[Video by Job29guy. View more at www.job29guy.com]
An excerpt from Major Ian Thomas' sermon "A Grain of Wheat".
What must a grain of wheat do? According to Jesus, it must die, that it might produce fruit. So must we.
"Lord, teach us to pray." Yes, we feel the need now of being taught to pray. At first there is no work that appears so simple; later on, none that is more difficult. And the confession is forced from us: We do not know how to pray as we should. It is true we have God's Word with its clear and sure promises, but sin has so darkened our mind that we don't always know how to apply the Word. In spiritual matters we do not always seek the most important things. In temporal matters we are still less able to use the wonderful liberty our Father has given us to ask for what we need.
Even when we know what to ask for, so much is still needed to make prayer acceptable. It must be to the glory of God, in full surrender to His will, in full assurance of faith, in the Name of Jesus, and with a perseverance that, if need be, refuses to be denied. All this must be learned. It can only be learned in the school of much prayer, for practice makes perfect.
Amid the painful consciousness of ignorance and unworthiness, in the struggle between believing and doubting, the heavenly art of effective prayer is learned. There is One--the Beginner and Finisher of faith and prayer--Who watches over our praying and sees to it that in all who trust Him for it, education in the school of prayer is carried on to perfection. Let the deep undertone of all our prayer be the teachableness that comes from faith in Him as a perfect Teacher, and we can be sure that we will be taught. We will learn to pray in power. Yes, we can depend on His teaching us to pray.
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6, NKJV)
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12, NKJV)
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2, NKJV)
Ye are My friends, if ye do the things which I command you. - John 15:14
... This truth, of the imperative necessity of obedience, doing all that Christ commands us, has not the place in our Christian teaching and living that Christ meant it to have. We have given far higher place to privilege than to duty. We have not considered implicit obedience as a condition of true discipleship. The secret thought that it is impossible to do the things He commands us, and that therefore it cannot be expected of us, and a subtle and unconscious feeling that sinning is a necessity have frequently robbed both precepts and promises of their power. The whole relation to Christ has become clouded and lowered, the waiting on His teaching, the power to hear and obey His voice, and through obedience to enjoy His love and friendship, have been enfeebled by the terrible mistake. Do let us try to return to the true position, take Christ's words as most literally true, and make nothing less the law of our life: "Ye are my friends, if ye do the things that I command you." Surely our Lord asks nothing less than that we heartily and truthfully say: "Yea, Lord, what Thou dost command, that will I do." ...
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8a, NKJV)With whom is the responsibility to draw near? With us. We are to draw near to God. Then He will draw near to us. Not the other way around. It lies with us to make the first move. We have to repent and seek God. (Of course, no one can come unless the Father first draws him, but that's a lesson for another time. ref John 6:44)