Read His Words Before Ours!
What no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived,
Jesus did for us. (1 Corinthians 2:9)
He died for our sins (Matthew 27),
rose from the dead (Matthew 28),
and ascended to Heaven (Luke 24:50-53).
He is sitting at the right hand of the Father far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given. Everything is subjected under His feet and He is appointed over everything for the Church. (Ephesians 1:20-21)
What a place of glory and assurance for those who believe in Him!
He assured us He has gone to prepare a place for us in Heaven; eventually, He will come and take us to be with Him. (John 14:2-3) But while we wait for His return, we are not free from the challenges of a broken world, including pain, loss, and persecution. When faced with such sufferings, it’s easy for us to lose sight of Christ’s victory, and become discouraged.
Scripture assures us Jesus is making intercession for us (praying on our behalf). He is a great high priest who has passed through the heavens; He empathizes with our weaknesses and is able to help us in times of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16) He understands our experiences, because He also lived in the world in human form, faced struggles, and overcame. Now, having conquered sin and death, with everything subjected under His feet, and sitting at the Father’s right hand, He is able to help us.
When believers first began to spread the Good News, they faced intense persecution. One man, Stephen, was stoned by the Jews for preaching about Jesus. As he was dying, he had a vision of Jesus standing at the Father’s right hand. (Acts 7:55-56) While Scripture often describes Jesus sitting, Stephen saw Him standing. What does His posture signify? I see it as a symbol of Jesus actively interceding for Stephen before the Father in his greatest moment of need and sacrifice, possibly reminding the Father of the ransom He paid for Stephen. It could also have been an assurance of heavenly welcome for Stephen.
Like Stephen, we are assured no one can condemn us, because the only One who has that power is Jesus, and He instead intercedes for us before the Father. He helps us when we are tempted, and advocates for us when we sin. Despite pressure from the world, Scripture assures us He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear; He will always make a way out for us to follow in obedience. (1 Corinthians 10:13) If we lose sight of His grace and yield to temptation by sinning, He is our advocate before the Father. He is the righteous One, the atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 2:1-2) If we confess our sins, He forgives us. (1 John 1:9)
Reconciled with God through Jesus, we can approach the Father in confidence.
“[L]et us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith [. . . holding] fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, since He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:22-23)
Furthermore, we hold an assurance that He hears our prayers:
“This is the confidence we have before Him: If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15, emphasis mine)
Did you catch the qualifier, sisters?
According to His will.
Our faith in Jesus does not guarantee an affirmative answer to any and every request. We must remain in Him and put His will above ours, learning to align our wills and prayers with the Father’s heart and plan. Jesus explained, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7) Similarly, Scripture tells us that when we ask with wrong motives, such as to satisfy our pleasures, we do not receive what we asked for. (James 4:2-3)
In my personal walk with God, prayer has been paramount. But not long ago, I realized why so many of my prayers were not answered as I wanted. I held on to “Ask, and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7), while neglecting “If you remain in me and my words remain in you[.]” (John 15:7) It dawned on me that I must keep a close relationship with Jesus by studying and meditating on His Word always, just as God instructed Israel’s leader, Joshua, so long ago. I realized that my relationship with Jesus is what counts in the place of prayer.
Now, the pattern of my prayer has changed. I see prayer as an opportunity to worship and thank God, and not just asking Him to “give me-give me.” He has clothed me with His righteousness; I owe Him thanksgiving without end. Whatever need I have, I tell Him, and trust in His Word. While I have confidence He answers me, I submit to His perfect will over mine. I must testify that the result has been tremendous!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!