“And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. ’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.”
At a recent men’s fellowship meeting at my church, the topic of praying in Jesus’ name came up. The point emphasized was extremely profound in light of the following verses:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
Unfortunately in many Christian circles, it is taught that as a Christian, the Christian has the privilege of receiving whatever is asked for according to the Christian’s desire in prayer, because they are after all “the children of God”, and these verses are used as a proof text. Well, I’m a Christian, and even though I have received according to my desires after praying, I have also not received as well, so there must be something else going on here being quoted by John.
As the discussion deepened it was revealed that regardless of what the Christian prays for, God responds to our prayers with either: yes, no, or not now. This is nothing new. However, offering one’s petition to God in Christ’s name takes the prayer to a new level. What it does is it converts the prayer to an admittance of submission to God. In other words, praying in Jesus’ name is like saying to God:
“Regardless of Your response to my prayer, I am in complete submission to You. I acquiesce to whatever Your will is for my supplication. I will be satisfied no matter how you respond. Your will be done, not mine. I love You.”
Such a prayer is then always answered in the affirmative because it’s a prayer offered according to God’s will, and His will is the only will that matters.
This brings me to encourage the brethren for “Yet, Another Reason to Pray”:
In the above verbal exchange between Jesus and a scribe from Mark’s Gospel, Jesus teaches the scribe regarding the greatest commandments and then compliments him in recognizing that the greatest commandment is to recognize who God is and to love God, and that the second greatest commandment is to love one’s neighbor as oneself.
Now, let me ask a question:
Have you ever noticed that prayer fulfills the greatest and second greatest commandments?
Think about it. Praying to God for His will, regardless of the scenario being prayed for, fulfills the greatest commandment. Such a prayer says to God, as I wrote above:
“Regardless of Your response, I am in complete submission to You. I acquiesce to whatever Your will is for my supplication. I will be satisfied no matter how you respond. Your will be done, not mine. I love You.”
Such fulfills the greatest commandment.
The second greatest commandment, loving one’s neighbor as themselves, is also fulfilled when we pray for our neighbor.
Now, think about it. How can one not love one’s neighbor when one is praying for one’s neighbor?
So, I encourage my brethren to pray. Pray often. Pray incessantly. In doing so, you will fulfill the greatest commandments.
Yet, another reason to pray!
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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