If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. —John 15:7–8 NRSV
There are times when the Lord speaks and his instruction seems too simple for our skeptical minds to grasp and believe. For instance, look at the above passage. In a previous devotion, I shared about a time when the Lord spoke to me about a lady who was ready to yield her life to him. I followed the Lord’s instruction and discovered what he had told me was true. She was indeed ready, and joyfully opened her heart to Christ. That was the beginning of a magnificent transformation in her life. Her willingness to receive Christ was the event that broke the barriers that had held her and her family in captivity to lifestyles that were destructive to themselves and others associated with them.
It was sometime before this event that our church decided to try something different in our mid- week services. We decided to test and see if the above passage was really true as it relates to prayer and answers to prayer. We knew better than to pray selfishly. Somewhere I had heard that if a church began to focus on the harvest and pray for individuals far from God that it was highly likely that they would see God move in powerful ways. So in a very naïve way, we began to list names of individuals who we knew needed Christ and began to pray for them. That practice became a major part of our mid-weeks services. It took a while, but we began to see God start drawing some of those persons we were praying for to himself. The above story was one example. One after another we began to mark individuals off the list as they came to know Christ. The amazing reality was the very ones we were praying for were the ones coming to Christ. Imagine that!
This was a miraculous time in the life of our church. When I began to conduct discipleship meetings in the homes of this family, it caught the attention of others who needed Christ. Most of these people were trapped by Satan’s devices, but they were so hungry to know the truth that they would call in and ask if the phone receiver could be placed on the table so as to listen in as we discussed this new life in Christ. One night in our prayer circle a lady was delivered from alcoholism. She never drank again!
Honestly, I miss those days. I miss the simplicity of a few people who believed that if we would look outside ourselves and focus our thoughts and prayers on others far from God that we would see God do mighty things. What we discovered during that time was that Christ really did mean what said. Transforming Hearts…Transforming Lives!
Father, thank you for the many promises you give to us through your word. Please forgive us for our cynical attitudes and lack of faith. Grant to us the child like faith to take you at your word. This we ask in Christ’s name. Amen.
Dr. Charles Wright, Regional Pastor and Overseer for Kansas and Oklahoma Panhandle
Copyright © 2011 by Church of God Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. This document may be downloaded, reprinted, or distributed free of charge for ministry and educational purposes provided that the copyright notice on this page appears without modification. The contents of the booklet may not be modified or abridged in any way, and this electronic version of the booklet MAY NOT BE RESOLD in any print or electronic format.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked NRSV are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked Phillips are taken from The New Testament in Modern English by J. B. Phillips, 1962 edition, published by Harper Collins.