The title of this reveals some inadequacy in my own life. I do not believe that I exhibit the power of Christ in my life as I ought. I fall short. I read the Bible and for today particularly James’s and Peter’s Epistles; and I hear their calls to faith that works, and godliness.
My reading was James 4-5, and First and Second Peter.
“From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:1-4 (KJV)
We Christians, especially today, and probably in every age do not realize the power we have with God in prayer. Maybe I should say, at least I do not. Part of the problem with the Corinthian church was jealousy over spiritual gifts. Can you imagine us fighting over who is more spiritual? The answer is “None”. I was reading a book by E. M. Bounds, and a chapter about “Prayerless Praying”. The following is a sentence from that chapter –
“Prayerless praying lacks the essential element of true praying; it is not based on desire, and it is devoid of earnestness and faith.”
When Brother Bounds mentions “Desire” in that sentence he is not meaning worldly, fleshly desire but rather the desire God gives (Psalam 37:3-4). Our praying is more like rubbing a bottle for a genie, and getting three wishes; and that comes to nothing.
Notice James mentions also, the power of the prayer of the Old Testament prophet Elijah –
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” 5:16b-18
I look at Elijah, then I take a look at myself. I have something greater than Elijah, yet not the faith or the power. Sometimes it seems my prayers have an opposite affect than what I ask; at least from my point of view. Why did Elijah have so much authority and power in his praying? I believe it must have been because he was jealous to glorify the LORD of hosts. He was outraged by Israel’s departure from God; and he was willing to risk his life to restore her back to God; even approaching the king Ahab, and Jezebel.
Now look at what Peter says of holiness –
“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16
Peter mentions our being “Born again” (1 Peter 1:23), and that it is not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible. That it is “by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever”, that we are born again. Born from above, born of God are similar phrases and trues given us throughout the Bible.
Peter gives men instruction concerning their wives,
“…Ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7
A husband can be so out of fellowship with his wife, his fellowship with God is broken and his prayers hindered. Peter has given previous instruction to the wives, to slaves (2:18 – 3:6). They have their responsibilities in Christ as well. Let no Christian think they can be holy unto God, if they are not following the direction of the Spirit of God and His Word.
The apostle Peter mentions Paul in 2 Peter 3:15, and this is what he says,
“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:15-16 (KJV)
There had been some contention between the apostles Paul and Peter; yet in Christian love Peter acknowledges that the writings of Paul are part of holy Scripture, and need to be heard (See Galations 2:11-14ff). Peter desires that the Christian “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (v. 18). That is my desire for all Christians as well; even myself.
-Tim A. Blankenship