by Rev. Fr. Sam Mathew Kavumkal
Gospel: St. John 15: 1-15
Once in a while, I have a problem with my cell phone calls. While talking, the signal fades; the call becomes a one way call and it finally gets disconnected. This can be very frustrating at times. Even if I have a fancy cell phone, if the signal gets disconnected, absolutely NO communication happens.
Sometimes when we pray, just like our cell phone calls, the signal seems to be cut off. What is supposed to be a 2-way communication mode turns into a one way conversation and later gets disconnected. Why does this happen? Why does the “prayer signal” fade and becomes one way when we try to communicate with God? Fortunately, the Holy Bible gives us the answers to our dilemma.
The part of the sermon (St. John 15 5-7) focuses on a disconnected relationship with God.
This passage of scripture is full of ‘if’s’. If you are living a life where you are working and staying connected with Christ, reading the Bible, obeying what the Bible commands, living a life of keeping in step with the spirit, THEN you can expect your prayers to be answered. But on the other hand this teaches that if you’re not getting any answers to your prayers- if it seems you’ve been disconnected in your communication line with God, then perhaps the place to look is within you: are you “remaining” or “abiding” in Christ.
If you did not use your cell phone for a while and forgot where it was, it is highly likely that when you find it, the phone might have run out of the power and there would no signal bars on the phone. One more thing is certain: a cell phone that is never charged with a power source will never work as a communication device. Similarly, a relationship with God that was never started or cultivated through time “abiding” together with him will rarely produce a fruitful communication with HIM.
We may have been taught that no matter where we are or what we have been doing, God hears our prayers. AND HE DOES. But it may shock us to hear that God says in his word that there are times that he will not listen to our prayers. God always hears our prayers, but he will not listen to the prayers of people who are involved in willing disobedience against him…who then come and ask for his blessings in their life.
And the verses of Scripture we read in Isaiah were written to GOD’S PEOPLE. Though they knew better, they were indulging in all sorts of Pagen idol worship and then would come to God and seek his favor in their life and protection for their nation. God says, “Do you really expect me to listen to you when you’ve chosen to disobey me all this time?”
If the signal between you and God seems to be cut off, one or the reasons could be that there may be things in our life that we have failed to surrender to His lordship.
Even when we are away from God, there is one prayer that God will listen to. It is the prayer of REPENTANCE. It is the prayer that says, “God I’ am sorry and I’m going to do something about it no matter how hard it is or what it costs me”
It really is more important to God that you and I are right with other people than for us to come and bring worship before Him. As Jesus taught in the model prayer , forgiving other people who have hurt us and asking for forgiveness when we have hurt others is a major key to keeping our communication bars up.
There is a story in the Bible about a boy that was demon-possessed and he would often cast himself into the fire or water. The father of this young man came to Jesus and said, “Lord, if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” Jesus said, If you can? EVERYTHING is possible for him who believes.”
Immediately, the boy’s father exclaimed, “I DO BELIEVE! Help me overcome my unbelief.” That’s a prayer I can identify with. It’s a prayer for me and for our church.
The way we deal with inadequate faith is to EXERCISE our faith. Faith is like a muscle. When it is used, it will grow stronger but when it is not used, it atrophies. May God increase our faith and may our doubts be cast off.
Let us examine our signal strength in our connection with God. How many signal bars do you have? Can HE hear you now?
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