Tag Archives: Radical

Waiting for Orders

Waiting for Orders - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Often, in India, in front of office buildings, you will see a messenger boy sitting on a stool, apparently doing nothing. But when he hears a bell ringing inside, he hurries in and asks, “Sir, what do you want me to do?”

Whatever the instructions may be, the boy follows them without complaining. Then he returns and sits, waiting again to hear his master’s voice. This is the kind of commitment God wants from us.

But this is the opposite of the mad, rushing, pragmatic, modern-day evangelical Christianity most of us are caught up in today.

Somehow we assume God is in some big mess, that we should run around and frantically take His side, or He will be in big trouble. On the other hand, I believe God is waiting for those who are willing to become bondslaves, men and women who will wait and watch to hear the Master’s voice and only do those things He asks them to do.

A half hour with God, limited to doing His will in His way, is worth more than a million years doing the best in our own self and energy. All fleshly effort will be burned to ash and will not make it into eternity.

Have you recognized the fact that you are bought with a price, that you are not your own? If so, you have no right to decide even the smallest matters in your life. What kind of commitment have you made to Christ? Are you just “returning a favor” in your Christian service, or have you surrendered the totality of your life and everything in it to His control?

Are you still the one who is running around with brilliant ideas, seeking to do this and that for God? Or are you one who is so committed to Christ that you are not motivated nor persuaded by anything external? Are you dead to the voices of others, your own ego and ambitions, but alive to the voice of the Holy Spirit?

If the life of Paul has any secret for us, it is this, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

Excerpt from Chapter 26 of The Road to Reality (ISBN 9781595891136) © 2012 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.


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Paul – A Man Like Us

Paul - A Man Like Us - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Apart from the Lord Jesus Himself, there is no person, living or dead, whose life has encouraged me more on this journey than the Apostle Paul.

Before his conversion, Saul’s life was similar to that of many affluent people today. Born and raised in the rich seaport of Tarsus, he enjoyed the best of all worlds. His cultural background combined Roman citizenship, Greek culture and Hebrew scholarship.

Saul was intellectually brilliant, savvy to ways of the world and a global thinker. In an information culture where knowledge was power, young Saul was uniquely positioned. In addition, he had the right connections in Jerusalem. He had the educational and family pedigree needed to go to the top in any field.

If God had not intervened, it is interesting to speculate on where Saul’s ability, determination, intellect and zeal might have led him. He might have become a powerful political leader, a judge, a general or a successful businessman. Saul had everything, including a religious fanaticism so powerful that it sent him off to track down and destroy the early Christians.

But then it happened. Saul met Jesus on the Damascus Road, and his life was changed radically. Blinded by the Living God, Saul had little pride and self-confidence left as he was led by the hand to the house of Ananias.

Lying in the dust before the Lord Jesus Christ, he asked this all-important question, which I believe is the key to the secret of Paul’s life: “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).

Up until then, Paul had been living for his traditions, his religion—and above all, himself, governing and running his life. But when he met the Lord Jesus Christ, he turned over the rulership of his life to Jesus. That word, kurios, in the original text means “the one who has authority over, ownership.” Saul threw up his hands and said, “Lord, here, take my hands and chain them to Yours. I want to be Yours now and forevermore. I am giving up the right to run my own life. From now on, You will take charge.”

The rest of Paul’s life is history, as the expression goes. You can read about it in the book of Acts, experience it through his letters in the Bible and see its effect on the Church for the next 2,000 years.

Wherever Paul went, people could not forget the impact he made upon their lives and community. In Thessalonica, the unbelievers testified, saying, “Here comes a man who has turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6, paraphrased).

In Ephesus, the enemies of the cross, those who hated everything Paul preached, confessed, “Throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands . . .” (Acts 19:26).

In other words, wherever he went, whether people liked him or not, one thing they could not deny was that this man, Paul, was dangerous. His very presence brought changes in their thinking and living.

So what was the secret of Paul’s extraordinary life? Was it his education, background or abilities?

No, it was none of those things.

The secret of Paul’s life was none other than his submission to the lordship of Christ. Paul recognized that blood was the price Jesus paid for him, and he was no longer his own. For so long, he had robbed God. He had held his life back. Now, in repentance, he gave his life back to the Lord.

It was because of Paul’s absolute submission to Christ that God entrusted Paul with power and spiritual authority. It wasn’t Paul’s giftings that earned it, nor a flawless life that sustained it. It was simply that Paul yielded so that Jesus could do His work through him.

This is what has encouraged me so much about the life of Paul. I see that any person indwelled by the Holy Spirit can surrender his or her life in the same way that Paul did. And that means, the same spiritual reality that Paul lived is possible for every man, woman, boy and girl today. What God did in Paul, He can do in anyone.

Excerpt from Chapter 25 of The Road to Reality (ISBN 9781595891136) © 2012 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.


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God Wants Servants

God Wants Servants - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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In 1976, when God called me back into missions from the pastorate, one of my first excuses for not moving ahead in obedience was my pulpit. After all, I argued, this church is obviously being blessed, and “God needs me here.”

How foolish! We have to learn that God doesn’t need us anywhere. He is not helpless!

Regrettably today, too few volunteers are ready to do the work of the Gospel. Almost every day we have a missionary conference on how to win the world to Christ—but the work remains undone because we don’t have men and women with servant-hearts who will go out and lose their personal identities in getting the work done.

Unless we are willing to see ourselves unknown, unrecognized and working behind the scenes, there is no hope for our spiritual service ever to bear real fruit in the economy of God.

Jesus said that “the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Matthew 20:28). And we are to “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

Individual believers, Christian churches and missions that refuse to recognize servanthood are traitors to the cause of Christ and do untold harm. Sadly, there are many Christians in our day for whom the New Testament concept of servanthood remains a mystery: “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (Matthew 20:27).

Education, family background, talent, beauty, voice, riches and intelligence mean absolutely nothing to God. He doesn’t need our abilities any more than He needs our money.

How sad it is that many talented believers go along for years looking good on the outside, but remaining absolutely useless to the Lord. It is quite possible to be doing the Lord’s work and still not to have entered into servanthood. And so enormous efforts, studies, plans and labor are extended—all uselessly because they cannot stand up to the fires of judgment.

How tragic! And what a contrast from the Spirit-filled service of a surrendered Christian servant. When you really commit yourself to God, He commits Himself to you. Lives are changed. Souls are saved. People are healed in body and spirit. God gives fruit, and the fruit remains.

Excerpt from Chapter 24 of The Road to Reality (ISBN 9781595891136) © 2012 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.


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How Jesus Handled Money

How Jesus Handled Money - KP Yohannan - Gospel or Asia

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Jesus had much to teach about money—how we use it and give it. He also left us a good example of how to handle funds. It is found in John’s account of the Last Supper. There the apostle makes a little aside that gives us vast insight into the priorities Jesus used for dispersing funds during His earthly ministry.

Judas, the treasurer, had finished his dialogue with Jesus and was about to leave the table to betray Him. The Lord makes a simple remark that is misunderstood by the other disciples. He says to Judas, “That thou doest, do quickly” (John 13:27).

Now how did the others interpret that remark? They had been with Jesus for three-and-a-half years. They knew the job description of Judas—and they had carefully observed how Jesus spent money. So they thought Judas was going to go out and do what he always did. They figured the Lord was sending him out either to buy needed things or give aid to the poor. That was the way Jesus used money, to purchase immediate necessities and to help the poor. What an amazing insight into the mind of Christ and one that fits well into all the other teachings of our Lord about the proper use of earthly things.

Everything about Jesus and the apostles reinforces this strong impression. They were frugal men who had learned to master money and use it as a servant of the kingdom rather than as an end in itself.

Our problem today is that we believe all the money that comes to us belongs to us to spend as we please. We have the crazy idea that if God gives us a $100,000 annual income, He wants us to live a $100,000 lifestyle for ourselves.

May I dare you also to reverse your prayer-style when it comes to the way you spend your income?

How many Christians pray before they go into the supermarket? How many pray before they go to the mall or shopping center? Before they buy a book or a magazine or go to a movie? Before they go to a restaurant where the cost of the check would sponsor a national missionary for a month? How about you?

Yet the minute they are challenged to support the real work of God, things become very spiritual. Now they have to pray about sponsoring a national missionary, pray about responding to appeal letters for missions, pray about contributing to the offering!

I’m not saying we should be careless stewards in how we support missions, but I am saying that most of us apply a double standard that is not based on agape, sharing love. If the spending of our income is for our things and our pleasure, then the signal is “buy—buy—buy!”

But too often, when lost souls are at stake, we let greed and hoarding call the plays. Then we have to think about it and consider it.

And we don’t do this only in our personal lives. The same kind of thinking prevails when we make corporate decisions at church. When it comes to approving a ski trip for the youth group or new carpet for the sanctuary, the item passes through the budget committee without comment. But if it is Bibles for Myanmar or supporting a national missionary, then there needs to be debate. This is the opposite of how we should be thinking.

Excerpt from Chapter 21 of The Road to Reality (ISBN 9781595891136) © 2012 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.


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Real Love Shares

Real Love Shares - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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The streets of India—especially in the bloated, overpopulated cities like Bombay and Calcutta—are maddening to Western visitors. Millions of homeless people are born, live and die in them. Part toilet, part barnyard, part roadway—they are also the bedroom, living room and marketplace for the poorest of the world’s poor.

In summertime’s furnace heat, the dust of centuries rises from them to fill your eyes, choking your mouth and nose. In the monsoon rains, the streets turn into vast seas of mud and sewage. In winter, the freezing pavements bring disease and death to those who have nowhere else to rest their starving bodies.

It was on one of these nightmarish streets of Bombay that I was surrounded by an army of begging children. Already late and on my way to an important meeting, I tried to ignore the pleading children as I waited for the light to turn green.

Suddenly from the sea of hungry faces I heard a voice so distinct from the rest that I was paralyzed. In crystal-clear tones, I heard her speaking in plaintive Hindi, “Sir, my father died three months ago of tuberculosis. My mother is too sick to beg anymore. My little brothers and sisters have not eaten for two days. Please, sir, they are hungry and crying. Can you please give me a few pennies so I can buy some bread?”

The light turned green. But I couldn’t move. I was arrested by the image of this little girl who must have been about 9 years old. Her face was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, perfectly shaped with big brown eyes and long black hair.

Through the tears on her cheeks, the dust and the sweat, I could see that in different circumstances this desperate little waif could easily have been a princess. Her filthy hair had obviously not been washed or combed for weeks. She was barefoot and dressed in rags. But I’m still sure she had the potential of being a winner in the Miss World beauty pageant.

Then something else happened. It was as if another face came before my eyes right beside hers. It was another child, about 8, also with big brown eyes. But she had long, clean hair and a shining face. Her clothes were fresh and colorful—and she wore nice socks and tennis shoes. I knew her. She was the best student in her class. Each night she said her prayers and read the Bible. Her parents loved her. She had a comfortable home, air-conditioned from the Texas summer and heated in the cold winter. She had a comfortable bed with clean sheets every week. I didn’t know the name of the dirty little beggar girl, but I did know the name of the girl beside her. It was Sarah, my own daughter.

Then I heard a supernatural voice beside me ask, “What is the value of this beggar girl? Is she of less value than your daughter, Sarah?”

I knew the answer from the Bible. Instinctively, I answered, “No, Lord—Jesus loves all the children of the world.”

But even as I replied, I realized that God was not asking me the question I had answered. He was asking me something more personal and life-shaking. He was really asking me about my priorities. Was I willing to love this beggar girl as Jesus loved her—in the same way that I loved myself and my own wife and my children? Would I love her with real love, the kind that shares?

Excerpt from Chapter 20 of The Road to Reality (ISBN 9781595891136) © 2012 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.


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The Acid Test

The Acid Test - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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The acid test of our commitment to Christ is the depth of our involvement in what concerns Him the most—world evangelization.

How can we say He is Lord unless we are seeking to fulfill the greatest longing of His life—to carry out His orders and finish the task He began on the shores of Galilee?

Jesus said in Mark 16:15 that we are to go to the “whole world” with the Gospel. It would appear some people think this means just to people of their race who live on the right side of town. Others with a really “big vision” seem to think it means the country they live in. But Jesus gave a clear command. We must have a world vision that reaches to our own “Jerusalem” as well as our “Judea, Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.”

The benchmark of your love of God is your burden and committed action for the whole world—not just for your small corner of it.

What clever, spiritual-sounding excuses I’ve heard in my travels.

One of the most interesting excuses blames God for our problems. It usually begins with, “But, Brother K.P., you don’t know my . . .” and ends with a sob story about some old defeat, hurt, sin or temptation. I call this the “wounded soldier” excuse.

With love in my heart, the only thing I can say to this excuse-maker is, “I understand. But no matter how badly you’ve been hurt, you’re in a million times better shape than any lost sinner walking down the road to hell.

Another excuse that has a nice ring to it goes something like this: “Brother K.P., what about my __________?” You can fill in the blank yourself: career, children, church, education, health, insurance, family, retirement. This excuse is based on the idea that God does not love us and will not provide for us if we serve Him.

There are as many other excuses as there are people, but one of these days, each of us will have to stand alone before God and repeat them if we dare.

Why not stop this minute and take a spiritual inventory of your life? Are you living for eternal realities, or is your life centered around getting more of the things of this world or protecting what you already have?

When was the last time you laid aside your shopping list, your problems, your needs, your family and said, “Here am I, Lord; send me!”

Excerpt from Chapter 17 of The Road to Reality (ISBN 9781595891136) © 2012 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.


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Into the Heart of Jesus

Into the Heart of Jesus - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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I’m not sure where I read it, but one day I came across a little anecdote in a booklet about Jonathan Edwards, the great preacher of the 1700s. He was in a dry spell. The spiritual fire had gone out inside. His heart no longer beat with a love for the lost.

In desperation, he fell on his knees and cried out to God, “Please stamp eternity into both of my eyes!”

When I read that, I knelt right then and prayed the very same prayer with all my heart. What a change it has made.

Take your present age and add 100 years to it. Where are you now? Where is your car? Your house? Your library? Your furniture? Your clothes? Where are all the things you worry about, and pray for, and save for—where are they now?

Measured against eternity—nothing of this world makes much difference at all. A hundred years from now, it is unlikely that even one person in the world will remember what we looked like in this life!

But heaven is real. Hell is real. This is what gave Jesus such purpose and urgency in His ministry. Jesus knew the reality of eternal death where lost souls tumble year after year—forever—into a fiery bottomless pit where the flame is not quenched and the worm dieth not.

This is why He could stand and weep over Jerusalem. This is why He kept pressing on relentlessly from one village to the next. This is why He became homeless and hungry and faced danger and rejection. It is why He finally chose to go voluntarily to the cross. This is why He left us with His Great Commission.

You see, Jesus lived with eternity in view. He had come from eternity, and He was going back to eternity. He never was out of touch with spiritual reality. No wonder He could live a life for others as a selfless servant.

Jesus knew that He was “the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Yes, our Lord knew there is a heaven and there is a hell. He knew that He was the only way to get to heaven and not go to hell. That’s why He loved lost souls so desperately and was willing to spend His ministry reaching out to sinners of all kinds—bigots, drunks and prostitutes, as well as respectable religious folks who were just as lost as the rest.

Many times I have struggled with this fact: Jesus is the only way to God—and without Him, lost sinners will spend forever in hell. I have wished it weren’t so, but it is so. Jesus taught it, and that fact sent Him to the cross. Jesus was gripped by a passionate love for the lost, and we need to let ourselves be consumed by the same spiritual reality.

This is the only way we can enter into the reality of His life of love. We have to see the lost world as Jesus sees it.

Excerpt from Chapter 17 of The Road to Reality (ISBN 9781595891136) © 2012 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.


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Peoples of Privilege

Peoples of Privilege - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Most of us are already vaguely aware of our material privileges, although we rarely pause to thank God for them. But we may be less aware of our spiritual bounty.

First of all, we know about Jesus. Even if His beautiful name is used as a curse word or joke, virtually everyone has at least heard the Christmas story.

In the developed nations, 98 to 99 percent of the population is evangelized. Evangelized means that they have heard the Gospel message and have had the opportunity to respond. I am not saying that nearly everyone is a Christian, but that they have heard the Gospel at least once. Most people, in fact, have heard the Gospel many times. How different this is from millions in Asia.

For nearly seven years, I wandered from village to village and street to street in North India as a missionary evangelist. Everywhere I would ask the same question, “Have you heard of Jesus?”

I cannot tell you how many times I would hear the reply, “Sir, there is no Jesus Christ living here. Maybe he lives in the next village. Why don’t you try there?”

More than a billion people in Asia are unevangelized—they have not heard the Gospel clearly even once. They have never seen a Bible, a tract or a Christian video. Hundreds of millions have never heard a Christian radio broadcast or even met a believer—let alone spoken with a trained missionary evangelist.

Hundreds of thousands of villages are without a Christian witness, and there are 10,000 unreached people groups in the world still without a church! Most of these are in Asia.

Imagine a soccer stadium with 30,000 seats filled with the populations of Asia and the evangelized countries. There are 24 hotdog vendors serving the crowd; these represent the full-time Christian workers serving in these areas of the world. Of the 24 vendors, 20 are set apart to serve the 6,000 spectators sitting in the front rows, but only 4 vendors are serving the 24,000 spectators in the back.

And it’s worse than that, because only a few of the well-fed spectators in front are even interested in hotdogs, having brought in ice chests loaded with other food. By contrast, thousands of people in the back rows are on the verge of starvation, perishing for lack of food! However, the 20 front vendors do not even venture back to help their 4 exhausted fellow vendors save the lives of the starving people. Instead, they continually walk back and forth in front, asking the privileged spectators over and over again if anyone is hungry. Some well-fed spectators are concerned enough to pass a little food toward the back, but most simply enjoy the game.

That’s what is really happening in Christian missions today. In addition to keeping the lion’s share of the Christian workers for themselves, the evangelized nations also consume the vast majority of Christian literature. Through the Internet, they enjoy a boundless supply of Christian resources for evangelism, discipleship, worship and Bible study. They are also the primary recipients for well over 90 percent of all Christian radio and television. And they have thousands of Christian schools, colleges and seminaries. No wonder they’re stuffed!

Our first reaction, I suppose, should be to fall on our knees and thank God for the privilege of living in nations that are super-saturated with the Gospel. But next, we need to ask ourselves seriously why God has given us such tremendous material and spiritual resources.

* Cited data are from Barrett and Johnson, World Christian Trends, AD 30-AD 2200.

Excerpt from Chapter 16 of The Road to Reality (ISBN 9781595891136) © 2012 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.


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An Invitation to Every Believer

An Invitation to Every Believer - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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Christ is calling every believer to come apart and enjoy spiritual intimacy with Him through various aspects of prayer: adoration, confession, intercession, listening, thanksgiving, petition, praise, singing and waiting on Him.

This is not an invitation open only to a few “dare-saints”—but an access into the presence of God offered to all New Testament believers. And it is all of grace through faith. God wants to have this intimacy with us more than we will ever know.

I received a call once from a lady in California. She was bedridden and couldn’t move from the neck down. But she had a world map mounted on her wall. As she lay there, she would pray for seven hours a day. This was her work.

As she told me about the various countries she had been praying for, it was amazing to me to see that these were the very areas in which we’ve been experiencing open doors and revival.

Prayer works. We as individuals can make prayer a part of our daily lifestyle, if we are willing to break from our culture and live for God.

I know housewives who are able to pray while they do dishes, fold laundry and do other household chores. Others pray and praise as they ride to work. Each of us can rise early or schedule other times to be alone and wait on God.

In early 1976, when the Lord began to break my heart over the lostness of the world, one of the first things we did as a family was to call a few of our friends and start a prayer meeting in our home. That Tuesday night meeting still continues without fail after all these years.

We spend the first part of the evening in worship and praise with brief testimonies and thanksgivings. We don’t spend the time chatting but hear reports from different countries of the world, individuals, tribes and unreached people groups. Frequently we will pause to break into small groups or pairs to pray over each request.

In this way, we have seen hundreds and hundreds of specific answers to prayer. If there is not a missions prayer band in your church or neighborhood, why not start one? If one already exists, why not go and add your faith and warmth to that group.

If you would like some tips on how to have a balanced, lively prayer meeting, just write me and ask for a copy of our brochure Guidelines for Effective Prayer Meetings. I’ll be happy to send it at no charge. Or you can download a copy at gfa.org/pray.

Excerpt from Chapter 15 of The Road to Reality (ISBN 9781595891136) © 2012 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.


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Praying Like Jesus

Praying Like Jesus - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

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The New Testament Church was born in a prayer meeting at Pentecost. Jesus promised power to His Church if they would but wait on Him. Paul’s writings are filled with so many references to prayer it almost seems as if he spent his entire ministry simply praying from one city to the next!

But the awesome prayer life of the apostles and the early Church was only a pale reflection of our Lord’s devotion to prayer.

When we look at the life of our Lord Jesus, we are amazed at how important He considered prayer. He began His ministry with 40 days of fasting and prayer. At critical junctures, such as choosing the 12 disciples and before going to the cross, He spent whole nights in prayer. Jesus was forever withdrawing from the crowds to spend extended times alone with God the Father.

Yet, for Jesus, it was more than just spending time. Jesus not only made prayer a priority, but He modeled a life of constant prayer. Jesus demonstrated an attitude of prayer in His every action.

Jesus showed us that true prayer is not found in any of the formulas to which we cling. In fact, it is not necessarily even words or thoughts. Instead, prayer starts with what you are in your heart! It is more an attitude than an action.

Effective, genuine prayer is a dialogue with God. It rolls together dependence, humility, obedience, submission and worship. Finally, it waits on God to display His grace and mercy.

Such prayers as these may burst forth with a single phrase or sentence. This is why the Lord Jesus would frequently lift His eyes to the Father and utter one-sentence prayers that brought instant answers—healed bodies and stilled storms.

More than by giving us a set of phrases and words, Jesus exemplified a moment-by-moment dependence on God in His prayer life. We have not learned to pray as Jesus taught us to until we have learned to live prayerfully as He did. His prayers sprung naturally and spontaneously out of a constant awareness of the Father’s will. He enjoyed a well-practiced intimacy with the Father. He did not pray to God, but with God. Until we learn to pray with the Son in the same way He did with the Father, we have not learned the basic posture of prayer.

Excerpt from Chapter 14 of The Road to Reality (ISBN 9781595891136) © 2012 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.


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