PRAYER: ABIDING IN HIM (Part 8)

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5)

Jesus enjoyed unbroken fellowship with the heavenly Father. He left us with the Holy Spirit so we can enjoy the same quality of fellowship. Our lives will be marked with a deepening conformity to His image when we learn to enjoy daily communion with Him.

When an angel appeared to Cornelius in Acts 10 he told him that his prayers and giving had come up as a memorial before God. In other words, the memorial in Cornelius’ life was the character of his heart. The memorial in your life is what you are doing inwardly toward God. What is the focus of your heart? The quality of your prayer life is determined by the focus and condition of your heart.

Most Christians find it very difficult to think of God outside of church services, church functions, and doctrines, or a few minutes in their prayer closet and devotional life. To say it another way, most believers do not have a God-focus in the totality of their lives. As I mentioned before, they have a compartmentalized mentality when it comes to their relationship with the Lord.

Often we are unable to think of God except in terms of assemblies, creeds, denominations, programs, campaigns, drives, preachers, and buildings etc. These things, although useful, can often rob us of the true mind of the Lord and hinder you from cultivating the blessed life of unbroken communion with Him. It is so easy to become taken up with a thousand different things, even Christianity itself, while your personal fellowship with Him is forgotten.

On the other hand, it is possible for someone to pray 8 hours a day and still not experience much of God outside of their prayer closet. I know some people who pray less, but experience the Lord more in the totality of their daily life. Why is that? What makes the difference? It is simply because the entire motivation of their lives is loving Him whether they are doing “spiritual” work, or menial and mundane every day work, whether they are in their prayer closet, or work place. When you realize that your entire life is a contribution to the glory of God, you will start learning what it means to pray without ceasing. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thes 5:17-18)

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Col 3:17)

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31)

Learning to abide in the Lord, becoming aware of Him every moment, and seeing Him in every part of our lives is the real key to an enhanced and enriched prayer life. It is a walk with God where you experience Him in every kind of environment, good and not so good. With most of us, when things are going well, we experience more of God, but when there are adverse circumstances and obstacles in our lives we don’t experience as much of Him, or none of Him at all.

For example, you’re driving to a very important meeting, and on the way you get a flat tire. It’s real cold outside and you forgot your gloves so you have a hard time changing that tire. You’re frustrated because you’re going to miss the meeting. You count your whole day ruined. You fight your emotions. You fight the devil. You’re upset. This is where most of us live, isn’t it? What’s the problem? How do we get past that and still experience God in adverse circumstances?

Here’s what it is for the guy with the flat tire. His focus is wrong. His focus was not God; it was getting to the meeting. If we’re not careful, we step into an agenda or a list of things we’ve got to do, and that becomes our focus instead of Him.

Your environment changes when you focus on anything but Jesus. And it’s not even so much that the environment itself changes, but you change in that environment. You walk into a store to purchase a few things, and someone you know sees you there and wants to talk to you. They want to share a testimony with you, or worse yet, spill all their troubles to you, or just chit-chat with you about life. But you have things you got to get done, and this is the only day in the week you can do it so you start getting frustrated, grieved, and by the time the conversation ends you are upset because you wasted so much time. The reason you are this way is because you are not able to see God in that moment.

A mind-set with an agenda as its’ focus usually winds up missing God in many aspects of their life. We’ve got to learn to live moment by moment with one desire – not the desire of my agenda, not the desire of what I want, but one sole desire: to enjoy the Lord moment by moment and cultivate that. So if you get a flat tire, or some person or circumstance interrupts your day’s agenda you say: “God, you’re with me, I’ve got everything, and I have no wants.” And then often you find that God works everything out where your supposed delays become opportunities instead of disappointments.

Abiding in the Lord is best illustrated by the relationship between a caboose and a locomotive. The caboose is the end of the train and it cannot go anywhere without being attached to the locomotive. The focus of that caboose is just staying connected to the locomotive. The caboose is not trying to get anywhere. Its’ entire purpose is only to stay attached. It has removed itself from it’s own efforts to get somewhere. It should be the same with us. We are not trying to get anywhere. We’re enjoying Him in the now.

Until next time…

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