Dear brothers and sisters,
We will be in 1 John for our prayer devotional today. In this passage, we learn how much the holiness of our lives matters to God when it comes to effective prayer. Yes, how we live can affect whether or not our prayers get answered. Our generosity and the way we love our brothers and sisters is very crucial. When we are obeying God’s commandments, we are more inclined to be seeking His will for our lives when we pray. But if we are indulging in sinful patterns, or living in ungratefulness and discontentment, we shouldn’t be surprised when our prayer lives suffer.
It can become a very frustrating, repetitive cycle. First, we grow slack in our obedience, becoming lazy in our Christian walk. We neglect the Scriptures, toy around with pet sins, avoid opportunities to be with the body of Christ, etc. It then follows that, since we are neglecting the means of growth, we don’t pray for the right things. Hence, those prayers don’t get answered. We then get frustrated that God isn’t answering our prayers, tempted to blame others or even Him for our lack. Not a good place to remain.
When this happens, what we need to do is get back to preaching the gospel to ourselves, being reminded of the complete forgiveness and imputed righteousness we have in Christ. It’s time to open and meditate on the Word of God, rejoicing in His great and precious promises to us (2 Peter 1:4). Also, be with other Christians a lot. They will sharpen, strengthen, and encourage you. Don’t fly solo! If you do, you’ll end up in a worse place than where you started.As we slowly, albeit weakly, get back to the normal means of growth, we will begin to please the Lord by obeying His precepts. It may not look like a lot at first, but obedience will be present. We will be more self-controlled, more forgiving, and we will start to humble ourselves in sacrificial service to others.
The Book of James says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” John is showing full agreement in this passage with what James has to say about prayer. We don’t simply obey God just so that He will answer our prayers and give us what we want. We obey God out of gratitude for who He is, and what He’s done in saving us, and then over time He graciously conforms our will to His will when we pray. Now, let’s obey Him by seeking Him above all things! Then pray, and trust Him for His answers.
God bless, Jamie
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.