Joy released through prayer

March 24, 2008

Prayer is one of the most foolish things (in the eyes of the world, anyways) that we can give our time and energy to. What is it about closing our eyes and talking to an invisible God that He enjoys so much? It often times seems so dry, so weak, and an utter waste. But in His absolute wisdom, the Lord gave us some mind-blowing promises if we would give ourselves to the place of prayer.

Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:24 NKJV)

Jesus says boldly "Pray, because it is designed to increase the fullness of your joy".

God did not choose the weakness of prayer to make us unhappy or to simply keep us busy. Many approach prayer with a "worker" mindset. God does not need us to pray so He can accomplish His purpose on the earth. Prayer is about a relationship. He created it so that when we speak and lift our hearts to the Father in the name of the Son, the Spirit moves with a fullness of joy in us that we would not otherwise know. If your joy in God is small, this may be part of the reason. Pray, that your joy may be full!

Look at the one we're talking to when we pray - the creator of the universe and the author of all joy. He is more than just joyful. He is joy itself!

The more we pray, the more our hearts become connected to His desires. Joy flows from a deep connection to His desires and plan for our lives. Our hearts are freed and “unlocked” when we connect to His extravagant commitment, faithfulness and loyalty to bring us into the fullness of our destiny.

The fullness of joy Jesus is speaking of is contentedness in any and every life circumstance (Philippians 4:11-13) treasuring our most valuable possession above all else: a tender heart that remains responsive to and hungry for God all the days of our life (Matthew 25:1-13).

In pursuing “joy” through prayer we are pursuing a free heart that is satisfied with God and God alone. When we are truly “rooted and grounded” in the love of God (Ephesians 3:17) we are free to love and be loved in a manner that no man can add to or take away from.

Such extravagant, generous love and kindness from God empowers our heart and gives us confidence to run to Him when we fail rather than running from Him. When many draw back in their weakness and failures, the revelation of His gentleness and His desire to answer us, even in our weakness, keeps us in the place of prayer night and day.

We can find many things in life to give us temporary joy, but I want a fullness of joy that does not fade and that no man can take away. What an amazing privilege that we have to pursue this through the weakness of prayer!

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Just wanted to add

Josh I hope that you do not mind, but I just want to add to it.

Philippians 4:4-9
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

Paul’s attitude teaches us that our inner attitudes do not have to reflect our outward circumstances. Paul was full of joy because he knew that no matter what happened to, God was with him. Paul urged the Philippians to be joyful probably because they needed to hear this. It’s easy to get discouraged about unpleasant circumstances or to take unimportant events too seriously. If we haven’t been joyful lately, we may not be looking at life from the right perspective. Ultimate joy comes fro God’s dwelling within us. God is near, and at his second coming we will fully realize this ultimate joy. He who lives within us will fulfill his final purposes for us.

God’s peace is different from the world’s peace. True peace is not found in positive thinking, in absence of conflict, or in good feeling. It comes from knowing that God is in control. Our citizenship in God’s kingdom is sure, our destiny set, and we can have victory over sin.

It is not enough to hear or read the Word of God, or even to know it well. We must also put it into practice. How easy it is to listen to a sermon and forget what the pastor said. How easy it is to read the Bible and not think about how to live differently. How easy it is to debate what a passage means and not live out that meaning. Exposure to God’s Word is not enough. It must lead to obedience.

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