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Archive for May 13th, 2010

Bearing Fruit through Prayer

Bearing Fruit Through Prayer

Bearing Fruit Through Prayer

“Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” (John 15:4-10)

My Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In order to be Jesus’ disciples we must bear fruit and we cannot bear fruit in and through our lives unless we abide in Jesus, the Son of the Living God. For it is only through Him that we can come to know the Father so that through His Spirit we may bear fruit for His Glory! (cf., Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22). Indeed, without Him we can do nothing, and this includes praying effectively for the Father’s Kingdom to come.

Jesus made it very clear that it is only through an abiding relationship with Him that those who believe in Him can be true instruments of God’s Love in this world. We must understand, however, that such an abiding relationship cannot be attained without prayer. For it is only through a deep intimate prayer relationship with Jesus, our Master and Lord, that we can tap into the Vine and it is only through our abiding in the Vine that we can bear fruit for the Father’s Glory through our prayer.

In order not to be a branch that dries up and has to be cut off we need to grow in prayer continuously. Jesus Himself maintained His abiding in the Father through prayer and without such prayer He also did nothing. In fact, we read in the Gospels that Jesus prepared himself to serve the Father by spending most every evening and part of every morning in deep prayer.

Although most of us practice some level of prayer, we can never reach the point where we cannot grow in prayer, in fact, we must, if we wish to continue to bear fruit. However, because of our fallen Human nature our ability to pray soon reaches our human limits and those limits oftentimes limit our ability to bear fruit. That is why the Lord sent us His Spirit to dwell in us so that through His Help our prayers may reach the effectiveness He desires of us in praying for this lost world and thus bear frit for His Glory!

In order to incite you to grow in such prayer I pass on to you, with the author’s permission, the following article regarding the role of Divine Love in true prayer. May the Lord Bless you in reading this article so that you may turn to the Holy Spirit to activate His Love in you and in your prayer life!

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Praying for Others: Prayer as Love in Action                  †

(excerpted from “Thy Kingdom Come” by  Jorge Madrid Sr.)

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor. 13:1-3)

The prior discussion focused on the necessary link between spirituality and prayer. That is the link between the divine and ourselves through prayer. Now we turn to the link between prayer and the world we live in. For as I have stated before, true prayer always bring forth fruit, either in ourselves or in others through our prayers.  In this way the Lord has destined us to participate in His plan to manifest His Kingdom through our prayers. Thus, because God is Love, the basis for our prayers must also be Love, not our human kind of love but His, agape, kind of Love. True Prayer is, in fact, the way that God has chosen to bring His Love into action (through us).

Now most of us men do not consider prayer as action (ladies exempted). We men think of action as going out and doing things and prayer to us looks like an excuse for inactivity.  Without denying the need for other types of action, it must be said that prayer, which is an expression of love, is the most important work we all can engage in. Without it all our actions are worthless spiritually (see citation above). Now there is a way that we can, and should, express our prayers through our daily activities. That type of prayer will be discussed in a later section. The main intent in this section is to summarize my reflections on the way in which the Lord uses our prayers as a means to minister His Love to the world. And how, by knowing His ways we may recognize the opportunities we have in our lives to cooperate with God in the manifestation of His Kingdom.

The Love that the Lord asks us to practice is an altruistic, selfless type of Love. The type of Love that is God-like because it is given unconditionally. This type of love goes against our human nature because it places the well being of others above our own. This means that the activation of this kind of love requires a decision – a decision of our will to go contrary to the self-preservation or self-gratification instincts of our human nature.

This type of love is not an emotionally driven activity, nor can it be. It is a spiritual activity whose spiritual power is opened up by the action of our will and the purity of our motives.

The only way that we can practice this type of Love is through the Grace of God who has placed a measure of this love in us through the Holy Spirit. For this reason the “gain” from this love is not our salvation nor any merit before God. The “gain” that results from the practice of this Love is spiritual growth. This is so because as we practice it we grow spiritually more and more into the image of Christ.

The fact that you can manifest this type of Love at all  is an indication that you are already “in God” and He in you. Therefore any “gain” is not an indicator of how “saved” you are. The gain is an indicator of how much closer you are to being like Jesus. Consider that this type of love is placed in us as a seed is planted in fertile ground so that it may grow and bear fruit. It can only bear fruit if you decide to activate this type of Love using your own free will.

You may also think of the Love God has placed in our hearts as the “talents” God has given us to use in this world. If we use these “talents” wisely, this love will multiply in the world and bring Glory to God. If we hide this talent and don’t use it God will not receive any glory and the talent will be squandered.

We need to recognize that our spiritual growth usually occurs in spurts. These spurts are usually correlated to our ability to act in Love. That is, we may demonstrate Divine Love at a particular level where we have become comfortable in giving of ourselves. But there are parts of ourselves we still place restrictions on our giving and loving. When we become too comfortable at one level the Lord challenges us with opportunities in our lives to go beyond our current comfort level and go to the next level of Love. It is at these junctures where we experience the pain that accompanies spiritual growth. The way the Lord does this is he permits an event or relationship to  bring up a circumstance we have been avoiding because it would intrude on one of those areas we have reserved for ourselves and have not yet yielded to God’s Love. It is at these time that we are given the opportunity to go to the next level of Love and consequently of spiritual growth.

There is no condemnation regarding any decision we make in this regard. The Lord will not condemn us. He is only drawing us forward like children in a kindergarten class. We can  continue as we were or we can decide to go to the next level. This part is what is up to us. The Lord provides the grace and opportunities for spiritual growth but it is up to us to go through the doors he opens for us. Just  like it is said that “you can take a horse to water but you can’t make him  drink”.

We grow spiritually as we grow in this type of Love. That is why it is important that we discern the opportunities the Lord places in our everyday lives. There is not a day that the Lord will not challenge us with an opportunity to grow spiritually. Unfortunately, our very human nature blinds us to these opportunities because we do not want to see them – they are too painful. Let us pray that we be more discerning of the opportunities placed before us and that we be given the grace to respond with the Divine Love the Lord has placed in our Hearts. Prayer is one of those opportunities, because the deeper you go into true prayer the more you find that it involves  the giving of yourself for the well-being of others.

In fact, unless your prayer life is empowered by this selfless Love (true prayer) you will not derive any personal spiritual growth from your prayers. As we progress forward in prayer let it be with this divine type of Love so that through our prayers we may not only hasten the coming of His Kingdom into this world, but that we ourselves may grow in that internal holiness which conforms us more and more to the image of Christ!  May it be so in Jesus Mighty name! Amen and Amen!

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(the preceding article was excerpted with permission from “Thy Kingdom Come” by Jorge Madrid Sr.; © 2003 Madrid Family Trust, all rights reserved)

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It is true that all of us are limited in prayer by our fallen human nature; true and deep prayer requires that we go beyond our human capabilities in order to truly reach into the Father’s Heart to pray His will into being in this fallen world. It is my sincere belief that this is why  “…the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom 5:5).

This Pentecost let us all reactivate in our prayer lives this Spirit of Divine Love that has been given us. Praised be The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit!

Bartimaeus

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2010].

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