Blog 23 / Our High Calling
March 25, 2021
Prayer and Obedience
“This is love for God: to obey His commands.” I John 5:3
Essential to effective praying is obedience. It is impossible to overstate the importance that the Scriptures put on obedience to God. It is a tangible way of measuring our love for Him. “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15.
Disobedience on the other hand is a great hindrance to prayer and usually indicates that there is something that seeks a higher place in our lives than God. If something dominates our life that is not of God (a habit, our money, our desires), and we are not willing to let go of it, then we have allowed that thing to become an idol.
A.W.Tozer doesn’t mince words when he writes: “Grace will save a man but it will not save him and his idol. The blood of Jesus will shield a penitent sinner alone but never a sinner and his idol.” A line from the old hymn Rock of Ages is a timeless word to us, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” We can’t go the way of the cross while covering up an idol or sin. It didn’t work for Achan (Joshua 7) and it won’t work for us.
If we are struggling with some issue of obedience, God’s answer is always the cross. The cross is that ground where the will of man intersects with the will of God: it’s the place where we choose either to obey His will or to disobey it. Satan will tempt us to refuse the cross or to seek a compromise. But there is no way around the cross, only the joyful necessity of bowing to God’s will.
Jesus desires our obedience because He knows that what He is asking of us is for our highest good. And He makes available all the resources we need—the desire to obey and His Spirit to empower us. With so much riding on our obedience: our love for Jesus, an ungrieved Holy Spirit, God’s glory in our lives, and our effectiveness in prayer; there must be only one outcome—our full surrender.
Our Lord won’t force us to obey but patiently awaits our willing consent. Will we bow the knee? This quote by May Stephens is a fitting prayer: “I choose Thee, blessed will of God! In Thee alone my heart can rest.”
GRN Global Prayer Coordinator