ABIDING IN CHRIST
The Key to Living a Holy Life
By Miles E. Bennett
"If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." John 15:7
I am convinced that one of God's greatest resources for us still lies largely untapped. It is "Closet Prayer," the time that we spend alone with God. I strongly recommend having a special predetermined set time and place every day to meet God in your "Prayer Closet," and guard it jealously against any interruptions or distractions!
"Time is one of the chief standards of value. The time we give is a proof of the interest we feel. We need time with God - to realize His presence; to wait for Him to make Himself known; to consider and feel the needs we plead for; to take our place in Christ; to pray till we can believe that we have received. Take time in prayer, and pray down blessing on the mission work of the Church." - Andrew Murray, in the ninth day of his Helps To Intercession (in the latter part of his book, The Ministry of Intercession*)
Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, taught His disciples how and where to pray effectively. He said, "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet and when thou hath shut the door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly." Matthew 6:6. Private closet prayer is indispensable to one's relationship with Christ. Later, during Christ's discourses with His disciples before His crucifixion, He emphasized the necessity of abiding in Him. Nothing facilitates a life of abiding in Christ as does closet prayer.
What a blessed privilege every child of God has to avail himself or herself of personal, private time with the King of kings and Lord of lords! Think of it, the Almighty Creator God Himself invites us to draw near to Him and promises to come near unto us! He is not a respecter of persons so no matter how lowly or high our estate His loving invitation is extended. What an awesome privilege of drawing near to Him with full assurance that He is willing, ready, and anxious to bestow upon us greater riches of His grace!
It is in the daily "Closet Prayer" times that the life of abiding in Christ is developed. Let us not think for one moment that we can "abide in Christ" and neglect spending time with Him, one to one, face to face, alone. There the Master Teacher teaches lessons that produce great saints, holy men and women of prayer. God desires and wills that we live holy lives, and prayer is one of the greatest means he uses to accomplish this, and sometimes his answer of "No," or His silences, are precisely what we need to make us realize how dependent we are on Him and how He wants to make us holy. (See footnote 1)
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, in his book, The Power of Prayer in a Christian's Life, says, "If you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ."
Harold Lindsell, in his book, When You Pray, says,"God uses prayer to educate His people and to produce holiness of character in them." A clear conscience (keep short accounts) before God gives us confidence toward God that our prayers will be answered.
C.H. Spurgeon put it well when he said,"Prayer itself is an art which only the Holy Ghost can teach us. He is the giver of all prayer. Pray for prayer- pray till you can pray."
The Kneeling Christian says, "All real growth in the spiritual life - all victory over temptation, all confidence and peace in the presence of difficulties and dangers, all repose of spirit in times of great disappointment or loss, all habitual communion with God - depends upon the practice of secret prayer."
That man of great faith, George Mueller, said, "Let none expect to have the mastery over his inward corruption in any degree, without going in weakness again and again to the Lord for strength. Nor will prayer with others, or conversing with the brethren, make up for secret prayer."
Our ongoing, sincere, simple, yet powerful prayer, "Lord, Teach me to pray" will continue to lead us into a joyous mature life of holiness and effective prayer. Let us not be satisfied with anything less than a pure heart, clean hands, a surrendered will, and the Holy Spirit filled and empowered life. Jesus called it the "Abide in me and I in you" John 15:4. Paul the apostle called it the "Spirit-Filled Life", and Hudson Taylor called it "The Exchanged Life." It is the life of full, absolute, and continuous surrender to Jesus Christ.
The scripture says in John 7:37-39, "...Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"
Seeing that Jesus said, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing," should we not seek to abide in Him? Closet prayer plays a vital role in this!
Amzi Clarence Dixon, in his classic sermon,"How to Pray", states "The place of real prayer is the Christian's treasure chamber. He is there in the midst of the treasures of grace which God has given him, and it is there that God enriches him more and more; but in the secret place of the Most High where he dwells, he is rich in love, joy, peace, and all the fruits of the Spirit."
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, as the New Year and its challenges loom before us, let there be no delay! Let us vow to daily spend quality time alone with Christ in our "Prayer Closet" to discover more and more the treasures of His grace and live victoriously!
1. "Jesus Christ is the Healer of all
diseases, the Conqueror of all enemies, the Deliverer from all sin; if our
failure teaches us to turn afresh to Him, and find in Him the grace He gives to
pray as we ought, this humiliation may become our greatest blessing.
Let us all unite in praying God that He would visit our souls and fit us for that work of intercession, which is at this moment the greatest need of the Church and the world. It is only by intercession that that power can be brought down from Heaven which will enable the Church to conquer the world. Let us stir up the slumbering gift that is lying unused, and seek to gather and train and band together as many as we can, to be Godís remembrancers, and to give Him no rest till He makes His Church a joy in the earth. Nothing but intense believing prayer can meet the intense spirit of worldliness, of which complaint is everywhere made." Andrew Murray, page 26, in The Ministry of Intercession
* As no on-line copy of Andrew Murray's book, The Ministry of Intercession was found online, the founder of Lift Up Ministries was so moved by this book that he carefully typed it out and placed it online about the winter of 2004-05. Itís copyright date is 1898, and it is in his library. It begins with a beautiful but lengthy poem, The Ministry of Intercession, by Frances Ridley Havergal.
Prayer Strategy for Revival - Excellent
The Prayer Life - Excellent monthly Online magazine about prayer! Revised link 6/21/07