Maybe I should see if there’s a way to incorporate John 15 into my mailing address. I’ve certainly been camped out there long enough to maybe consider it my residence. I mean, “abide” means “dwell” right? 😀
In the first half of John 15 in my Bible I’ve underlined “remain in ______” each time Jesus said it, and circled the word “remain”. These gentle, direct words of His have been simmering on low for a while now, their aroma filling my entire prayer life.
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15.7-8)
If you could see my prayer journal, the half-inch three-ring binder where I note the things I’m asking for and the ways God has answered, including “no” and “not now”, you’d have to admit it. God answers prayer.
I’m reminded each time I read Jesus words in John 15 that obedient living, my remaining in Him knowing He remains in me, makes a huge difference as well. The pages in that binder point to jobs supplied, emergencies averted, long-term habits erased, personal growth, wisdom for decisions, financial concerns cared for, safety granted, insurance provided, opportunities presented (shall I go on? or are you getting the picture?). Some He’s answered in minutes. (Honest!) A friend we’ve been praying with saw God answer prayer in bringing estranged family closer together Friday evening. We’d been praying just a few days. Others I’ve been praying for for a long time.
Yesterday He answered another. No tears, no earthquakes, no blinding lights on the road to Damascus or anything, just a definite answer to prayer. I’d like to tell you about it, maybe encourage you in the process.
I’ve been asking for wisdom about something for several weeks. I knew God would grant it in His time, but continually thinking through things had become unsettling and I didn’t like the back and forth going on in my mind. It reminded me of the instability James wrote about when praying for wisdom (see James 1.4-8). I needed the wisdom of verse 5 but not the indecisiveness of verse 6.
So yesterday, in my Morning-Watch Extended Session, I reaffirmed that I was consiously, intentionally drawing my everything from Him. I told the Lord how I was feeling (like He didn’t already know) then borrowed St. Peter’s words (1 Pt. 5.6-10) to ask,
“Lord, would you strengthen and establish me? You are the God of all grace, I ask you quietly, humbly, Would You bring this to conclusion today? Lock something down. I’ll accept Your decision. Please.”
He did! Half way through church I sensed His specific direction. By the time we reached the benediction I knew for sure. Established. What a relief! Over lunch I described to Brenda what the Lord had impressed on me (she and I have been thinking and talking this through a lot lately). She agreed. We’re of one mind. Thank you, Father.
Friend, God hears. God answers. The quiet confidence that comes with knowing you asked with clean hands and a pure heart has a way of fortifying the gratitude when His answer comes. Today it was but a few hours from my request to His answer. Knowing God is able, knowing He does, knowing He will, helps me trust Him while I wait for the other things I’m asking Him for.
Lord, I want to say “Thank you” once more. You are indeed an awesome God, reigning in wisdom, power and love. I want to always be quietly confident when I come to You, to ask, to seek, to knock as You said. (Matt. 7.7)