayer. If we are truly praying in Jesus’ name, our prayer will be in total agreement with His will and kind intentions.
While it seems that this should be enough to assure an answer, this verse makes it conditional. We must go when He says, “Go,” and bear permanent fruit in our ministry. Then, and only then, will He hear and answer our prayers.

This verse lets us know how important our obedience is to God. He has commanded us to go, which can happen where we live or work, someplace across town, or on the other side of the world. He expects us to be involved in some form of ministry, bringing His love to someone, somewhere, as we utilize the spiritual gift(s) He has given us. He also expects results…on His timetable, not ours. (Some of the missionary “giants” labored for years upon years before seeing any fruit.) As we do what He has asked us to do, He is more inclined to grant our requests, especially since the person who has obeyed his call tends to be more tuned in to the will of God in his actions and his prayer life. As parents, we find it much easier to grant the requests of the child who willingly and routinely does as he or she is told. It’s unnatural “giving in” to a child who fights against you at every turn.
Did you ever wonder how God sees you-as a compliant, willing child or as a headstrong rebel? If you consider yourself to be a Christian, how is God responding to your prayers? Is there something you need to obey in order to be more effective in prayer? What is God challenging you to do today? Will you do it?
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Actual Newspaper Article Title:
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
(You mean there’s something stronger than duct tape?)

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