Today we continue our series entitled, “The Benefits of Prayer and Fasting,” with an emphasis on “The Power of Prayer.” For the last few days I dealt with “the worship factor” and how it can impact your prayer life. For the next few days we will deal with how “the love factor” can also impact your prayer life. We will start with a conversation Jesus had with the Pharisees in Matthew 22.
The Pharisees and Sadducees were the Jewish religious elite of Jesus’ day. They claimed to be waiting on the Messiah, but they missed Him altogether when Jesus arrived on the seen. The Bible says, “The Pharisees learned that Jesus had made the Sadducees look so foolish that they stopped trying to argue with him.” They were frustrated. Jesus was healing people, showing compassion, causing a revival everywhere He went, and nothing they did seems to slow down Jesus’ momentum. Since Jesus was an Israelite, they thought that if they could get Jesus to contradict the Law, they could possibly slow down His momentum. So the Pharisees had a meeting. Then one of them, an expert in the Law of Moses, asked Jesus a question to test him. He said, “Teacher, which command in the law is the most important?” Once again, they were not trying to learn from Jesus. But simply hoping Jesus would say something that would ensare Himself.
Jesus was always led of the Holy Spirit, so He could see right through their facade. Jesus quote Deuteronomy 6:5 and responded, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and most important command.” But Jesus did not stop there. He went on to say, “And the second command is like the first: Love your neighbor the same way you love yourself.” This was a twist. The Pharisees and Sadducees were clearly NOT focused on loving others. Then Jesus said, “All of the law and all the writings of the prophets can be summed up in these two commands.” (see Matthew 22:34-37). That’s a big statement. Jesus was saying that ALL of the Law of Moses (the first five books of the Bible) and ALL of the teachings of the prophets basically boil down to two things: loving God and loving man. If that true (and it is), then failing to walk in love will most certainly hinder our prayer life.
This reminds me of something I heard Kenneth Copeland say years ago. Kenneth told a story of a vision he received from the Lord. The Father allowed him to see a man attempting to hang big beautiful curtains. Every time the man put a curtain up, it fell down. Curtain after curtain, the man was failing. The curtains had words on them. Each curtain stood for something. The curtains represented faith, prayer, worship, and etc. Basically, the curtains represented the man’s attempts to live a life that is pleasing in God’s sight. No matter how hard he tried, he could not keep the curtains up. The man finally cried out to the Lord in desperation. In the vision, Kenneth Copeland heard a voice say, “Hang the rod!” The man looked over and saw a huge golden curtain rod. The rod was big enough to hold all the curtains in place securely. The rod had words on it. It read, “The Love of God!”
The point of the vision is that everything hangs on the Love of God. If you get the rod of love in place, then the curtains of faith, prayer, worship and etc. will hang in place.
So what does this mean to you today? A few things.
- Jesus made it clear that the entire Old Testament — all of the teaching of the Law and all of the writings of the prophets — could be summed up in two things: loving God and loving man. If you are not walking in love, nothing is going to work.
- As a believer, you quickly discover that nothing really works, at least not for long, without the love of God in operation in your life. Don’t think that you can harbor bitterness, malice, strife, hatred, and unforgiveness in your heart, while still believing that your prayers will he heard and answered. Jesus simplified the message of the Bible for you down to two commandments: love God and love man. It can’t get simpler than that.
- Attempting to walk in God’s best without walking in love will lead to nothing but frustration. The Blessing of God does not flow where the love of God is not present.
- Love is not something God has. Love is not something God does. Love is who God IS! God IS Love! So if you are not walking in love, you are not walking in God, and nothing is going to work.
- When you choose to love God and love man, you are, in essence, hanging the rod of love I talked about in the story. Once you get love in place everything else will fall in place. And once you do, your prayer life will never be the same.
Father, this is a season of expectation for me. I know everything hangs of Your love. So I declare, by faith, that I operate in Your love today. I hang the rod of love and I keep my priorities in order. As I get love in its proper place, everything else will fall in place and stay in place. Your love enables me to pray love-based prayers, which are prayers You hear and respond to. I release all malice, strife, bitterness, unforgiveness and hatred. Love is the foundation of all I do. Walking in love changes everything and it certainly changes the way I pray. From now on I pray from a position of love, with prayers that are birthed from love, bathed in love, and waited for with the confidence that love provides. I love You Father and I prove my love for a God I cannot see, by loving those I see every day. I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!