Saturday, March 10, 2007

Day Twelve: The Promise, Part I

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:7-8).

We come now to that great and astonishing promise of Christ which says, “…ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” The word “ask” in the original language is a strong one. It means to beg, to call for, to crave, to desire, to require of the one entreated. It implies great passion and intensity and fervency in prayer. And indeed, fervency is a necessary aspect of all true praying. Consider these words from the nineteenth-century pastor E. M. Bounds:

“Prayers must be red hot. It is the fervent prayer that is effectual and that availeth. Coldness of spirit hinders praying; prayer cannot live in a wintry atmosphere. Chilly surroundings freeze out petitioning; and dry up the springs of supplication. It takes fire to make prayers go. Warmth of soul creates an atmosphere favorable to prayer, because it is favorable to fervency. By flame, prayer ascends to heaven. Yet fire is not fuss, nor heat noise. Heat is intensity—something that glows and burns. Heaven is a mighty poor market for ice” (The Complete Works of E. M. Bounds on Prayer, Prince Press, 2000: 35).

And how do we get such fervency, such fire of soul, such glowing intensity? We get these by abiding in Christ, and by his words abiding in us, and over time the flame of Christ sets our own souls ablaze. Indeed, it is the Spirit and the words of Christ that both shape and impassion our prayers. They shape our prayers by giving us revelation and wisdom, sight and insight; by renewing our minds and causing us to think God’s thoughts after him, as it were; by transforming our lives so that we die to our ways and live to Christ’s ways. And they impassion our prayers by setting our hearts on fire with the flame of heaven, as the Holy Spirit impresses on our soul the very fervency of Christ, and applies to our lives the implications of his words.

Do you pray with such fervency? If not, beloved, fly to Christ! All the passion and earnestness you will ever need to muster is there with him. But it will take time. You will have to discipline yourself to deny your flesh and stay with Christ when your flesh would have you fly to work or television or food or 1,000 other things. Abide with Christ, and when he is ready he will set your soul on fire!

Prayer Focus: Pray that Christ will cause you to abide in him and cause his words to abide in you, so that the fire and fervency of his soul will set your own soul aflame. Pray for the perseverance to stay with Christ when you would fly away.

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