“I have manifested your name to the men whom you have given me out of the world. They were yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your Word. Now they have known that all things which you have given me ARE FROM YOU." John 17:6-7 All you have given me ...it's all from you... Awhile back I asked the Lord to show me the difference between works of gold, silver, and precious stone, versus works of wood, hay, and straw. "Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear, for The Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is." 1 Corinthians 3:12-14 The Scripture goes on to say that what was simply wood, hay, or straw, will be lost. As I pondered this, asking to understand it, what came to mind was that I should review every instance of successful ministry in my experience, and find out what was common to all. And so I did. I took the time and reviewed each major story I could remember, seeking to know what was common to all of them. Something very interesting was revealed. In every instance of successful ministry, the common element was that each one happened suddenly and unexpectedly. In other words, I did not initiate any of them, not a single one. And I marveled as I took a closer look at each one and saw what the Lord had to do beforehand to put me in the right place at the right time with the right person. It was astounding. And life-changing. Because I also looked back at all my own efforts, the things I initiated because I thought they were good ideas, and in every case ...they produced ...nothing. All you have given me ...is from you! “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing. John 15:5 From that day on, one of the things most important to me is to pray about the works that I do knowing that if they are initiated from me, I'm wasting my time. They must be initiated by HIM. I even pray about praying ..."Let your Holy Spirit lead me into effective, fervent prayer" (James 5:16). "Show me how to pray effectively for this person, or that person, who I have no idea how to approach." Have you been praying for something or someone for a long time without any success? Perhaps what is missing is knowing HOW to pray for that person. Pray with me: Father, I've been praying so long and have seen no results. Perhaps what's missing is that I need YOUR mind on this matter, rather than my take on it. I'm sorry I placed my reliance on myself instead of seeking your mind on the matter. I ask that your Holy Spirit LEAD me into effective, fervent prayer which will produce success, according to James 5:16. Let me always be aware that what comes from me may be useless, but that which is initiated by you will always succeed because the Word you initiate will never return to you void. "So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth, it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:11 If you get it from him, you can be assured that it WILL succeed.