Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek further insight into the achievements of prayer.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Achievements of Prayer
"Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. . ." Matthew, Chapter 6, Verse 9-10
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we discuss the achievements of prayer. Prayer is something that most of us engage in on a regular basis. It is the way we communicate with the heavenly Father. And since we are spiritual children, like all children, our prayers are likely to be very immature and unwise. Earthly children make all kinds of petitions to their earthly fathers. And a lot of these requests if granted would be very harmful to the child. The children’’s petitions change as they mature and become more aware of the rules of life. But even so, there are some who refuse to heed the voice of wisdom and go right on requesting those things that are unwise and downright harmful if the heavenly Father should literally answer their prayers. They fail to realize that true prayer is the desire of the soul and not of the mind (unless such minds have surrendered to the desires of the soul). The soul has no need of material favors.
Jesus referred to such a situation when he said: "Which of you who is a Father, if his son asks unwisely, would hesitate to give in accordance with parental wisdom rather than in the terms of the son's faulty petition? If the child needs a loaf, will you give him a stone just because he unwisely asks for it? If your son needs a fish, will you give him a watersnake just because it may chance to come up in the net with the fish and the child foolishly asks for the serpent? If you, then, being mortal and finite, know how to answer prayer and give good and appropriate gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the spirit and many additional blessings to those who ask him? Men ought always to pray and not become discouraged."
It takes us a while before we realize that even though we may obtain great pleasure from asking for those things that are unwise, the heavenly Father is not going to give us anything that is harmful to our welfare either in time or eternity. It takes us even longer before we realize the true purpose of prayer. The true purpose of prayer is to teach us how to do the Father’’s will. No matter how faulty our prayers may be (especially those material prayers), if we are sincere in our petitions, such petitions never fail to enlarge our soul’’s capacity for spiritual reception. Increased spiritual receptivity gradually changes the nature of our prayers.
Keep in mind, "The Spirit helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”” It is the spirit that transmits our prayers by first transforming them. Only the spirit content of any prayer can be transmitted because God our Father is spirit. Often when the answer to a prayer is received, it has been transformed to such an extent that the material mind does not recognize it as the answer. But nevertheless the soul has received the answer to the prayer in the form of its increased capacity for spiritual reception. As the soul continues to pray, it gains greater and greater capacity and sensitivity for the reception of divine love, truth, beauty, and goodness.
What does the soul have to do with these spiritual blessings? How is the answer to these spiritual blessings, ignorant to the material mind, manifested in the soul? The soul, subject to the Father’’s will, incorporates these values, causing the material mind to respond on its behalf. The soul causes the self to respond in an unselfish and loving manner, ever merciful and forgiving in its moral and spiritual environment. All the while the material self may continue to desperately pray for a material answer to a material problem that never comes. The self is undergoing a transformation of which the material mind is not conscious. As the soul continues to grow, the nature of the prayers made by the material mind slowly begins to change. It gradually changes from those of a material and selfish nature to one of a spiritual and unselfish nature. This is the process of the soul learning to do the Father’’s will. As the growth process continues, the quality of the spiritual blessings continue to deepen, spiritualizing the material mind in the process, so that this mind increasingly displays the attitude of "not my will but your will be done." As the material mind becomes more and more spiritualized, it soon develops a supreme purpose for living: dedication and consecration to doing the Father’’s will.
Prayer initiates the growth process in the soul by reaching out to its creator. It has achieved the will to believe the heavenly Father, which has led to knowing the heavenly Father and ultimately to becoming like him. "Revealed truth, personally discovered truth, is the supreme delight of the human soul; it is the joint creation of the material mind and the indwelling spirit. The eternal salvation of this truth-discerning and beauty-loving soul is assured by that hunger and thirst for goodness which leads this mortal to develop a singleness of purpose to do the Father's will, to find God and to become like him." Prayer elevates the material mind of man to the level of the divine spirit, where they create the meanings of the values of truth.
And when such minds are elevated to the level of the divine spirit, they become one with that spirit. And in such a state, the living waters of the fruits of the spirit immediately begin to gush forward. These fruits continue to flow through the soul. And when the fruits pourout to our brothers and sisters, right then we witness the revelation of the Father through His Son, Jesus. "When there exists this living connection between divinity and humanity, if humanity should thoughtlessly and ignorantly pray for selfish ease and vainglorious accomplishments, there could be only one divine answer: more and increased bearing of the fruits of the spirit on the stems of the living branches. When the branch of the vine is alive, there can be only one answer to all its petitions: increased grape bearing. In fact, the branch exists only for, and can do nothing except, fruit bearing, yielding grapes. So does the true believer exist only for the purpose of bearing the fruits of the spirit: to love man as he himself has been loved by God--that we should love one another, even as Jesus has loved us." Jesus says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.””
These are mighty achievements of prayer, that through it, a selfish material being should be transformed into a spiritual being. All of it happens because we believe despite our material disappointments and desires for material help from the Father. The ways of the parent are not comprehended by the children. They must grow and develop before they can understand the ways of the parents. The child has no other choice but to trust the parents, and likewise must we trust the heavenly Father.
When a person is drowning and is being rescued by a skilled swimmer, he must go against his instincts, cease his struggling, and trust his life to the rescuer. To do otherwise, to struggle, means to prevent the rescuer from being able to effectively prevent the swimmer from the undue stress of attempting to keep his head above water.
When prayer has accomplished its supreme achievement, the soul that has become so much like the Father can faithfully represent the Father through His Son in all personality encounters. And then will that great truth manifest itself: He who has seen the Son has seen the Father. All the world will know that the Father did indeed send Jesus to our world.
This concludes today's message on the achievements of prayer. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.