Many times I have said to friends and viewers of LIFE Today, “If you want your prayers answered, seek to be an answer to someone else’s prayer!” As Betty and I have supported other missions and ministry endeavors all over the world, we have seen the things we were able to do or provide come as a direct answer to someone’s prayer, not just a need met.
When we give attention to the concerns of our Father and hear the heart’s cry of others, there is no question that God grants us light in our darkest moments and we become a fruitful garden, truly an ever-flowing stream.
Recently I have found myself overwhelmed by a deep yearning to be an answer to Jesus’ prayer. For centuries, dedicated believers and the general public have repeated the words of the model prayer Jesus gave the disciples in Matthew 6. Every phrase has become increasingly precious to me, especially, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” which is preceded by the necessary manifest power of His kingdom coming – not a future reward, but the present prevailing reality of His majestic power. Living with an awareness of God’s kingdom now increases our sensitivity to everything in the spiritual realm. God is ever-present in transforming power which can and should be revealed through our yielded lives. Meditate on this truth!
My personal focus now and for the rest of my life is to see Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17 fulfilled in our day. Our Lord expressed excitement to His Father about the glory that had been revealed through Him to His followers now being revealed to the world through them. Very specifically, He addresses something we have everything to do with if the prayer is to be answered. He desires that we each become one with the Father as He (Jesus) is. We are to capture the heart of the Father because we have been totally captivated by His heart. His will becomes our will, His concerns our concerns, and His focus our focus. As we submit to Him “presenting ourselves as living sacrifices, we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds to know what the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”1 Jesus prayed for us to be protected from the evil one and to become holy, consecrated by the truth of His word. Paul referred to this process as being “washed with the water of the word.” Jesus taught that abiding in Him enables us to know the truth that sets us free. It is critically important – absolutely necessary – for us to come into this oneness with the Father in order for the other prayerful requests of our Savior to be fulfilled.
The next area He prayed about is perhaps what seems to many as “the impossible dream,” even though the Lord prayed for it. Knowing what I know about myself, other Christians, and especially ministers, this is the most difficult to see answered. If Jesus prayed it, however, it is more important than words alone can describe and obviously will be continually assaulted by the powers and principalities of darkness. The very thought of believers being perfected in unity and love – truly becoming a family of faith with hearts in harmony with the Father in heaven – causes the forces of hell to tremble. The church standing on this foundation will overpower the realm of darkness, deception and destruction, setting free all captives who respond to the kingdom reality Jesus prayed for.
As a teenager reading the biography of D.L. Moody, I was highly influenced by a statement he made: “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man totally surrendered to the will of God.” As a boy, I said, “I want to be that person.” I still do! But even more, I want the world to see what God can do with a people who truly become disciples – His church on this earth, totally surrendered and committed to becoming an answer to Jesus’ prayers.
During the past 20 years, God has led me to meet with many diverse Christian and church leaders which religious tradition and the opinions of others had taught me to avoid. During these times of sharing and seeking together to know God’s heart, I have never disregarded or knowingly compromised God’s Word – and I never will. As a result, I have experienced firsthand the powerful truth of the Psalmist, “How beautiful it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”2 During these exchanges, I have many times felt what I perceived as the Father’s pleasure just as Betty and I experienced it when we watched our three children playing together in joyful harmony.
Would you join me seeking to be one with the Father, perfected in unity so the world will know we are His disciples because of our love for Him, for one another, and for a world in darkness and pain? I may not know you personally, but I love you and I ask you to join with me seeking to be an answer to Jesus’ prayers so that the world may behold the glory of the Father and the Son in our lives.
Please pass this on to others you think might join us in the joyful pursuit of seeing the Lord’s prayer for us answered in our day.
1 Romans 12:1-2
2 Psalm 133:1