Prayerful Participation

In my last message, we considered the fact that prayer is a must. It is not something we do as a last resort. John Wesley said, “God does nothing except in response to believing prayer.” God has given us his delegated authority and expects us to put it to work. We must never assume that because God is all-knowing he should just act on our behalf without us having to ask. That’s not the way he designed it. He did take the initiative and sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to suffer and die in our place so that we would be set free from the bondage of sin and death. But that’s not where it ended. He created us in his image because he wanted us to be like him with a free will to make decisions that would come from our heart, while also reflecting his. We would choose to obey him in the same way Jesus did and delighted to do the will of the Father. In the Book of Acts and chapter 12, it tells the account of King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church intending to persecute them. He killed James, the brother of John and then had Peter arrested. They guarded him heavily in the prison, but “the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” An angel of the Lord appeared and woke up Peter. His chains fell off his wrists. The angel told him to get dressed and follow him right past the guards with the door opening by itself. Peter thought he was seeing a vision until they got to the end of the street outside the jail and the angel disappeared. He went to John Mark’s mother’s house where the people were praying. What a mind blower! Everyone was shocked. This was a mighty miracle. Nothing is too hard for God. He answers prayer. As we have previously considered, “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Faith does not only believe that God is who he says he is but also trusts that God will act according to what he has promised. Real faith must have actions that demonstrate it. It is not just a mental assent to a doctrinal statement. It is the byproduct of a living relationship with God that translates into a heart that wants to please him and serve him. There is a word in the original language of the New Testament that is translated a number of ways. It is Koinonia.

The following verses show its various meanings with the emboldened words translating koinonia helping to paint the full picture of how God wants us to live our lives.

Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV) 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

1 John 1:5-7 (NIV) 5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him, there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

1 Corinthians 10:14-17 (NIV) 14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks to a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. (Paul is describing the Lord’s Meal here or Communion.)

2 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV) 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

He has given us the responsibility to be his hands extended. As we pray in the name and by the authority of Jesus, we engage God in our daily routines and his power is manifested in us to bring him glory. God does not want us to sit back and wait for him to do something. He wants us to fellowship with him, partner with him, and participate in his divine nature to bring about his will on earth as it is in Heaven. Let’s ramp up our praying! We can expect God to do what he said he will do. We are who he says we are and can do what he says we can do.