I ask for those who believe in Me that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. John 17:20-24

 

What does prayer have to do with getting a Christ centered life? In a word--everything.

Let's begin with a definition of prayer. There are many aspects to prayer. I began to make a list a couple of years ago. At first I could only come up with just a handful, but since then I have continued added to the list and I now have a list of over 150 different aspects. Prayer, like our great God is many faceted. I want us to focus on one aspect that is foundational to all the others.

One problem Christians have today is that we think mostly of prayer in terms of asking and getting. We sometimes hear it said that God talks to us through His Word and we talk to Him through prayer. While prayer is talking to God, it's more than that. It's also listening to God. Alvin Vandergriend tells how God continued to expand his definition of prayer in this regard. God led him to see that prayer is conversing with God. But it was more than that; it was the conversational part of a relationship with God. But it was not simply a relationship; it was the conversational part of a love relationship with God. But God expanded his definition farther; prayer is the conversational part of the most important love relationship in our lives. There he though, that's it. But God expanded it again. Prayer is the conversational part of the most important love relationship in our lives, the love relationship we have with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Do you see prayer in that light? God wants to have an intimate relationship with us and us with Him. Pray isn't about methods, but a deeper relationship with our loving God. Prayer is not to have a relationship with God; prayer is our relationship with God. Our relationship grows as we spend more time with God in prayer. Prayer is not something we do, but who we are in relation to God. Prayer is a journey. It's not where we are on this journey, but where we are going to end up. Where are you in your prayer journey? Learning to love to pray is learning to love the one to whom we pray. We can ask God to teach us to pray, as His disciples did, and He will. Prayer can become a way of life for us, just as it was for Jesus. God initiates this love relationship. God calls each of us to prayer.

And we know that Christ, God's Son, has come to help us understand and find the true God. And now we are in God because we are in Jesus Christ his Son, who is the only true God; and he is eternal Life. 1 John 5:20

We must become like a mature person, growing until we become like Christ and have his perfection. Eph 4:13

You are living a brand new kind of life that is continually learning more and more of what is right, and trying constantly to be more and more like Christ who created this new life within you. Col 3:10

And then take on an entirely new way of life-a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. Eph 4:23,24

In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus. Phil 2:5

Getting Christ centered lives is not getting more of Christ, but allowing Christ to live His life in us.

The first book I wrote was about everything Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up into heaven. Acts 1:1

If Jesus only began to do these things before He was taken into heaven, when did Jesus finish these things He began to do?

Paul said, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; Gal 2:20

What Christ began to do while on earth, He continued to do through His followers and He now continues to do in our lives.

We can find many examples of prayer in the Bible. Consider this prayer of David from Psalm 27:4. The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in his Temple, living in his presence every day of my life, delighting in his incomparable perfections and glory.

What one thing do you want from God? What one thing does God want for us? Isn't it to know Him personally, intimately, to have a love relationship with Him. Here is how I see my relationship with God.

    GOD, MY FATHER

    God is my loving Father;
    He cares and provides for me.
    He calls me to walk close beside Him;
    He wants me to know him intimately.
    He is always with me.
    He leads me in His ways;
    Even though I am tempted to walk in the ways of the world,
    He gives me the grace to follow Him,
    the power to overcome temptation.
    I have His Word to direct my steps,
    His hand to keep me
    on the path that leads to life,

    and His Spirit to complete His work in me.
    I shall know Him fully,
    just as He knows me,
    and I shall be transformed
    into His likeness.
    I will abide in His love forever.

J. I. Packer says, what were we made for? To know God. What aim should we have in life? To know God. What is the eternal life that Jesus gives? To know God. What is the best thing in life? To know God. What in humans gives God most pleasure? Knowledge of Himself.

Prayer is practicing the presence of Christ in our lives every day. Do we recognize that God is always near, that Christ is in us, that we have the indwelling Holy Spirit? Do we pray as though He is distant from us or always with us? Do we walk with Him and yet not talk to Him?

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

Do you want to be like Jesus? Do you want a Christ centered life? Learn to pray like Jesus.

We see the things that Jesus taught us to pray in the model prayer, demonstrated in both His prayers and in His life. He taught and lived these principles: Seek God's glory, God's kingdom and God's will.

As He faced the cross, Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:1-3

I ask for those who believe in Me that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. John 17:20-24

Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. John 4:34

For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me." John 12:49,50

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. "If you love me, you will obey what I command.
John 14:12-15

How do we show our love to God? By obeying His commands, by seeking His glory, by seeking His reign in our lives and by seeking His will.

God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him. Phil 2:13

We don't have to live this life in our own strength; and, as a matter of fact, we can't.

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5

A fruitful life is the by-product of a relationship with the Lord. Both Christ and the Holy Spirit continue to intercede for us.

Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Rom 8:34

If Christ found prayer necessary and continues to intercede for us now, how can we even imagine that it is not necessary for us to pray?

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son,
Rom 8:26-29

Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Cor 10:31

Do you want a Christ centered life? Because we know its God's will for us, we can pray confidently that God will give it to us.

Remember James 4:2. You do not have because you do not ask.

The LORD called Samuel; and he said, "Here I am." Then he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call, lie down again." So he went and lay down. The LORD called yet again, "Samuel!" So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he answered, "I did not call, my son, lie down again." Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him. So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel, "Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, 'Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for Your servant is listening." The LORD said to Samuel, "Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.
1 Sam 3:4-11

Are you listening for God's voice? Do you hear God calling you? Put yourself in the place where He will speak to you, the place of prayer. And say like Samuel, Speak LORD, for your servant is listening.

Father, we pray that we may be filled with the Holy Spirit, we pray that we might have the mind of Christ. May we continue to grow in our relationship with you every day. May we know and do you will. May we demonstrate your love to others through your power that is at work within us. May the world know that you are the one true God. Amen.

2005

    

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