THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER
There is a little book that has been on our bookshelf for years. I do not know how we came by it or when we got it. It was first published by Zondervan in 1945, and earlier in England. I just read it and wish that I had read it years before. The book is entitled The Kneeling Christian,1 and is authored by An Unknown Christian. This anonymous Brother has opened my eyes.
As Christians we know the importance of prayer. We hear of the importance of prayer each Sunday in church. And yet, do we really understand how important prayer is? Prayer is not only important, the Lord wants our prayers.
In the Gospel of John during the Last Supper, Jesus delivers a last message to His Disciples. This last discourse is found in chapters thirteen through seventeen of the Gospel of John. During this discourse, Jesus told the Disciples to ask anything in His name and He will do it. The Lord Jesus said this seven times during the time of the Last Supper. Seven times He assured the Disciples (and us) of His willingness to answer our prayers. The Lord wants us to approach Him in prayer, in all things.
Here are the statements of Jesus in this passage of John:
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.2
You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.3
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.4
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.5
In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.6
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.7
. . . a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.8
In the last statement Jesus says that it is not necessary that He ask the Father for us because the Father will answer us because He loves us. There are factors that enter into our requests, such as “Is the request within the Will of the Lord?” He may not find it necessary, or even beneficial, that I drive a Rolls-Royce. But the Lord requests our communication, and He answers. Sometimes so quickly you cannot believe it. Sometimes it takes longer.
I hope to give you more insight from this wonderful little book. It the meantime, it is still available from Zondervan. ( http://www.zondervan.com ) And you can read it online at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/unknown/kneeling.toc.html
1 - An Unknown Christian, Zondervan, 1945.
2 - John 14:13
3 - John 14:14
4 - John 15:7
5 - John 15:16
6 - John 16:23
7 - John 16:24
8 - John 16:26-27