Such words fill us with hope - and they call us to prayer. They do not fill us with a superficial optimism. They stir us to receive more of the Lord's help, and to know more of His keeping power.
When we come to God in prayer, we come with questions: Will the Lord hear our prayer? Will He not dismiss us as guilty sinners who have no right to come to Him, no right to ask for His blessing?
- The Scriptures speak with unmistakable realism, about our sin: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6).
They also speak, with tremendous encouragement, about God's salvation: "And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).
- In the great first chapter of John's Gospel, which speaks so majestically of Jesus Christ, the eternal Word (vs. 1-3) and declares that "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth" (v. 14), we hear John the Baptist, describing Jesus as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
This is our assurance that our prayer will be heard: Jesus Christ died for sinners.
- We also read of "person-to-person" evangelism: vs. 35-42 - Jesus speaks to Andrew. Andrew speaks to Peter. Jesus speaks to Philip. Philip speaks to Nathaniel. As well as speaking to God for others, we are to speak to others for Him.
God's work moves forward to a brighter future as His people learn to pray to Him and witness for Him.
When we read the words spoken by Jesus to Nathaniel: "You shall see greater things than these" (John 1:50), we are encouraged to believe that the Lord has great things in store for His people - not only in this life but in the eternal life that lies ahead of us: "you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man" (John 1:51).