“When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’ But Simon answered and said to Him, ‘Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless, at Your word I will let down the net.’ And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.”

Luke 5:4-6

Have you ever had a day of work so exhausting that all you wanted to do was shut down and not think about anything? If you answered, “Yes!” you can imagine how Simon Peter, Andrew, and the others felt after fishing all night and not catching a thing. Fishing in biblical times was harder than it is today because nets had to be thrown by hand and repaired by hand; there was no machinery to make the job easier. Now Jesus tells them—after they have had a long night working and have nothing to show for it—“Go out in deeper water for the catch of a lifetime.”

If you read these verses carefully, you will see a command and a blessing. If Peter goes out into deeper water, he will catch fish. How many of us have gotten a word from the Lord right when we were at the point of calling it quits? Did you obey? Peter, as a professional fisherman, could have asked a lot of questions about why Jesus was telling him to do what seemed foolish.

He could have said, “I’ve had enough for tonight, and I’ll try again tomorrow.” I’m not going to paint a perfect picture because Peter did express why Jesus’ command could fail. Peter reminded Jesus that he had put in the work and gotten no results. In the same breath, Peter decided to consent and said, “Nevertheless, at Your word I will let down the net.”

Many of us will applaud Peter for obeying but let us not forget that partial obedience is disobedience. Peter decided to let down one net when Jesus asked him to let down more than one net. The number of fish they caught was so massive that their net started to break, and they had to signal to their partners in another boat to come and help them. If we want to receive the maximum blessing that the Lord wants to give us in any situation, we must have complete obedience. Do not think for one minute that some fish were not lost during the breaking of the net while Peter waited for his partners.

When we pray and ask God for answers, He will give us instructions. We must do what He tells us to do, when He tells us to do it, and how He tells us to do it. Have you missed some of the results of your prayers because of disobedience?

As believers, we always have a role in receiving the answers to our prayers. If we pray for salvation, we have to confess with our mouths and belief in our hearts that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross for our sins, that He rose from the dead, and that He is alive right now. We have to receive Jesus in our hearts as our Savior and Lord.

Too often, we pray and sit, not being aware that we have work to do. Those fish were not going to jump into Peter’s boat. He had to let down the net. We have to take the test, do the homework, make the bed, and study and apply the principles of stewardship. We have to go to counseling, write and execute the business plan, eat nutritiously, exercise, and the list goes on and on.

Prayer is not like the cartoon where a character finds a genie in a lantern, rubs it, and is granted three wishes. Even in that example, the character had to take some action, even if only slightly. The Bible is full of examples where individuals had to take God at His Word and step out in faith. Noah built the ark. Joshua marched around Jericho. Abraham decided to sacrifice his son Isaac. David killed Goliath, and John cried in the wilderness, for example.

If we want our prayers to have results, we must obey God. We do not directly have to experience every negative consequence of disobedience. Instead, we have God’s Word and can learn through its teachings. We have the Holy Spirit, who is our Helper to guide us and give us clarity when God answers our prayers. There is never a reason to partially obey God. Fear, anxiety, laziness, or any other reason our minds trick us into believing is not acceptable to God, who loves and wants the best for us.

Reflection: Can you think of a time when you partially obeyed or disobeyed what God told you to do? What happened? Have you gotten better at “letting down your nets”?

Prayer: God, I thank You for loving me and hearing me when I pray. I repent of those times when I let my head talk me out of obeying what You had placed in my heart. Continue to give me direction, wisdom, and answers as I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Upcoming Connect 21 Events

  1. Prayer Masterclass, Wednesday, Jan 10th via YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/@linkedupnorth)
  2. Saturday Morning Prayer (Jan 13th @ 9 am at The Way Woodstock 109 Towne Lake Pkwy, Woodstock GA)
  3. Sunday Morning Service (Jan 14th @ 10 am at River Ridge High School)