Increase our Faith
The disciples’ request to Jesus to increase their faith is most
appropriate not only for them but for all believers (Lk. 17:5). All Christians
need faith to live the Christian life. Faith is indispensable for all
aspects of the Christian life. Without faith it is impossible to live
the Christian life at all (see Heb. 11:6). Without it no one can obtain
anything from God (Matt. 13:58; Jam. 1:6-8). The Scripture is true that
the righteous can only live by faith (Hab. 2:4). There is little faith
and there is great faith. Jesus condemns the former (see Matt. 17:14-20)
and commends the latter (Matt. 8:5-13; Matt. 15:21-28). Little faith
is good, but not good enough (see Matt. 17:14-20). Were it not for Jesus,
Peter would have drowned because of his little faith (see Matt. 14:28-31).
Little faith cannot suffice for great needs (see Matt. 17:14-20). We
all need great faith. It is great faith that suffices for great needs
(Matt. 8:5-13; Matt. 15:21-28). Only with increased faith can we successfully
face the enormous challenges of the Christian life (see Matt. 21:21-22).
We must turn the disciples’ request above (Lk. 17:5) to our daily
PRAYER: Father, please increase our faith.
Growing the Church
It is God who makes His Church grow (Acts 2:46-47; Acts 2:41). He is
the one who draws His chosen children to Himself (see Jn. 6:37). As Paul
clearly stated, the servants may plant and water the seed, but it is
God who makes it grow (1Cor. 3:6-7). This fulfills the promise that Jesus
made when He gave the great commission (see Matt. 28:18-20). Therefore,
no man can make the Church grow. This is God’s exclusive responsibility
(Acts 2:46-47: 1Cor. 3:6-7). After we have done our own part, we must
trust God to do His own, to make it grow (1Cor. 3:6-7). Since it is God
who makes the Church grow, we must not give the glory due to Him to His
human instruments. And the human instruments must never take the glory
due to God to themselves. Meanwhile, let us continue to plant and water
the seed, for we can be quite sure that God will make it grow (1Cor.
3:6-7). And if we experience little or no growth, let us not be discouraged,
for the Lord who owns the Church will most certainly add to it (Acts
2:46-47; Acts 2:41; 1 Cor. 3:6-7).
PRAYER: Father, please add to your Church.
Extraordinary signs and wonders
The Lord our God is the God of signs and wonders. Nothing whatever is
impossible with Him (Lk. 1:37). He has performed numerous signs and wonders
through His several servants such as Moses (Exod. 7-10, 14), Elijah (1
Kgs. 17-18), Elisha (2Kgs. 4 -7), Peter (Acts 3, 9: 32-43), and Paul
(Acts 19:11-12). These men were wholly consecrated and devoted to Him.
As He did through these men, God can also perform mighty signs and wonders
through any of His children today who, like them, is wholly consecrated
and devoted to Him. Jesus even promised that those who believe in Him
will not only do the same miracles He did, but greater ones as well (Jn.
14:12-14). Therefore, anyone who truly believes and is wholly consecrated
and devoted to God is a ready vessel or instrument in God’s hands
for signs and wonders. But not every sign and wonder is of God (see Exod.
7:11-13, 22). There are indeed counterfeit signs and wonders of which
Satan is the author (cf. 2Thes. 2:9). Genuine signs and wonders originate
from God alone. Only lack of faith can prevent the out pouring of God’s
extraordinary signs and wonders (see Matt. 13:58).
PRAYER: Father, please perform mighty signs and wonders for and through
Learning to Pray
Jesus our Saviour was a man of prayer (Matt. 14:23; Matt. 26:36; Mk.
1:35; Lk. 6:12; Jn. 17:1-26). He often took up His needs in prayer (Matt.
26:36; Lk. 22:41-46). Sometimes He spent the night praying (Lk. 6:12).
If Jesus our Saviour prayed, how much more ought we to do so? Jesus taught
His followers to pray (Lk. 11:1-13). The early disciples were also people
of prayer (Acts 1:14; Acts 2: 42; Acts 6:3-4; Acts 16:25). Prayer is
God’s means for His children to receive from Him (Lk. 11:9-10).
God is nearer to His children through prayer. Not all prayers can be
answered. To be answered, our prayers must be sincere, not driven by
selfish motives (see Matt. 6:5-6). Prayer does not need babbling to succeed
(see Matt. 6:7-8). The prayer that prevails is that of the righteous
(see Prov. 15:8, 29; Jam. 5:16), offered in faith (Matt. 21:22; Mk. 11:24;
Jam. 1:6-8; Jam. 5:15), and persistence (Lk. 18:1-8; Rom. 12:12; Eph.
6:18; 1Thess. 5:17). As Christians, we owe everybody our prayers, including
those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44-48). Our sins do hinder our prayers
(Is. 1:15-17; Mk. 11:25; 1Pet. 3:7; 1Pet. 4:7). They must be removed
for our prayers to be answered (see 2Chron. 7:13-14). No Christian can
make it in the Christian life without persistent prayer. He who does
not pray does not receive (cf. Lk. 11:9-10). The Holy Spirit is available
to help us in our prayers (Rom. 8:26-27; Eph. 6:18).
PRAYER: Father, please teach me to pray and make me a man of prayer.
Be Baptized with the Holy Spirit
Jesus promised to baptize His followers with the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:16-17,
26; Jn. 16:13-15; Acts 1:4-5; cf. Lk. 3:16). The fact that He commanded
them not to proceed with the great commission (Matt. 28:18-20) until
they were baptized with the Holy Spirit underscores the importance of
the Holy Spirit for the Christian life and ministry. Jesus fulfilled
this promise on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-41) and will continue
to do so until He returns (Acts 1:9-11). As a matter of fact, Christians
really need the Holy Spirit for the Christian life and ministry (see
Jn. 14:26; Kn. 16:13-15; Acts 1:8). In fact, without the Holy Spirit
no one is ready for Christian living and ministry (cf. Jn. 14:26; Jn.
16: 13-15; Acts 1:8). In addition to his numerous works, the Holy Spirit
sanctifies believers, guides them specifically (see Acts 8:29; Acts 16:
7-8), and helps them with their prayers (Rom. 8:26). Baptism with the
Holy Spirit is not only the mark of believers (Rom. 8:9, 14, 16), it
is for all believers (Acts 4:31; Acts 11:15-17; Acts 19:6). Baptism with
the Holy Spirit is ours by asking (see Lk. 11:13). But we can hinder
our baptism with the Holy Spirit by indulging in acts that grieve Him
(see Eph. 4:30-31).
PRAYER: Father, please baptize me with the Holy Spirit as you promised.
Opening our minds to understand the Scripture
Although it is literature, the Scripture is a unique kind of literature.
It is unique on account of the fact that it is inspired by the Holy Spirit
(2Tim. 3:16-17). An ordinary mind cannot understand or comprehend it
(see Acts 8:30-35; cf. Rom. 8:6-8). It takes a mind opened by the Holy
Spirit to understand the Scripture (Lk. 24:45). Anyone whose mind is
not opened to understand the Scripture is blind, even though he sees
(see Jn. 9:40-41). In the same way, anyone whose mind is not opened to
understand the Scripture is dead, even though he lives. It is the work
of the Holy Spirit to open our minds to understand the Scripture (see
Acts 8:20-35). And the Holy Spirit is ready to have our minds opened
to understand the Scripture if we are willing (see Acts 8:26-35). It
is most perilous not to have our minds opened to understand the Scripture
(cf. Jn. 9:40-41).
PRAYER: Father, please open my mind to understand your Word.