In closing out our series in prayer, the most important element to having a vital prayer life is regular and consistent fellowship with God.
Prayer is talking with God and if we have a close, intimate relationship with Him, it will naturally lead to prayer that is from our hearts to God’s.
John gives us instructions at the beginning of his letter on how to have fellowship with God. He gives us the basis for it in Christ, the conditions of walking in the light, how to deal with sin, and a summary at the end.
Basis - The Life of Jesus
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.
3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
4 We write this to make our joy complete (1 John 1:1-4).
John gives formal testimony to the life of Jesus. The early disciples saw, heard, looked at, and touched Him. The evidence was plain for all to see and reliable. It was not a secret.
Not only that, the life of Jesus showed His deity. He was from the beginning (eternal), the Word (God in action), Life (Creator and Sustainer), and displayed a supernatural, eternal life. These qualities also were experienced in the disciples’ interaction with Jesus.
As a result, John and others proclaimed Jesus with confidence. Believing this proclamation brings us into fellowship with Jesus and the Father through our incorporation into His Body, the Church.
God has given us the greatest gift He could ever give - Himself. We have the joy of helping others have this fellowship with God by our proclaiming Him too.
Condition for Fellowship - Walking in the Light
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin (1 John 1:5-7).
God is light without any darkness. If our lifestyle is bent on walking in the darkness, excluding His light through His word, we cannot have fellowship with Him.
If we walk in His light, bringing our lives under His influence and obedience, we can have fellowship with Him but this is possible only because Jesus' sacrifice cleanses us.
His blood cleanses our sin so God’s purity does not destroy us. Jesus went into the darkness for us and was cut off from God so that we can live forever in His presence and have joy in His light.
Dealing with sin
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us (1 John 1:8-10).
If we say we do not, we are deceiving ourselves and thinking that fellowship with God is based on our actions and perfection. We also have to acknowledge the sins we do commit and not pretend that they are not there. Neither of these attitudes allows us to have fellowship with God because we are not living truthfully.
Instead, we confess and agree with God that our sin is actually that. We have full disclosure with God. God is faithful and just to forgive us in Jesus. His faithfulness shows His willingness; He does not forgive grudgingly. He can forgive righteously because of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf.
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:1-2).
We are God’s dear children. He does not want us to sin, but when we do Jesus is our righteous defender. His sacrifice satisfied God’s righteous anger and wrath against us so we are not under it anymore. He solved the greatest puzzle ever known - how could a holy God have fellowship with sinful man without obliterating man due to his sin or compromising His justice by accepting him without punishment.
In Jesus God is able to have fellowship with us and we with Him. This allows us to now live and talk with Him and make prayer a natural outflow of our life in Jesus.