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With Jack Hyles
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The Apostles on many occasions heard
Jesus preach; yet they never asked Him, "Lord, teach us to
preach." They heard Him teach, but there is no record
of their saying, "Lord, teach us to teach." They
saw Him heal the sick, but there is no record of their asking
him, "Lord, teach us to heal." They saw Him raise
the dead, still the waves, calm the storm, open blind eyes,
unstop deaf ears and cast out demons, but there is no record of
their ever asking Him to teach them how to do these things.
But when they heard Him pray, felt His compassion, saw His tears
and witnessed the answers to His prayers, they said, "Lord,
teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."
entering into the truths found in this book, this author simply
asks the reader to bow his head and pray, "Lord, teach me to
pray." May the Lord use this manuscript as a part of
His answer to your prayer.
1 — God's Mind Can Be Changed
6:6-7, "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the
earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will
destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both
man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air;
for it repenteth me that I have made them."
3:10, "And God saw their works, that they turned from their
evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he
would do unto them; and he did it not."
2:12-14, "Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even
to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping,
and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments,
and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the
evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a
blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering
unto the LORD your God?"
The wickedness of man
became great upon the earth until every imagination of the
thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. This is
not the purpose that God had for His creation. He created
us for His glory and that He may enjoy fellowship with us,
wanting us to offer Him voluntarily love. He equipped us
with a will so we could choose to love and fellowship with Him.
Now man has failed and failed miserably. His thoughts are
wicked, his deeds are wicked, and God is grieved, for God CAN be
grieved. Ephesians 4:30-32, "And grieve not the
holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of
redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and
clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all
malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving
one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
Here we find that bitterness grieves God, wrath grieves God,
anger grieves God, clamour grieves God, evil speaking grieves
God, malice grieves God. As God looked at the race He had
made, He was so grieved that He changed His mind and wished that
He had not made man. Genesis 6:6-7, "And it
repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it
grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man
whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and
beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it
repenteth me that I have made them." Notice the
word "repented" in verse 6 and the word
"repenteth" in verse 7. This word
means "a change of mind." This is not a doctrinal
dissertation about the flood; it is simply an effort to establish
the fact that God does, on occasion, change His mind, and that
mind can be changed by man's behavior and, thank God, by man's
requests and prayers.
There is a wonderful
story in Exodus 32. Moses had been to Mount Sinai.
As he returned from the mount, he found the people had made a
golden calf and were worshipping it. God was displeased and
wanted to destroy them. Exodus 32:7-10, "And the
LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which
thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted
themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I
commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have
worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be
thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of
Egypt. And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this
people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore
let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I
may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation."
Notice the words that God spoke to Moses in verse 10, "Now
therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them."
Here is the omnipotent God talking to Moses, one of His
creatures, and saying, "Let Me alone, so I can punish My
people." God wanted to do it, but interestingly enough
He had made it so that Moses had veto power and actually could
prevent God from consuming His people.
God did change His mind
concerning consuming His people. Exodus 32:11-14, "And
Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy
wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth
out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty
hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For
mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains,
and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy
fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou
swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply
your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have
spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it
for ever. And the LORD repented of the evil which he
thought to do unto his people." In verse 11 Moses
explains to God that it was He Who had brought the people out of
Egypt with a great power and mighty hand. Then in verse
12 he beseeches God to change His mind. He uses the
words, "Repent of this evil against Thy people."
Now Moses was not telling God to repent of a sin. The word
"evil" there means that God was about to inflict
punishment or consummation upon His people and Moses was asking
Him to turn from His fierce wrath and change His mind.
Then in verse 13
he tells God of the promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
concerning multiplying their seed and making of them a great
These are arguments that
Moses used in his appeal to God to change His mind. In
other words, he is saying, "Lord, You brought the people
out, and the Egyptian people are going to speak evil of You if
you consume the people." Then he said, "Don't
forget the promises You made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."
With these arguments he appealed to God not to go through with
His consuming of Israel.
In verse 14 we
read, "And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought
to do unto his people." Once again, God changed
His mind. It is very important that this truth be
emphasized, for it was through prayer to God that Moses
interceded for the people, and God changed His mind concerning
God changed His mind
concerning the destruction of Ninevah. The Word of the Lord
had come unto Jonah the second time, telling him to go to Ninevah
and preach. Jonah 3:1-2, "And the word of the LORD
came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh,
that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid
thee." Jonah had learned his lesson and he
did go to Ninevah to preach. A great revival followed and
the entire city repented. Jonah 3:5-8, "So the
people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on
sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his
throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with
sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed
and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his
nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste
any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and
beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea,
let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence
that is in their hands."
The people were led to
believe that though Jonah had preached that God was going to
destroy the city in forty days, perhaps God would change His
mind, and not destroy the city. They felt that their
repentance and their putting on of sackcloth and sitting in ashes
might convince God to change His mind. This possibility is
mentioned in Jonah 3:9, "Who can tell if God will turn
and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish
not?" God did see their works and God did change
His mind. In Jonah 3:10, notice especially the words, "And
God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and
God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto
them; and he did it not."
Jonah had come to Ninevah
preaching the message that God gave him, that God was going to
overthrow Ninevah in forty days, but because the people got right
with God, God changed His mind and did not destroy Ninevah as
Jonah had preached. This changing of God's mind is so
evident, for the Scripture tells us that Jonah was not happy with
God's decision to change His mind. Had not Jonah preached
that God was going to destroy the city in forty days? Now
God is not going to destroy the city, and Jonah is upset about
it! Jonah 4:1, "But it displeased Jonah
exceedingly, and he was very angry."
Now the secret to this
entire story is found in Jonah 3:8, "But let man and
beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God."
There is the prayer. God changed His mind concerning
Ninevah because of the prayers of Ninevah. Once again we
come back to the main point of this chapter. Prayer can
change the mind of God!
God changed His mind
concerning Judah in the days of Joel. Joel 2:12-14,
"Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with
all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with
mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn
unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to
anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who
knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind
him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your
God?" The judgment of God had been pronounced upon
the people. However, the message came that God was a
merciful God and that if the people would repent and turn to Him,
He would change His mind and bless them. In fact, in verse
14 the word "repent" is used which means "to
change one's mind." Of course, over and over again in
the Scriptures God withholds His judgment upon His people because
of repentance, prayer, fasting and revival.
God changed His mind
concerning Ephraim, but Ephraim got so far from God and so
idolatrous that God decided just to leave him alone! Hosea
4:17, "Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone."
Later on in Hosea God begins to muse and meditate about Ephraim.
Hosea 11:1-4, "When Israel was a child, then I loved him,
and called my son out of Egypt. As they called them, so they went
from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to
graven images. I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their
arms; but they knew not that I healed them. I drew them with
cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they
that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto
them." Here God remembers Ephraim's childhood;
that is, when Ephraim was a young tribe. He remembers how
He helped Ephraim struggle in the early days. He likens
that to teaching Ephraim to walk. He remembers how He
healed them, how He loved them, how He protected them. Bear
in mind that in Hosea 4:17 He had said, "Ephraim is
joined to idols: let him alone." But after
thinking, meditating and remembering, God comes to the place
where He feels He simply cannot give Ephraim up. Hosea
11:8, "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I
deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I
set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings
are kindled together." How beautiful are those
words, "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?"
God is saying that He lost His patience with Ephraim and then He
got to thinking about it and changed His mind. He will not
give Ephraim up after all. The last line of verse 8
explains this when God says, "My repentings are kindled
together." God is saying once again, "I am
changing My mind."
God repented often
concerning His people. Jeremiah 15:6, "Thou hast
forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore
will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am
weary with repenting." That means that God had
changed His mind so much about His people that He is getting a
little weary of it. Again the point is stressed. God
can, does and will change His mind in response to repentance and
sincere prayer from His people.
In the third miracle in
the second judgment of God upon Pharaoh, when God was using His
wrath to unpry the hands of Pharaoh from His people that they
might leave the land and be free, God had sent the frogs on the
land. Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and asked them if
they could persuade God to take the frogs away. Exodus 8:8,
"Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said,
Intreat the LORD, that he may take away the frogs from me, and
from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do
sacrifice unto the LORD." Moses did come to God
with Aaron and ask God to remove the frogs. Exodus
8:12-13, " And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and
Moses cried unto the LORD because of the frogs which he had
brought against Pharaoh. And the LORD did according to the word
of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the
villages, and out of the fields." The key
statement here is in verse 13, "And the LORD did
according to the word of Moses." Notice the power
of prayer. Notice how God is influenced by the prayers of
This same thing is
repeated concerning the thunderings and hail. Exodus
9:27,28,33, "And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and
Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the LORD is
righteous, and I and my people are wicked. Intreat the LORD (for
it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail;
and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer. And Moses
went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands
unto the LORD: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was
not poured upon the earth."
The same thing is done
concerning the locusts in Exodus 10:16-19, " Then Pharaoh
called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned
against the LORD your God, and against you. Now therefore
forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the LORD
your God, that he may take away from me this death only. And he
went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD. And the LORD
turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts,
and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in
all the coasts of Egypt." On each of these
occasions Moses came to God and persuaded God to take certain
action. In response to Moses' request, God did take this
In the case of Abimelech
and his family, God healed them that they might bear children
because Abraham prayed to God. Genesis 20:17-18, "So
Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife,
and his maidservants; and they bare children. For the LORD had
fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because
of Sarah Abraham's wife." God had closed up all
the wombs of the ladies of the house of Abimelech. Abraham
prayed to God and God responded to Abraham's prayer and healed
the house of Abimelech.
In the life of Job God
became angry with Eliphaz and Job's other false friends and
pronounced His judgment upon them. Because of Job's prayers
and their repentance God changed His mind and did not pour out
His wrath. Job 42:7-10, "And it was so, that after
the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to
Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and
against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing
that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you
now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and
offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job
shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you
after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing
which is right, like my servant Job. So Eliphaz the Temanite and
Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did
according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his
friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before."
In any study of the
subject of prayer it is fundamental and basic when we understand
that if a man will meet the conditions of God and pray, God will
respond to his prayer and perhaps even change the course of His
direction. Naturally, such a teaching is distasteful to
those who advance the heresy of hyper-Calvinism, limited
atonement, irresistible grace, etc. These misguided
students of the Bible are often sincere but somehow have never
learned how to enter into the great heart of God to know His
compassion, His love, His mercy, His longsuffering. Hence,
we must establish once and for all that God is touchable,
reachable and He will respond to the prayers of His people.
This does not mean that an immature Christian can frivolously
approach the throne of grace and change God's mind. It does
mean that the great omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent
Jehovah God leans towards His children to hear what they say and
longs to have them present their petitions to Him that He may
give consideration to their requests.
2 — The Atheism of Prayerlessness
"Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse
your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double
Corinthians 1:20, "For all the promises of God in him are
yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us."
It is really an amazing
thing how little God's people pray. The truth of the
matter, however, is that if we believed that we could come to God
and get what we want and need, we would do it! There
certainly must be a degree of atheism and unbelief that causes
God made the sun, the
moon and the stars. He then made the lakes, rivers and
oceans. He made the mountains, hills and deserts. He
made the trees, flowers and grass. He made the fish, the
beasts of the earth and the fowls of the air. Then He made
man. Man was the only one to whom He said, "I would
like to talk with you and have you visit Me. I would like
for us to have fellowship together."
Let us imagine what God
may have said to man, "I made all of these things for you.
In case you want one of these Hereford cattle, let Me know.
If you want one of these birds, just ask Me. If you would
like to have some fish, fruit or vegetables, please ask Me for
it. Perhaps you need some water. Let Me know.
If you are tired of rain, let Me know. If you get cold,
tell Me and I'll kill an animal for you and use his skin for a
coat. If you want some of these strawberries, just tell
Me. I also have some metals you might like. I have
gold, silver, and other metals. Just ask Me and I'll let
you have what you want. Also let Me know if you don't feel
well or if anything breaks, and I'll be more than happy to make
you well and to fix it for you. I also have some pretty
stones. I have diamonds, pearls, emeralds, sapphires,
rubies and many other beautiful stones. In case you would
like to have one or more of these, just ask Me. By the way,
if you're not comfortable, I'll give you a thermostat called
prayer. For all of this, all that I ask is that you be
close to Me and I be close to you. When I see you coming,
I'll run to meet you. We will have good fellowship.
As long as we can be close to each other and abide with each
other, you just let Me know what you want."
Of course, this is all
fantasy, but it may be nearer the truth than we could realize.
We have made prayer so complicated, and the simple truth is that
there is a God Who loves us and wants to supply our needs and our
wants in exchange for our total dedication and surrender to Him
and out abiding in Him. This is what David meant in Psalm
8:4-8, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the
son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a
little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and
honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of
thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and
oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and
the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of
the seas." Hence, God made man for Himself, and
everything else He made for man. When He made the
strawberries, He may have said, "Ah, I hope My people enjoy
these." When He made the Daffodil, perhaps He said, "I
hope My children enjoy looking at these." When He made
the birds of the heavens to form feathered choirs for our
enjoyment, maybe He said, "I hope My people enjoy listening
How sad it is that we
trade all that God has for us for the cheap fellowship of the
world and forfeit the riches of Hid presence and provisions for a
few fleeting thrills!
Now the shocking thing is
that we don't take Him up on this offer. The question
arises, "Why don't we?" The answer is very
simple. We simply DON'T BELIEVE IT! Somehow we don't
believe that a feeble mortal cry could enter into the ears of the
Lord God of the heaven and earth. We find it impossible to
believe that mortal man could stand on the gleaning pavement of
Heaven, that the infinite God could be moved be the pleas of
sinful man. We find it hard to believe that before Him the
angels veil their faces, but that by prayer the armies of Heaven
could be called to arms and that divine majesty could obey the
orders of a worm like man. We find it difficult to believe
that our prayers could restrain the powers of evil and that the
wheels of providence could alter their course at the request of
man, and all of this happens because some feeble sinner saved by
grace kneels before the throne of grace and brings his petition
Oh, if we could just
BELIEVE IT! BELIEVE IT!, oh born-again atheist on your way
to Heaven but not believing that God can care for your needs.
BELIEVE IT, oh saved infidel, whose sins are forgiven and whose
faith is in Christ for salvation but not for provisions.
BELIEVE IT, oh forgiven skeptic, whose sins are under the blood,
and yet you doubt that God's bounty is available to you.
BELIEVE IT, oh converted agnostic, whose life has been
transformed by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit but
whose faith is too weak to trust the love and generosity of the
God Who saved you. BELIEVE IT, BELIEVE IT, BELIEVE IT!
Oh, the limitless power at your knee-tips! BELIEVE IT when
the Bible says, "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh
to you." (James 4:8a) BELIEVE IT when God says, "Call
unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty
things, which thou knowest not." (Jeremiah 33:3) BELIEVE IT
when God says, "He shall call upon Me, and I will answer
Him." (Psalm 91:15a) BELIEVE IT when God says, "For
He shall deliver the needy when he crieth." (Psalm
72:12a) BELIEVE IT when God says, "If ye abide in Me, and
My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be
done unto you." (John 15:7) BELIEVE IT when the Bible
says, "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall
give thee the desires of thy heart." (Psalm 37:4)
BELIEVE IT when God says, "Ask, and it shall be given
you." (Matthew 7:7a).
BELIEVE IT, BELIEVE IT,
BELIEVE IT, BELIEVE IT! BELIEVE IT, little widow struggling to
make ends meet and praying that the cruise of oil will hold until
the children are grown. BELIEVE IT, weary bread winner with the
responsibility of livelihood upon your shoulders. BELIEVE IT,
needy college student, as you seek to make your days of training
specimen days for your days of service. BELIEVE IT, lonely
orphan. BELIEVE IT, thou with the empty cupboard. BELIEVE IT,
BELIEVE IT, BELIEVE IT! Believe that there is a God. Believe that
He is majesty and glory. Believe that He is all-powerful. Believe
that He knows you. Believe that He loves you. Believe that He is
rich. Believe that He wants to give to you. Believe He wants to
care for you. Believe that He will care for you if you will ask.
A little girl was adopted
into a new family. She was accustomed to the orphanage where she
had lived before. She came to her new home and to her new
parents. Her new mother gave her a big tall glass of milk to
drink. The little girl held the glass of milk in her hands and
looked up in her mother's face and said, "Please tell me how
deep may I drink."
The mother spoke through
tears and said, "Honey, drink it all. You are not in the
orphanage any more. You are my child. It's all yours. Drink it
all! There is more for you where that came from."
Oh, how often we look up
at the face of God and say, "God, how deep may I drink?"
The Lord looks down with
compassion and says, Oh, beloved children, I'm your heavenly
Father. Drink it all! Drink it all! Drink it all! There is more
where that came from."
Years ago an aged lady
lived in poverty. The people of the church found out about her
condition and came to visit her to see if they could help. The
pastor inquired concerning her family. He asked her if she had
any children. She said, "Yes, I have a son in South
He said, "Does your
son ever write?"
She said, "No, he
The pastor said, "You
mean you never receive a thing from him?"
"Oh yes," she
said. Once a month I receive a little green cardboard, but he
never writes anything."
The pastor excitedly
asked, "Where are those cardboards?"
She said, "Well, I
needed to paper the back room, so I used them to paper the
The pastor said to her,
"Take me to the back room quickly." She did so. The
pastor looked at her and said, "Lady, those are money
orders. You are rich and don't realize it."
Beloved Christian, you
too are rich and don't realize it. BELIEVE IT, BELIEVE IT,
BELIEVE IT! Believe that God answers prayer. Prayer has divided
seas. Prayer has rolled up flowing rivers. Prayer has brought
streams of water from flinty rock. Prayer has opened barren
wombs. Prayer has given life to sterile seed. Prayer has quenched
flames of fire. Prayer has restrained the fury of lions. Prayer
has nullified the poison serpent. Prayer has marshalled the stars
of heaven to battle. Prayer has arrested the flight of the sun.
Prayer has burst open gates of iron. Prayer has summoned the dead
from their tombs. Prayer has beckoned angels from their starry
homes. Prayer has called back the dead to life. Prayer has
delivered God's people from the raging sea.
BELIEVE IT, BELIEVE IT,
BELIEVE IT! Believe what God has for you in answer to prayer.
Believe it, fretful soul. Believe it, doubting Thomas. Moses
prayed and a sea was divided. Joshua prayed and Achan was
discovered. Hannah prayed and Samuel was born. Elijah prayed and
the windows of heaven were shut and opened. Daniel prayer and
lions were restrained. Elisha prayed and the Jordan was divided.
Paul prayed and prison doors swang open. The church prayed and
Peter was delivered from prison. Jacob prayed and became a prince
of God. Isaiah prayed and 185,000 Assyrians were destroyed.
George Mueller prayed and 1700 orphans were fed. Asa prayed and
victory came to the cause of God. The thief on the cross prayed
and accompanied Jesus to paradise.
BELIEVE IT, BELIEVE IT,
BELIEVE IT! Believe it, thou with a sick body. BELIEVE IT, though
with a faint heart. BELIEVE IT, thou with a fearful soul. BELIEVE
IT, thou with a perplexed mine. BELIEVE IT! Cannot the God Who
parts the Red Sea send manna from Heaven? Cannot the God Who
sends manna from Heaven send water from the rock in Horeb? Cannot
the God Who caused the waters to gush forth from the smitten rock
lead with a pillar of cloud by day? Cannot the God Who leads with
the pillar of cloud by day lead with a pillar of fire by night?
Cannot that God lead us across a wilderness of life and into the
promised land of victory? Oh, yes, He can! I know He can! Ten
thousand times ten thousand, I know He can!
BELIEVE IT! BELIEVE IT!
BELIEVE IT! BELIEVE IT, weary pastor with the burdens of
leadership upon your shoulder. BELIEVE IT, tired bread winner.
BELIEVE IT, lonely widow. BELIEVE IT, orphan child. BELIEVE IT,
sacrificing college student. BELIEVE IT! BELIEVE IT! BELIEVE IT!
Believe that there is a God in Heaven. Believe that He is rich.
Believe that He loves you. Believe that He offers you your needs
and your wants in exchange for your enjoying the blessedness of
abiding in Him and having Him and His Word abiding in you!
3 — God Wants to Answer Your prayers!
"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto
your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the
Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
Just as an earthly father
wants to give his child the desires of his heart and especially
the needs of his life, even so does our heavenly father want to
answer our prayers. The Bible is filled with evidences of this.
For example, notice Isaiah 45:11, " Thus saith the
LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to
come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands
command ye me."
Notice the definite
command, "Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons."
God wants us to ask because God wants to supply our needs, and He
wants to answer our prayers. It is the delight of His heart to
care for His own.
Now notice in the same
verse the words, "concerning the work of My hands command
ye Me." The Lord is saying, "Tell Me what you want.
Let Me know your needs. Let Me know your wants." The word
"command" here means "charge." The
Lord is saying, "Charge ye Me. Tell Me what to do." Now
the Christian has no right to be presumptuous in ordering God to
do things as a general would order a private in the army, but
there is a blessed teaching here that a kind and merciful and
loving Heavenly father is waiting with open arms, full coffers
and packed cupboards for His children to ask!
Then there is a wonderful
promise in Romans 8:32, "He that spared not his own Son,
but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also
freely give us all things?" This may be the most amazing
prayer promise in the Bible! God is telling us that if He would
give His own Son for us, that certainly should be evidence that
He would supply our needs and answer our prayers.
Suppose someone had come
to me years ago and said, "Brother Hyles, give me your boy
I would say, "But I
love him. He is my only son, and he's just a little fellow, and I
want to rear him. I have so many dreams for him."
Suppose the person
prevailed until finally I said, "Okay, you can have my son.
What do you plan to do with him?"
He says, "We plan to
kill him." Now through the fondest imagination I would never
have done such a thing, but suppose I did give my son and then
the person said, "May I have his shoes?"
I would have said, "Good
night, fellow. If I will give you my son, I dead sure will let
you have his shoes."
Now the person asks, "May
I have his clothes?"
"Of course, you may
have his clothes. If I'll give you my son, I'll give you
God looks down and says,
"I want to give you things. I want to answer your prayers,
and proof of it is Calvary." John 3:16, "For God so
loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have
everlasting life." God is saying that if He was willing
to give His only begotten Son for us, isn't that proof that He
wants to give us our needs and, yes, within the boundaries of
right, our wants?
The word "freely"
in Romans 8:32 is the word "charisma" from which
we get our words, "grace" and "gracious." God
is saying that He will graciously give us all things. Oh, how he
wants to answer our prayers!
The fact that God loves
for us to pray is so beautifully given to us in Revelation
5:8, "And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and
four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every
one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the
prayers of saints."
The word "odours" in this verse means "perfume."
Our prayers are like sweet-smelling perfume to our God. Sometimes
we say, "Those words are music to my ears." God says,
"Your prayers are perfume to my nostrils." He is saying
that He loves to hear us pray. This is why in the great type of
prayer of the alter of incense, God was burning sweet smelling
spices, and the smoke of them went heaven-ward. This is a symbol
of our prayers which are sweet aroma to our Heavenly father.
God's delight is
beautifully given to us in Micah 7:18, "Who is a God like
unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the
transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not
his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy."
That last line is one of the most beautiful orchids in God's
garden of flowers. Notice the words, "He delighteth in
mercy." Oh, how God loves to hear us pray the prayer of
repentance and of seeking forgiveness! The Lord in Heaven looks
down and says, "Oh, I'm so glad about that. He asked for
mercy. He asked forgiveness, and I delight to do that. I am so
pleased he asked." That is why He reminds us early in the
verse that "He retaineth not His anger forever." No
wonder Micah said, "Who is a God like unto thee, that
pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the
remnant of his heritage?" It is no wonder that in Micah
7:19 he said, "He will turn again, he will have
compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt
cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." Why
does God do this? He does it because He loves to do it! Now God
cannot pardon us apart from the blood of Jesus because His
justice demands that type of settlement, but how please is our
God when we come according to the terms of His justice and ask
forgiveness! How happy He is! How delighted it makes Him to
extend mercy to us!
How sweet and precious
are those verses in II Chronicles 7:14,15, "If my people,
which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray,
and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I
hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their
land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the
prayer that is made in this place." All of us are
familiar with verse 14. It is the great revival verse in
the Bible, but after God tells us that if we will humble
ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked
ways, that He will hear from heaven, forgive our sins and heal
our land, then a beautiful statement is made by our Heavenly
father when He says, "Now mine eyes shall be open, and
mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place."
God says, "I gave you a promise; I'll be watching for
you to come, and I'll be listening for you to pray." The
implication here is like a person who is waiting for an important
message, perhaps one who is waiting for a wanted phone call. God
is saying, "I made you a deal. I gave you a good offer. I
think you will like it, and I'll be watching and I'll be
listening for you to take me up on it." How tender! How
beautiful! How blessed!
Then, of course, there is
that amazing kingdom promise that opens the door to the nature of
God which is found in Isaiah 65:24, "And it shall come to
pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are
yet speaking, I will hear." God so wants to answer our
prayers that sometimes when He knows what we are going to pray
for, He answers before we pray. He looks over our shoulder and
sees what is on our prayer list! He even reads our minds and
knows for what we are going to ask! He loves to answer our
prayers so much that it is not uncommon for Him to go ahead and
give us what we are going to ask for even before we ask.
Oh, if we could just
realize the limitless power and resources we have in prayer! If
we could just realize how our Lord wants us to draw nigh unto Him
and how He longs to give us things that He would give us if we
would ever present our claim! The Psalmist burst forth in praise
in Psalm 65:2, " O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee
shall all flesh come." Ah, what a beautiful statement!
David just looks up to Heaven and calls God by a different name.
He calls Him, "Thou that hearest prayer." This
could even be one of the names of God. Praise the Lord!
Hallelujah! Bless His holy name! He answers prayer. HE ANSWERS
PRAYER! HE ANSWERS PRAYER! HE ANSWERS PRAYER! Hear it, hungry
one. Hear it, needy one. Hear it, lonely one. Hear it, suffering
one. Hear it, saddened one. Hear it, melancholy one. HE ANSWERS
PRAYER! HE ANSWERS PRAYER! HE ANSWERS PRAYER! Hear it! hear it!
hear it! Oh pastor, tell your parishioners that He answers
prayer! Preacher, tell your congregation that He answers prayer!
Teacher, tell your students that He answers prayer! Parents, tell
your children that He answers prayer!
Did you know God is so
desirous to hear and answer prayer that He will even sometimes
hear the prayers of the unsaved? Genesis 21:14-17, "And
Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a
bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her
shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and
wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. And the water was spent
in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.
And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off,
as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of
the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice,
and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of
God called Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth
thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad
where he is."
There is another example
in Acts 10:1-4, "There was a certain man in Caesarea
called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian
band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house,
which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He
saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an
angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it,
Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come
up for a memorial before God."
Notice also Jonah
1:5,14, "Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man
unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into
the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the
sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. Wherefore
they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we
beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not
upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased
There are three beautiful
examples. God heard Hagar as she left Abraham and Sarah, carrying
her illegitimate son. The merciful, compassionate, loving
Heavenly Father heard the cry of the child and felt the heartbeat
of the mother. God was so pleased with the sincerity of Cornelius
that He heard him because God knew Cornelius was on his way to
Jesus. Likewise, the cry of the sailors was heard in the book of
Jonah. Though, theologically, one who does not know Jesus as
Saviour cannot enter into the presence of God, sometimes God DOES
hear the cry of the unsaved and from His heart of compassion
Beloved, are we not made
in the image of God? Hence, whatever is good about us is a
reflection of the personality of God. Then if we love to answer
the requests of our children, would not God want to answer us?
There are so many places in the Bible that show us God wants to
be loved as we want to be loved. He likes attention
as we like attention. He loves praise as we love
praise. He loves adoration as we love adoration,
and yes, he loves to answer His children as we love to answer
One of the sweetest
examples of this is in Luke 24:28,29, "And they drew nigh
unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he
would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide
with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And
he went in to tarry with them." This is so sweet and
beautiful. I love those words, "And he made as though he
would have gone further." Our Lord has been walking with
the disciples on the Emmaus road. (Bear in mind, He was in His
resurrection body, for this was after the resurrection.) They got
to their destination and the Bible says, "He made as
though he would have gone further." I like that. Have
you ever been at someone's house and it was about time for you to
go and they asked you to stay for dinner? You wanted to stay, but
you wanted to know for sure that they wanted you to stay, so very
shyly you said, "Oh, no, I must go! You are about to eat,
and I have to go," and you hoped they would say, "Please
stay." When they asked again, "Won't you stay, please?
We really want you to," you said, "Oh, I guess I will."
This is exactly what was happening to the Lord Jesus. He just
acted like He was going farther. He wanted to stay. The Bible
says, "But they constrained Him, saying, Abide with us,"
and then it says, "He went in to tarry with them."
What a Saviour!
Our Lord was a great deal
like us also in II Kings 19:14,15, "And Hezekiah received
the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and
Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before
the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD
God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the
God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast
made heaven and earth." Hezekiah took a letter and
spread it before the Lord and said, "Lord, You can read it
for Yourself." How beautiful! Now the Lord had already read
the letter, but He was such a friend and so personal to Hezekiah
that Hezekiah said, "Here, Lord, You can read it for
Yourself." Then in verse 15 Hezekiah sort of
"buttered up" the Lord a little bit when he said, "O
LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou
art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth:
thou hast made heaven and earth." Then after Hezekiah
bragged on God, he said in verse 16, "LORD, bow down
thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see."
Not long ago I decided to
take our three married daughters, Becky, Linda, and Cindy
shopping. Our daughter-in-law, Paula, was also visiting in our
home at the time, and since Paula and Becky live a good distance
away, I took this opportunity to take all four of them to a
ladies' shop to buy them each a new dress. We were in the van
driving over to the ladies' apparel store. Becky said to me,
"Dad, isn't your hair getting thicker?" Now she has
used that little trick on me for years, but do you know, she took
my by surprise and I didn't even realize what she had in mind!
I said, "Well, thank
you, Puddin', but I don't really think it is."
Becky, "Dad, your hair is getting thicker. You're not losing
your hair like you used to. I think it's growing back in."
I gullibly fell hook,
line and sinker, and though I did not know it, I was being led as
a lamb to the slaughter, dumb before his shearers! "Well,"
said I, "maybe I just learned how to 'rat it' a little bit."
Linda chimed in and said,
"Dad, I have been thinking about that too. Your hair is
Cindy said, "Linda
and I have been talking about it, and we both agree."
Paula said, "That's
right. You've got more hair than you used to have!"
With a blush on my face
and as modest a look as I could generate, I said, "Well,
A couple of hours later
we came out of the ladies' store, and each of them had gotten
three dresses! It was the next day when I suddenly realized that
I had been taken. They knew how to get things from Dad!
Hezekiah knew how to get
things from God, too. He reminded God of His greatness, and God
didn't mind a bit.
This same method is used
in II Samuel 7:21,22, "For Thy word's sake, and according
to Thine own heart, hast Thou done all these great things, to
make Thy servant know them. Wherefore Thou art great, O LORD God:
for there is none like Thee, neither is there any God beside
Thee." Is it that God is like us or that we are like
God? Be that as it may, there is a similarity. The great heart of
God enjoys being loved, being praised, being adored, being
Now notice II Samuel
7:25, "And now, O LORD God, the word that Thou hast spoken
concerning Thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it
for ever, and do as Thou hast said." Notice those last
five words, "do as Thou hast said." Ah, this is
beautiful! How close is the relationship that the servant of God
had with his God! Then in verse 27 David reminds God of
His promise, "For Thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel,
hast revealed to Thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house:
therefore hath Thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer
unto Thee." Notice those words, "for Thou, O
LORD of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to Thy servant,
saying, I will build thee an house." David said, "Lord,
You told me You would do it. Now You are such a wonderful God! I
know You will do this because You always keep Your promise!"
Look at verse 28, "And now, O Lord GOD, Thou art that
God, and Thy words be true, and Thou hast promised this goodness
unto Thy servant." Here David reminds God that He is
That God and that His words are true. How intimate was the
relationship between David and His God! No wonder David was a man
after God's own heart! No wonder he held such a special place in
the heart of God!
There is a closeness that
the Christian can have with his God. This is when the Christian
and his God become more than just the Creator-creature, or just
the God-people, and even more than just the Father-child. This is
when the Christian obeys the commandments of his Lord and becomes
a soul winner and a servant and henceforth becomes His friend.
John 15:14, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I
command you." As a friend there is a certain intimacy
that the Christian can enjoy with his God that is so sacred, so
beautiful and so intimate!
On one occasion when God
was tempted to destroy His people, Moses spake as a friend to God
and told the Lord that he was afraid the Egyptians were sure
going to be critical of Him because He had promised that His
people would be taken to the promised land, Moses said, "Lord,
when the Egyptians hear this, they are not going to like it, and
they're not going to have much faith in You."
How clear it is, God
loves to answer the prayers of His people! God wants to answer
4 — Why Does God Want Us to pray?
"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men
ought always to pray, and not to faint."
Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing."
4:6, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer
and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made
known unto God."
"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the
spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Why in the economy of God
did He ask us to pray in order to receive our needs? Could He not
simply give us our needs? He knows them before we pray; in fact,
He knows them better than we do. Why would God have us beg for
some of our needs? Since He loves us so much, why doesn't He
simply give us what He knows we need, or at least require us to
make only one requisition? The answer to this is in the very
purpose for our being. God made man for the praise of His glory
that He might enjoy fellowship with him. There are several
reasons why God uses prayer as a means to His supplying our needs
and, yes, our wants.
1. Prayer is a way of
starting a conversation. Continual prayer is a way that God
uses in perpetuating that conversation. Suppose one of our
daughters came to me when she was a child and said, "Daddy,
can I have some ice cream?"
I would say, "Now
Linda, why would you want ice cream?"
Linda would say, "
'Cause I like it."
I would say, "You
just had some last week."
She would reply, "But
I want some today."
I would ask her, "Give
me some good reasons why you should have some ice cream."
She would reply, "
'Cause you're the best daddy in the whole world!"
"Give me another
" 'Cause you're the
handsomest daddy in the whole world!"
"Do you have any
" 'Cause you're the
strongest and smartest daddy in the whole world."
I would say, "Linda,
do you really want some ice cream?"
She would say, "Daddy,
please give me some ice cream!"
Then I might say, "Give
me a big hug and a kiss." She would hug me and kiss me, and
then I would give her the ice cream.
Now the truth is I was
going to give her the ice cream all along. There was never any
doubt in my mind but that Linda could have the ice cream. Why
then did I make her beg? Why did I make her hug and kiss me? That
was a sure way I could get some loving. This is why sometimes God
waits to answer. He wants some lovin'. If He is going to spend
some time with us, He often has to prolong His response in order
that we may fellowship with Him. Since most of our talking with
God is asking, God uses this tool, no doubt, in order that many
may desire to spend time with Him.
2. Prayer enables the
mind of God to flow through our minds. Philippians 2:5,
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
When two people talk, their minds merge. No person is exactly the
same after talking to another. Communication between individuals
causes a merging of the minds that is impossible to prevent.
Years ago I set out to
know older pastors. I was pastoring at the age of 21. I realized
that there were some things that a 21-year-old mind could not
possess. I set out to have older men preach in my pulpit. I
invited men who were in their sixties and seventies and even
eighties to preach for me. Perhaps I could have had younger men
who would have been more dynamic and maybe even could have
preached greater revival meetings, but I wanted to get to know
older men. I realized that there was something they could give my
people that I could not give them. I also realized that there was
something they could do for me that nothing else could do. Though
I did not presume on their time, I did take advantage of every
opportunity to eat with them, to drive them places and to be
around them. I was letting their minds empty into mine, and as
our minds merged, I believe I matured more quickly than I could
have had I not allowed their minds to flow into mine. Through
prayer my mind merges with the great mind of God. This enables
His mind to flow into mine. This is just another reason why God
did not choose to supply our needs apart from our asking. He knew
that His influence on us could be immeasurable if our minds could
merge with His in prayer.
3. Prayer makes the
journey more enjoyable oftentimes than the destination. The
fellowship with God can be more wonderful than the receiving of
the answer to prayer.
Suppose a boy said to his
girlfriend, "Walk down to the store with me while I get some
milk and bread." On the trip to and from the store they
laugh and have fun and may even snicker a little, "I like
you," or an "I love you." Now which was the most
fun—getting the milk and the bread, or going to the store
The Lord said, "You
can have the milk and bread, but I'm not going to have it
delivered to your house. I want us to go to the store together
that we may enjoy fellowship one with the other." Perhaps
the richest thing about prayer is not the receiving of our
request but the means of receiving it; that is, fellowship with
the very God of God's and the Creator of the universe.
Years ago I was in the
country of Jamaica. I decided to buy one of the straw purses for
which they are so famous. I went to the straw market, picked out
one merchant and found the purse that I liked best and asked,
"How much is that purse?"
He said, "Fifteen
I said, "I'll give
He said, "Oh, no,
no. It cost me more than that, but you can have it for $12."
I said, "I'll give
you eight dollars, and that's it! You can take it or leave it!"
He said, "Mister, I
wouldn't sell you the purse for $15 now because you have taken my
bargaining power away. You've taken all the joy out of selling
you the purse. There is no amount of money that you could give me
for the purse now."
I did not buy the purse,
because he would not sell it to me, but I did extend my hand and
tell him that I admired him. It was his trade that gave him joy
and not the receipt of money. He just liked to bargain, and if he
couldn't bargain, he wasn't interested in selling.
Yes, God could have sent
to us our needs having already known them, but God knew that
there was a much more enjoyable way for us to get our needs and
wants from Him.
4. Prayer always makes
God's provisions a delightful surprise. If He simply
delivered our needs and wants to our doorsteps, we would not be
surprised. It would become just a normal thing. Yet even the
possessor of the strongest faith always has an element of
delightful surprise when he receives from God the answers to his
prayers. I have been walking with God for many years. I have been
asking Him for things and pleading with Him to supply the needs
of my ministry for over a third of a century, but to be quite
frank, I am still often surprised when I get the answer. I still
light up like a child and want to share with others the
marvellous answers to prayer that God gives to me. It seems as if
after all these years, I would not be surprised, but God likes it
that way! He likes to see the brightness of our eyes! He likes to
see our hands clap together and our feet leap for joy when He
provides our needs!
5. The use of prayer
is a means whereby God supplies our needs and prevents us from
taking God for granted. While the Israelites were in the
wilderness, God could have sent them enough manna at one time to
last them for a month, but He chose to require them to gather the
manna every day. This kept them constantly praying and believing
and, yes, even needing. This brought a certain amount of growing
love as each day they enjoyed the blessing of gathering the manna
rather than just having that blessing monthly.
When I arrive at church
in the morning, the security guards meet me at the car and walk
me to my office. They escort me to my car at night and watch over
me. When I arrive at church in the morning I am glad to see them.
They are glad to see me. We joke a little bit together and
"howdy" for a little while. This is only for a few
minutes, but it is very enjoyable to all of us. Now those guards
do not have to meet me at my car. They could protect me just as
easily if they were on the roof of the building, watching down,
as I walk from the car to the office. Why then do they meet me at
the car? Why don't they just post themselves on the roof of the
building for surveillance purposes? I'll tell you why. We love to
fellowship! I like it and they like it. If they just protected
me, we would miss a great deal. God in Heaven looks down on us.
He could from a distance simply supply our needs, but God wants
to come down where we are and He wants us to be where He is so
that through prayer that which He knows to do for us can be done
just as well and much more enjoyably. He wants to be with us. He
wants to make His providing for us a delight to Him and to us. He
loves our fellowship. Through prayer His great mind can flow into
our finite minds making it possible for us to serve others better
and to let this mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus. Not
only does God want to provide for us, but God wants to use the
tool of prayer as a means of this provision in order that He may
fellowship with us as He supplies our needs and our wants. What a
blessed bonus this is to the child of God! Not only does he have
the great security of God's provision and protection, but the
child of God has the great intimacy of God's fellowship as He
protects and as He secures His children.
5 — The Original Purpose of Prayer
" And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our
likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all
the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the
Man was given dominion
over all the earth. He was God's representative or viceroy. God
gave him two main purpose: fellowship and word. Because of the
fellowship and the work, man was given this dominion, and prayer
was the tool of dominion. Note the divine order—fellowship,
work, dominion and prayer. As God's earthly viceroy, man had to
apply for his needs to carry out his work. This applying was
prayer. Now the wishes of man were to be granted with two
prerequisites—fellowship and work.
But man fell! When he
fell, his fellowship with God was broken. Hence, he lost his rule
or dominion. Since he had no rule or dominion, he lost his desire
to pray, for no longer was he God's viceroy.
God, however, in His
mercy and grace planned a way of restitution. Man who is saved
now is both the first creature and the second creature. He is
that creature made for dominion as is shown in Psalm 8:4-9, "
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man,
that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower
than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou
madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou
hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and
the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the
sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD
our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!"
Man is also that creature
who is dominated. There is the old nature that is dominated and
the new nature that is meant to dominate. This new nature has
been restored to fellowship and work. Because man has been
restored to fellowship and work, to what degree he fellowships
with God and works, he has that same amount of dominion. So he
needs to pray again, for as God's viceroy he needs to requisition
God for his needs with which to carry on the work. Since prayer
is needed for dominion, and since dominion is allowed by
fellowship and work, to whatever degree we abide in Christ and
work, we have that amount of dominion and, hence, that degree of
power in prayer.
John 14:12, "Verily,
verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I
do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do;
because I go unto my Father." John 15:7, "If ye abide
in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and
it shall be done unto you." John 15:16, "Ye have not
chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye
should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should
remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he
may give it you."
It's up to you! If you
abide in Christ much and work much, you have much dominion and
power in God's economy and God's plan. If you abide in Christ
little and work little, you have little dominion.
Man was originally
created to have total dominion; hence, he had total prayer. When
man lost his dominion, he lost his desire for prayer, for he had
no reason to requisition God. Now that man through Christ has had
the opportunity for fellowship and work for God restored, he can
have as much dominion as he chooses to work and abide in Christ.
It is entirely up to man how much dominion he has. When he has
this dominion, he will need provisions, help, power and blessing.
He will requisition God for these, and this is prayer!
The millennial age when
Jesus rules and reigns for 1000 years will restore man's dominion
completely. Revelation 20:6, "Blessed and holy is he that
hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death
hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ,
and shall reign with him a thousand years."
Perhaps the depth of this
teaching should be summarized as follows:
1. Man was created and
given dominion over all the earth.
2. In return for this
dominion or power, he was asked to give God fellowship and work.
3. Because he had this
dominion and fellowship and work, it was necessary for him to
pray in order to receive the needs to carry out his work.
4. The only
prerequisites for this prayer were fellowship and work. With
that, man earned dominion, and with dominion, man needed to pray.
5. Man fell. Sin
broke the fellowship. Man lost his dominion and lost his desire
6. God planned a way
of restoration through the death and resurrection of Christ.
7. Redeemed man has
both the first creature and the second creature—that one made
for dominion and that one who is dominated.
8. The new one can
have fellowship and work.
9. Hence, to whatever
degree man fellowships with God and works for God, he can have
10. Because he has
dominion, he wants to pray again.
11. Since prayer is
needed by dominion, and dominion is allowed by fellowship and
work, to whatever degree man abides in Christ and works, God
gives man that degree of dominion and, hence, that degree of
power in prayer.
12. The millennium
will restore that dominion completely because it restores the
fellowship and work completely. Hence, it restores our total
dependence on Christ and our desire to requisition Him for our
needs which, of course, is prayer.
6 — Answered Prayer Depends on a Changeless God
Malachi 3:6 we find that God does not change. "For I am the
LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."
In Hebrews 13:8 we find that God the Son does not change. "Jesus
Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Then
we find that the Spirit is called the eternal spirit; hence, God
the Holy Spirit does not change. Our triune God, then, is a
changeless God. The Father never changes, the Son never changes
and the Spirit never changes. Now notice James 1:17, "Every
good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down
from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither
shadow of turning." Note the words, "no variableness."
The word "variableness" means "two views of the
same person." There is only one view of God; there will
never be another, for in Him there are no two views or
variableness! Note also the words, "neither shadow of
turning." This means that no shadowing can put a shadow over
the unchanging One.
Now notice that His
changelessness is connected with His providing for us. He is
talking about His gifts to us. His providing for us and giving to
us are beautifully connected in this same verse. He wants us to
know that His gifts are always available on the same basis. He
never changes; hence, His giving never changes. As is mentioned
in other chapters, there is a great danger of
ultra-dispensationalism. Some things in the Bible do change, but
some things never change; some things outlive a dispensation and
cross over the line between the dispensations.
For example, symbols
change; substance never changes. Once Jewish boys were required
to be circumcised. This is because circumcision was a symbol. Now
the symbol is changed and in this age Jewish boys are not
required to be circumcised. Galatians 5:6, "For in Jesus
Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor
uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."
Once the priests brought
animal sacrifices to the alter. These were symbols, and symbols
change. No longer does a priest bring sacrifices to the alter.
Hebrews 10:11,26, "And every priest standeth daily
ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which
can never take away sins: For if we sin wilfully after that we
have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more
sacrifice for sins."
Once Jewish families
rigidly observed the sabbath, but these sabbaths were only
symbols. They are no longer to be kept. Colossians 2:14-17,
"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against
us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing
it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he
made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no
man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an
holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a
shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."
There was a time when
Jewish families observed seasons and holy days. They were
symbols. These symbols have changed. No longer are these days to
be observed. Galatians 5:4, "Christ is become of no
effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye
are fallen from grace."
At one time Jewish
families restrained from certain meats. These were symbols. The
symbols have changed. I Timothy 4:4,5, "For every
creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be
received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of
God and prayer."
However, substance does
not change. That which was symbolized by the symbol does not
change. Salvation, for example, is the same in every age. Acts
10:43, "To him give all the prophets witness, that through
his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of
sins." The nature of God is the same in every age.
Malachi 3:6, "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore
ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." His answering of
prayer is the same in every age. Psalm 65:2, "O thou that
hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come."
This means that all
general prayer promises are for all people. Substance does not
change. For example, II Chronicles 7:14 applies today as
much as it did in the day of Solomon when it was given. "If
my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves,
and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then
will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will
heal their land." Jeremiah 33:3 is as much for today as
it was the day it was written by Jeremiah. "Call unto me,
and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things,
which thou knowest not." John 15:7 is as much for
today as it was the day when Jesus spoke it. "If ye abide
in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and
it shall be done unto you." These are things of
substance, and substance does not change. The types of Jesus
change, but Jesus never changes. Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus
Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."
The symbols of God the Father change, but God the Father never
changes. Malachi 3:6, "For I am the LORD, I change
not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." It is
because of His changelessness that He answers prayer. That is why
He connects the two in the same passage so beautifully and so
Now observe carefully the
1. God the Father has
2. God the Son has
3. God the Holy Spirit
has never changed.
4. Hence, Jesus was
always the God-human in His personality. He is still the
God-man. For example, I Timothy 2:5 says, "For
there is one God, and one mediator between God and man. . . ."
Who is that mediator today? That mediator is "the man
Christ Jesus." Notice, He is still called in His
glorified body "the man Christ Jesus." Hence, His
humanity was always, just as His deity was always!
6. We are made in His
7. The God-man was not
just an afterthought, nor did Jesus just become the God-man in
Bethlehem. This is not to say that Jesus could ever sin, but
He has always been what He is today.
8. God made us to have
a race, shall we say, of "little Jesuses" that He may
enjoy fellowship with that race.
9. Jesus came not only
to save us and die for us and to pay the penalty for our sins,
but He came to show us what we were meant to be.
Thank God for His
changelessness which gives us confidence that His answering of
prayer is likewise changeless. God in His wisdom links His
changelessness to His giving to us, teaching us that in every age
and in every dispensation He is a prayer-hearing and a
7 — Prayer and the Sovereignty of God
Psalm 2, "Why
do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The
kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel
together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let
us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have
them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and
vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my
holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said
unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of
me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and
the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt
break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces
like a potter's vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be
instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and
rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye
perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."
argue that because God is sovereign, He determines all that there
is to be. These say that God is dependent only upon Himself;
hence, mere mortals could never influence His actions. How then
could He be moved to action by the prayer of a mortal? They say
if God is such, then an answer to our prayers would mean
condescension to our weakness.
Now this would be true if
God were only one Person, but fortunately, God is three Persons,
and in the great doctrine of the trinity, we reconcile God's
sovereignty and man's influence on Him to do what He would not
have done had man not have prayed. Let us begin this
1. God gave His Son
equality and fellowship with Himself. John 1:1, "In
the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
Word was God."
2. God gave His Son a
place as counsellor. Isaiah 9:6,7, "For unto us a
child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall
be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful,
Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of
Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be
no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order
it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from
henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will
perform this." As is mentioned in other chapters, the
word "counsellor" here means mainly that Jesus was and
is the Heavenly Father's counsellor.
3. God gave Jesus
asking privileges. Psalm 2:6-8, "Yet have I set my
king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the
LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten
thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine
inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy
possession." Note the words, "Thou always
hearest Me," in John 11:42. So the first praying was
done by Jesus to the Father.
4. The Father and Son
always were together. Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning
God created the heaven and the earth." The word "God"
here is the word "Elohim," which is a word that means
"plurality and unity." Notice also Genesis 1:26,
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our
likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all
the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the
earth." Especially look at the words, "Our
image." Here we have the Father and the Son and the Holy
Spirit working together in unity.
5. All that God does
is done through prayer. John 1:3, "All things were
made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was
made." Jesus said, "Father, let's make a world,"
and that world was made.
6. Hence, prayer had
its source in the very being of God Himself, as the Father
listened to the counsel and prayer of His Son.
7. This means that the
Son has influence on the Father.
8. Since the Son
influences the Father, if we can influence the Son, we can
influence the Father. John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto
him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me." John 15:7, "If ye abide in me,
and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it
shall be done unto you." We have to come through the Son
to the Father. Now the key to this is the Son's union with the
Father and our union with the Son. Psalm 37:4, "Delight
thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of
thine heart." This is why the unbelieving Jew cannot
pray. This is why the liberal who denies the deity of Jesus
cannot pray. It IS true that mortal men cannot determine the
actions of a sovereign God, but the Lord Jesus, the Son of God,
can determine the actions of His Father, and since Jesus is the
God-man of the trinity, this very nature makes it possible. Man
could not enter into a union with God, but as God, Jesus can, and
God could not enter into a union with man, but as man, Jesus can.
So we contact the Man, Christ Jesus, and the Father contacts the
God, Christ Jesus; hence, man contacts God through His
Counsellor, and our Saviour, the God-man, Christ Jesus.
Perhaps a small chapter
like this is not vital in the average Christian's prayer life,
but to one who dwells upon the greatness of God, such a thought
is sweet and precious. We as men can influence the Man, Christ
Jesus. Our Heavenly Father as God can be influenced by the God,
Christ Jesus. Hence, through Jesus man can be used as a tool with
which to open the great heart of God.
8 — The Philosophy Behind Prayer and fasting
17:19-21, " Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and
said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them,
Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have
faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this
mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and
nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not
out but by prayer and fasting."
had returned from the mount of transfiguration. He performed a
miracle that the disciples tried to perform in His absence and
could not. They asked Him, "Why could we not?" His
answer was, "Because of your unbelief." Their question
and His answer leads us to several conclusions.
1. Faith is the ONE
condition on which all divine power rests. The Lord Jesus
said, "According to your faith be it unto you."
(Matthew 9:29a) Again He said, "All things are
possible to him that believeth." (Mark 9:23b)
2. There are degrees
of faith. The Lord Jesus said, "According to your
faith be it unto you," which means little faith, little
answered prayer—more faith, more answered prayer—much faith,
much answered prayer.
3. If answered prayer
comes because of faith, and if there are degrees of faith, then
there are degrees of answered prayer. The same Saviour Who
said, "According to your faith," said, "be
it unto you." He said, "This kind can come forth
by nothing, but by prayer and fasting," which means that
there are degrees of answered prayer. Small faith gets small
answers—more faith gets larger answers—much faith gets the
4. This means if we
are to get our prayers to grow, we must get our faith to grow.
If faith is the one condition on which all divine power rests,
and if there are degrees of faith, there are also degrees of
answered prayer. Hence, we must find some way to get our faith to
5. When the Lord Jesus
says, "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by
prayer and fasting," He is teaching us that prayer and
fasting generate faith. (Mark 9:29) This means that faith
needs both prayer and fasting. Prayer is the grasping of the
invisible. Fasting is the letting go of the visible. One's degree
of faith depends on the degree between the visible and the
invisible. As we fast, that is, withdraw ourselves from physical
appetites and the satisfying of the senses, we are letting go of
the visible. As we pray, we are grasping the invisible.
6. There must be times
that we let go of the visible completely and hold completely to
the invisible if we are to reach the ultimate in prayer. Now
to be sure, we are left here on earth in physical bodies. We must
be fed, we must have our physical appetites satisfied, and there
is certainly nothing wrong with that if it is not done to excess.
There should, however, be seasons when we let go of the visible
completely and grasp the invisible with all of our hearts. These
are the seasons when we need miracles to take place.
This also means that our
release of the visible should depend upon the greatness of our
needs in answer to prayer. Just as fasting and praying is
grasping completely the invisible and letting go completely of
the visible, there are degrees of fasting and praying which would
be determined by the size of our needs and the bigness of our
There are dangers. One
danger is holding on to the invisible and not letting go of the
visible. Another would be letting go of the visible but not
holding on to the invisible. For example, there are times when I
feel that I should fast one day a week. I may some need that is
greater than usual and I might give one day a week to fasting and
to as much praying as possible. Suppose the offerings were down
at church and I had a burden about them. Suppose I had the need
for several hundred dollars in my own life. Needs of this
magnitude might drive me to letting go of the visible for one day
a week and for as much time as possible during that day holding
on to the invisible, which is prayer and fasting.
At other times, however,
while the children were growing up, I might have been really
concerned about them. I remember one time one of the children was
just not doing well at all, and I was really heartbroken. I
prayed and fasted for that child for three or four days. This was
because the need was of a greater magnitude than that of a weekly
financial need at church or the need or the need of a few hundred
dollars in my personal life.
Then there were the days
when I was praying for God to give us Hyles-Anderson College
campus. This beautiful 78-acre campus with unbelievably built
buildings was seemingly unavailable, but I knew that God wanted
us to have it, so I would fast maybe for a week at a time and
pray that God would give us the campus. Then one night a month I
would pray all night long. You see, when the burden was bigger,
the need was of a greater magnitude. For even greater needs, I
have fasted as long as two weeks. Now it does little good to fast
unless one prays. It does little good to let go of the visible if
one does not grasp the invisible.
If one thinks that all is
lawful unless it is expressly forbidden in the Bible, then he
will never know great power in prayer. We are not only to lay
aside every sin, but as a runner in the race for God, we are to
lat aside every weight. Hebrews 12:1, "Wherefore seeing
we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily
beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set
before us." The soldier in warfare takes only what is
needed for battle. There are many things that he cannot take that
would not be sinful to take, but those things are too cumbersome,
and the battle would be lost. A runner in a race not only lays
aside his drinking and smoking, but he also lays aside his
overcoat, his heavy boots and things that are not sinful to wear
but would cause him not to win the race. Eating is not wrong if
it is not done in excess. Physical love within the plan of God is
not wrong. The enjoyment of nature is not wrong, but there are
times when we have to lay aside that which is not wrong in order
that we may let go for a season of the visible and grasp the
invisible so that we may know the miracle-working power of God in
answer to our prayers.
Hence, since faith is the
one condition on which all divine power rests, and since there
are degrees of faith, there must also be degrees of answered
prayer. Therefore, if we are to get our answers to grow, we must
get our faith to grow. Our faith grows by prayer, which is the
grasping of the invisible, and by fasting, which is the letting
go of the visible. As we do these two things, our faith grows,
and as our faith grows, our answered prayer grows. This is the
philosophy behind prayer and fasting.
— God Is Trying to Get It to You!
heard a sincere, but misguided, preacher preach who listed every
condition for answered prayer one after the other, as though
these conditions formed an obstacle course. He said that if we
wanted to have our prayers answered, first we would have to have
faith! Matthew 9:29b, "According to your faith be it unto
you." Matthew 21:22, "And all things, whatsoever ye
shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." Mark
9:23, "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all
things are possible to him that believeth." Matthew 21:21,
"Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you,
If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which
is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this
mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it
shall be done." Mark 11:22-24, "And Jesus answering
saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you,
That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and
be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but
shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to
pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto
you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye
receive them, and ye shall have them."
preacher then said that after we have faith, we must find
somebody with whom we can pray and with whom we can agree
concerning the petition! Matthew 18:19, "Again I say unto
you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any
thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father
which is in heaven."
that he was over two obstacles of the course, the preacher came
to fasting. Mark 9:29, "And he said unto them, This kind
can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."
that we have faith, and we have found someone to share the prayer
with us, and we have fasted, according to that preacher's
message, we still would not be able to receive our answer because
we are also supposed to ask in Jesus' name! John 14:13,14,
"And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do,
that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any
thing in My name, I will do it."
then added to this obstacle course, abiding in Christ and His
Word abiding in us. John 15:7, "If ye abide in Me, and My
words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be
done unto you."
concluded by adding the requirement of keeping on asking! Luke
18:7, "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day
and night unto him, though he bear long with them?"
he added these six things together—faith plus praying with
someone who is in agreement plus fasting plus asking in Jesus'
name plus abiding in Christ and His Word abiding in us plus
perseverance in prayer. "Now," he said, "God will
answer our prayer."
dear brother misunderstands God! God is not making it difficult
for us to get our prayers answered! God wants us to have our
prayers answered! These are not six steps to answered
prayer—these are six different ways that we can have our
prayers answered. It is not all of these, but rather, any of
these! It is not faith plus an agreeing prayer partner plus
fasting plus asking in Jesus' name plus abiding plus
perseverance. It is faith or praying with someone in agreement or
fasting or asking in Jesus' name or abiding or perseverance.
us imagine a Christian coming to God to pray. He claims a promise
on faith such as Matthew 9:29, "Then touched he their
eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you."
However, the truth is, we sometimes cannot believe! Many
times our prayers are answered and we are surprised. In fact, in
big answers to prayer we are almost always surprised. So the
Christian comes to God and says, "Dear God, I'm afraid I
can't get my prayer answered because I just don't have enough
Lord says, "Wait a minute! I have another way. Don't leave.
Try this: Find somebody who can agree with you on this matter,
and come and ask Me again. Claim Matthew 18:19, "Again I
say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching
any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My
Father which is in heaven."
it is harder than one thinks to find someone to agree with him
and share his burden in prayer. Each has his own needs, burdens
and ministry, so it is sometimes hard to find someone with whom
we can truly unite in prayer.
remember a number of years ago when Hyles-Anderson College was
purchasing our present campus. We had to raise two and one-half
million dollars in 18 months, and we came close to the deadline
without the money! Having faith in the prayers of Dr. John R.
Rice, I asked him one day if he would join me in a prayer meeting
for the money. He agreed to do so. So we knelt to pray. I prayed
something like this: "Oh, Lord, please supply our needs. You
know that our college is dedicated to You, and You know it is
Your college. Lord, please give us the two and one-half million
dollars." I continued to pray in that manner, and then it
came Dr. Rice's time to pray.
prayed something like this: "Dear Lord, bless the Sword of
the Lord and supply the needs, and dear Lord, don't forget the
Voice of Revival broadcast. Please help us to meet the needs
there. Lord, bless the Sword Conferences." He continued to
pray for every ministry that was his and then said, "Amen."
He hadn't said a word about the two and one-half million dollars
that our college needed. His burden was not my burden; and my
burden was not his!
he asked me to pray with him the same way. He prayed for his
needs and then asked me to pray. I intended to pray for his
needs, but I got so busy praying for my own ministry that I was a
long time arriving at the place where I could pray for him. I
finally looked up, and he was gone. He had given up on my sharing
the Christian must come to God claiming the promises by faith,
but he finds he cannot have the necessary faith. God says, "Okay,
get someone to pray with you who can share the burden."
Again he returns to the Father and says, "Father, I'm sorry,
I have failed; I can't find anyone to share the burden,"
whereupon God says, "Don't leave! I have another way. You
may ask for what you want in Jesus' name." John 14:13,14,
"And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do,
that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any
thing in My name, I will do it."
the Christian tries to ask in Jesus' name, and however hard he
tries, he finds himself asking for something he wants, and the
truth is, he cannot ask in Jesus' name because it is something
that he wants for himself. Once again it seems futile. Then he
hears the voice of God saying, "Wait a minute! Wait a
minute! I have another way! You can fast and pray." Mark
9:29, "And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by
nothing, but by prayer and fasting." So the believer
attempts to fast and pray and after a few hours he gets mighty
hungry and finds he is failing at this attempt also. In futility
he turns to leave, when our compassionate Heavenly Father says,
"Wait a minute! Don't leave yet! Try this: Keep on praying.
Persevere in prayer." Luke 18:7, "And shall not God
avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he
bear long with them?"
we have a wonderful God—a God Who loves us devotedly and longs
to give us what we ask, but so far we have failed! Our faith is
weak, our prayer partner does not share our burden, we cannot
honestly and sincerely ask in Jesus' name, we have failed in
fasting, and somehow or another perseverance is difficult for us.
Once again our Heavenly Father advances another prayer promise to
us. John 15:7, "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in
you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
Thank God for His mercy, His patience, His longsuffering and His
love for His children!
I have a special need, I often choose one prayer promise for the
entire season of supplication and begging God. For four years in
college, I kept claiming Jeremiah 33:3, "Call unto Me,
and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things,
which thou knowest not." It was the verse that literally
took me through college! At other times I have claimed other
verses such as John 15:7, "If ye abide in me, and my
words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be
done unto you." Psalm 37:4, "Delight thyself also in
the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart."
Jeremiah 32:17, "Ah Lord GOD! behold, Thou hast made the
heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm,
and there is nothing too hard for Thee."
of the great enemies of prayer is the temptation to take a prayer
promise and apply it to some other age or dispensation,
invalidating most of the Bible and its promises to us in this
age. To be sure, there is a dispensational teaching in the Bible
(though I think much too much emphasis is placed on it). It is
true that many of the promises in the Bible are given for a
particular people at a particular time. In most cases, however,
God's attitude toward one era and toward one people is the same
as His attitude toward another era and another people. In the
promises of God we learn something about the principles of God,
the character of God and the nature of God.
example, II Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, which are
called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my
face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from
heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
This is a great promise. True, it was given to another people at
another time and pertains to God's people under King Solomon;
however, though God was speaking to a particular people at a
particular time, it is still the nature of God in our day and it
has always been the nature of God to react the same way to the
same stimulus. If God's people of any age will humble themselves,
and pray, and seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, God
will hear from Heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land!
This not only was true in Bible times, but it is true today in
America or Poland or England or Sweden or Germany or Russia or in
any other country of the world!
of God's promises reveal to us His nature and His response to a
certain stimulus. It is wise for us to realize that God always
responds the same way to the same stimulus. He never changes.
Therefore, it may be that a particular Bible promise may not be
primarily given to us, yet it shows to us the nature, compassion,
love, forgiveness and mercy of God. You see, what God wants for
some of His people, He wants for all of His people. People often
want to defend certain dress styles by taking such a message as
Deuteronomy 22:5, "The woman shall not wear that which
pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's
garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy
God," and saying that was not for the Gentiles; that was
for the Jews. However, Gentile people are shaped basically like
Jewish people, and I am sure that what God would want for His own
nation, He would want for other nations, and what He would want
for the Jew, He would want for the Gentile.
harm has been done to the cause of Christ by non-soulwinning
theologians who take far too much Bible from us and leave far too
little Bible for us. We are so busy relegating the promises of
God to another era that we are nearly bereft of His promises for
today. I am not disputing dispensational truth; I am disputing
that kind of ultra-dispensationalism that almost makes it
necessary for God to give us an audible promise for today since
all the others have been used up in other dispensations! This is
especially dangerous when we leave the impression, for example,
that the dispensation of grace started at Pentecost. The
dispensation of grace started the minute Adam and Eve sinned in
the Garden of Eden. Adam was saved by grace, Abraham was saved by
grace, David was saved by grace, and though I am sure the
theologian does not intend to teach that salvation was ever any
other way but by grace, he nevertheless leaves the impression to
the immature mind by the very nature of the term, "dispensation
of grace." The fact that THE dispensation of grace is
mentioned implies that there was a time when we were not under
the dispensation of grace. Every soul that has been saved since
Adam and that will be saved until the last one comes to Christ in
the millennium will be saved by grace through faith in God's
provision for our salvation through the finished work of His Son,
Jesus, on Calvary!
10 — God Often Answers Before We Pray
65:24, "And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I
will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear."
thing must always be kept in mind by the believer, and that is
that God always WANTS to give us things.
11:13, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts
unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give
the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" Sometimes He has
a hard time waiting to give us things, and gives them to us even
before we pray.
37:4, "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give
thee the desires of thine heart." Here He mentions
giving us things, but prayer is not mentioned. Jeremiah 33:3,
"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great
and mighty things, which thou knowest not." Here He
promises to give us things we don't even know about. Not only
will He give us the things for which we pray, but He gives us
things that "thou knowest not."
81:10, " I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of
the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it."
God promises to fill our mouths if we will open them wide. Once
again, nothing is said about prayer. Matthew 6:33, "But
seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all
these things shall be added unto you." Here we have God
giving us things, and yet prayer is not mentioned. The same is
true in Philippians 4:19, "But my God shall supply all
your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
does not mean that a Christian who never prays can get many
things from God before he asks. It does mean that the Christian
who prays regularly will sometimes get things from God before he
asks. Notice again Isaiah
65:24, "And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I
will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear."
it is hard for a parent to wait until the child asks. This is why
dad will buy his two-week-old son a football or an electric
train. He has not bought these gifts because the son asked for
them; he bought them because he knew someday the son would want
them and would ask, and it was such a delight for dad to provide
these things for the son that he had a hard time waiting! Since
God chooses to call us children and to call Himself our Father,
perhaps He feels the same way about us!
you ever buy a gift for someone and couldn't wait to give it to
that person? Maybe it was a Christmas gift, but you were so
excited about the gift you gave it before Christmas. Could it be
that God gets so excited about what He is going to give us that
He sometimes gives it to us early, even before we ask? This is
because He loves us, and He loves to see us happy. If we are
rightly related with Him, He oftentimes does not want to wait to
see our faces when we receive what He has for us.
heard of a wife who made herself a little note to remind herself
to ask her husband for something. She did not give him the note,
nor did she ask, but he discovered the note around the house.
Before she got around to asking him, he purchased the item which
she wanted and gave it to her! Did you ever make a note to ask
God for something? God looked over your shoulder and saw you make
the note! He knows you love Him; He knows you are close to Him;
He knows you are serving Him; He knows you are abiding in Him; He
knows that His Word is abiding in you, so the Heavenly Father,
knowing that you are going to ask Him, goes ahead and answers
before you ask. How sweet and how precious is this relationship
that God has for those who love Him!
are times when I just think in my mind about something for which
I want to ask God. Since God knows my thoughts, He knows I am
thinking it and He wants to surprise me. Of course, this is only
possible when the child of God is living in a sweet, close
relationship with His Heavenly Father.
watch for the desires of those whom I love, so do you. Then would
not the great heart of God be watching carefully for the desires
of those whom He loves and those who are very close to Him? Of
course, He does, and like earthly parents, He wants to give good
things to us. Luke 11:13, "If ye then, being evil, know
how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall
your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?"
Oh, yes, the normal and usual way for God to supply our needs
and to satisfy our wants is to answer our prayers, but loving us
as He does and being our Heavenly Father, He occasionally wants
to surprise those who live especially close to Him by answering
before the prayer is spoken.
oil that keeps us warm from the wintry blast was planned and
prepared for us centuries ago. The coal that is stoked in the
furnace has been centuries in preparation. When a baby is born,
God has long been preparing the breast of his dear mother, and
just a few moments after childbirth God begins preparing milk
from the mother's body to be given as food for the newborn babe.
He also tickles the lips of the baby instantly as they begin to
pucker to prepare for God's miracle of provision. God loves us!
He is gracious in answering us WHEN we call; He is infinitely
more gracious in answering us oftentimes BEFORE we call!
you ever gotten a desired item before you prayed for it, but
wished you had prayed first so you could have given God the
credit and added another illustration of answered prayer to your
growing list? Sometimes we take credit for being a great person
of prayer instead of giving God the credit as a great answerer,
so occasionally God will just show us where it really comes from
and give it to us before we pray in order that He might receive
the glory, the praise and the honor!
tender is our God! How gracious is His heart! How compassionate
are His dealings! How merciful is He toward us! Thank God for the
thousands of times that He has answered in response to prayer.
Thank God for those times when His great heart becomes a bit
impatient because He longs to see us receive that for which we
are going to ask, and knowing that we will ask, He rushes it to
us in advance!
I know that Isaiah 65:24 is
a millennial promise. "And
it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and
while they are yet speaking, I will hear." During
the millennium it will be the usual way that God cares for us,
but occasionally God likes to bring a little of the millennium to
us early. Me thinks that His nature now is the same that His
nature will be in the kingdom, so when He finds a Christian who
can live anywhere near a kingdom life, perhaps He will
prematurely give to that Christian a kingdom promise!
11 — If We Do Not Pray
incarnate, the virgin-born Son of God Himself felt a need to
pray. In Matthew 14:23 we read, "He went up into a
mountain apart to pray." In Matthew 26:36 He
said, "Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder."
In Mark 6:46 it says, "He departed into a mountain
to pray." In Luke 6:12 we read, "He went
out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to
Luke 11:1 it says that, "He was praying in a
certain place." The word "certain" here
means "special," "solid," "firm,"
"safe." He had a special place where He prayed that was
a solid place, a firm place and a safe place. No doubt it was the
same place on the Mount of Olives where He loved to meet the
Bible in Luke 11:1 says, "When He ceased."
In other words, they could not interrupt Him. He prayed until He
felt it was time to stop. Then the disciples said, "Lord,
teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." To
paraphrase that, we could say, "Lord, teach us to ask as
John also taught his disciples to ask." If the Son of God
Himself, Who was the sinless, perfect, blameless, second Person
of the Godhead, needed to pray, how much more do frail creatures
of dust need to pray!
spite of this, most Christians do not pray at all. There are
several things that happen when God's people do not pray.
We sin. I Samuel 12:23, "Moreover as for me, God
forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for
you: but I will teach you the good and the right way." What
could be plainer? If we do not pray, we sin. If we do not pray
for others, we sin. Prayerlessness is no doubt behind every other
sin. I talked to a preacher who had gone so far into sin he had
left the ministry and was living a wasted, barren life. I asked
him where it all started. He said, "That's easy. It started
the day I did not go to the prayer closet."
We do not receive what we need. James 4:2, "Ye
lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot
obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not."
Dr. Rice used to fantasize that he went to Heaven and that he saw
building after building filled with beautiful things. There were
so many beautiful packages and wonderful things that God had. In
his fantasy Dr. Rice would ask, "Dear Father, what are
these?" and the Father would say with a sad voice, "These
are things I had for my children, but they never asked for them."
We have no because we ask not!
We go without wisdom. James 1:5, "If any of you
lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men
liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
Three things are on the top of my prayer list: power, wisdom
and love. This means that at least to this preacher, wisdom is
one of the three most important things that he can possess. What
a pity for parents to go without wisdom in rearing their children
because they do not pray! What a pity for pastors to go without
wisdom in leading their churches because they do not pray! What a
pity for teachers to go without wisdom in teaching their classes
because they do not pray! Oh, to tap the source of the great mind
of God for wisdom! It is available. If we do not have it, it is
because we do not ask for it.
We are often sick. James 5:13-15, "Is any among
you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church;
and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of
the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the
Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they
shall be forgiven him." Many are sick and afflicted
because they do not pray. This does not mean all Christians
should be well all the time. It does mean that many are sick
because they do not pray.
Many die prematurely. II Chronicles 16:12,13, "And
Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his
feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease
he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians. And Asa slept
with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his
reign." I Chronicles 10:13,14, "So Saul died for his
transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against
the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking
counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; And
enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the
kingdom unto David the son of Jesse." Isaiah 38:1, "In
those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet
the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the
LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not
Others die. Exodus 32:9-14, "And the LORD said
unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a
stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may
wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will
make of thee a great nation. And Moses besought the LORD his God,
and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people,
which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great
power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians
speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them
in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth?
Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy
people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to
whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will
multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that
I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall
inherit it for ever. And the LORD repented of the evil which he
thought to do unto his people."
are prone to categorize sin. We have a few sins that we
categorize as giants ones. We list murder, adultery,
homosexuality, stealing, killing, cursing, etc. Let me suggest
that you put one sin at the top of the list: the sin of
prayerlessness. It is the greatest of all the sins, for it
includes in it a degree of atheism. If we really believed that
there is a God in Heaven Who hears our prayers and Who can answer
them and give us our needs and yes, even our wants, we should
pray! We do not pray because we do not believe in our hearts that
He will answer. What a wicked sin! It is comparable to that of
being an infidel!
only should prayerlessness be at the top of the list because of
the immensity of its evil, but also because it is the father of
all other sins. When we pray, we abide in Christ and build
resistance against temptation.
those who do not pray, a good prayer with which to start would
be, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his
12 — The Right to Pray
17:24, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given
me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which
thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of
the words, "I will." Now note Mark 14:36,
"And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto
thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will,
but what thou wilt." Note the words, "Not what I
will, but what Thou wilt." What is the difference? Why
did Jesus say, "I will," at one place and "not
what I will, but what Thou wilt" in another?
understand this, one must understand the tabernacle in the
wilderness. There were two alters in the tabernacle—the brazen
alter and the alter of incense. The brazen alter was located just
inside the gate in the courtyard. The alter of incense was
located just outside the Holy of Holies in the Holy Place itself.
Both of these alters had smoke rising to Heaven continually. This
smoke rising to Heaven symbolizes prayer. Both of these alters,
likewise, symbolize the Lord Jesus. The brazen alter on which the
lamb was offered symbolized the cross on which the Lamb of God
was offered as the only sacrifice acceptable to God for the sins
of man. When John the Baptist introduced the Lord Jesus Christ he
introduced Him as the Lamb of God, John 1:29, "The next
day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb
of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Over
and over again in the Revelation Jesus is called the Lamb. For
example, Revelation 14:4b, "These were redeemed from
among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb."
He is also called our Passover. I Corinthians 5:7, "Purge
out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye
are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for
us." The brazen alter where the sacrifices were made was
a type of the cross where Jesus, our Sacrifice, was offered. From
this alter smoke, symbolizing prayer, rose heavenward.
alter of incense also had smoke rising heavenward, and it
pictured Jesus as our High Priest. Hebrews 7:25, "Wherefore
he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God
by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."
Now this alter was right outside the Holy of Holies, and when the
veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom, this alter was at
the right hand of the Shekinah, symbolizing the presence of God
as it hovered over the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. This
pictures our Saviour interceding for us at the right hand of the
notice that the coals on the alter of incense came from the
brazen alter. There could be no sweet-smelling incense rising
heavenward until there had been the smoke of sacrifice rising
heavenward. This means that Jesus could not be our Priest until
He had been our Sacrifice. Hence, He had to say, "Not as
I will, but as Thou wilt," before He could say, "I
will." As our Sacrifice He said, "Not as I will,
but as Thou wilt." As our risen High Priest He could
say, "I will."
is the desire of every child of God who prays to be able to say,
"I will have my request" and "I will receive my
answer." However, the "I will" of prayer cannot
come until the "Not what I will, but as Thou wilt" has
come. This means the Christian's alter of incense cannot come
until he has been laid on the brazen alter. Romans 12:1,2, "I
beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye
present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto
God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to
this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect,
will of God." There is no need for us to become a dead
sacrifice as did the Lamb of God. God wants a living sacrifice. A
person cannot pray until he has been to the brazen alter and
trusted the Lamb of God, even Jesus, God's only acceptable
Sacrifice. Once he has been to the brazen alter, that is, the
cross, he then can go to the alter of incense, that is, prayer.
a sense, the child of God must place himself on that alter as a
living sacrifice before he can know the fulness of his prayer
life. The alter of sacrifice comes first. Romans 12:1a, "I
beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye
present your bodies a living sacrifice." Then we go to
the alter of prayer. Revelation 5:8, "And when he had
taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell
down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden
vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints."
you be mighty in prayer? Then you must be mighty in sacrifice.
Would you have the fragrance of your prayers always rising
heavenward? Then you must have the odor of your sacrifice rising
is a certain kind of Christianity abroad in the land that is a
"white glove" kind of Christianity. It is for the dress
parade and not for the battle. The writer said, "To the old
rugged cross I will ever be true, its SHAME and REPROACH gladly
bear." Crowning time cannot come until cross-bearing time
has come. Victory cannot come until the battle has come.
Resurrection cannot come until death has come. The glories of the
alter of incense will never be known until the suffering of the
brazen alter is known. It is at this brazen alter where we trust
the Lamb of God and have our sins placed on Him and where we lay
ourselves as a sacrifice to God that we have the right to pray as
is typified at the alter of incense.
13 — Feeling at Home with God
this little chapter could be titled, "On Being Intimate with
God." One of the things I have noticed about great men is
that as they grow older, they crave tenderness. I remember how
tender and gentle Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. was. Through years of
observation I noticed the gentleness and tenderness of Dr. John
R. Rice. I remember hearing Dr. R.G. Lee, just before his death,
finish a masterpiece of a sermon and then walk off the platform
and say to me, "Dr. Hyles, did I do alright?" There was
a hunger for tenderness. As I grow older, I find gentle little
expressions meaning more and more. The pinch of the elbow by a
loving friend, the squeeze of the hand by one who cares, the note
under the door, the encouraging word, the Reese peanut butter cup
(my favorite candy) placed under the office door, the little
child getting on his hands and knees outside my office door and
shouting, "I wuv you, Peecher!"
someone will come in my office and voice the fact that he is
nervous and afraid of me. This always saddens me, for the older I
get the closer I feel to my people, and the closer I want them to
feel to me.
does this happen to the child of God as he grows older and as he
grows in grace? This is not hard to know. It is the fact that he
is becoming more like Jesus. With our limited ability to love, we
crave affection, and if we do, how much more does the great heart
of God crave tenderness and affection! Oh, to offer it to Him and
to give Him the love that He wants and needs from His own! You
can see this trait in Romans 8:15, "For ye have not
received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have
received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."
Notice the word, "Abba." This was the Jewish term
comparable with our term, "Papa" or "Daddy."
God yearns for us to use this term of familiarity and tenderness
concerning Himself. This is one reason I am opposed to what is
commonly called the formal worship service, the high church
ritual, and why I am for the sweet personal type of worship that
God's child can give to his Saviour.
you were God, which would you like best? The formal stately
ritualistic adoration or the sweet, "I love you,"
"You're a wonderful Saviour," and "I love you,
the Lord Jesus was talking to Simon Peter, He asked him the
question, "Lovest thou me?"
responded, "Thou knowest that I love Thee."
two words used for love are different. Jesus was using the
stronger word for love, "agape." He was asking Peter if
he dearly loved Him and deeply loved Him. Peter was using the
milder word for love which could even be translated, "a
was saying, "Peter, do you deeply love me?"
was replying, "Lord, I am fond of Thee."
Jesus asked, "Peter, do you deeply love Me?"
Peter replied, "I am fond of You."
was Jesus doing? He was longing for Peter to say, "I deeply
love You, Lord."
doubt He longs to hear you and me say, "I deeply love You,
one occasion Jesus asked the disciples, "Whom say men that I
disciples began to answer that some said He was Elijah; and some,
John the Baptist, and some, Jeremiah. Jesus then asked, "Whom
say YE that I am?"
knew that they believed that He was the Christ, the Son of the
living God, but He wanted to hear it.
love that little poster where a little boy says to a girl, "Tell
me if you love me or not. You told me once, but I forgot."
That is sort of what Jesus was saying. "Tell Me if I am the
Christ or not. You told Me once, but I forgot."
Me, Abba, Papa" says the Father. "You called Me that
once, but I forgot."
the model prayer our Lord admonishes us to pray, "OUR
Father." He could have just said, "Pray, Father,"
but no, He wanted that possessive pronoun, "Our Father."
He wants us to call Him our own. You remember, don't you, the
words of Thomas, "MY Lord and MY God." Notice
again the possessive pronoun. Our Lord likes that.
is also noteworthy that in the model prayer where we are
admonished to pray, "OUR Father which art in Heaven,"
this is the first time that the title of Father is attributed to
God. It is here that He interjects His desire to have a
relationship with us as a father would have with his son. Oh, how
the great heart of God wants us to be intimate with Him!
John 4:23, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the
true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:
for the Father seeketh such to worship Him." Look at
those sweet words, "the Father seeketh such to worship
Him." Remember, God called Abraham His friend.
often use the term, "practice His presence." I love
remember when Dr. John Rice would pray before a service, he would
say something like this: "Lord, I'm an old man now, but
Caleb was going strong at 80. Lord, was Caleb Your pet? Couldn't
You keep me strong and well in my old age?"
remember Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., as he would pray, "Jesus, if I
heard You were at Jerusalem today, I would get on the next plane
and fly there, and I would wait in line if I had to for days just
to get to shake Your hand and look upon Your face, or for that
matter, Lord, if I heard You were anywhere in the world, I would
rush quickly where You were so I could see You, and I would wait
as long as I had to just to touch You one time." (Dr. Bob
has seen Jesus now for many years!)
was very pleased recently. Several months ago a person who is
very nervous, very tense and very fearful came to my office. I
tried to set him at ease, but it seemed that I failed. It was
really an ordeal for him to come and see the Preacher, but
counsel was needed. Another counseling session was scheduled and
another and another. A few days ago he left, he paused at the
door and with quivering lips said, "Pastor, I want you to
know I feel more at ease now than I once did." I was
is a way that the Christian can get to know God better until he
feels more at ease in the presence of his Father. God likes that.
14 — Be Definite in Your Prayers
are constantly reminded in the Bible to pray for what we want. In
Mark 11:24 we are told, "what things soever ye desire."
In John 15:7, "ask what ye will." In John 14:14,
"ask any thing." Psalm 37:4, "the desires of thine
heart." Philippians 4:6, "in every thing by prayer, let
your request be made known unto God."
means we are supposed to be definite in our praying. Matthew
6:11, "Give us this day our daily bread." Luke 11:5,
"And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend,
and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend
me three loaves." I Samuel 1:10-13, "And she was in
bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And
she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed
look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and
not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a
man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his
life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. And it came to
pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked
her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips
moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had
are to be so definite that we are to prepare for the answer. II
Kings 18:23, " Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to
my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand
horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them."
Notice that God will provide the horses if we provide the riders.
years the First Baptist Church of Hammond has led the way in the
bus ministry. Thousands ride our buses every week to Sunday
School and church on Sunday morning. I am often asked, "Where
did it all start? Over 20 years ago I prayed for God to give us
some buses. At that time we did not own one single bus. A fine
couple in the church called me and said they had $6,000 they
would like to invest in the Lord's work, but they wanted it to be
invested in something that would reap souls. What a wonderful
answer to prayer! We bought six buses (used ones, of course), but
we also needed at least one good, new bus that we could use that
was dependable. At that time Meredith Plopper (who has been with
me on the staff now for 22 years) was our financial secretary. I
called Meredith in and asked her to pray with me that God would
give us two new buses. This would total $14,000. We prayed, and I
made it a matter of prayer for several days, and I'm sure
Meredith did also.
day I was out soul winning and I went to visit a man who had
visited our church the previous Sunday. He lived in an apartment
house in downtown Hammond. I walked up on the front porch and saw
an elderly lady sitting in an old-fashioned swing that was
hanging from the ceiling. I spoke with her and found that she was
the owner of the apartment house. I asked her if the gentleman
whom I wanted to visit were at home. She said, "I'm sorry,
but he is not." I was intrigued by the porch swing on which
she sat, and I chatted with her for a few moments about it. She
asked me to sit down beside her and swing, and so I did. We got
to talking with each other. I asked her where she was from and if
she had any children. She told me that she did, and then she went
in and got the family album and brought it to the front porch,
and we sat there on the swing and looked at the family album. I
guess I stayed about fifteen minutes chatting with the dear lady,
and then I went on my way. Some time passed. One day I got a call
from St. Margaret Hospital saying it was an emergency. Someone
who was a patient in the hospital needed to see me. I went to the
hospital, walked in the room, and there was the elderly lady with
whom I shared the swing on the front porch of the apartment
house. She looked up at me and in a very stern voice said
something like this, "I am the old lady that you visited. I
enjoyed our visit so much that when you left I said, 'If I ever
get bad sick, that's the Preacher I want to pray for me.' Now I'm
obeyed and asked God to heal her. (This He did.) After I had
prayed she looked at me and said, "Now you have been nice to
me; I want to be nice to you. Is there something that your church
needs that I could buy for you as a gift?"
thought of the usual "sacrificial" Baptistic
gift—perhaps a book marker for the Bible on the communion
table, but I told her I would rather not tell her of any needs
that we had. If the Lord spoke to her heart concerning what she
should do, then she could obey Him. She asked, "Doesn't your
church run some buses?"
said, "Yes, ma'am."
said, "Would it be all right with you if I bought you a new
the Lord! That's $7,000 for just fifteen minutes on a porch swing
and one prayer!
the way back to the office I began to rejoice, and then suddenly
it dawned on me—Meredith and I had been praying for God to give
us two buses! Then I felt a little saddened and embarrassed to
tell Meredith about the new bus that the lady was giving us. I
went to my office, sat behind the desk, picked up the phone to
call Meredith, then put it down, then picked it up again, then
put it down. I hated to disappoint her. While I was halting
between two decisions, the phone rang. The operator said, "Long
distance from Perryville, Indiana, for Pastor Jack Hyles." I
received the call. A male voice on the other end of the line
said, "My name is Bob Crist. I own a bus sales company in
Perryville, Indiana. Are you the Preacher that the old lady in
the hospital is buying a bus for?"
said, "She called me to order the bus, and before she hung
up, she said, 'By the way, Mr. Crist, make that two buses while
you are at it.' "
to God! praise the Lord! Amen! God had answered our prayers. Now
we had been definite. We did not pray for God to provide some
form of transportation; we told Him we wanted buses. We told Him
what kind of buses we wanted, and we told Him how many we wanted.
Mark 10:48 the blind man said to our Lord, "Have
mercy on me."
answered in verse 51 asking exactly what it was he wanted.
Now our Lord knew what the blind man wanted, but He wanted to
hear Him ask. A general prayer like, "Have mercy on me,"
could mean any one of many things. Then the blind man told Him
exactly what he wanted, and he got his answer!
Matthew 20:29-34, "And as they departed from Jericho, a
great multitude followed him. And, behold, two blind men sitting
by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out,
saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. And the
multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but
they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son
of David. And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What
will ye that I shall do unto you? They say unto him, Lord, that
our eyes may be opened. So Jesus had compassion on them, and
touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight,
and they followed him."
Sunday school teacher should not just say, "Lord, bless my
class," but rather "Lord, help Susie at school,"
"Keep Mary pure," "Bless Betty's home life."
should not just simply say, "Lord, supply my needs."
How much better it would be to say, "Lord, give us $280 for
rent, and give us something to eat for supper."
child of God should not limit his prayer to, "Lord, forgive
my sins," but he should go on to say, "Forgive my
jealousy, forgive the hatred in my heart, forgive my envy."
parent should not simply say, "Lord, help Johnny to be a
good boy." He should go on to pray, "Lord, help Johnny
to quit his lying. Help him to make good grades in school. Help
him to work hard at his job."
I was in the army I was never taught to shoot at a crowd. I was
taught to shoot at individuals. All of our practice shooting on
the rifle range was at the likeness of a man.
wants us to tell Him what we want. I like that prayer in Luke 11
when the man begged for bread because he had a friend who came at
midnight and had nothing to feed him. He didn't say, "Friend,
give me some food for my friend." He told him what kind of
food he wanted. He asked for bread. Then he told him exactly how
much bread he wanted. He wanted three loaves. Many go without
their needs supplied because God wants to know what needs that we
have in mind. Many go unforgiven because they do not tell God
what sins they want forgiven.
are several advantages in definite praying in addition to getting
from God what you request. One is that you will enjoy the answer
more if you pray for a definite thing and receive it.
years ago we had to have $5,000 for our ministry. Now in the
early days $5,000 was a lot of money, and so I went to my
secretary, who at the time was Sandra Plopper, and I said,
"Sandi, join me in prayer that God will give us $5,000 by
Friday afternoon at 4:30." She agreed to do so. I prayed
diligently, and I'm sure she did, but the week passed and the
money did not come. Just a few minutes before 4:30 on Friday I
heard Sandi complaining in her office. She was saying, "Lord,
that isn't fair. Brother Hyles works hard and sacrifices, and now
he has a need, and You haven't given it to him." It was just
a few minutes before 4:30 when the receptionist called and told
me that there was an old man in the hallway who wanted to see me.
I looked out in the hall and saw an old man who looked like he
might be off the street. I told my secretary I was busy praying
for $5,000 that I had to have in just a few minutes, and then
finally I just gave up. I said, "Forget it. I'll see the
called Sandi and told her that I was going to quit praying. The
old man came in and told me he was from Joliet, Illinois, and
that he had just lost his wife and had heard about me and thought
he could come to me for comfort. I did what I could to comfort
him and encourage his heart. I finished talking to him about
4:29. He walked out in the hallway, and to be quite frank, I was
a little perturbed at God for not answering my prayer. The $5,000
was not for me; it was for the work. It was not for my work, it
was for God's work. I couldn't understand why He wouldn't finance
it. Just then the old man turned around in the hallway and said,
"Oh, reverend, I forgot something. I got the settlement on
my wife's insurance, and I wanted to give you this check for your
work." You guessed it—the check was for $5,000. The memory
of it makes me want to shout!
day I had a need for just a small amount of money. I'm not sure
exactly what it was, but I think it was $54.17. There was a bill
that I had to pay that was due that very day. I pleaded with God
to give me the money. In the mail that day was an envelope with
nothing in it but a check for $54.21. I had prayed for $54.17. I
couldn't understand it. Of course, I rejoiced that God had
supplied my need, but if God was going to come that close, why
couldn't He have hit it right on the head? Then it dawned on me.
This was a bill that must be mailed, and a postage stamp at that
time cost 4 cents. Praise the Lord! I had asked God for $54.17 so
I could mail in a check on a certain day. He sent me the exact
amount, plus postage. Don't we have a wonderful God? If we are
definite in our praying, the answer will be much more enjoyable.
advantage to praying definitely in addition to receiving the
answer is that God will get more glory and praise for the answer.
Then, of course, answered prayer also builds faith. That pleases
notice what Jesus said to the blind man in Mark 10:51, "What
WILT thou?" He did not say, "What WISH thou?"
He said, "What WILT thou?" I once heard a
certain preacher, "You just tell God your wishes and let Him
decide what is best." No, no, no! Ten thousand times, no!
You tell God your will, not your wishes. Jesus was saying to the
blind man, "What is it that you will have?"
blind man said, "I WILL have my sight."
well do I remember the story of that little lady in Texas who was
dying with cancer! She had a child to rear. I anointed her with
oil and prayed for God to heal her, and then she prayed. I will
never forget those words. She said, "Dear Lord, my child
needs me, and I'm not going to die today. I'm going to live today
to rear my child. I will not die yet." She lived that day,
and the next day she prayed the same prayer. "I'm not going
to die today," and she didn't. And, bless God, she reared
does not want short wishes sent to Heaven. He wants constantly
our wills to bombard the throne of grace. John 15:7, "If
ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye
will, and it shall be done unto you." Notice the words,
"ask what ye WILL." Basically, that's what
salvation is. When a person knows he is a sinner, knows that
sinners are lost, knows that Jesus came as the virgin-born Son of
God and died on the cross as his substitute and his sacrifice,
and says, "I WILL have eternal life because of God's plan,"
then he has eternal life!
a happy way to live—to have a God Who hears our prayers and Who
loves us enough to grant our desires and enjoys giving
specific answers to definite prayers!
15 — A Miracle-Working God
often misguided people say, "Miracles are past. They were
only for Jesus' day because He was trying to prove His
Messiahship." Nothing could be farther from the truth! Jesus
did not perform His miracles to prove His Messiahship. On
occasion He even performed a miracle and told the people involved
or the person involved not to tell anyone. Matthew 9:30, "And
their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying,
See that no man know it." Luke 8:51,56, "And when He
came into the house, He suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and
James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. And
her parents were astonished: but He charged them that they should
tell no man what was done." We also find that on at
least one occasion He answered a prayer in answer to faith. Mark
2:5, "When Jesus saw their faith, He said unto the sick of
the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." We also find
that our Lord healed people and performed miracles simply because
He had compassion. Luke 7:13-15, "And when the Lord saw
her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And
He came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still.
And He said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was
dead sat up, and began to speak. And He delivered him to his
comes the feeble effort of some to disprove present-day miracles.
Such people say, "Miracles were for the period until the
Bible was written. Now that we have the Bible, miracles are
over." God never says that! I know better. I have seen it
happen too many times. We are told that miracles will follow
those that believe, as they carry out the great commission, which
is Mark 16:15, "And He said unto them, Go ye into all the
world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
pastor of the great First Baptist Church of New Castle, Delaware,
is my friend, Ron Adrian. His brother, Ken, who pastors in
Detroit, Michigan, and others in his family have been my friends
for years. When their father and mother lived in Wichita, Kansas,
where his father pastored, I used to preach often for him. One
year Dr. John Rice and I were there together for a Sword of the
Lord Conference, and Mrs. Adrian, the wife of the Pastor and the
mother of Ken and Ron was dying with cancer of the brain. I can
see that little wilted body now. I can see the color of her face.
I can see her arms that just simply looked like bones wrapped in
skin. She had terminal cancer with just a few days to live. We
got a little olive oil and gathered around her one day in a room,
anointed her with oil and prayed for God to heal her. God did!
Many years have passed now, and the last time I saw her she was
well and happy in the service of the Lord.
does not heal everyone who is sick, and we are not necessarily to
pray every morning, "Give us this day our daily miracle,"
but we need to realize our God is a big God, and there is nothing
too hard for Him! Genesis 18:14, "Is any thing too hard
for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee,
according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son."
Jeremiah 32:17, "Ah Lord GOD! behold, Thou hast made the
heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm,
and there is nothing too hard for Thee." We need to
realize that all things are possible to him that believeth. Mark
9:23, "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all
things are possible to him that believeth." We need to
realize the limitless power of our God. Luke 1:37, "For
with God nothing shall be impossible." I Corinthians
10:1-6, "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be
ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all
passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the
cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of
that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were
overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples,
to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also
lusted." I Corinthians 10:11, "Now all these things
happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our
admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
This is not fanaticism; this is faith.
young men in the First Baptist Church of Hammond lost their
father by death. Upon hearing it, one of the young men went to
the hospital where his father was lying lifeless. He had so
wanted to talk with his dad before his dad passed away, and
wanted to be there when his dad died. He went over to the corpse,
pulled the sheet back and said, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!"
His daddy opened his eyes, and his boy got to talk with him. The
next day his father died. The obituary was called into the
newspaper, and I announced the death on the radio broadcast.
Again the son went to his daddy's body and said, "Daddy,
Daddy, Daddy!" Again the man opened his eyes and lived for
enough time for his boy to talk with him a while longer. When the
Dad got to Heaven, as soon as he got there the Lord said, "I
think your boy wants to talk with you again. I'll send you back
just for a few minutes, but I can't let you stay very long, for I
want you up here now." Then he went on to Heaven to stay.
This should not seem so unusual. This doesn't happen every day;
in fact, this is the only case like it that I have known in my
ministry, but I'm convinced that God can do that if He wants to.
years ago while our present auditorium was being built, our
church conducted services in the local Civic Center for about
five months. One Sunday morning I was preaching there when one of
our blind men who was at the time 57 years of age came running
down the isle shouting, "I can see! I can see! I can see!"
He ran up on the platform and told me. He said, "Brother
Hyles, standing back there a while ago during the invitation, I
saw my shoe and then I could see the crowd. Now, Brother Hyles, I
can see you." He jokingly said, "You're not near as
pretty as I thought you would be." Then he stood to tell the
people what had happened.
Sunday night I was preaching on the subject of miracles. Suddenly
I was overcome with the fact that God was performing a miracle in
the service at that time. I had never before said this, nor have
I said it since, but I stopped the sermon and said, "I am
convinced that God is performing a miracle at this time."
The next week I received a letter from a student at Moody Bible
Institute. She told how she had been in the service that previous
Sunday night and that during the sermon one of her eyes that had
been blind with dead nerve endings for years suddenly came alive
and she could see out of it. Now I have been preaching for 37
years. These are the only two cases like this that I have known.
I have never had a healing service nor a healing line, nor do I
claim to possess the gifts of miracles, nor do I claim to be a
mighty man of faith. I just claim to have a mighty God Who loves
His children and is all powerful and is capable and sometimes
willing to go beyond the natural in order to do the supernatural,
and I contend that He is not old, tired and worn out, but that He
is the same God that He always was!
16 — The Kinds of Prayer
seminary I was taught that prayer is praise, confession,
adoration, meditation, thanksgiving and petition. Now all of
these forms of communicating with God are Scriptural, but the
truth is, prayer is asking! The terminology, "We pray the
court," is used in the courtroom. This simply means, "We
ask the court." The word "prayer" itself means
"asking." This means that praise is not prayer,
thanksgiving is not prayer, adoration is not prayer, meditation
is not prayer. These are necessary forms of communication with
God, but unless something is asked and a petition is made, it is
not prayer. Sometimes in the Bible when prayer is mentioned, it
is mentioned WITH one of the other things. For example, prayer
AND confession or prayer AND thanksgiving. Daniel 9:4, "And
I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said,
O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and
mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his
commandments." Colossians 4:2, "Continue in
prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving." This
chapter could be entitled then, "Kinds of Asking."
Asking for needs. This is the first petition of the model
prayer. "Give us this day our daily bread," and
it is the most basic form of prayer. Philippians 4:19, "But
my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in
glory by Christ Jesus." Matthew 6:33, "But seek
ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these
things shall be added unto you." This is the prayer for
food, for clothing, for shelter and for our daily normal needs.
Continual praying or praying without ceasing. I
Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing." The
words "without ceasing" are used other places in
the Bible concerning preaching, working, patience, teaching, etc.
For example, Acts 5:42, "And daily in the temple, and in
every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."
Note Ephesians 6:18,19, "Praying always with all prayer
and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all
perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that
utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly,
to make known the mystery of the gospel." This means
that the child of God should be praying all the time. His entire
life should be one heartbeat of petition to God . "Oh, what
peace we often forfeit; oh, what needless pain we bear! All
because we do not carry everything to God in prayer." God
wants us to pray all the time. God never wants us to quit
praying. As we drive down the road, as we do our daily work , as
we eat, as we have our interaction with friends and family, we
are supposed to be praying. As is often mentioned on these pages,
I have the words, "Pray for Power" written on the
mirror where I shave at home, on the mirror where I shave in my
office, inside my briefcase, inside each of my Bibles, on my
desk, on the office door. When I shave, I pray for power. When I
study, I pray for power. When I drive down the road, I pray for
power. Constantly I am saying, "God, give me power, O God,
give me power! Lord, help me to have power while I preach. God,
give me the power of the Holy Spirit." This is as natural as
breathing. It is praying without ceasing!
Supplication. Acts 1:14, "These all continued with
one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary
the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren." Philippians
4:6, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer
and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made
known unto God." Ephesians 6:18, Praying always with all
prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto
with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." This
is continual asking. There are times when the request is of such
a nature that God must know our sincerity. In such times we must
continue to ask and continue to ask and continue to ask until the
answer comes. Sometimes this supplication is for ten days; such
was the case of the church in the upper room before Pentecost.
Sometimes this continual asking is for weeks, sometimes for
months, sometimes even for years. I prayed for 17 years for the
salvation of my father-in-law. Finally on his 70th birthday I won
him to Christ and baptized him that night. As he entered the
baptistry he said to me, "Son, I have two birthdays today,
don't I?" Yes, he did, because of the supplication.
are many Scriptures that seem so simple on the surface. For
example, James 4:2,3, "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill,
and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye
have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye
ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." Just
to look at the passage, one might feel that if a person wants
something, he just comes to God and says, "I want it; please
give it to me," and God gives it to him. For example, James
says, "Ye have not because ye ask not." Now the
word "ask" here is durative or linear, and the
word "have" is likewise in the same tense. It
means, "You have not and have not and have not because you
ask not and ask not and ask not and ask not." Often, some
well-meaning but misguided preacher will make light of tarrying
before the Lord. He doesn't know God as some do. Supplication is
a very important part of the prayer life of the child of God.
Importunity. Luke 11:8, "I say unto you, Though he
will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because
of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he
needeth." Importunity means simply begging. The story is
told in the early verses of Luke 11 about a man who at midnight
went to his friend pleading for bread because a friend had
dropped in to visit with him and he had no bread to serve him.
Now this was certainly an embarrassing thing for the Easterner,
for every good host immediately offered a guest some refreshment.
However, this guest came at midnight. To us, midnight is not
considered so late, but they had no radios, televisions or
electric lights, and people would go to bed soon after dark.
the Eastern homes, especially in Bible days, the entire family
slept on one big bed. It was usually built across the end of the
room. Can you picture the mom and the dad and all the children in
bed? It is the middle of the night and there is a cry from
without. The father wakes up, the mother wakes up, and all the
children wake up. If there were other members of the family, such
as grandparents, they were in the same bed that was built across
the end of the room. So the friend cries from without, and Dad
wakes up, Mother wakes up, Grandpa wakes up, Grandma wakes up,
Johnny wakes up, and Susie wakes up. The awakened man goes to the
window and sees a friend. His friend says, "Friend, lend me
three loaves, for a friend of mine in his journey has come to me,
and I have nothing to set before him."
man replies, "My children are in bed with me. Come back in
the morning and I will give you bread."
man turns to go home to his embarrassment because he has no bread
to set before his friend. He finds himself unable to face his
friend. He simply must have bread. So he turns again and shouts
to his other friend who has the bread. That friend wakes up, his
wife wakes up, Grandma wakes up, Grandpa wakes up, Johnny wakes
up, Susie wakes up. Again he goes to the window. Outside is the
I've got to have three loaves! A friend of mine in his journey
has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him, and I can't
face him without bread!"
the answer is, "No," Dad goes back to sleep, Mama goes
back to sleep, Grandpa goes back to sleep, Grandma goes back to
sleep, Johnny goes back to sleep, Susie goes back to sleep, and
and the friend returns to his other friend who is waiting for
bread. As he makes his journey homeward, his heart is broken.
"How can I face my friend without bread? I must go back and
plead some more!"
turns to the house of the friend who has some bread and shouts
from without. His friend wakes up, his wife wakes up, Grandpa
wakes up, Grandma wakes up, Johnny wakes up, Susie wakes up. He
goes to the window and raises it only to hear again, "Friend,
lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine in his journey has
come to me, and I have nothing to set before him! Maybe he said
something like this, "I can't go back! I'm going to stay out
here and keep begging! I've got to have the bread! Please give me
the bread! I beg you, give me the bread! I plead with you for
the friend with his bread goes to the cupboard, gets the bread
and gives it to the friend who had no bread. Our text say that he
did not give him this bread because he was his friend, but he
gave him the bread because of his importunity; that is, his much
the liberals have a hay day here! "God is not a Santa
Claus," they say, "to Whom we come and plead."
Little do they know of the marvelous blessings that God has for
those whom plead for His power.
type of prayer, yes, begging, is usually associated with praying
for the power of God or praying for the fulness of the Holy
Spirit. This is what out Lord means when He says, "I will
pour water on him who is thirsty." He is saying, "I
will pour water on him whose mouth is dry, who is about to starve
for lack of water, who feels that death is coming soon, who longs
for just some water to cool his parched tongue and to satisfy his
thirsting throat." On this kind of condition, a person begs
for water. In the Bible, water often symbolizes the Holy Spirit.
How we need to beg with God to give us His power! Oh, for the
refreshing showers of His Holy Spirit power and blessing! May God
give us some men who plead with Him fot the fulness of the Holy
Spirit! May God give us some men whose closets of prayer are
bathed with their tears of thirsting!
Prayer and fasting. Mark 9:29,"And he said unto
them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and
fasting." Into the life of the child of God come all
types of needs. Some are relatively small, and some are of giant
proportions. Some are things that can can provide with the use of
human instruments. There are some, however, that only God can
give that transcend all of the natural and move into the
supernatural. This is what is meant in this passage by the term,
"this kind." This special kind that only God can
give, this supernatural kind, "this kind"
involves a miracle. There are answers to prayer that can come by
simply asking. There are other answers that can be gotten only by
praying without ceasing. There are still others that require
supplication. Others require importunity, or begging, but "this
kind" cometh forth by nothing but by praying and
fasting. The Christian sets aside certain seasons when he
deprives himself of satisfying his physical appetites because of
a broken heart, a burden and a need for a miracle. Sometimes this
prayer and fasting should be for an entire day, sometimes for
several days, sometimes for a week, sometimes for several weeks.
Of course, this should not be the regular routine of the
Christian's life, but each of us comes to the time when he faces
a wall. He sees no way out. Human help fails. There is no
possible, visible way. God must do it! A miracle must come! A
"this kind" of prayer answer must be known. Then it is
time for prayer and fasting.
All night praying. In the story about the friend who came
asking bread for another friend, notice he came at midnight and
he kept begging. Obviously he prayed well into the night. The
Bible often speaks about all-night praying. Matthew 26:41,
"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the
spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Mark
13:33, "Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when
the time is." Luke 21:36, "Watch ye therefore, and pray
always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these
things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of
man." Mark 14:38, "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter
into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is
weak." Luke 22:40,46, "And when He was at the place, He
said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And said
unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into
temptation." Really, this is a form of fasting, for a
person is going without sleep to pray, and it is an amazing way
of showing our sincerity.
observe the man who came begging for bread at midnight. This
parable is but an extension of the model prayer. In the early
verses of Luke 11 the model prayer (which is often erroneously
called the Lord's Prayer) is given. This is in response to the
disciples' request, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also
taught his disciples." When the model prayer is ended,
our Lord continues His lesson on prayer which includes the story
of the friend who came to another friend at midnight begging
bread. Now there is an earlier mention of bread. The first
petition of the model prayer is, "Give us this day our
daily bread." You will notice the words, "this
day." Notice, the bread for ourselves is sought through the
daytime hours and is received quickly, because God does not want
us to spend a lot of the daylight hours asking for our own needs.
So we quickly ask and He quickly gives us our daily bread. Then
in the nighttime we seek bread for others. The person who is
going to be used mightily of God must work while others are awake
and plead for power while others are asleep. Oftentimes he will
be pleading with God while others are doing what they call
fellowshipping. While others are together at midnight at a
restaurant, he will be walking with God and pleading for God's
power and blessings.
have pastored five churches. Three of those churches were great
churches. All three of these churches were born in seasons of
all-night prayer. I 1952 I became pastor of the Miller Road
Baptist church of Garland, Texas. Forty-four people showed up the
first Sunday. The church miraculously began to grow. In a matter
of about three years we were running well over a thousands in
Sunday school, and to be quite frank, the church was too big for
me. I was yet in my twenties, and I felt that the church had
grown beyond my ability to be its pastor. I felt totally
inadequate and decided that God would have me to resign the
church and go to a smaller work and try to build it up. On New
Year's Eve, 1954, I went to my study completely baptized in a
feeling of inadequacy. The next day was Sunday. I sat behind the
desk and wrote my resignation, which I was to read the next
morning. I laid the resignation on the floor and fell to my knees
about eleven o'clock. Through tears I prayed, "Lord, unless
You can give me something that I do not have now, I will have to
read this resignation tomorrow morning." I prayed from 11:00
until 12:00 and from 12:00 to 1:00. About one o'clock in the
morning I heard a knock on the door. I went to the door, and it
was one of my deacons. He obviously had already been to bed. His
pajamas extended a couple of inches below his trousers, his eyes
were red, his hair was messed, and there he stood saying,
"Preacher, what's wrong?" The Lord told me something
was wrong with my Preacher. I called your home to find what might
be the trouble, and they said you were not there."
invited him in, told him the story and showed him the letter of
resignation. He began to weep and pleaded, "Preacher, you
can't leave us. You have won most of us to Christ. We are your
children in the Lord." We fell to our faces and began to
pray. He prayed and I prayed, and he prayed and I prayed, and he
prayed and I prayed. We prayed from 1:00 until 2:00, from 2:00
until 3:00, from 3:00 until 4:00, from 4:00 until 5:00, and
sometime between five and six o'clock in the morning on that New
Year's Day, I knew that God had given me a fresh anointing for my
ministry. I looked up at my deacon and told him. We embraced and
danced with joy around the room. A new day dawned in the church.
When I preached that morning, people came by and said, "Preacher,
something has happened to you." Yes, bless God, something
had happened in response to praying all night.
the summer of 1960 I decided to resign the First Baptist Church
of Hammond. The battles had been many, the burdens heavy, the
questions seemed unanswerable, the problems seemed unsolvable,
and the burdens seemed unbearable. I was preaching for a week at
the Bill Rice Ranch. I was going to come back and resign the next
Sunday. Shortly after ten o'clock on Friday night I went to bed,
but the Lord would not let me sleep. I tossed and tumbled for
almost two hours and then got out of bed, fell to my knees beside
the bed and prayed all night. It was in that night of prayer that
the First Baptist Church of Hammond as it is known today was
the life of every Christian there comes a time when he must pray
until the sun rises. There is a certain response that God had to
the Christian who will pray through the night watches.
College was born in the wee hours of the morning as I prayed with
God all night in southern California. The campus which now houses
the college was miraculously given to us by God after this simple
preacher prayed all night one night each month for a year.
to know the mighty power of God! Oh, to have the dew of Heaven to
settle on the child of God! Oh, to have His answers to prayer!
Oh, to walk with Him, to talk with Him, to know His mighty power
and His miraculous blessing wrought through prayer!
17 — Prayer and Love
5:23,24, "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and
there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave
there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be
reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."
Mark 11:25, "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have
ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may
forgive you your trespasses."
the Bible, prayer is amazingly interwoven with love and
forgiveness. Such statements as these come from the scared
Scriptures, "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our
debtors." (Matthew 6:12) "But if ye forgive not men
their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your
trespasses." (Matthew 6:15) "So likewise shall my
heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive
not every one his brother their trespasses." (Matthew 18:35)
"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one
another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
(Ephesians 4:32) "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall
obtain mercy." (Matthew 5:7) Notice the theme of these
Scriptures: If we ask forgiveness, we must give forgiveness. If
we ask mercy, we must be merciful. In other words, for a
Christian to know the fulness of his prayer life, he must have
love in his heart for his fellowman. I John 4:20, "If a
man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he
that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love
God whom he hath not seen?" 1st John 3:18-21, "My
little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but
in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the
truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart
condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all
things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we
confidence toward God." I John 3:23, "And this is his
commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus
Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment."
Matthew 5:7,8,22,38-48, "Blessed are the merciful: for they
shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall
see God. But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his
brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and
whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of
the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in
danger of hell fire. Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye
for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye
resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right
cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee
at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of
thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said,
Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say
unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good
to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use
you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your
Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the
evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the
unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?
do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your
brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the
publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which
is in heaven is perfect."
general theme of all these passages indicates that the degree of
success that a Christian enjoys in his prayer life is dependent
to a great extent to the degree of success he enjoys in his love
and forgiveness life. Now this does not mean that a Christian who
finds it difficult to love someone can never have a prayer
answered; that is, all other things being in order in a
Christian's life. In Matthew 5:23,23, and Mark 11:25
God seems to give us a divine order concerning love and prayer.
Giving. Notice that when a person comes to the alter and
realizes that his brother has ought against him, he is not to
take his gift back with him as he seeks reconciliation to his
brother. He is to leave his gift at the alter. This does not mean
that a person is exempt from giving because his brother has ought
against him. It merely teaches the matter of priority. Both
giving and reconciliation are important, but reconciliation is
more important. However, neglecting one does not give license to
neglect the other!
Praying for personal needs. Even in this model prayer
Jesus places "Give us this day our daily bread," before
he mentions "forgive us our debts."
takes care of His own people as far as their daily needs are
concerned not because they are good children, but God feeds us
because they are His children. The degree and quality of His
provision may depend upon our being good children, but God feeds
us because we are His own. He feeds us not because of our
condition but because of our position. In the wilderness the
children of Israel were backslidden. They had come to
Kadesh-Barnea and had refused to enter into the door of the
Promised Land. Because of this, God punished them and cast them
into the wilderness for 40 years. Those over age 20 died and
never got to see the Promised Land. In spite of this, God fed
them. Every morning He dropped manna from Heaven (It is called
"angel food" in the Bible.) in order that these
backsliders might be nourished. He gave them water from the rock
and preserved their clothing and their shoes for 40 years. All of
this was done in spite of the fact that they were backslidden and
had refused to obey the will of God.
Elijah ran from Jezebel and hid under the juniper tree with a
depressed and defeated spirit, he was backslidden. He was outside
the will of God. He was complaining. He was fearful and yet God
sent him food in a miraculous manner. God did not feed him
because he was being a good child but because he was His child.
Elijah's condition did not bring him food; his position brought
Jonah was called by God to go to Nineveh and preach repentance to
them, he refused to go; instead, he went to Joppa and there
caught a ship for Tarsus. He was cast off the ship and was in a
backslidden condition, being outside of the will of God. Yet God
protected him. The great fish swallowed him and he was protected.
none of these stories were God's people the objects of lavish
provisions. God did not drop filet mignon, a baked potato with
sour cream, a combination salad and pecan pie out of Heaven in
order to feed the Israelites, but He did feed them. God did not
deliver prime rib and a chef's salad to Elijah, but He did feed
him. God did not provide Jonah with the presidential suite at the
Hilton, but He did protect him. A good parent may spank his child
when he misbehaves, but he will not starve him.
Being reconciled to those against whom we have ought. Mark
11:25, "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought
against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive
you your trespasses." This means that the Christian
should be sure there is nothing in his heart against anyone.
Notice this far in this little outline we have advanced, nothing
has been said about big praying—praying for the power of God,
asking for miracles, etc. These cannot come if our hearts are not
right with others. One cannot hate the body of Christ and expect
his big prayers to be answered. One cannot hate the bride of
Christ and expect to receive miracles in answer to his prayers.
In mistreating God's people, we mistreat Jesus. He Himself said,
"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of
these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew
25:40b) Any parent understands this. A good deed done to one
of his children is a good deed done to the parent.
Saul of Tarsus (later to become the Apostle Paul) was smitten on
the road to Damascus, he asked, "Who art Thou, Lord?"
The response was, "I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest."
(Acts 9:5) Paul was not persecuting Jesus, and yet he was,
because Paul was persecuting His people. Jesus was saying, "When
you persecute My people, you persecute Me." "When you
hurt My people, you hurt Me." "When you would My
people, you would Me." "When you slander My people, you
slander Me." "When you mistreat My people in any way,
you mistreat Me." Rest assured that God will not allow a
Christian great power in prayer until bitterness, hatred, envy,
jealousy and strife toward others are emptied from his heart.
Receiving big answers to his prayers. Now that the heart is right
toward others, God is more favorable to turning His ear our way
and to responding to our requests for more than food and raiment.
Ah, 'tis a wonderful thing to see God work in mighty power! On a
recent Sunday night a father brought with him an infant son to my
office and asked if I would anoint him with oil and pray for him.
The doctors had discovered that he had a hole in his heart. I
anointed the baby and we earnestly prayed for God to intervene.
The very next day the father took his son to the doctor,
extensive tests were run, and the doctor told the young man that
the hole in his boy's heart had been closed and there was no sign
whatsoever of any heart condition. Praise the Lord! God has so
many answers to prayer available for us, but He will not answer
us abundantly until our hearts are right with others.
son, Dave, and his wife, Paula, wanted to have a child. Paula had
some disease that prevented conception, so Dave asked me if I'd
keep my eyes open for a baby they could adopt. God answered our
prayer concerning this and the way was cleared for the adoption
of what was to be a precious daughter. However, before the baby
was born that they were to adopt, Paula came to my office and
told me that she was so happy that they were going to adopt a
child, but through tears she said that she really hoped and
wished that in addition to the one they were going to adopt she
could have one of her own. I got the little bottle of olive oil
that I keep in my office and anointed Paula's brow with oil. We
prayed for God to open her womb and to give her and David a child
of their own. Before the child that they were to adopt was born,
Paula was expecting her own baby, and God marvelously and
miraculously allowed her to deliver another sweet little girl!
God answers prayer! God answers big prayers, but our hearts must
course, there are other things that can prevent God answering
prayer, such as a lack of faithfulness to God's house. Proverb
28:9, "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law,
even his prayer shall be abomination."
to give God the tithes and offerings will close the windows of
Heaven and prevent the type prayer life that God wants to give
us. Malachi 3:7-10, "Even from the days of your fathers
ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.
Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of
hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God?
Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?
In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have
robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into
the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove
me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you
the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there
shall not be room enough to receive it." Suppose that
once a week someone came to your house and committed robbery.
Would you support him? If he asked you for some special favor,
would you grant it? Of course you wouldn't, and neither will God.
impure thought life will hinder our prayers being answered. Psalm
66:18, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not
are just a few of the many hindrances to prayer mentioned in the
Word of God, but high on that list is being wrong with others.
Being right with those who
have ought against us. Matthew
5:23,24, "Therefore if
thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy
brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the
altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and
then come and offer thy gift." Of
course, this is not as great a sin as having something in our
hearts against someone else. It is something that is vital in the
life of every Christian. At first glance, one would wonder why
would the person whose heart is clean be commanded to seek
reconciliation with the one who has ought against him? God
in His omniscience knew that if two people were estranged, the
more spiritual of the two would come nearer initiating
reconciliation. He did not place this in the same area of
importance as getting your own heart right, but it is important!
Even if reconciliation fails, we are supposed to seek such even
if the animosity is totally on the other side.
course, this is just being Christlike. When man's fellowship with
God was broken, immediately God announced that He would seek
reconciliation. Genesis 3:15, "And I will put enmity
between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it
shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
In the entire Bible is a marvelous love story telling how God,
Who was sinned against, has done everything within His justice to
seek reconciliation with man, the guilty party. Would you be
Christlike? Then seek to be reconciled to those who hate you. Not
only are we to love our enemies, pray for those that despitefully
use us, bless those that curse us, love those that hate us, do
good to those who do us evil, but we are to seek reconciliation
actively with them.
Fellowship with God. This is the great bonus for seeking
reconciliation with those who have ought against us. God will
answer prayers before He will give us intimacy with Himself. The
dear Lord seems to say, "If you will try to be reconciled
with those that hate you, then I can relate to you because I did
the same thing, and since the two of us are agreed, we can walk
together, and I will give you a closer walk than you have ever
known, a sweeter fellowship than you have ever known."
are three forms of communication with God mentioned in this
little outline—praying for our personal needs, praying for big
answers, and having intimate fellowship with God. Notice right
before each there is something that we are to do. Before praying
for our personal needs, we are to give. Before praying for big
answers, we are to be sure that we have made it right with those
against whom we harbor ill will, and before we can have intimate
fellowship with God we are to seek reconciliation with those who
have something in their hearts against us.
preacher recently asked me, "How does your fire stay
burning? Every time I hear you preach, you light my fire. Now
what lights yours?"
immediately replied, "The act of love."
said, "It is the setting of some time each day during which
you think your way into the lives of others."
is love? Love is a college student dwelling on a middle-aged man
who once was young and handsome and heard that a baby was coming.
He called the insurance company and made plans because he
wanted the baby, who is now the college student, to have what he
never had. He saved and worked and was a buddy to his child even
though he was weary when he returned from work daily. When the
child because a teenager, the man wasn't prepared for it. He was
lonely during the years of gradual severance. Soon the child grew
up. (Too soon!) That middle-aged man still goes to work but his
incentive is different now. He is sending a check every month to
a college for the education of one for whom he has worked for
years. Love is sitting in a college dormitory and thinking about
Dad, loving him and thanking God for him! Love is remembering a
young person dwelling on a middle-aged woman who carried that
young person in her own body. She was so pleased when you came.
It seemed then like eighteen years were forever. Forever now has
come! She looks at your picture and remembers. Your room is a
sanctuary. Your empty chair at the kitchen table is now an alter.
Love is calling Mother and saying, "I appreciate every meal,
every moment of toil, every truth that you taught." Love is
thinking about her, remembering her!
is love? Love is dwelling on a preach who for years has made a
small salary, who has no retirement plan though retirement is so
soon. He has no house that is his. He has no close friends that
he has made because he changed churches several times during his
ministry. He has no way to explain his side when criticized. He
is sincere but often misunderstood. He has no pastor. He is not
well known. His heart is often broken by those who have stumbled.
Love is pausing to thank God for your pastor and to think of him,
even into his life.
is love? Love is thinking about a grandmother who doesn't feel
attractive anymore. She doesn't feel needed. She sits by a
telephone which refuses to ring. She visits a mailbox daily which
refuses to yield a letter. Her roommates are pictures; her dreams
are memories. She always feels a little bit that she is "in
the way," and she wonders how near the rest home really is.
She wonders if you ever think of her. Love is when you pause to
think, to think regularly, to think daily of Grandmother!
Love is a long distance phone call that would excite her beyond
is love? Love is Dr. Jack Hyles sitting in a motel room thinking
about his people, hoping they are happy; praying that the college
students and the high school students and the grade school
students can stay in school; wishing that he could be a part of
each family, hoping you know he loves you; realizing you have it
rough, hoping your room is warm, thinking of your burdens,
wishing he had more time with your family; rejoicing when you
serve Jesus, hurting when you go astray; thinking about the
working men, praying for the busy mothers, asking God to watch
over the little children. Love is a pastor taking time regularly
to perform the act of love; that is, setting some time each day
during which he thinks his way into the lives of his people.
is love? Love is a person wanting to see another's needs filled
and wanting to be the one who fills those needs and wanting that
person to fill all of his needs. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is the doorway through which the human soul passes
from selfishness to service. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is the key to the universe which unlocks all its
doors. Love is that which gives its all yet still has more to
give. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is that which causes us to look at another's faults
through a telescope and at our own through a microscope. Yet,
love is more than that.
is love? Love is the medicine that cures all hatred, malice, envy
and jealousy. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is the marriage of the soul. Yet, love is more than
is love? Love is the divine vitality that enriches and restores
like to mankind, strengthens the weak and lifts up the fallen.
Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is the sacred flower plucked from God's garden of
graces whose early bud is happiness and whose bloom is service
and sacrifice. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is not blind, yet because it sees more, it is
willing to see less and volunteer blindness! Yet, love is more
is love? Love is the essence of God given for the good of man
that makes God's man like man's God. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is that for which we were born and that which can
make us in the hearts of others never die. Yet, love is more than
is love? Love is that which enables a wife to sing while she mops
the floor after her husband has walked across it in his barn
boots! Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is that which maketh halitosis sweet to the lover.
Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is what Ingersoll called a "divine swoon."
Love is that which hopes when reason despairs and cares when
reason flees and forsakes. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is the weapon that is needed to conquer rebel man
when all else has failed and when wrath has swooned. Yet, love is
more than that.
is love? Love is that which melts the winter of the heart whose
thaw is as a smile of sunshine on the face. Yet, love is more
is love? Love is the fuel for the vehicle of kindness,
benevolence, compassion and mercy. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is the raging river of emotion whose expression
overflows its banks, whose tide cannot be stopped, and whose
thirst is never quenched. Love is that menu which feeds the
unlovely as well as the lovely, the unloved as well as the loved
and the unloving as well as the loving. Yet, love is more than
is love? Love is selfishly unselfish, confidently jealous and
quietly raging. Love is the ladder upon which man climbs to the
heavenlies and reaches the graces. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is the bridge between the land of the living and
the land of the dead. Love is the greatest gift exchanged between
mortal men. Love is the marvelous illness that has no cure or
remedy whose germs make it delightfully contagious. Yet, Love is
more than that.
is love? Love is the sunshine as midnight ands warmth in January.
Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is the measuring stick of duty in service to
humanity. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is two hearts beating as one and two souls with a
single thought. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is a deed which ne'er knoweth repentance and
needeth no remorse. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is God's special gift to man alone which His other
creatures cannot share. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is that which binds heart to heart, mind to mind
and soul to soul. Love is one heart betrothing another, the
marriage of one soul to another, and a union of two minds. Yet,
love is more than that.
is love? Love is the silver link and the silken tie between two
hearts. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is that sacred triangle between one's soul, his God
and another which puts God first, others second and self last.
Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is caring for a baby who through a toothless smile
returns to Mother the food that he just ate. Yet, love is more
is love? Love is lecturing a child who in one breath says, "I
wuv you," and the next minute is holding that breath until
he turns blue! Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is patient with the teenager who cleans his room to
a high gloss one day and the next day leaves it looking like
Pearl Harbor on December 8, 1941. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is devotion for a wife who is as warm as an Alaskan
stove one day and as cold as an Eskimo's igloo the next. Yet,
love is more than that.
is love? Love is a wife's patience with her husband who spends an
hour one day looking for flowers to put on the inside of the
house and refuses to spend ten minutes a year chopping the weeds
on the outside. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is a bridegroom pursuing his new bride who
yesterday left Mama to go with him and today leaves him to go to
mama! Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is the parishioner's patience with a preacher who
is an Apollos one Sunday and couldn't pass the high school speech
class the next Sunday. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is a teacher's patience with a junior boy whose
horns protrude through his halo, for yesterday he put an apple on
her desk and today he put a lizard in her desk! Yet, love is more
is love? Love is a mother's care for a junior girl who is a
combination of an angelic demon, a demon-possessed angel and a
heavenly devil. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is that rarest of the gems that is mined only in
the depths of Heaven which combines the sapphire's gleam, the
tint of the topaz, the diamond's sparkle, the emerald's beauty
and the glitter of opal. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is a constant vacation in paradise. Love is that
holy flame fallen from Heaven to earth which returns to Heaven
from earth. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is a widow standing at a graveside and speaking to
a departed husband, saying, "I would rather be your widow
than the wife of any man on earth." Yet, love is more than
is love? Love is the paying of a debt that respect owes. Yet,
love is more than that.
is love? Love is a tender plant nourished by meditation, musing
and caring. Love is the soul orbiting in the vast space of
service, sacrifice and selflessness. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is that fountain of youth and tree of life that
makes a little piece of dust called mortal man flirt with
eternity and betroth deity. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is a secure yawn, an eye twinkle, a speaking
silence. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is a mother saying, "I don't want any,"
and a dad on his way to work at daybreak. Yet, love is more than
is love? Love is that which makes two people thousands of miles
apart watch a sunrise "together" at noonday and
midnight. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? Love is just being there. Love is two hands reaching for
the same popcorn. Yet, love is more than that.
is love? God is love. Love is that indefinable word, that
indescribable scene, that unfathomable depth, that unreachable
height, that unknowable fact; yet, all the orators with their
eloquence, all the artists with their brushes, and the sculptors
with their chisels, and all the writers with their quills have
not been able to describe love! As was written once on the wall
of an insane asylum:
"Could we with ink the ocean
And were the sky of parchment made,
Were every stalk
on earth a quill,
And every man ascribe by trade;
the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to
that person with his mind temporarily ill was saner than all of
us, and maybe he understood more about love than the scholars.
love is, when God's children know it, it is the key that unlocks
the coffers of glory and propels the generosity of God to send
needs and wants to His children which they have requisitioned of
18 — Ask According to His Will
5:14,15, "And this is the confidence that we have in him,
that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that
we have the petitions that we desired of him."
we really come to God and ask Him for anything that we want? Or
must we ask for His will to be done? There are passages of
Scripture which seem to teach that we may have anything we want.
Then there are passages which lead us to believe that we must ask
according to the will of God. The two of these can be reconciled
Concerning the will of God, there are two wills. First,
there is His revealed will; then, there is His secret will. Under
His secret will would be His perfect will and His permissive or
acceptable will. God has a plan for each of our lives. This plan
is what we call the perfect will of God. However, often sin
causes us to forfeit the perfect will of God. Then, bless His
name, He tells us not to go away, that He has another will for
our lives, and this would be the permissive will of God, or
perhaps better still, the acceptable will of God. Romans
12:1,2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies
of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,
acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not
conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of
your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable,
and perfect, will of God." Sometimes sin causes the
Christian to forfeit the right to do the perfect will of God.
Then God says to us, "Don't go away. I have another will for
you." When we have forfeited our right to do His perfect
will, praise His name, He does not discard us from usefulness.
Perhaps one cannot no longer do His perfect will, but he can
still be used by God. It matters not where the child of God is or
how far away from God's perfect will he has strayed, God can
still use him in some capacity.
am thinking of a man who was called to preach, and, no doubt, the
perfect will of God for his life was to pastor. Sin came into the
picture and prevented him from continuing to pursue the perfect
will of God. However, he got right with God and is now serving as
a layman in a good fundamental church. He has a bus route and is
a wonderful soul winner. God is using him in a wonderful way,
though not as he could have used him had he not forfeited the
right to stay in the perfect will of God.
acceptable or permissive will of God could be called the
improvised will of God. In football the coach draws the play on
the board. Every player knows exactly what he is supposed to do.
If the play works, it will be highly successful, and sometimes it
does work just as it is drawn on the board. However, many times
something may cause the play to go awry. The quarterback has the
ball, he fades back to pass, but a lineman fails to block his
man. The quarterback finds the play "busted." He then
begins to improvise. They call this scrambling. It may be that
the end who was supposed to receive the pass from the quarterback
at a certain place at a certain time will find the ball not there
when he arrives, so he begins to run an alternate pattern trying
to get open. The quarterback is scrambling in the backfield. The
entire play has fallen apart, but many games have been won and
many touchdowns have been scored through improvised plays. Fran
Tarkington, the scrambler, and Roger Staubach, who was called
"Roger the dodger," became famous for being able to
may be that in your life you have known from childhood the
perfect will of God. How blessed and how wonderful when such is
the case! However, some reader may be saying, "The play has
been broken for me. I have forfeited my right to the perfect will
of God." Ah, dear reader, there is still a God in Heaven Who
wants to use you and He will if you will diligently seek His
acceptable will, or His permissive will, or perhaps even better,
His improvised will. You may not score as many points as you
would have scored had you stayed in the perfect will, but you can
still win the game and you can be used of God! Do not panic or
fret because you have forfeited the perfect will. Scramble to the
improvised will. God can still use you.
The revealed will is the Word of God. This is the will
that God is talking about in I John 5:14,15, "And this is
the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing
according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear
us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we
desired of him." God is saying that if you would ask
anything according to His revealed will, He would do it. KNOWING
the revealed will of God becomes the important thing! How tragic
for people not to know God's will because they do not know God's
Word! The child of God who would know and do the will of God must
bathe himself in the Word of God in order that he may know most
of the things concerning God's will and in order that he may have
more power in prayer.
God's revealed will tells us of His principles and His
promises. In contrast with this, God's secret will is that
which He reveals to us which is not written in the Word of God.
For example, we know that it is the will of God that we win souls
because it is in the Word, but the Word does not tell me in what
city I am to live while I win souls. This is the secret will of
God, which I must find from Him. One must remember, however, that
the secret will of God will be exceedingly difficult to find
unless one knows the revealed will of God. If the Christian is
not interested enough to seek what God has written concerning His
will, God will be very reluctant to give him added instruction
concerning His will.
the revealed will of God tells us principles by which we may live
and promises that God gives to us. God is telling us that His
answers to our prayers will be dependent upon our praying within
the will of God, within the principles of God or within the
promises of God.
Within that will of God, He hears us, our text says.
Better translated, He gives us a hearing. Because we have read
the Bible and learned therefrom its principles and promises, God
gives us a hearing. He will listen to out petition. The
implication is that God will not give us a hearing unless our
prayers are according to the principles and promises of God. For
example, the Supreme Court is petitioned concerning a case.
First, the court must decide whether it will hear the case. If
the justices feel that the case has merit, they will then hear
it. The first investigation is to decide if the case will be
heard. The second is the trial itself. This is what God is
telling us. Whether or not He hears the case depends on our
asking according to His revealed will. If, after examination, it
is found that our petition is according to His revealed will,
that is, the Word of God, He agrees to hear us.
is a Christian who obeys the Great Commission to carry the Gospel
to the unsaved. It may be that he has chosen to go to a mission
field. When he decides he is going to share the Gospel, he obeys
the will of God as revealed in the Word of God. Then he receives
a hearing concerning the secret will of God. This would be
finding from God exactly on what mission field he should serve.
Suppose he needs a car on the mission field in order to carry out
his work. God gives him a hearing because he is living according
to His will, and God says, "I will listen to your petition
concerning your need of a car."
is another illustration: The revealed will of God tells us that
we are to care for the orphans. A Christian decides to obey this
command and believes that God wants him to start an orphanage.
Now he needs a building. God will hear him or give him a hearing.
He may feel free to ask now because he has acted according to the
revealed will of God.
years ago I decided to obey the revealed will of God, that is,
the Word of God, and become a soul winner. God then revealed His
secret will to me and let me know that I was to be a full-time
soul winner, or pastor. He further revealed His will to me by
leading me to pastor a church. However, the church was 100 miles
from where we lived, and I had no car. Since I was obeying the
revealed will of God and He had further shown me His secret will,
then I had a right to ask for a hearing concerning a car. I did
ask, and I did receive! God marvelously provided a car.
James 4:3, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask
amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." Notice
especially the words, "because ye ask amiss."
Perhaps this asking amiss is asking without the right to have
a hearing. There are many things that God wants us to have that
we do not have because we "ask amiss." It
behooves us to live in the Word of God in order that we may find
His revealed will. Then we can live on our knees in order to find
His secret will. So many Christians think that something is the
will of God but do not know that it is. They are asking for a
hearing because of what they are guessing is the secret will of
God. Using this logic one can ask for almost anything, but since
we are humans, we are often wrong concerning the secret will of
God. So, thank God, the hearing in this passage is based not upon
our human judgment of the will of God but upon what is plainly
stated in the Word of God to be His will.
If the secret will of God is not revealed immediately, the
Christian should do the revealed will of God. Suppose a
person comes to an area where there has been a tornado. may are
injured. Many houses have been destroyed. It would seem that God
would not mind a person starting where he is trying to save the
person nearest to him, or help where the nearest need is found.
If God does not reveal to him which person to help, he should
just start helping where he is. Suppose then that a Christian has
a difficult time finding the secret will of God where he should
win souls. In such a case, let him start at his house and try to
win his own loved ones. Then let him go to his neighbors and to
his friends, then to others farther away. I doubt if God would
mind saving a soul that He did not point out to the Christian,
and I am convinced that if one will begin doing the revealed will
of God where he is, ha will have a far better chance of having
the secret will of God revealed to him.
a young man will come to me who is graduating from Hyles-Anderson
College. He knows God wants him to pastor, but he is having a
difficult time finding where he is to do so. Of course, I lead
him to pray diligently and seek the secret will of God as to
where he should start a church. If many months pass, I then
suggest to him that he ask the Lord to control his mind and that
he claim Philippians 2:5, "Let this mind be in you, which
was also in Christ Jesus." He is claiming the mind of
Christ. Of course, there are many other bits of advice that I
give to him concerning seeking the will of God, but it seems so
foolish for one to waste a lifetime doing nothing because the
secret will of God has not been revealed when he has a Book full
of things that are the revealed will of God.
Let us live in the Book that we may
know His revealed will in order that God may reveal to us His
secret will and in order that we may have a hearing concerning
the things that we need and want.
19 — A Schedule for Daily Prayer Time
Christian should set aside a portion of his day for the regularly
scheduled time of prayer. Following is an outline for such a
Remind yourself to do the other things that require
conversation with God. This includes such things as praise,
adoration, confession, meditation, humbling, thanksgiving, etc.
Quickly make a list of things for which you ought to praise God.
Then spend a few minutes in praise. Then spend a few minutes in
adoring Him. Schedule your adoration time. Allow yourself so many
minutes a day just for adoring God. Bear in mind that you are not
praying yet, because prayer is asking. Praise is not prayer.
Adoration is not prayer. Confession is not prayer. Meditation is
not prayer. Humbling is not prayer. Thanksgiving is not prayer.
ASKING is prayer, but we are commanded in the Bible to do those
other things too, so the Christian should usually allow praise to
precede his prayer time and this could be followed by a few
moments of adoration.
could then follow adoration. Daniel 9:4, "And I prayed
unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord,
the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to
them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments."
Make a list of the sins that you ought to confess. Then one by
one ask God to forgive you and to cleanse you. I John 1:9, "If
we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our
sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Perhaps
throughout the day between times of prayer, a sin will cross your
mind. You could make a note that when prayer time comes you are
going to confess that sin before your pray. It is so important to
make outlines, to make lists. It is important not to trust the
memory! That's why it is wise to write down the things for which
you ought to praise God. If during the day between prayer times
you think of something that is worthy of praise and you are too
busy to give it its proper allotment of time in your schedule,
write it down and then when praise time comes, take out your
notes and remind yourself of that for which you ought to praise
the Lord. The same thing is true concerning confession.
before praying, spend some time in meditation and then in
humbling. II Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, which are
called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my
face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from
heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
spend some time in thanksgiving. Philippians 4:6, "Be
careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known
unto God." I Timothy 2:1, "I exhort therefore,
that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and
giving of thanks, be made for all men." Once again, a
list could be made of the things for which you are thankful. As
you go through the day's schedule, keep a little card handy. When
you see something for which you are thankful, write it down. When
you realize there is a sin in your life, write it down. When you
see something for which you ought to praise the Lord, write it
down. Then when you have time in your schedule you can look at
the lists you have made and without trusting your memory, you can
praise God for the things that have crossed your mind during the
day; you can confess the sins of which you have thought during
the day; and you can thank the Lord for the things for which you
have been thankful through the day.
Write down a prayer promise for the day. You might select
a particular prayer promise for the week or for the month or for
a certain thing for which you are praying or a project that you
are pursuing. Following are some good prayer promises: I John
3:22, "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we
keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in
his sight." John 16:24, "Hitherto have ye asked
nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may
be full." John 15:7, "If ye abide in me, and my words
abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done
unto you." Matthew 7:11, "If ye then, being evil, know
how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall
your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask
him?" Matthew 7:7, "Ask, and it shall be given you;
seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
John 14:14, "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do
it." Matthew 7:8, "For every one that asketh receiveth;
and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be
opened." Mathew 21:22, "And all things, whatsoever ye
shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
Remind the Lord of His reputation. II Kings 19:14,15,
"And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the
messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of
the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed
before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest
between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all
the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth."
Elijah reminded the Lord of Who He is when he said, "Let
it be known that Thou only art God." Joshua did this
when he asked, "What wilt Thou do unto Thy great name?"
(Joshua 7:9) Hezekiah did so when he prayed, "Save
Thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may
know that Thou art the Lord God, even Thou only." (II Kings
Remind God that you have met His conditions. II Kings
20:1-3, "In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the
prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him,
Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt
die, and not live. Then he turned his face to the wall, and
prayed unto the LORD, saying, I beseech thee, O LORD, remember
now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect
heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And
Hezekiah wept sore."
Present your argument to God. Job 23:3,4, "Oh that I knew
where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! I
would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with
arguments." The word "argue" here is a
legal term. It means, "prepare your case." It is as an
attorney would prepare his case in court.
Remind God of His Word. II Samuel 7:21,25-28, "For
thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done
all these great things, to make thy servant know them. And now, O
LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant,
and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou
hast said. And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The
LORD of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy
servant David be established before thee. For thou, O LORD of
hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I
will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his
heart to pray this prayer unto thee. And now, O Lord GOD, thou
art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this
goodness unto thy servant." Take your promise to Him.
Remind God that He said it. Jacob said at Jabbok, "And
Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good." (Genesis
32:12) David came to God and said, "Do as Thou hast
said." Solomon said at the dedication of the temple,
"Remember the words spoken to David and bless this
place." Joshua reminded God of His promise when he said,
"Not one good thing had failed of all that God hath
promised. All have come to pass."
time Becky asked me for a new dress. I told her I would give it
to her if she did a certain thing. She said, "Dad, write
that down." I did write it down, and signed it. She came
back later and said, "Dad, I'm ready for my new dress."
said, "What new dress?"
said, "Dad, you promised me a new dress if I would do a
certain thing, and I have done it."
said, "I don't remember that."
pulled out a piece of paper and held it in front of me and said,
"Did you write that?"
said, "I sure did."
said, "What is it?"
said, "It's a promise I would buy you a new dress if you
fulfilled certain conditions."
said, "Well, Dad, what are you going to do about it?"
said, "I'm going to keep my promise," and I bought her
a new dress!
is pleased when we remind Him of His promises and of His Word.
reminded God of His attributes when He said, "That be far
from Thee to do after this manner to slay the righteous with the
wicked." David reminded God of His record when he said,
"Thou hast been my help." Moses did likewise
when he said, "Thou didst bring this people out of
Egypt." Moses was asking God to continue to lead His
people, He first reminded God that it was He Who was responsible
for their starting the journey and it was His responsibility to
complete the job He had started.
Pray over your regular list. For example, I have a regular
list that includes power, wisdom, love, members of the family,
close friends, preachers, churches, etc.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you make a list. Romans
8:26,27, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:
for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the
Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which
cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what
is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the
saints according to the will of God." The words, "maketh
intercession," in these two verses are not quite the
same. In one, the Holy Spirit maketh intercession "to
us"; in the other, the Holy Spirit maketh intercession
"with us." This means that we ask the Holy
Spirit to make intercession to us for what we ought to pray. Ask
Him to tell you what you ought to pray for when you go to the
throne of grace. Then as He reminds you of things you should
place on your prayer list, write them down. After He has made
intercession to you, then He wants to make intercession with you.
He then will go to the throne of grace with you and if there are
things for which you ought to ask the Father that you forget to
ask, the Holy Spirit will remind the Father for you. The Holy
Spirit is your prayer partner. In other words, He tells you what
to pray for; then you write it down as He inspires you to make
your prayer list. Then as you go to the Father, ask the Holy
Spirit to go with you and be your prayer partner as you present
your petitions to the Father. You are saying that you don't know
what you ought to pray for; the Holy Spirit does know. You ask
Him; He tells you. You make a list. Then you go together to the
Father to present your petitions.
Put Scriptures beside your list. If you are asking for
healing, you could write James 5:13, "Is any among you
afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms."
Psalm 103:3b, "Who healeth all thy diseases." If
you are asking for power, you could write Luke 11:13, "If
ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your
children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy
Spirit to them that ask him?" If you are asking for
forgiveness, you could write I John 1:9, "If we confess
our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Psalm 103:3a,
"Who forgiveth all thine iniquities." If you are
asking for food, you could write Psalm 103:5, "Who
satisfieth they mouth with good things; so that thy youth is
renewed like the eagle's" If you are asking for
clothing, you could write Matthew 6:33, "But seek ye
first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these
things shall be added unto you." Philippians 4:19, "But
my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in
glory by Christ Jesus." If you are asking for your
personal desires, you could write Psalm 37:4, "Delight
thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of
thing heart." Before you go to the Father with the Holy
Spirit to present the list that the Holy Spirit has reminded you
to make, remember to write down some prayer promises and present
them to the Father as a basis for your claim.
Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of your sins. Make a
list of them and ask God to forgive you.
Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of your enemies. Be sure
to pray for them. Matthew 5:44, "But I say unto you, Love
your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that
hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and
Prepare for the answer. II Kings 18:23, "Now
therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to my lord the king of
Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be
able on thy part to set riders upon them."
years ago there was a couple in our church who wanted to have a
baby. The doctor said it was impossible, but they believe that
God would answer their prayers. They came to me and asked me to
anoint them with oil. Then they remodeled a room and made a
nursery out of it. (Bear in mind, the lady was not pregnant nor
did the doctor give them any hope that she ever could be, but
they were preparing for the answer to their prayers.) Some
friends even got together and gave them a shower. No baby was on
the way, but they had a baby shower. They were preparing for the
answer. Miraculously God opened the way where they could adopt a
baby. They prepared for the answer, and God gave it to them. Then
God gave them seven of their own! This is what the Lord may have
meant in Jeremiah 33:3 when He said, "Call unto
me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty
things, which thou knowest not."
Christian life should be a disciplined one. The Lord chose to
call us His disciples or His "disciplined ones." The
aforementioned schedule of prayer is not the only one, but if one
would take about 30 minutes a day, he would have ample time to do
all the things that are suggested, and he would be amazed as to
how God would hear and answer his prayers. The things that we do
spontaneously are not done regularly. The things that we do
regularly by schedule do get done. Prayer should be on purpose
and should be planned as a part of our daily schedule. May God
help us to discipline ourselves to pray!
20 — Ask, Seek and Knock
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh
receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh
it shall be opened."
three words, "ask," "seek" and
"knock," are not synonyms. They are not three
types of praying, nor are they synonymous with the word "pray,"
but rather, they are three steps to getting answers to prayer.
are three people that must be moved if we get what we want and
need: first, God; second, me; third, others. Each of these words
deal with one of these people. "Ask" deals with
God; "seek" deals with me; and "knock"
deals with others.
word "ask" has to do with things that only God
can give. There is nothing that man can do; God provides these
answers by Himself. For example, the power of the Holy Spirit,
rain, etc. are answers which only God can give. I have nothing to
do with it, neither does anyone else.
has to do with some things that God and
I can do together. Notice, first I just asked. That was all I
could do. Now "seek"
is added to asking, which
means that there is something I am to do. This would deal with
things that I seek from God that God and I do together. An
illustration of this would be preaching. I ask God to help me
while I preach, but I have to help also. This means God and I
labor together. An illustration of this would be farming. Of
course, the farmer should ask God for rain, for sunshine, for
strength and for other things, but God does not do all the work.
The farmer enters into a yoke with God, and he and God become
there are some things that require God and me and others. This
leads us to the word "knock." This is an
endeavor which would require God working, me working and others
responding. An illustration of this would be soulwinning. God
gives the power and does the saving and convicting. I carry the
message, but another must respond. Another illustration would be
building a Sunday school class or a bus route or pastoring a
church, or for that matter, getting married. Each of these
endeavors require the help of God, my own help and a response by
one form of prayer is asking. That's all I do. God must give the
answer. Another form of prayer is asking and seeking. God and I
are co-laborers in the venture. Another form of prayer is asking
and seeking and knocking when God and I join together in a
venture which requires the response of someone else. Hence, I am
to do all three. In fact, I am to continue at all three, for all
of these verbs are in the linear or durative tense. When I need
something done that only God can do and that man can have nothing
to do with, I must ask and ask and ask and ask and keep on
asking, but I must seek and seek and keep on seeking. Then we
come to the place where God and I join in a venture which
requires the response of someone else. Then I must keep on asking
and asking and asking and continue to ask. I must keep on working
and working and working and continue to work, which is another
way to say I must continue to seek. Then I must keep on knocking
and knocking and knocking until other respond. When God must be
moved, I keep on asking. When God and I must be moved, I keep on
asking and keep on seeking. When God and I and others must be
moved I keep on asking and seeking and knocking.
example would be selling. I must ask God to give the sales. I
must seek the customers, and then I must keep after them until I
example would be soul winning. I must ask God for souls. I must
seek them, and then I must keep knocking until those who reject
decide to accept.
example would be rearing children. I must keep asking for God to
help my children to turn out right. I must keep seeking this by
constant training and teaching. And then I must keep knocking and
not give up if they reject.
illustration would be that of finding a job. I must ask and
continue to ask for God to give me a job. Then I must seek and
continue to seek employment, and then I must keep knocking and
continue to keep knocking until an employer gives me a chance.
of these is vital and necessary to a well-rounded prayer life.
One who just asks will not work; one who just asks and works does
not persevere and will not succeed, but one who keeps asking and
seeking and knocking will know what prayer is really all about.
is important that we ask as if all depended on God, that we seek
as if all depended on us and that we knock as if all depended on
21 — God Needs Your Personality
"Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so
also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall
made you to fill a particular need. You are different from
everyone else who came before you, and you are different from
everyone else who will come after you. This means you are
unique! There has never been anybody like you, and there
will never be anybody like you. Just as there are no two
snowflakes alike, no two grains of sand alike, even so, no two
people are alike. That leads us to several conclusions:
God's need for you is unique. There is something
that you can do for God that no one else can do. Since man
was made for the praise of God's glory and for fellowship with
his God, then each man has a particular fellowship to offer God
that no other man has. I love that. If I do not
praise God and offer Him my praise, there is a unique praise He
will not receive, for nobody's praise is exactly like mine and
nobody's worship is exactly like mine, for nobody's soul or
personality is exactly like mine.
Your relationship with Him is unique. We are not
simply a choir of robots chanting praises to God; each of us has
his own personality made by God to fill an appetite. There
is no one who can give God exactly what you can give him.
For example, among His Apostles was one such as beloved John, who
was affectionate and steady, and there was one like Peter, who
was quick to speak and yet very zealous. There was Andrew,
unspectacular, a good children's worker, but very predictable,
and then there was James, who was very businesslike and
pastoral. No two apostles gave to Jesus exactly the same
thing. Each had his own peculiar relationship with
This is true in a church. There are
thousands of members of the First Baptist Church of Hammond,
Indiana, but each member offers to his pastor something that no
other member can offer, and each relationship is unique to
itself. I find this true on my church staff. There
are no two people who offer the same thing. Each
relationship is different and none is like it.
ago I was teaching my soul-winning course in Jacksonville,
Florida. It was taught in the afternoon, and after the
course was over, a man was driving home on a trip of about 40
miles, I think, in order to get his wife to bring her back to the
service that evening. He had just taken the soul-winning
course and was wanting to put into practice what he had learned.
He pulled over to the shoulder of the highway and offered a ride
to a hitchhiker. When the hitchhiker got into the car, he
pulled a weapon on the man and announced that he was going to
kill him. The man said, "All right, go ahead and kill
me, but I just took a course on how to win a soul, and while you
are killing me I am going to be telling you about Jesus and how
you can go to Heaven when you die." Soon the would-be
murderer bowed his head and received Christ as his Saviour and
the would-be murdered became a soul winner. The new convert
handed the weapon to the one who had led him to Christ and came
back to church with him that night. It was a
never-to-be-forgotten experience when the man who was going to
kill stood beside the man who was going to be killed, arm in arm
praising the Lord together.
The strange thing was
the way people responded that night. I remember one
red-faced fellow jumped up in the back and shouted, "Well,
glory!" I recall another fellow who got so happy he
laughed and laughed and could not control his laughter.
While one was shouting, "Well, glory!" and one was
laughing out of control, I was weeping. Over in the corner
another was so happy he was clapping his hands, and dear Dr. John
R. Rice was saying very sweetly, "Amen! Amen! Amen!"
Don't you see? Each of us shared the same experience with
the rest of us, and yet no two of us responded exactly
Even so, Jesus needs you to fill a particular need
that no one else can fill. He needed a Mary to sit at His
feet and worship Him. He needed a Martha to prepare His
meal. He needed a John to lean on His breast. He
needed a David to play his harp. He needed a Jeremiah to
weep. Thank God that none of these can offer God what I can
offer Him. I cannot offer Him as much as they, but I can
offer Him something different. That means He needs me, and
He needs you!
Your privileges are unique. An illustration of this
would be the staff of the First Baptist Church of Hammond.
Randy Ericson, the dear man who oversees all the maintenance of
our church, meets with me weekly and we have a good time.
Steve Sloan, one of our custodians meets me at my care when I
arrive every morning and we chat together for a few minutes.
Larry Weller drives the van and chauffeurs me from the airport
each week and often drives me to speaking engagements, so we are
together in a different way. Elmer Fernandez sees me every
other week for appointment, and he almost always brings me a bite
to eat. All of the men on my staff are important, but each
one has privileges and contact with the boss that none of the
others have. Ray Young, John Colsten, Larry Bullard, Keith
McKinney, Bill Schutt, Roy Moffit, Jim Wertz, Eddie Lapina, etc.
have different and unique privileges that they receive from me
and contributions that they make to me. The same is true
with God. You have privileges that nobody else has.
There is something that He allows you to do that He allows no one
else to do in the same way.
Your responsibilities are unique. My mother is, at
this writing, 94 years of age. I have one living sister
(two are in Heaven). Now my sister has one type
relationship with my mother and I have another. Both are
important, but they are different. I provide for Mother and
have for years. My sister very patiently and gently cares
for Mother. They live together, and no one could be any
more careful or loving toward her mother than is my sister.
Mother needs me because it is my responsibility to care for her
financially and to offer her security. She needs my sister
as much as she needs me, but in a different way. She needs
my sister to help her get to church, to give her companionship at
home and to watch over her health and care.
am grateful to God that I am different. He has millions of
children, but not any is exactly like I am. I have a
relationship with Him that is different from that of any of His
children. He needs me in a way that is different from His
need for any of His other children. My privileges with Him
are different from any other child of God, and my
responsibilities toward Him are unique and different.
This means that I can love Him in a way
that no one else can love Him. I can praise Him in a way
that no one else can praise Him. I can serve Him in a way
that no one else can serve Him. I can be to Him what no one
else can be to Him. This does not mean that I serve Him
better or praise Him better or that He loves me more; it just
means that I am different from every other child of God, and
since I am different, my relationship is like none other.
How wonderful! How blessed! Praise God, He needs me!
I am so glad!
22 — Pray Without Ceasing
Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing."
the words, "Rejoice evermore," of I
Thessalonians 5:16 are yoked with the words, "Pray
without ceasing." God is saying, the more praying, the
more rejoicing! The less praying, the less rejoicing! Then note
the statement in the next verse, "In every thing gives
thanks." Ah, how sweet! When joy and prayer are married,
their firstborn child is gratitude.
what does it mean, "Pray without ceasing"? Does it mean
we are to be speaking words constantly? Of course not! Does it
mean that the Christian should stay on his knees every moment of
every day? This is impossible. Does it mean that there is a
certain place where we must go and stay in order to pray? No, it
does not. There are several things meant by our Lord when He says
we are to pray without ceasing.
There is no time when the Christian should not pray. There
is not one unholy second in a minute. There is no one unholy
minute of the day. There is not one unholy day of the week. There
is not one unholy week of the year. There is not one unholy year
of our lives. From January 1 through December 31, all days are
red-letter days. Every day is a sabbath day and every moment is a
sacred moment. There is not time when a Christian should not
wonderful are the early morning hours when the Christian steals
away alone with his God and prays with a choir of birds, the
humming of the cricket, the amen of a rooster, a chandelier made
of the rising sun, a congregation of trees, a chancel made of a
cluster of daffodils! Ah, how wonderful are the early morning
hours for prayer! When a Christian neglects the early morning
prayer watch, he is robbing himself not only of a mighty power
but of blessed fellowship.
sacred are the closing hours of the day when God's rheostat has
slowly dimmed the chandelier, and the peaceful tranquility of the
sunset and the evening darkness make God seem even nearer and
powerful then is the midnight hour as the servant of God
wrestles, pleading with God for power, for provision, for
strengthening then is the noontime when the Christian may attach
his cable to God's booster for help during the day's toil!
There is no place where the Christian should not pray.
Every place is holy ground. Every bush is a burning bush. Every
hill is an alter. Every valley is a sanctuary. You can come to
the mercyseat from where you are. As someone has said, "It
is only a knee away."
hold their levees on appointed days. The Kings of kings holds a
constant levee. Those under King Ahasuerus were slain who
approached him when he was not holding out his scepter. The King
of kings is always holding out His scepter. The dead of night is
not too late; the morning's break is not too early; at eventide
He is not too weary. The kitchen sink can be an alter, the work
bench can be a chancel, the school room can be a sanctuary, the
sofa can be a mourner's bench, even the rest room can be a prayer
The Christian should be in conversation with God all the time.
There are several ways this can be done. For example, I have on
my desk in my office a piece of wood about three feet long on
which are burned the words, "Pray for power." In every
Bible that I own I have the words, "Pray for power." On
my office door are the words, "pray for power." Inside
my briefcase are the words, "Pray for power." At the
mirror where I shave at home are the words, "pray for
power." The mirror in my washroom at church has written on
it the words, "pray for power." Hundreds of times a day
I pray for the power of God. This perhaps is at least a part of
what God meant when He admonished us to pray without ceasing.
Christian should be constantly sending out little darts of
prayer. When the cares of this life, the daily work and toil of
life make us unable to load the furnace, we can send little
sparks rising in the form of words, thoughts and even looks to
our Heavenly father.
years I spent many hours a month with Dr. John R. Rice. For over
22 years I shared pulpits and platforms across America with him.
Over 2200 times he and I have preached on the same program. I
have stayed with him in motel rooms, eaten with him in
restaurants, prayed with him in classrooms. Many times when
nothing was being said I would see his lips moving. I would hear
a mumble just above a whisper. What was he doing? He was praying!
He was sending up brief messages. I can remember that when we
would be driving to the service at night I would overhear him
saying just above a whisper, "Lord, help me. Lord, give me
power. Lord, bless the service, help us."
Christian's magnetized needle should always be pointing north
toward his God. Years ago the marvelous Christian and great
preacher Evangelist Lester Roloff preacher for me on a Wednesday
night. The next night he was to preach in Canton, Ohio, and I was
to preach in Akron, Ohio. He suggested that I fly with him in his
private plane to the Akron-Canton airport. I agree to do so. What
a wonderful time of fellowship we had until suddenly Brother
Roloff looked at me and through pale lips said, "Brother
Jack, we are lost! The compass is broken! We are over Lake Erie
and we don't have much gasoline left! Unless this compass is
repaired quickly, we may have to crash land in the lake! Both of
us were, to say the least, apprehensive. I nervously reached up
on the dash of the airplane and took the can of pecans down and
ate a few. When I removed the pecan can, the compass went back to
perfect operation. One little can of pecans at the wrong place
had gotten us off course. When the child of God has something
between him and his God and between him and his prayer life, he
will soon be off course.
am alone very much. Fifty weeks a year, I fly on Monday from
O'Hare Field in Chicago to some place in America where I preach
on Monday night and Tuesday. I fly over 200,000 miles a year. I
spend hundreds of hours a year in motel rooms. I try to keep in
constant contact with Heaven. I often sing those beautiful words,
"Oh, what peace we often forfeit; oh, what needless pain we
bear; all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer."
There is no burden so great that God doesn't want to help us bear
it. There is no burden so small but that God wants to help us
solve it. There is no problem so great but that God wants to help
us solve it. There is no problems so small that does not attract
the attention of our God, and He wants to help us find a
solution. There is no question so hard but that God can answer
it. There is no question so simple but that God wants to help us
find the answer. God is interested in your shopping; talk to Him
about it. God is interested in your work; talk to Him about it.
God is interested in your school; talk to Him about it. God is
interested in your housekeeping; talk to Him about it. There is
no area of life that should be kept from God, and we should be in
constant touch with Heaven presenting our petitions and finding
grace to help in time of need.
Sunday night I was leaving my study to walk down the alley behind
the church on my way to the evening service. As I left the
office, I had a funny taste in my mouth. I said, "Dear Lord,
some peppermint sure would taste good right now." As I was
walking through the door, one of our fine deacons walked up,
reached in his pocket and took out a little piece of peppermint
candy and said, "Pastor, would you like to have a piece of
candy before you preach?" My heart leaped with joy. I said,
"Thank You, Lord." Sometimes the sweetest answers to
prayer are the smallest ones when God is mindful of our little
needs in the commonplace events of our life.
day I didn't have time to go out for lunch, but I was so hungry!
I said, "Lord, I sure would like something to eat."
Within a few seconds I heard someone knocking at the door of my
study. I went to the door. Someone had left a cheese
quarter-pounder and some French fries outside my door. I smiled
and said, "Thank You, Lord," and enjoyed my lunch.
wants us to abide in Him. He wants us to abide in prayer. He
wants us to walk in prayer. Mrs. Billy Sunday ("Ma"
Sunday) was a dear friend of mine during her latter years. Though
I never met her husband, I got to know Ma very well. On several
occasions she would tell me some things about her husband. One
day she talked to me about his prayer life. She told me how she
and her husband would be walking down the street, and Billy
Sunday would talk to her awhile and then to God awhile, to her
awhile and then to God awhile. She said it was often difficult
for her to know to which one he was talking. He had learned to
pray without ceasing!
23 — Persevering in Prayer
"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men
ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a
city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And
there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying,
Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but
afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor
regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge
her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord
said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge
his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear
long with them?I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.
Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on
I received a letter from a fine Christian lady listing the things
she had prayed for in recent weeks that had not been answered.
She was not bitter to God but was concerned. Somehow or other it
is easy for us to believe that prayer is an Aladdin's lamp and
that we simply rub it and tell what we want and it will come
immediately. Such is not the case. Sometimes it may take
continual coming to God with our prayers. Luke 18:5, "Yet
because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her
continual coming she weary me." Sometimes it takes
crying day and night for a long time. Luke 18:7, " And
shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto
him, though he bear long with them?"
young lady comes to God and prays and tells God she wants a
certain young man for a husband. Sometimes she even gives Him a
time schedule. A man says that he wants a certain job. He comes
to God and asks for that job and tells God where he wants to work
and when he wants to work. When God does not answer immediately
or at the appointed time, Disappointment and even doubt may
must be understood that God does not always answer immediately.
He wants us to persevere in prayer. Sometimes the time is not
right. Just like the husbandman who spends much time in panting
and waiting as the seed germinates, even so God's people must
spend time in waiting until God gives the answer. Of course, this
waiting should also be a time of continually praying and pleading
with God for the answer.
would God want to make us wait and why would He allow His
children whom He loves and for whom He wants to provide to
continue to agonize and persevere in prayer? There are many
reasons. Some are listed in other chapters, but there are three
special ones worthy of note:
God knows WHAT is best. Sometimes the Christian comes to
God to present his petition, and God knows that it is a prayer
for that which is second best for us. He may have something
better. Now He often does, if we persist, give us that which is
second best. Such was the case in the story of Balaam. When the
messengers came from Moab asking him to come to prophesy in Moab,
Balaam sought the Lord, and the Lord told him not to go. Still
other messengers were sent who offered him rewards and and honor.
Again Balaam came to God in prayer, and this time God allowed him
to go. It was not God's first choice for Balaam. God told him His
first choice the first time he came, but Balaam continued asking,
and God granted him permission to go to Moab.
Christians have second best because they want their prayers
answered quickly. Sometimes the Lord delays to see of we will
wait for His best for us. I am thinking of a young lady who asked
God for a Christian husband. She thought she was in love with a
young man, and the wedding date was set. The ceremony was
planned, the wedding gown was purchased, and then something
happened. Those who loved her and knew her best felt that she was
settling for second best, so she withdrew her prayer to God,
cancelled the wedding and prayed for God's best. In God's good
time He answered this prayer. Oh, how happy she is now! Isn't it
wonderful that God knows what we need more than we know
ourselves, and isn't it wonderful that sometimes He delays
answering our prayers hoping that we will trust Him because He
knows WHAT is best.
God knows WHEN is best. He knows when we are ready for the
answers to our prayers. Sometimes a young lady will plead for God
to give her a certain young man, and this young man is the will
of God for the life of this young lady. However, God knows that
perhaps she is not ready for marriage yet, so He waits to answer,
and then when the time is right, He presents His answer to her.
Sometimes a young ministerial student graduates from college or
seminary and asks God to give him a church. God knows there is
more ripening and maturing that he needs first, so God in His
mercy withholds His answer until the proper time. If the answer
comes sooner, it may be that the young preacher, bot being ready
yet, will make some mistake that would injure his own ministry or
the life of the church. So God waits, and while He waits the
young man continues to pray. God has the answer all ready
wrapped, addressed and postmarked, but His timing is important.
The WHEN is just as important as the WHAT.
know a young couple who asked God for a child. A year or two
passed and they did not have one. They became bitter with God.
The very fact that they would become bitter with God because He
did not answer in their appointed time implied that they were not
ready for a child. There was some more maturing to do. They
continued to pray, and as they prayed they matured and as they
matured they withdrew their bitterness. Then they relied upon God
not only to give them a child but to know when it was best. As
they matured, God prepared them for the answer that He had
already had set aside for them in Heaven.
we ask the first time, God often puts our answer aside, puts our
name on it and holds it for us. He wants us to have it, but He
wants us to have it at the right time.
are some things for which I am praying right now. I know God has
them set aside for me, and my name is written on them. I also
know that I am not prepared for them yet. I need to grow some
more. I need to mature some more. I need to pray some more. So as
I continue to wait and to pray and to plead with God to give them
to me, I am trusting Him to know when.
knew for years that God was going to lead me to start a college
for the training of young people for His service. I prayed and
prayed and prayed and waited and waited and waited, but God was
not ready yet. I kept praying and kept praying and kept praying
and kept waiting. God knew when I was ready, and with the passing
of the years I continued to persevere. In God's good time He knew
when I was prepared and ready for the answer. So when the time
came, He took the answer that He had already set aside for me and
sent it my way. Only God knows what time the Christian is ready,
and only God knows the times and seasons.
is a temptation to the child of God to think that since God
lingers, He is not going to answer the prayer. We must remember
that if our prayer be according to the will of God, if we are
praying in the Spirit, God may answer our prayer if we will give
God knows when the answer is ripe. Sometimes we pray for
something and God sets it aside for us but the answer itself is
not ready for us. The farmer wants the harvest but he has to have
patience until it is fully ripe and ready for harvesting.
Sometimes we ask for something and we may be prepared for it, but
the fruit may not be ripened. God has marked it for us and He
will give it to us if we will continue to pray, but we have to
wait 'til the answer is ripe.
example, a young man prays and asks God for a young lady to be
his wife. God sets her aside for him and itis the will of God
that he receive her, but perhaps she is not yet prepared to be a
wife. Perhaps the Lord lingers until she ripens, matures and will
make a much better wife, and then the beginning of married life
will be much happier.
Christian, therefore, should pray. He should pray believing, but
he should realize that God may set the answer aside for him but
not send it right away. It may be that it is not God's time yet.
Perhaps the Christian who prays is not ready for the answer.
Perhaps the answer is not ready for the Christian or maybe the
request is second best and God has something better. Believing
this, the temptation could be to quit praying. Oh, no, no, no,
beloved! We need to pray for God to give us the desires of our
hearts! He knows knows when the harvest is ripe. It is ours to
continue to pray. James 5:7,8, " Be patient therefore,
brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman
waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long
patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be
ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord
24 — Hope or Hopelessness in Prayer
are admonished in the Word of God to keep on praying. Luke
18:1, "And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that
men ought always to pray, and not to faint." I Thessalonians
5:17, "Pray without ceasing." Matthew 7:7-11, "Ask,
and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it
shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth;
and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be
opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread,
will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a
serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto
your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven
give good things to them that ask him?"
this will lead to one of three things:
1. An answer.
3. A hopelessness.
course, the first is the most desirable to us, for we want an
answer quickly, and sometimes the answer comes for which we can
praise God. Let's suppose, for example, that we are praying for
John Doe to get right with God. The first thing that could happen
is the answer—John Doe could get right with God. If, however,
John Doe does not get right with God, we are to keep on praying.
The next possibility would be hope. Hope says to faith, "Hold
on till I get there." Hope is when you know it is coming. It
is faith in its purity. It is undiluted faith. Note Mark 9:24,
"And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said
with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."
Belief is always tainted with unbelief. When belief is not so
tainted, it is hope. God tells us that the answer is going to
go back to our prayer for John Doe. If we do not get the answer,
then we can keep on praying and keep on praying until we are sure
the answer is coming. This is undiluted faith, which in reality
is hope. Notice Titus 2:13, "Looking for that blessed
hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour
Jesus Christ." Here it speaks of the blessed hope. That
means we know Jesus is coming. We don't hope He is coming; we
have a hope that He is coming. This is undiluted faith. There is
no unbelief in this belief. There is no doubt in this faith. It
is pure faith, which is hope. The Apostle Paul said, "Christ
in me, the hope of glory." This is pure faith. We know
that we are going to glory. I know that I am going to Heaven. It
is not just faith; it is pure faith, which is hope. The writer
put it this way, "My hope is built on nothing less than
Jesus' blood and righteousness."
asked Raphael one time, "What is your best painting?"
replied, "The next one."
Francis Lyte had but a few months to live. He prayed and the
Bible fell open to Luke 24:29. He read the words, "Abide
with us, for it is toward the evening and the day is far spent."
Faith changed to hope, and he wrote:
"Abide with me: fast falls the
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide:
other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O
abide with me."
of the old timers call this "praying through." They
meant that when we pray for something and the answer does not
come, we keep on praying and keep on praying and keep on praying
until suddenly God gives us the assurance the answer is going to
come! This means He gives us hope!
a young preacher I used to preach revivals a great deal. I recall
preaching a revival in a little wide place in the road called
Hall, Louisiana, which was not many miles from the city of
Vivian, Louisiana. I prayed and prayed and prayed that God would
give revival. Nothing was happening, but one day I prayed
through, and God gave me a sweet peace that revival was going to
come. No longer was my faith mingled with doubt or my belief
mingled with unbelief. I knew revival was coming! Faith had
become a hope. Sure enough, one night the quarterback on the
Vivian state championship football team came to hear me preach.
He came with his girlfriend and got saved. The next night he
brought the entire football squad with him, and to a man, every
player got saved! That night after the service, they went out to
eat at their usual gathering place. Just before they ate, the
captain of the team said, "Hey, men, we're saved now. We're
supposed to say grace." They all bowed their heads. He began
to pray and then stopped and looked up and said, "Hey, men,
this is no way to prayer. We are supposed to kneel to pray."
The entire squad got on their knees and prayed. Revival broke out
in that little country church! God had given me a hope!
when I have prayed for the sick I have not received the answer,
but I have received the hope. They were not yet well, but I knew
they were going to get well.
go back to John Doe. We pray that he will get right with God. The
answer would be that he gets right with God. If this does not
take place, we continue praying and continue praying. Then God
may give us the hope that he will get right. We know he will,
through he hasn't yet. We have been given the peace and
there is a third halt to our prayers. This is hopelessness.
Romans 1:24,26,28, "Wherefore God also gave them up to
uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour
their own bodies between themselves: For this cause God gave them
up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the
natural use into that which is against nature: And even as they
did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over
to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not
convenient." Hosea 4:17, "Ephraim is joined to idols:
let him alone." I John 5:14-17, "And this is the
confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing
according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear
us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we
desired of him. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not
unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them
that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say
that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there
is a sin not unto death." These passages teach us that
when we keep on praying sometimes our prayers will be ended by
hopelessness; that is, God will say, "Don't pray anymore.
There is no need. This person will never get right with God. He
has crossed the deadline. I have given him up." Such was the
case of the homosexuals in Romans 1:24,26,28.
many times I have prayed and prayed for someone. I have gone to
them and witnessed. They continue to say, "No," and to
say, "No," until one day God said to me, "Don't
pray any more." The burden was lifted, and there was no need
back to John Doe. We pray that he will get right with God. The
answer is that he gets right with God. If the answer doesn't
come, we continue to pray, and that will lead us either to hope
or hopelessness. The time will come when God will give us the
assurance that the victory is going to come and faith becomes
undiluted, which is hope. There are times, however, when we
continue to pray and we do not have this assurance, and then God
says, "All is hopeless. I have withdrawn. Do not pray for
him anymore." Oh, what a sad thing this is, but how real it
us then continue to pray until we get the answer or until we have
the hope or until God says it is hopeless!
25 — God's “No” Is Often Temporary
15:21-28, "Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the
coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out
of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me,
O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a
devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and
besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But
he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of
the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying,
Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take
the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said,
Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their
masters' table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman,
great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her
daughter was made whole from that very hour."
God says, "No," when He means, "After awhile, yes;
but now, no." Here is a lady who sought deliverance from our
Lord. Imagine her preparation. She had spent all her money on the
physicians. I wonder how many times a good doctor had been
recommended to her. I wonder how many times her hopes had been
lifted only to fall again when a physician failed. I wonder how
many times she had come home and cried herself to sleep believing
that there was not another who could help. I wonder how many
times she had given up completely and then taken faith when
someone else would recommend a new remedy, and now she hears that
Jesus is nearby! Can you see her rising early in the morning? Can
you feel her heartbeat as she gets closer to the Saviour? Then
finally she gets to touch Him and to ask for help. Then the
Scripture says, "He answered not a word." She
was completely ignored. Jesus was saying, "No," but He
didn't mean "no" permanently. It was only a temporary
"no." He wanted to see if she meant business. He said,
"I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of
Israel." Maybe He was saying, "This is not your
dispensation. This is the dispensation of the Jew. He then
discourages her more when He said, "It is not meet to
take the children's bread, and cast it to the dogs." Ah,
but she wasn't through yet! She reminded him that even the dogs
have a right to hang around the table and catch the crumbs. After
saying, "No," and after testing her sincerity, the dear
Saviour then said, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt."
wonder how many people have quit right before the answer came. I
wonder how many races could have been won because the victory was
just around the next corner when the runner quit.
question comes, "How do I know how long to ask?" Now
that is your problem! The words, "How long?" are your
problem. You are wanting to know when you quit asking, but that
fact that you consider quitting is your problem. I'll tell you
exactly how long it will be before you have your prayer
answered—when He knows you won't quit. There is no time limit
placed upon pleading with God for an answer! Then there will come
a time when God will say, "That fellow is not going to quit
bothering me. He is going to keep on praying." Then the dear
Lord's "no" becomes a "yes."
fail to understand Luke 11:9,10, "And I say unto you,
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock,
and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh
receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh
it shall be opened." This is all in the linear or
continual tense. It is something never stopped; for example, we
will sleep as long as we live on this earth. We will eat as long
as we live on this earth. Now if we keep pleading with God as
long as we live on this earth, and He knows that we will, He will
often change a "no" to a "yes."
is the meaning of Luke 18:1, "And he spake a parable unto
them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to
faint." This is the meaning of the parable of the unjust
judge who became so weary because the lady pleaded with him to
avenge her of her adversary, that he finally said, "You
leave me alone, and I'll grant your request." If an unjust
judge would do this, how much more would a Heavenly Father do
this when He knows that we will not take "no" for an
is what Moses meant in Exodus 32:32, " Yet now, if Thou
wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out
of Thy book which Thou hast written."
God says, "No!" now, but it is a temporary "no"
because sometimes it is not best for us now. Later it may be
best. So keep on praying; sometimes His "no's" become
God wants us to prove our desire. He wants to know how much we
want something. When He finds that we want it so much that we
will keep on asking and keep on asking and keep on asking, He
changes a "no" to a "yes."
He tarries just to be with the Christian. He wants to be with
you. The only way many of us will spend time with God is if we
are pleading for something from Him, so often He says, "No,"
at first so that we will continue pleading.
you ever have a little puppy dog who was barking for a piece of
meat? You held the piece of meat above him and he barked again.
You enticed him with it, and he jumped up high and barked again.
You knew you were going to give him the meat; you just wanted to
hear him bark for awhile! Often, God intends to give you the
meat; but He wants to hear you bark. It's the only chance He gets
to hear you bark. Sometimes He says, "No," at first and
then He says, "Yes," later because He wants to be with
sometimes He says, "No," now and "Yes" later
because the Christian is not ready yet for the answer. If you had
the answer now, it would do you harm, but after you have prayed
and fasted and persevered in supplication, you are able to take
the answer to prayer, and God's timing is delayed until you are
ready to accept and use properly His answer.
God says, "No," today, but it will be "Yes"
tomorrow. Sometimes He says, "No," today, but it will
be "Yes" next year. Sometimes He says, "No,"
today, but it will be "Yes" many years from now.
Promise that you are going to continue praying and pleading and
begging. Convince yourself that you will never quit. When God is
convinced, He often changes a "no" to a "yes,"
for God's "no" is often temporary.
26 — Preparation for Petition
has often been mentioned in this book that prayer is only one
form of talking to God. Prayer is asking, or making a petition to
God. Praise may be talking to God, but it is not prayer.
Confession is talking to God, but it is not prayer. Thanksgiving
is talking to God, but it is not prayer. Prayer is requesting,
asking, or the presentation of a petition to God.
of this, it is unwise to rush to the throne of grace without
thought or preparation. God wants us to have what we want. Now
this can pose a problem. We must be careful what we want. Many
parents have ruined children because they grant a request of the
child. One parent said to me after his child had been seriously
injured in a motorcycle accident, "I knew I shouldn't have
gotten him one." With such promises as John 15:7;
Jeremiah 33:3; etc. in the Bible, a Christian must take every
care to be sure that his petitions are carefully though out
before he prays. We must be sure that what we want is right for
Corinthians 7:6,7, "Nevertheless God, that comforteth those
that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; And not
by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was
comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your
mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the
more." Before we pray, we should pray for the right
desires. Psalm 37:4, "Delight thyself also in the LORD;
and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart."
Philippians 2:13, "For it is God which worketh in you both
to will and to do of His good pleasure." We are simply
asking God to give us the desires we should have before we come
to the throne of grace to present them.
is also a good idea for the praying Christian to ask God to
reveal to him the sins about which the Christian does not know.
Psalm 19:12, "Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou
me from secret faults." The words, "secret faults,"
here mean "sins that I do not even know about." The
Christian may confess and forsake his open sins. He may even go
on to confess and forsake those sins that only he and God know
about. As one grows in grace, he finds that there are sins being
revealed to him from time to time, and there are things that he
is doing that are sinful of which he was not aware. This is what
the Psalmist is asking. He is asking God to reveal to him the
sins and faults about which he knows nothing so that he with
confession and repentance can take these sins to God for
the Christian presents his petition, he may want God to reveal
His commandments to him. Psalm 119:12,26,33,66,108, "Blessed
art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. I have declared my ways,
and thou heardest me: teach me Thy statutes. Teach me, O LORD,
the way of Thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Teach
me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy
commandments. Accept, I beseech Thee, the freewill offerings of
my mouth, O LORD, and teach me Thy judgments."
of us have seen little boxes containing cards on which are
written Scripture verses. Almost always these verses are promises
that God has given to His people. However, few, if any, of us
have ever seen a box of Scripture verses on which are written
commandments. There are many commandments without promises.
Malachi 3:9,10, "Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have
robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into
the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove
Me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you
the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there
shall not be room enough to receive it." John 15:7, "If
ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye
will, and it shall be done unto you." Jeremiah 33:3, "Call
unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty
things, which thou knowest not." II Chronicles 7:14, "If
My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves,
and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then
will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will
heal their land." Notice in each passage there are
promises, but before these promises are the commandments. Before
the promise of answered prayer, there's the commandment to abide
in Christ and have His Word abide in you. Before the promise of
God giving us great and mighty things of which we know not, there
is the commandment to call on Him. Before the promise of
forgiving sin and healing our land, are the commandments to
humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, turn from our wicked ways.
Before presenting his petition to God, the Christian should be
well aware of God's commandments, in order that he may obey them
before claiming the promises.
Christian should also pray to the Holy Spirit and ask Him for
what he should pray when he presents his petition to God. Romans
8:26,27, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:
for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the
Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which
cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what
is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the
saints according to the will of God." Since I have needs
of which I know not, and since I know not what tomorrow holds, I
do not know what tomorrow's needs may be, but He who knows all
knows my needs today and tomorrow can reveal them to me before I
pray. Likewise, the Christian should pray for other Christians to
know their needs and know what petitions they should bring to
God. Colossians 1:9, "For this cause we also, since the
day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that
ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom
and spiritual understanding." Ephesians 1:16-18, "Cease
not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may
give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the
knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being
enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling,
and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the
saints." Then there are times when Christians should
counsel with each other concerning things for which they should
pray. Romans 15:14, "And I myself also am persuaded of
you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with
all knowledge, able also to admonish one another."
we have used all the avenues possible for the finding of our sins
so we can confess them and the finding of our needs so we can
petition for them, we then may prepare our prayers. Ephesians
3:11,12, "According to the eternal purpose which He purposed
in Christ Jesus our Lord: In Whom we have boldness and access
with confidence by the faith of Him." Once this has been
done, we can come boldly to the throne of grace. Hebrews 4:16,
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that
we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Coming boldly means to come with a warm simple confidence
that we are His child and He is our Father, that we love Him and
that He loves us, and that we are coming in a spiritual attitude
to claim those things which are best for us.
boldly also means that we can come to God and present our case
which in one place in the Bible is called "argument."
This is the type argument that an attorney would present in
court. Job 23:4, "I would order my cause before Him, and
fill my mouth with arguments." Then there is an amazing
Scripture in the Bible concerning our boldness before God in
Isaiah 45:11, "Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of
Israel, and his Maker, Ask Me of things to come concerning my
sons, and concerning the work of My hands command ye me."
are even reminded in the Bible that we can pray for boldness.
Acts 4:28,29, "For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy
counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their
threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness
they may speak Thy word."
are also told that that prayer can be answered, and boldness can
be ours. Acts 4:31, "And when they had prayed, the place
was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all
filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with
are likewise reminded that we can pray for boldness for each
other. Ephesians 6:18-20, "Praying always with all prayer
and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all
perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that
utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly,
to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an
ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought
an attorney, with respect, propriety, dignity and perhaps even a
degree of reverence, comes before the judge with a well-prepared
case, believing that he has a right to present it and that the
judge will hear him with justice, so the Christian may do
likewise at the throne of grace. Isaiah 43:25,26, "I,
even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own
sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put Me in remembrance: let
us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified."
are His children. We have a right to come before Him, but let us
not do so glibly! Let us prepare our hearts and prepare our case
before we come to His throne presenting our petitions.
27 — The Model Prayer
6:9-13, "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father
which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy
will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our
daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For
Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
Amen." Luke 11:2-4, "And He said unto them, When ye
pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for
we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not
into temptation; but deliver us from evil."
is what is commonly known as the Lord's prayer. However, this is
not a prayer prayed by our Lord. This is often called "the
model prayer," or perhaps it could better be called "a
good outline for praying." Since it is an outline for the
Christian's prayer, it is worthy of careful investigation.
introduces a new title for God. Luke 11:2a, "And He
said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father . . . . " No
one had before this time addressed God as Father except the Lord
Jesus. Luke 2:49, "And he said unto them, How is it that
ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's
business?" Now He comes to tell us that HIS Father can
now be OUR Father. So when the Christian talks to God to ask Him
for his needs, he is instructed that it is to be as a child talks
to a father. In transferring our needs to us and in our asking
for our needs to be supplied, God could have chosen for it to be
done as an employee would make a request from his boss or as a
soldier would make a request from his commanding officer or as a
businessman would make a request from one of his peers, but God
wanted there to be more of a personal touch in the dispensing of
our needs, so He chose the tender yet secure relationship of a
child and his father.
Before we pray, God wants a time of praise and worship.
Note the words, "Hallowed by Thy name" in verse
2 of Luke 11. We have just been introduced to a new
name for God. None of the Old Testament prophets or Christians
ever called God their Father. It is natural then for those of us
who have been given this new privilege to rejoice in His name. So
we have the expression, "Hallowed by Thy name."
No doubt He is talking about the name "Father"
to which He has just introduced us.
in mind, this is not praying, for praying is asking for
something; this is preparatory to praying. We are adoring God,
worshipping God and praising Him. We are about to ask Him for
something. It certainly won't hurt our chances any to tell Him
how wonderful He is and to praise His name, to worship Him and to
exalt Him. If our children on earth are going to ask us for
something, it certainly enhances their chances of receiving it if
they spend a few minutes telling us what good parents we are and
how much they love us.
There are basically only three requests in this outline. The
first is found in Luke 11:3. Here is a simple request for
daily bread. Notice the word "us." Compare this
to the word "our" in verse 2. It seems as
if God intends for us to pray some together because we have the
first person plural mentioned throughout the Lord's prayer. In
verse 2, "OUR Father"; in verse 3, "Give
US day by day OUR daily bread"; in verse 4, "And
forgive US OUR sins; for WE also forgive every one that is
indebted to US. And lead US not into temptation; but deliver US
second request made in the Lord's prayer has to do with
forgiveness of sin. Notice verse 4. "And forgive us our
sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And
lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil."
third request is a request for bread for a friend. Luke
11:5,6, "And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a
friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him,
Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey
is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?"
are the only requests mentioned in our Lord's outline of prayer:
bread for self, forgiveness, and bread for others. Notice that
this is a primary prayer, a learner's prayer. Our Lord was
teaching them this prayer in answer to their request, "Lord,
teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." (Luke
11:1) The first need of the body is bread. The first need of
the soul is forgiveness. So in this basic learner's prayer, there
are only two requests—bread and forgiveness. There are two
requests concerning bread, however; bread for me and bread for
is also interesting to note that the prayer starts off with the
word "Thy." Notice, "THY name,"
"THY kingdom," "THY will be done,"
"Lead US," "Deliver US." Then
it turns to a friend of mine, or "others" in
are two friends mentioned in the model prayer. (It must be
remembered that the lesson on prayer goes beyond what we usually
call the model prayer. Verses 5-13 are as much a part of
this outline as are verses 1-4.) In verse 5 the
prayer goes to a friend at midnight who has the bread. In verse
6 he speaks of a friend who came to see him. The friend who
has the bread is our Heavenly Father. The friend who needs bread
who has come to see him is the sinner. Notice that our right to
requisition the friend who has the bread is based upon our being
a friend to the one who needs bread. He who is not a friend of
sinners and does not seek to win them to the Saviour cannot claim
closeness of friendship with the Father. In fact our Saviour gave
us a requirement for friendship with Him—our obedience to His
commandments. John 15:14, "Ye are My friends, if ye do
whatsoever I command you." His main commandment is
reaching the unsaved with the Gospel. Matthew 28:19,20, "Go
ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching
them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and,
lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
We call this "the great commission"; hence, it is His
great commandment. Our Lord is telling us that our intimacy with
Him as a friend is dependent upon our friendship with sinners;
that is, leading them to Christ and being concerned about their
salvation. A friend had come at midnight, and because he was his
friend, the Christian was driven to seek the other friend who had
the bread. The teaching here is that our degree of intimacy with
Christ depends upon our faithfulness in obeying His commandments.
It must always be remembered that Jesus came, lived, died and
rose again for the salvation of lost souls. Luke 19:10, "For
the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
Only when we become this type of friend to the unsaved can we
enter into the sweetness and closeness of the friend relationship
with our God.
The location of forgiveness in this outline is after bread for
self and before bread for others. God is telling us that He
will feed us because we are His children, but He will not let us
enter into the work of feeding others with Him until we have
sought forgiveness. Anyone for a few pennies can go to the store
and buy a loaf of bread. This is a very small task which is
speedily executed, but getting a job in the bakery is much more
difficult. This requires application, references, interviews,
etc. God feeds US because we are His children; God allows us to
enter into the great work of getting the Bread of Life to others
after our hearts have been made right with Him; that is, being
forgiven of our sins and forgiving others of their sins against
God requires the Christian to forgive others before He offers
forgiveness. Being forgiven is not Christlike, for Christ
never sinned; hence, He never needed forgiveness. Forgiving IS
Christlike, for Christ does forgive. This makes the little
outline read as follows: (1) Bread for me, (2) Forgiveness of
others, (3) Forgiveness for me, (4) Bread for others.
It requires much longer to receive bread for others than it
does to receive bread for self. Luke 11:3, "Give us
day by day our daily bread." Luke 11:7,8, "And he from
within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now
shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give
thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him,
because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will
rise and give him as many as he needeth." Bread for self
comes with a simple daily prayer, but bread for others comes
comes only after pleading. In verse 7 the friend that had
the bread said, "Trouble me not: the door is now shut,
and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee."
However, the person in need of bread continued and pleaded. The
word "importunity" in verse 8 means "much
I come to God and ask for bread for myself. I simply say, "Lord,
give me this day my daily bread." Notice only one mention of
myself, but when I come after having forgiven and been forgiven
and I begin to plead, "Lord, bread for others, please. Give
bread for others. Others, Lord, give bread for others. Give bread
for others. Please, Lord, give bread for others." Perhaps
God wants our thought dwelling more on others. As we plead for
others we think of others and become more burdened for others. If
God had made us plead for our own bread, we would have dwelt on
ourselves too much, so God wants us to get our minds off of
ourselves. We ask for bread for self one time, and He gives it to
us. Then since He wants us to dwell on others, love others and
have compassion on others, He requires much praying and much
begging for that bread.
Our Prayer for self is done in the daytime. Luke 11:3,
"Give us day by day our daily bread." Our prayer
for others is made at midnight. Luke 11:5, "And He said
unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto
him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves."
Most of the Christian's long intercessory prayers should come
during the nighttime hours. A little motto I have had for years
is as follows: I will help others while they are awake and pray
for them while they sleep. Lengthy praying is usually not for the
daytime hours, because in the daytime hours we are supposed to be
busy dispensing the bread and caring for the needs of others.
However, while they rest, the bakery is turning out the bread,
ready for delivery the next morning. Oh, the need of midnight
praying! God give us parents who pray in the wee hours of the
morning for children. God give us midnight prayers for the
blessings of God upon our churches. No one will ever know the
depth of prayer until he has learned to pray while others sleep.
This praying for bread for others is symbolic of praying for
the power of the Holy Spirit. Luke 11:11-13, "If a
son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give
him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a
serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your
children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy
Spirit to them that ask him?" He, the Holy Spirit, is
the power by which we witness. Whatever the price we must pay, it
must be paid. No amount of human wisdom or human cunning will
take the place of the mighty power of the Holy Spirit of God.
When we learn to pay the price at the midnight hour, through the
wee hours of the morning, pleading with God for His mighty power,
we then get that blessed power of the Holy Spirit.
often chant the model prayer as part of their worship service.
Many children are taught to pray this prayer before they go to
bed at night. I am not saying that this is sinful, but if this is
all the model prayer is to the child of God, he is missing the
entire teaching. The disciples had seen Him pray, they had heard
Him pray, and they wanted to know how to pray as He prayed. They
had heard Him preach, but never said, "Teach us to preach."
They heard Him teach, but never said, "Teach us to teach."
They heard Him pray and said, "Lord, teach us to pray, as
John also taught his disciples." In response to that
request, He teaches them and gives them this little outline. Then
they follow and present their petitions at the throne of grace.
28 — Be Careful What You Pray
chapter could be called, "Safety in Prayer,"
"Safeguards in Prayer," or "Don't Pray the Wrong
a previous chapter we dealt with the great heart of God and how
God wants and loves to answer our prayers. Now because He does
have such a tremendous desire, we must be very careful for what
we pray. We have such promises in the Bible as, Ask what ye
will." This places a great responsibility on the Christian
to be careful got what He prays. With a God Who loves us so much
and Who in many ways almost places a carte blanche before us if
we walk close to Him and abide in Him, we must take special care
for those things that are best for us and for God's work.
is an interesting story in Numbers 22, Balaam had been
invited to do an unwise thing; that is, to leave the will of God
and go to Moab. Balaam, being the faithful preacher that he was,
went to God and asked God what he should do. God very plainly
said, "Thou shalt not go with them." (Numbers 22:12)
Balaam returned to the princes of Balak and said in verse
13, "The Lord refuseth to give me leave to go with you."
Now that should have settled it, but Balaam was not careful in
his prayer, for Balak became more insistent than ever. Balak sent
more princes with more authority than the others, and again
sought for Balaam's willingness to come to Moab. Balaam was again
very emphatic when in verse 18 he said, "I cannot
go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more,"
but he made a tragic mistake! In verse 19 he said, "Now
therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may
know what the LORD will say unto me more." The Lord
didn't have to say anything more to Balaam! He had already told
Balaam what to do, but Balaam did not build a safeguard around
his prayers. He came back again, and for some reason known only
to the great heart of God, God told Balaam this time to go ahead!
did God change His mind? Was He allowing Balaam to go ahead just
to show him the consequences of doubting God's commandment? Was
He trying to teach Balaam to be careful in the future? Did God
acquiesce because He was weary? Was it that God wanted Balaam to
have what he wanted? I don't know, but I do know that Balaam went
to Moab and that an entire race was corrupted because of it!
Tragedy came to thousands and thousands of lives because Balaam
was not safe in his praying.
same type of thing is found concerning divorce. God never wants
any couple to divorce for any reason, but He does give a
permission for divorce in the case of fornication. God is saying,
"I want one thing, but I will permit another. I would prefer
you not to divorce ever for any reason, but because your hearts
are hard, I will allow you to do it for just one reason."
safeguards in prayer that we will mention in this chapter are
needful because God does tell us to ask WHAT WE WANT. Mark
11:24, "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye
desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall
have them." John 15:7, "If ye abide in Me, and My words
abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done
unto you." Psalm 37:4, "Delight thyself also in the
LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart."
Philippians 4:6, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing
by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be
made known unto God." John 14:14, "If ye shall ask any
thing in My name, I will do it." All of these promises
and others remind us that with such a blank check, we must be
careful, very careful!
course, in prayer, as in salvation, we can come to God only
through Jesus. Hebrews 4:14-16, "Seeing then that we have
a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the
Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an
high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our
infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet
without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of
grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time
of need." John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the
way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but
by Me." Hence, all prayer goes through Jesus, or to use
a figure of speech, passes across His desk before it goes to the
Father. Of course, all prayer is heard by Him because He is
sitting on the right hand of the Father all the time.
are several different attitudes that Jesus could have concerning
our prayers as they come through Him to the Father. He may
approve them; He may endorse them; He may recommend them; He may
even plead for them. Hence, you can see that He could show
different degrees of enthusiasm. There are many Scriptures in the
Bible that teach us that the Father seeks counsel from the Son.
Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son
is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His
name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The
everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." The word
"counsellor" here deals mainly with the
relationship that the Father has with the Son. Jesus is the
wonderful counsellor. Especially is this true in His relationship
with the Father. He counsels with His father; so as Jesus
counsels with the Father, He may approve our prayer requests. He
may be even more enthusiastic than that—He may endorse a prayer
request; or He may go farther than that—He may recommend it; or
He may even go so far as to plead for it. I wonder how many
earthly parents love their children so much that they give them
too much in response to the child's request. When one stops to
realize how much God loves us, it is no wonder that we should be
careful when we come to Him in prayer.
are, thank God, some safeguards that we should remember
Pray according to Bible principles. The Christian should
know his Bible and know it well. This will lead him to pray
according to the principles set down in the Word of God. This
gives a great security, safety and safeguard to our praying.
Pray in the will of God. I John 5:14,15, "And this
is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing
according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear
us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we
desired of Him." Notice how Jesus prayed in the garden
of Gethsemane. Matthew 26:38,39, "Then saith He unto
them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye
here, and watch with Me. And He went a little further, and fell
on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible,
let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as
Thou wilt." He told the Father His will, but then He
prayed for the Father's will to be done. It is commonly believed
that Jesus was talking about the cup of death, the cup of
suffering or the cup of becoming accursed for sin. No, no, no!
Jesus wasn't asking the Father to keep Him from dying; He knew He
was going to die! He came to die! His death was called "the
glory that was set before Him." He set His face like a
flint toward Jerusalem. He wanted to die for us. He gladly laid
down His life for us.
He was praying, "let this cup pass from Me," He
was afraid that He was going to die then; that is, there in the
garden of Gethsemane. He knew that it was not the plan of God for
Him to die there. He knew that He was supposed to go to Calvary
on the day of the Passover and become our Passover and in so
doing, pay the penalty for our sins. He was saying, "Father,
let the cup of death pass from Me now." Let Me wait for the
cross. That is why I came." Then He says, "Nevertheless,
not My will but Thine be done." He said, "Father,
You know best. I want it to be done according to Thy will."
Added light is thrown upon this in Hebrews 5:7, " Who in
the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and
supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able
to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared." A
real safeguard in prayer is always to pray in the will of God.
Live a spiritual life. Psalm 37:4, "Delight
thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of
thine heart." John 15:7, "If ye abide in Me, and My
words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be
done unto you." Psalm 1:1-3, "Blessed is the man
that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in
the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But
his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he
meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by
the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall
prosper." If we walk in the Spirit and live a
spiritual-filled life, we will then pray in the Spirit. How
dangerous it is for a Christian to get in the flesh, as perhaps
Balaam did when he came the second time and sought for God's
permission to go to Moab!
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you make your list of requests
that you are to take to the Father. Romans 8:26,27,
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we
know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit
itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be
uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the
mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints
according to the will of God." As is mentioned in
another chapter of this book, the intercession that the Apostle
speaks about in Romans 8:26 is the Holy Spirit making
intercession TO the one praying. In other words, the Holy Spirit
tells us what to pray. Ah, here is a blessed safeguard! Ask the
Holy Spirit to help you make your prayer list. With His help and
His leadership there is great safety, and we can avoid making
foolish requests. In verse 27 the intercession means
intercession WITH us. Once the Holy Spirit has made intercession
to us in telling us what to pray for, He then goes to the Father
with us and makes intercession with us before the Father.
Actually the Holy Spirit becomes our prayer partner as we present
our petitions to the Father. This is a great way to prevent
making a prayer that is a foolish one and risking God allowing us
to do something that is not His first choice, such as in the case
Pray from the will of God. Oh yes, pray in the will of
God, but always pray from the will of God. Always be in His will.
When we are praying from His perfect will or, if we have
forfeited His perfect will, from His permissive or acceptable or
improvised will, we are adding another ticket to the fence of
protection against an unwise request.
Remember how the prayer worked out in the past. Stop to
think if it was best before. Use the past as a pattern for the
we have a God Who loves us so much, Who delights in answering our
prayers and Who has given us so many amazing promises, we must be
careful what we pray.
29 — Four Relationships in Prayer
"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice,
saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My
God, why hast thou forsaken Me?"
first words recorded of our Lord while He was on earth were
these: "How is it that ye sought Me? wist ye not that I
must be about My Father's business?"
(Luke 2:49) Notice especially the words, "My
Father's." The last words recorded by our Lord before He
gave up the ghost on Calvary were these: "Father, into
Thy hands I commend My spirit." (Luke 23:46) Again,
notice the use of the word "Father." Between the
first words recorded and the last words recorded are such terms
as these: "the will of My Father," "ye
blessed of My Father," "their angels do behold
the face of My Father," and "My Father is
greater than them all."
first words of Calvary were, "Father, forgive them; for
they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34) The last words
of Calvary were, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My
spirit." Notice again the emphasizing of the word,
"Father." Hear our Lord in John 17 in the
great prayer of intercession: In verse 1, "Father, the
hour is come." In verse 5, "And now, O Father,
glorify Thou Me with Thine own self." Verse 11, "Holy
Father, keep through Thine own name those Whom Thou hast given
Me." Verse 21, "That they all may be one; as Thou,
Father, art in Me, and I in Thee." Verse 24, "Father, I
will that they also whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I
am." Verse 25, "O righteous Father, the world hath not
known Thee: but I have known Thee." Notice in each of
these verses the use of the words, "Father," "My
father," "holy Father" or "the Father."
am stunned than at the middle cry of Calvary when the Lord Jesus
said, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"
Why was it always "Father" and now suddenly it is "My
God, My God"? Our sins were placed on Jesus. The Father
turned His back upon His Son, and Jesus cried, "My God,
My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" The word "forsaken"
is a large word. It includes, "My God, My God, why hast Thou
indicted Me? Why hast Thou convicted Me? Why hast Thou sentenced
Me? Why hast Thou disowned Me?" Though Jesus was still the
Son of God on the cross, He could not call God His Father because
He was bearing our sins. He was identifying Himself with sinners,
and the Father, Who is holy and just, cannot look upon sin.
Hence, He turned His back upon His Son and in that moment
disowned Him that His justice might be satisfied and that a way
of reconciliation for sinners like you and me could be made.
leads to four relationships mankind can have with his God.
This takes place at birth.
This takes place at salvation.
This takes place at separation.
This takes place at service.
the creature accepts Christ as His Saviour and by faith
appropriates God's gift of eternal life, he then enters into a
new relationship with His God. It is the relationship of
God-people. However, notice II Corinthians 6:14-18, "Be
ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what
fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what
communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ
with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are
the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in
them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall
be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye
separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I
will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be
My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." Notice
especially the words in verse 18, "and will be a Father
unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters." Now
this does not mean that the Christian was not already a child of
God; it does mean that one can be a child and not enjoy the
intimate relationship that he should with his Father. Here in II
Corinthians 6:14-17 we have the requirement that God gives
for those of us who are His children to enter into a sweet
Father-child relationship. It is the great doctrine of
separation. In verse 14 we are told not to be yoked
together with unbelievers. We are told that righteousness should
not fellowship with unrighteousness. We are told that light
should not commune with darkness. We are told in verse 15
that Christ hath not concord with Belial and that believers
should have no part with infidels. We are told in verse 16
that the temple of God hath no agreement with idols. We have the
reminder in the last part of verse 16 that the believer is
one of God's people and that he has a God-people relationship
with the Father. Then in verse 17 God speaks to the
believer and says that if he will come out from among them, that
is, the unbelievers, unrighteous, darkness, Belial, infidels and
idols, and be separate and touch not the unclean thing, that God
will receive him and will be a Father unto him and the believer
shall be as a son or daughter. (Verse 18.) This is a
wonderful, blessed truth.
night our son, Dave, got in the wrong crowd. He came home. When I
realized with what crowd he had been, I said, "Go to your
said, "But, Dad . . . "
said, "Don't 'Dad' me. 'Doctor Hyles' me."
said, "Well, Dad . . . "
said, "Don't say 'Dad' to me. You 'Doctor Hyles' me." I
went upstairs and made him say "Doctor Hyles, Doctor Hyles,
Doctor Hyles," over and over again. Now he was my son, but
we were not close at that particular time because he had been in
the wrong crowd. The believer in Christ is still God's child, but
he has forfeited his Father-child intimacy if he runs with the
Romans 8:14,15, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of
God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the
spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit
of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." Here we have
another passage that teaches the same truth. We are told that the
sons of God are those who are led by the Spirit of God. Romans
8 deals with the Spirit of God leading the child of God to
lead the spiritual life and not the carnal life. If the child of
God follows the leadership of the Holy Spirit into a spiritual
life, he then becomes the son of God. This does not mean
that he was not already God's child. It means that he now has a
relationship as a father and a son should have. This same
teaching is implied in Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the
peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
little boy was bad. His dad sent him to his room and then spanked
him. He then told the boy to stay in his room and think what a
bad boy he had been. After while dinner was ready. The dad very
curtly said, "Son, come on to the table and eat!" The
boy came to the table. His parents were still his parents, but he
had lost the sweet relationship with them that a child should
have with his parents. His dad then looked over to him and in a
very stern voice said, "Heavenly Father, I thank Thee that
Thou preparest a table before me (sob, sob, sob) in the presence
of my enemies."
our girls were small, I had dates with them. For many years I had
dates with Becky, who is our oldest daughter. I used to say,
"Becky, do you want to have a date with Daddy?"
little three or four or five-year old voice would say, "Goodie,
goodie, goodie! I'm going to have a date with Daddy!" I
would escort her to the car and ask her where she wanted to go.
She would always say she wanted to go to the ice cream store. We
would drive to the ice cream store. A waitress would come up and
ask to take our order. Becky would always order a chocolate milk
shake. I would likewise order a chocolate milk shake. When the
waitress brought the milk shakes, she put Becky's in front of her
and mine in front of me and a straw in each, whereupon Becky
would say, "Daddy, let's drink out of the same milk shake
together." I put my milk shake to the side and put my straw
in Becky's and we would share the same milk shake. People would
walk by and say, "Look at that mean old man drinking that
little girl's milk shake! (I did get more than Becky got because
I had a better sucker than Becky had!)
we would have a milk shake we would go to the Jack and Jill shop
and I would buy Becky a dress or something else that she might
have needed. Then we would get in the car and go to Riverside
Park and swing. Becky would get in the swing and I would push
her. I would get in the swing and she would try to push me. We
did this every week. It was a ritual with us. This continued
while Becky was three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
eleven, twelve and thirteen; but when she became thirteen and
fourteen, one day I said, "Becky, do you want to have a date
said, "No, sir."
said, "What do you mean?"
sir, I mean I don't want to have a date."
said, "Because Tim is going to call."
was Tim? Tim was a boy she had learned to like better than her
dad, and she would rather wait for a phone call from Tim than to
have a date with her dad. (Every parent who has ever reared a
child knows how I felt!) I went to my prayer closet and asked,
"What's wrong? I've lost my daughter!"
Heavenly Father is asking "What's wrong?" between Him
and many of us because we have lost our sweet relationship that
we once had.
decided to add to the incentive. I was going to preach in the Los
Angeles area and so I said, "Becky, would you like to go to
Los Angeles with Daddy? We will go to Knott's Berry Farm and
Disneyland, we will fly in a big airplane, have a few days in a
hotel, enjoy room service and breakfast in bed!"
asked, "Can Tim go?"
said, "No, Tim cannot go!"
said, "Then I don't want to go."
one day I was taking a trip to the Holy Land. I said, "Becky,
would you like to go to London, Paris, Rome, Athens, Cairo,
Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Bethany, Nazareth, Cana of Galilee, the
Jordan River, the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum and
Jericho with Daddy?"
Tim going? Becky said.
I said, "Tim is not going!"
I don't want to go," Becky said.
would rather talk with Tim on the telephone than go around the
world with me! (I did not know at the time that this was the
natural thing. I know it now. I did not know it then.)
and Tim got married. God has given them three lovely children.
When the first child was just a baby, they came home for a visit.
I had to go to the store, and I announced that I was going to the
store. Becky said, "Daddy, can I go, and can we have a
eyes filled with tears and my heart leaped with joy as my
daughter wanted to have a date again with me. It had been years!
put out my arm and escorted her to the car. I said, "Puddin',
where would you like to go?"
said, "To the ice cream store."
the ice cream store we went! A waitress came to take our order.
(It was not the same waitress.) Becky said, "I would like to
order a chocolate milk shake."
tears I said, "Make that two chocolate milk shakes!"
waitress brought the milk shakes, put Becky's in front of Becky
and mine in front of me and a straw in each. Becky said, "Daddy,
could we drink out of the same milk shake together?"
said, "Why sure Puddin'." I put my milk shake on the
side, put my straw in Becky's and we drank out of the same milk
shake. (I still got more than she did because my sucker was still
better than hers!)
we shared her milk shake, we shared mine. Than I said, "Puddin',
you wouldn't like to buy a new dress, would you?" (Don't
ever ask an adult lady that question!)
said, "Yes, I would." We didn't go to the Jack and Jill
Shop, we went to Rosalee's, a women's store, and Becky picked out
a dress just like we used to do.
said, "Puddin, we had better go home."
said, "Daddy, aren't we going to go to the park and swing?"
said, "You want to go to the park and swing?"
said, "We always do on our dates, don't we?" So we went
to Riverside Park! Becky sat in the swing and I pushed her, then
I sat in the swing and she tried to push me.
we went home, and I went to my prayer closet, got on my knees and
said, "Lord, does it make You as happy when I love to be
with You as it makes me when my children love to be with me?"
it does, except then thousand times more! The great heart of God
wants to have a sweet relationship with His children, and He
wants not only positionally to be our Father but practically He
wants to treat us as a Father would treat a child.
a famous ball player was first born again, he was interviewed by
an adult magazine which is filled with nudity and pornography.
Someone asked him why he did that since he claimed to be born
again. He said that Jesus would have been interviewed by that
magazine. Now this football player might be born again, but when
he comes to his prayer closet he will have to say, "Dear
God" and not, "Dear father."
famous Hollywood singer sings in nightclubs using his charisma to
attract people to the liquor and other sins of nightclub life.
Then on Sunday he goes to a church and tells how much Jesus means
to him. He may be saved, but when he comes to pray he has
forfeited the right to say, "Dead father."
is a wonderful relationship that God wants to have with us and to
offer to us, but that relationship must be based on our being
separated. Do you have God's money in your pocket, rock music on
your record player, soap operas on your television? Then though
He is your Heavenly Father, you may not treat Him as such, and
though you are His child, the treatment will not be as intimate
as He would like it to be, and it will not be so until you are
have noticed that the Creator-creature relationship comes at
birth, the God-people relationship comes at salvation, and the
father-child relationship comes with separation, but there is yet
a fourth relationship, and that is Friend-friend. John 15:14,
"Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."
This comes at service when we obey our Heavenly Father's
commands. Of course, His great command was to go and teach all
nations. In other words, the great command is to be a soul
winner. God spoke of Abraham as being His friend. Moses spoke to
God face to face as a friend. God wants to have that sweet
Friend-to-friend relationship with His people, but He will enter
into that sacred relationship only when we become soul winners
and faithful servants of our Lord.
years ago I was invited by Dr. John R. Rice to preach at a Sword
of the Lord Conference in Lake Louis, Georgia. The speakers were
to be Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., Dr. R. G. Lee, Dr. John Rice, Dr. Bill
Rice and others. I was still in my twenties and could not believe
Dr. Rice meant that he wanted me to come. I thought the letter
was sent to me by mistake, so I had my secretary call Dr. Rice's
office to confirm the invitation. Not long after that I sat on
the same platform with Dr. R.G. Lee when he preached his famous
sermon, "Payday Someday," and then I was introduced to
speak. I looked at my outline and was almost ashamed to preach.
How could a kid preacher like me follow the most famous sermon of
our generation? After I had preached I sat at the same table with
Dr. John R. Rice, Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., Dr. R. G. Lee and others. I
could not believe that it was true. Then for 22 years I shared
the platform with Dr. Rice, and at over 2200 occasions he and I
preached on the same program!
few years after I had begun preaching with Dr. Rice, I asked him
very privately if he would unofficially adopt me as a son. I
said, "Dr. Rice, you have six daughters; you have no sons,
and my father has been dead for a long time. If I don't tell
anybody about this while you are alive, and if I do not presume
upon our relationship, could we have an understanding that I am
sort of your adopted son?"
put his right hand in mine and his left hand on my shoulder and
said, "You've got yourself a deal, son."
22 years I never missed sending him a Father's Day gift not did I
fail to call him on father's Day. (I never told anyone this—not
even my family or closest friends.) When he was well up in years,
Dr. Rice suffered a serious heart attack and a stroke and was
unable to travel, and in 1980 he went to Heaven. I miss Dr. Rice
very much , but there is a Father-son relationship that I may
always enjoy, and there is a Friend=friend relationship that can
be mine. I became His creature when I was born. I became one of
His people when I was born-again at the age of nearly 11. I
entered into a Father-child relationship with Him on Christmas
night, 1944, when I decided to live a separated life, and then
when I became a soul winner and His servant, I became His friend,
and He became my Friend.
have always felt very close to my son, David, but we have been in
many ways more than just dad and son; we have been friends. For
many years we have shared the same burden for America and for the
Lord's work. When this burden is shared, friendship is shared.
each of these relationships offers new intimacies in prayer. A
friend can pray in a way that even a son cannot pray. As we enter
into a new closer relationship with our Heavenly Father, we enter
into a new area of prayer. How blessed is the prayer life of a
Christian with his God! How much more blessed is that prayer life
of a son with his Father! How heavenly is the prayer life of a
friend with a Friend.
30 — Prayer and Separation and Soul Winning
the average Christian were to place in proper order the three
Christian activities mentioned in our chapter title, the most
popular order, no doubt, would be: (1) separation, (2) prayer,
and (3) soul winning. Yet this is not so in God's order. For
example, in the Word of God prayer comes after soul winning. John
15:16, "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and
ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that
your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the
Father in My name, He may give it you." Also notice John
14:12-14, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth
on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works
than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father. And
whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the
Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in
My name, I will do it." 1st John 3:22, "And whatsoever
we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and
do those things that are pleasing in His sight." James 5:16,
"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for
another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a
righteous man availeth much." Now, that is not to say
that the Christian should not pray before going soul winning. It
is to say that when a person is saved, he is to become a soul
winner immediately. The woman at Sychar's well fled to the city
immediately upon receiving Christ to tell the people about Jesus.
statement concerning prayer coming after soul winning is not so
much chronological as it is priority. It may be academic as to
which comes first. It may be like the hen and the egg, but since
soul winning is so often maligned, over looked and discouraged,
someone needs to stress its importance and elevate its dignity.
The point is not to advocate the Christian sitting down and
listing what he is going to do first—go soul winning or pray.
For that matter, they can be done at the same time, but in the
heart of God, saving sinners has top priority. Jesus prayed while
He was on earth. Luke 19:10 says, "For the Son of man is
come to seek and to save that which was lost." Paul
wrote Timothy and said, "Christ Jesus came into the world
to save sinners." (I Timothy 1:15b) Entering one's
closet to pray causes no person embarrassment, causes no one to
hurl an accusation of fanaticism.
in mind, this entire manuscript is sent forth to emphasize
prayer. This writer is pleading with God's people to pray, but
God gave His Son to save sinners. Christ left Heaven and came to
earth to save sinners. Jesus died on the cross to save sinners.
He rose after three days and three nights to save sinners. He
ascended to the right hand of the Father to plead the sinner's
case, and the point the author is making is that a person doesn't
have to be a seasoned prayer warrior in order to go soul winning!
He doesn't have to grow in grace for six months and go to Bible
college before he begins to go soul winning! He is supposed to
start telling others about Jesus as soon as he gets off his knees
after having received the Saviour himself!
the second place, soul winning also comes before separation. John
15:2,3, "Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh
away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it
may bring forth more fruit.
Joh:15:3: Now ye are clean through
the Word which I have spoken unto you." Notice the
bearing of fruit comes before the purging. No doubt the woman at
the well in Sychar had a lot of changing to do in her life, but
that was not her first thought. Her first thought was to get to
the people and tell them she had found the Saviour. To be sure, a
person who is separated will bring forth more fruit. In fact,
that's God's order—fruit, purging, more fruit. I can remember
my dad out in the back yard at 3936 Denley Drive in Dallas,
Texas, cutting some branches off the tree. I asked him what he
was doing. He said, "Son, I believe this tree would give
more peaches if we would cut off some off the dead branches."
He did cut off dead branches of a tree that was already bringing
forth fruit, but then it brought forth more fruit.
sad it is when sincere but misguided preachers and Bible teachers
insinuate or even teach that soul winning is for the seasoned
Christian, the one who has paid the price in separation! No, soul
winning is for the new Christian as well as the old, and God will
purge him if He sees he is bringing forth fruit. God looks down
to a Christian who is winning souls and says, "Ah, I see
fruit coming from that limb. I'm going to take away those
cigarettes and hot temper, those movies, etc. and help him to
bring forth even more fruit."
notice John 15:2,7,8,16, "Every branch in Me that beareth
not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He
purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. If ye abide in
Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it
shall be done unto you. Herein is My Father glorified, that ye
bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples. Ye have not chosen
me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go
and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that
whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it
you." A careful look at those verses will find God's
divine order: (1) fruit, (2) purging, (3) more fruit, (4)
abiding, (5) much fruit.
is not meant in any way to minimize prayer and separation. You
will not find a preacher anywhere that preaches more strongly on
separation than this author, and remember, the purpose of this
entire book is to encourage the Christian to pray, but there has
to be some great purpose for it all! While Jesus was on earth, He
healed the sick, but He came to seek and to save that which was
lost. While He was on earth, He opened blind eyes and deaf ears,
He caused the dumb to speak and the lame to leap like a hart, but
He came to seek and to save that which was lost. While Jesus was
on earth, He blessed little children, He stilled the waves and
calmed the storm and spoke peace to the nervous and restless, but
He came to seek and to save that which was lost. While Jesus was
on earth He taught, preached, edified, encouraged and blessed,
but He came to seek and to save that which was lost. While Jesus
was on earth, He scolded, chastened, exhorted and rebuked, but He
came to seek and to save that which was lost. While Jesus was on
earth He comforted and cheered, and He read the holy Scriptures,
but He came to seek and to save that which was lost.
are many things involved in the birth of a child. There is the
love of the parents, the discomfort of the mother, the gaining of
weight, the changing of appetites, the discomfort in waiting, the
preparation of the layette, the shower, the choosing of names,
the visits to the doctors office, the eating of the right foods,
the dieting, the weighing, the exercising, the choosing of a
hospital, the laboring and many other things, but all of these
are for one purpose—the birth of the baby!
are many things involved in the Christian life. Included in these
are prayer and separation, but all of the Christian life is
wrapped up in one great heartbeat in the personality of the
Godhead—the saving of sinners, the redeeming of a people to the
praise and honor of our great God.
we in no way minimize the importance of separation, but rather
magnify it. May we in no way minimize the importance of prayer,
but rather magnify it, but we may elevate that great central
purpose of the plan of God—the reconciling of an estranged race
to its God and the proclamation of the means of reconciliation
through the finished work of our Saviour on Calvary.
31 — Prayer and Greater Works Than Jesus Did
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me,
the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than
these shall he do; because I go unto My Father. And whatsoever ye
shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be
glorified in the Son."
have often used the first part of John 14:12; that is,
"the works that I do shall ye do also." I have
often tried to avoid the last part. I find it easy to shrink from
it. I find myself not wanting to use such a term as doing
"greater works" than Jesus did.
remember when I first pastored a church that was larger than my
home church in Dallas, Texas, I felt a twinge of guilt and even
sadness and perhaps loneliness as I realized that I was pastoring
a church larger than the church in which I grew up. Multiply that
by ten million and you will see my feelings concerning the
statement, "greater works than these shall ye do."
I find myself not wanting to do greater works than Jesus, but it
is in the Bible, and I must face it. I must confess that I never
understood that verse completely until recently when I was on an
airplane. I had no commentary; I had no books with me except the
Bible/ I was reading this passage. Suddenly it hit me! I shouted,
"I know what that means! Praise the Lord!"
fellow beside me said, "What did you say?"
said, "Praise the Lord! Glory to God! I think I just found
the meaning of John 14:12."
a puzzled look on his face he scratched his head and went back to
let us examine the petals of this lovely orchid.
Jesus said that the Christian could do the works that He did.
What works did He do. Luke 19:10, "For the Son of man
is come to seek and to save that which was lost." I Timothy
1:15, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all
acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save
sinners; of whom I am chief." It is easy to see that
Jesus sought the lost and came to save sinners. These are His
works. The Bible says that we are to do those same works.
Who can do the works that Jesus did? Notice in John
14:12 the words, "He that believeth on Me."
This means the 60-year old that believeth on Him and the
6-year-old that believeth on Him. This means the adult that
believeth on Him and the teenager that believeth on Him. This
means the learned that believeth on Him and the unlearned that
believeth on Him. This means the one who has been to Bible
college who believeth on Him and the one who has never been to
Bible college that believeth on Him. Every single believer is
supposed to do the work that Jesus did, and we must be reminded
that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost and that Christ
Jesus came into the world to save sinners. That means that every
Christian is to be a soul winner. Each Christian can be a soul
winner and should be a soul winner, and if he is right with God,
he is a soul winner. Soul winning is not a command given to the
preacher behind the pulpit, but it is given to the layman in the
pew, and to the Christian who is not in the pew but should be.
Notice a second promise: "Greater works than
these." Also notice why we can do "greater works
than these." The answer is simple—"because I
go unto My Father." It took me years to see this, and
then one day, as I mentioned, on the airplane it dawned on me.
Here are two promises and two conditions. The first promise is,
"The works that I do shall ye do also." This is
for those who believe on Jesus. This is for every Christian.
However, there is something else available. "Greater
works than these." We do the works that Jesus did
because we believe on Him, but we can do greater works because He
went to His Father.
went away so the Comforter could come, and through the power of
the Comforter, that is, the Holy Spirit, we may do greater works
than these. Notice the first promise is, "the works that
I do shall ye do." This is for all believers. The second
promise is, "greater works than these shall ye do."
This is for those who have the power of the Holy Spirit upon
their lives, or shall we say, those who are Spirit-filled. Praise
the Lord! Glory to God! Hallelujah! Bless His holy name! As a
believer in Christ I can do the works that He did, but because He
went to the Father and sent His holy Spirit, now in the energy of
the Spirit-filled life I can do greater works than these.
Prayer is also a part of that greater works than these.
John 14:13, "And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that
will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."
Notice the word "and." This connects it with the
previous promise. It is talking about prayer. God is saying that
if we live the Spirit-filled life and the prayer life, our works
can be multiplied into the area of "great works."
conclusion, there are three conditions to these greater works:
(1) work, (2) Spirit-fulness, and (3) prayer. 'Tis sad but true,
some do only one of the three. Some work, but they do it in their
own energy and do not live the prayer life. Some seek the fulness
of the Holy Spirit but do not work and do not pray. Some believe
they have been given the ministry of prayer only, but they know
nothing about the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, nor do the
there are some who do two of the three. They might seek the power
of the Holy Spirit and pray but refuse to work. They might pray
and work but not receive the power of the Holy Spirit. All three
are necessary for a person to do greater works than these. Ah,
what blessedness is found in these truths simply because I
believe and I can do the same works that Jesus did! Did not the
woman at the well upon her faith in Christ flee to the city to
tell others about the Saviour? She was doing the same work that
Jesus had just done with her, but there is more. There is the
promise of greater works, and this promise hinges on three
conditions—work, Spirit-fulness and prayer. My soul, my soul,
my soul, what keeps us from shouting! What keeps us from running
to the field to work, running to the closet to pray and falling
on our faces to plead for and claim the fulness of the Holy
32 — Abiding in Christ
"I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every
branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every
branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth
more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken
unto you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear
fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye,
except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He
that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much
fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in
Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather
them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye
abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye
will, and it shall be done unto you."
term "abiding in Christ," is often mentioned but
seldom explained. This chapter will seek to explain exactly what
it means to abide in Christ.
When a person comes to Christ, he believes with his heart.
Romans 10:9-11, "That if thou shalt confess with thy
mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God
hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the
heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth
confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith,
Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed." Now
the word "heart" means, "the seat of the
affections of man." We call that "faith" when a
person believes with his heart.
When a person comes to Christ, he then learns that some things
are expected of him, and WITH HIS WILL he begins to do them.
Philippians 2:13, "For it is God which worketh in you
both to will and to do of his good pleasure." This is
called "obedience," and it is done by the will.
A person says, "I will tithe." "I will read my
Bible," and "I will go soul winning." He is
obeying the Lord. We sing the song, "Trust and Obey."
The trust is done with the heart and the obedience is done with
Something is still missing, and that is the mind. The
heart and the will are in tune with God, yet we still do that
which the heart and the will do not want us to do. Why? Both the
heart and the will are immediate! The heart believes; the will
decides. Salvation is a one-time proposition. We obey one thing
at a time.
There is a part of us which is not immediate, like the heart
and the will, and that part is the mind. The mind is the
dweller of the human being. It is the abider. The heart trusts
the Saviour, the will obeys Him, but the mind is the dweller or
years ago I resigned the Miller Road Baptist Church of Garland,
Texas, to become the pastor of the First Baptist Church of
Hammond, Indiana. Yet for sixteen months I continued to dwell or
abide in the church in garland, Texas. I would sit on the
platform of the First Baptist Church of Hammond on Sunday morning
and wonder what was going on at the Miller Road Baptist Church in
Garland. I would picture the people of Garland sitting in their
usual places. During the invitation at First Baptist Church of
Hammond I would find myself praying for the invitation in
Garland. What had I done? With my heart I believed God wanted me
in Hammond; with my will I came to Hammond; but with my mind I
stayed in Garland. I was abiding in Garland and living in
Hammond. Recently I preached in Garland and I sat on the platform
there thinking about the work in Hammond. What a transition! Why?
For many years I have not only been living in Hammond but I have
been abiding in Hammond. Now I still love the people in Garland,
but I do not abide there.
young lady falls in love with a young man. She accepts his
proposal of marriage. To do this she uses the heart and the will.
Then one day he fills her mind. When they are apart, everything
relates to him. When she enjoys something, she wishes he could be
there to enjoy it with her. When she receives something, she
wishes he had one too. When she has her hair fixed, she has it
fixed the way that she thinks he will like it. When she buys
clothes, she buys the kind that she thinks he will like the best.
When she prepares a meal, she prepares what she thinks he would
like to eat. Shopping at the store, she thinks of what he would
want her to buy. When she hears a funny story, she makes a note
to tell him because she wants to share it with him.
person often says to another, "Your mind is a thousand miles
away." He is abiding somewhere else. Hence, to abide in
Christ is to dwell on Christ, to think of Him when we go shopping
and wonder what He would want us to buy. When we eat, we wonder
what He would want us to eat. He fills our minds. We dwell on
Him. We practice His presence. Not only do we live close to Him,
but we are constantly thinking of His presence and realizing how
wonderful it is. Perhaps this is what the Apostle had in mind in
Philippians 2:5, "Let this mind be in you, which was also
in Christ Jesus." Now notice John 15:7, "If ye
abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye
will, and it shall be done unto you." There are two
types of abiding here. First, we are to abide in Christ. That
means to keep our minds on Him, to think of Him, to love Him, to
be aware of Him, to meditate upon Him. Then, His Word is to abide
young lady who relates everything to the man that she loves, when
she thinks of him, she thinks of sweet things that he has said.
She remembers the times he has said, "I love you." She
thinks on the times that he said, "You look lovely tonight"
She thinks of the gracious words that have come from his lips and
have thrilled her. When we abide in Christ and His words abide in
us, we think of the words that He said. We think of His sweet
expressions of love, His promises and His message to us in the
with the heart we believe, with the will we obey, and with the
mind we abide. Then the Lord Jesus says, "When you get to
that place where your mind dwells on Me constantly and on My
words constantly, than I believe I can trust you with a blank
check. At that point in your Christian life, ask what you will,
and it will be given to you." Hence, abiding in Christ is
one of the most necessary of the requirements for answered
33 — The Place to Pray
us establish first and foremost that the child of God can pray
anywhere. In John 4:21-24 Jesus told the woman at the well
that the day had come when "they that worship Him must
worship Him in spirit and in truth." This statement was
made in response to her telling him that the Jews worshipped in
Jerusalem and the Samaritans worshipped in Sychar. So the child
of God can worship and pray from any place on earth.
IS, however, a good idea to have a set time to meet God on a
regular basis. It is also a good idea to have a certain place.
Matthew 6:6, "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy
closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to Thy Father
which is in secret; and Thy Father which seeth in secret shall
reward thee openly." Notice, the Lord Jesus suggests
that we enter into a closet. In other words, He is suggesting a
special place where we meet Him.
person can eat anywhere in the house. He can eat in the bedroom,
the bathroom, the family room, the basement or the attic. We all
sometimes do eat a bite or so in various places around the house;
however, there is one room in the house that we designate as the
eating place. This does not mean we always eat every bite of food
there, but it does mean that there are regular times when we go
there to eat.
can sleep anywhere in the house. He can sleep in the kitchen. He
can sleep in the bathroom. He can sleep in the dining room, but
there is a designated place and a designated time for sleep.
Sometimes a person may fall asleep in a chair in the living room,
or he may lie down on the sofa and fall off to sleep, but there
is a special place designated for sleep where most sleeping is
person can bathe anywhere in the house. When I was a boy we had
no bathtub, so I bathed in a #2 tub in the front room. However,
we have in our houses a place called the bathroom. It is there
that we normally bathe.
it is not conducive to good health for us to decide to eat some
time in some place, but rather to eat at the same time in the
same place. It is not conducive to good health for us to sleep
some time at some place when we get around to it. It is best for
us to sleep at the same time at the same place. It is not wise
for us to decide to bathe some time at some place, but rather to
bathe at the same time at the same place. It is best to form the
habit of meeting God on a regular basis at the same time at the
same place. This does not mean that we should not be in
communication with God all the time; it simply means that there
should be scheduled times when we meet God at a certain place.
This is certainly within the boundaries of the Word of God.
met God at a window. Daniel 6:10, "Now when Daniel knew
that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his
windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled
upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks
before his God, as he did aforetime." Peter met God on
the rooftop. Acts 10:9, "On the morrow, as they went on
their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon
the housetop to pray about the sixth hour." Lydia met
God beside a river. Acts 16:13, "And on the sabbath we
went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be
made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted
thither." The disciples met God in an upper room. Acts
1:13,14, "And when they were come in, they went up into an
upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and
Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the
son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of
James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and
supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and
with his brethren." Some met God at the house of God. II
Chronicles 7:15, " Now Mine eyes shall be open, and Mine
ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place."
Isaiah 56:7, " Even them will I bring to My holy mountain,
and make them joyful in My house of prayer: their burnt offerings
and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon Mine altar; for Mine
house shall be called an house of prayer for all people."
The Lord Jesus met God in the garden of Gethsemane on the
slopes of the mount of Olives.
wants us to include prayer in our lives of self-discipline and
schedule. He knows that we will pray more if we will have set
times and set places. This is not to say that we are to make holy
places, and we are not to believe that God will come nearer
meeting us there than He would somewhere else, but it is good for
us to associate a certain place with our prayer time, just like
we associate a certain place with preaching time, with Sunday
school time, etc. It may be a special closet, a special chair, a
window, a tree, a lake, a road, a corner of a room.
20 years Jacob was away from Bethel. Often he heard the call to
come back to Bethel. This was the call to come back to God, for
it was at bethel where Jacob met God, where he built an alter and
where he began tithing. Genesis 31:11-13, "And the angel
of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here
am I. And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams
which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and
grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. I am the
God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou
vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land,
and return unto the land of thy kindred." Jacob could
have gotten right with God where he was. He could have chosen any
hill, any mound, any valley, any river, any tree and could have
gotten right with God, but he found it easier to get right with
God at Bethel. God was not at bethel any more than God was at
Haran, but somehow Jacob knew that if he could get back to
Bethel, it would remind him of his early days of fellowship with
love to go to that little spot just outside the back door of the
Fernwood Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, where almost a half
century ago I knelt and received Christ. I love to kneel there
and thank God for saving me. Now I can thank God for saving me
wherever I am, and I often thank Him for salvation. This
gratitude rises from many places across the country, but somehow
I'm a little more grateful and my gratitude is a little more
unique when I go to that little place where I first received the
it easier to get hungry sitting at the table? Isn't it easier to
get sleepy lying on the bed? It might be that if we had a special
little place where we pray, we may learn to associate that place
did the disciples choose that upper room as a place of prayer?
Perhaps it was because it was there where they had observed the
last supper. It was there where they heard the incomparable words
of Jesus in John 14:1-3, "Let not your heart be troubled:
ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are
many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to
prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am,
there ye may be also." It was there where the Lord Jesus
washed their feet. Somehow that upper room was a dear place to
them. Now they did not have to pray in the upper room. They could
have had their prayer meeting in any room or in any place, and
God would have heard.
must be emphasized and reiterated that God does not meet us just
at one place. It is so easy to make a place sacred, and that is
not the purpose of this chapter. This kind of reasoning leads to
worship centers, divided chancels, ritualistic services and other
similar forms of foolishness. The entire purpose for the author
advancing this suggestion is for our own self-discipline. Having
a place and a time to pray does not make the time or the place
more sacred than any other time or place; it simply causes frail
creatures like you and me to be a lot more disciplined and to
take time to pray.
is one reason why we get sleepy at night and hungry at noon. We
have formed the habit of getting sleepy at night and hungry at
noon. This is the main reason God gives us a place and a time to
tithe. 1st Corinthians 16:2, "Upon the first day of the
week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath
prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."
This is the reason that many of us like to sit in the same
place at church. This is not because God meets us at this
particular pew. It is not confining God to one location or one
time at all. It is simply enabling feeble souls such as yours and
mine to meet God on a regular basis at a particular place in
order that we may remember to meet Him.
34 — Grace to Help
at the First Baptist Church of Hammond funeral services were
conducted for an elderly lady who had lived one of the most
unselfish lives that we had ever witnessed. Something very sweet
and blessed happened at her funeral. A young man stood up and
said, "She paid my way through college. Nobody knew about
it, but very quietly with little fanfare she helped me through
young lady stood up and said that the deceased woman had been
like a mother to her. She had no living mother, and the lady to
whom we were paying respects had taken her and treated her as her
own daughter. Then all over the building people stood up
testifying to the fact that this dear lady who had just recently
entered into the presence of her Lord had helped them.
did she get this way? The answer is in Hebrews 4:16, "Let
us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may
obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Notice the words, "find grace to help in time of
need." We normally associate these words with finding
grace to help us in the time of our needs, but there is more here
than that. This also means that when we come boldly to the throne
of grace we may find grace to help others in their time of
need. It is in the prayer closet where one meets unselfishness.
It is in the prayer room where one dies to self. It is at the
throne of grace where one learns to live for others. Notice that
this passage does not say, "Find grace to be helped in time
of need," but it says, "find grace to help in the
time of need." This grace is found at the throne of
grace where grace is dispensed to the children of God. It takes
grace to help others. It takes grace to forget self. It takes
grace to forget your own needs and remember those of another. Ah,
there is a graduate course on prayer in this wonderful passage.
of the Christian life is selfish. Most of us got saved in order
that we might go to Heaven and escape the fires of Hell, or
perhaps we got saved to find peace, contentment, joy and
fulfillment. Many of us serve the Lord in order to avoid
chastening. We tithe in order that the windows of Heaven may be
opened and that God will pour "out a blessing, that there
shall not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:10) We
separate ourselves from the world in order to avoid the
chastening rod of God. We pray in order to get things for
ourselves. We read the Bible and meditate in order that we may be
successful and prosperous. Psalm 1:1-3, "Blessed is the
man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth
in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he
meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by
the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall
things are not wrong. It is not wrong to get saved in order to
escape Hell and go to Heaven. It is not wrong to meet the
conditions to tithe in order to open the windows of Heaven in
order that we might receive a bountiful blessing, but there is
a life into which we can enter that gives us more lofty motives.
It is possible for a person to get saved because he wants his
life to bring glory to God. It is possible for a person to serve
God because he loves Him. It is possible for a person to tithe
because he wants to be a co-laborer with God. It is possible for
a person to pray and ask God for the needs of others. This
advanced post-graduate life is conceived at home at the throne of
grace. It is there that we lose ourselves in the service of
others. It is there that we find grace to help others in their
time of need. To be sure, there is nothing wrong with coming to
the throne of grace in order that we find grace to be helped in
the time of need, but there is a way that the Christian can come
to the throne of grace in order that he might find grace to help
others in their time of need, and to think, this unselfish life
for others is available, yea, bountifully so, at the throne of
grace! What a way to live!
35 — Praying for Laborers
9:37,38, "Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest
truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore
the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into
often ask me, "Where do you get all those good workers?"
reply, "I pray for them." The Lord Jesus told His
disciples to pray the Lord of the harvest (that is, the Holy
Spirit) that He would send (thrust) laborers into the fields.
These words were spoken to His disciples. He had called them. He
knew that they would need help, so He told them, "When you
need help, ask Me," or "Pray Me." God knows that
we need laborers, and He could send them without our praying, but
if He can accomplish the same end and at the same time have a
little fellowship with us, it is so much more delightful for Him
and, yes, for us. Ah, this is so simple and so sweet and yet so
Christian schools across America call Hyles-Anderson College on
the phone requesting some teachers. They need laborers, so they
call the college and ask if we have any to send.
army officer may need reinforcing troops. He calls headquarters
and requisitions more men, and the reinforcements are sent. The
troops are there waiting to be sent. Headquarters is waiting for
all across America and around the world lament the fact that they
have so few workers and yet they never make requisition. They
never call headquarters and ask for workers! How sad, how sad,
how sad it is that we go without laborers when the Lord of the
harvest has them available and waiting for us but we do not ask
for them! The difference between the church that has soul winners
and the church that doesn't have soul winners is prayer. The
difference between the church that has a scarcity of Sunday
school teachers is prayers. God has the laborers. He wants us to
have them. He wants to send them, but somehow Christian leaders
have a trace of atheism in them. We somehow do not believe that
God will supply our needs in answer to our requests; so we set
out to connive and plan with our human reasoning to get workers
"by hook or by crook."
you ask, "If God knows we need workers, and if God has the
workers, why doesn't He just send them without our praying?"
This again goes back to the very nature of God. He wants us to
work with Him. He wants us to be co-laborers with Him.
also wants to increase our burden for the work. If we spend
enough time praying for laborers, then we ourselves become better
laborers. If we are required to look at the harvest fields and to
plead with God to send laborers into those fields, we ourselves
will have our burden for the work increased which will be
followed by a new zeal and dedication to the work. As is
mentioned elsewhere in other chapters, we often become the answer
to our prayer. As we become more burdened for the work because we
pray for laborers, sometimes we become one of those laborers. For
a long time I poured my heart out to God asking Him to send
somebody to Chicago. Little did I know that I would be that
somebody. Now for approximately a quarter of a century I have
been the answer to my own prayers.
note to whom we are to pray. In Matthew 9:38 He says,
"Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest." The
Lord of the harvest in the Holy Spirit, and so we ask the Holy
Spirit to give us laborers for the harvest fields. Immediately
someone will rise to say, "Oh, no, no, no! That's not
prayer! We pray TO the Father, THROUGH the Son, IN the Spirit!"
Well, I think that is certainly theologically correct, but since
the Holy Spirit is a Person, there is nothing wrong with
addressing Him or talking to Him, and since He is the One Who
sends laborers into the harvest, why not ask Him for laborers?
remember one night years ago when Dr. John R. Rice and I were at
a Bible conference together. Before he preached, he prayed
something like this, "Oh, Father, breathe on me. Lord Jesus,
help me to preach tonight. Holy Spirit, give me power."
the service a young preacher came to Dr. Rice and said, "You
made a serious mistake while you prayed to God the Father, then
you prayed to Jesus, then you prayed to the Holy Spirit." He
continued, "The proper procedure is to pray to the Father
through the Son in the Spirit."
Rice looked at him with a sheepish grin and replied, "Son,
I've been in the family long enough until I know all of Them
personally. I just talk to whichever One I need to talk to at the
time." The old giant patted the young man on the shoulder
and went his way.
is nothing wrong with the child of God saying, "Jesus, I
love You," "Father, supply my needs," and "Holy
Spirit, give me power." Sometimes we can be so busy being
theologically correct that we can be spiritually empty! Oh, for
the heartbeat of the Christian faith! Oh, for the lilt and joy!
Oh, for the tears and the burden! Oh, for the warmth and the
for laborers also makes us willing to go and makes us willing to
let our own go. When a person sees the harvest fields and becomes
burdened for them, he is much more willing to allow his child to
go into the fields of harvest and he is much more willing to go
old missionary broken in health returned from the mission field.
He stood before a great convention of people and pleaded for
someone to go and take his place. The hearts were cold to his
appeal, and he was unable to find anybody to take his place.
Finally he broke down and cried and said, "I'll go back."
He did go back and gave his life on the fields of a foreign
ago in Texas a well-known preacher was appealing for mission
volunteers for a needy overseas country. With tears streaming
down his cheeks, he made his appeal. During the invitation time
his own daughter came and volunteered to be a foreign missionary.
He looked at her and said, "Not you, honey! Oh, not you,
said, "But, Daddy, you made the appeal in such a manner that
I have to go!"
notice in Matthew 9:36, "But when he saw the multitudes,
he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and
were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd."
Notice why the laborers are needed. John 4:35b, "Lift up
your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to
harvest." We say the field are hard; God says the fields
are white unto harvest. We say that hearts are hard; God says the
fields are white unto harvest. We say this is a hard age; yet God
says the fields are white unto harvest.
ago I visited a farmer who was backslidden. I was trying to lead
him back to Jesus. He said, "I haven't got time to come to
church. Come with me, Pastor." He took me out into his
fields. He said, "Look at that harvest. It's ready to be
gathered now, and I can't find anybody willing to work. I've
never seen such an age in my life. People are lazy. Young folks
won't work. I'm willing to pay good wages, but my crop will waste
before I can gather it all because I have no laborers. I worked
hard. I have the best crop I have had in years, but there is no
way I can harvest it because there is no one willing to work."
put my hand on his shoulder and through tears I said, "That's
exactly why I'm here, my brother. God said His fields are white
unto harvest but the laborers are few. I'm here to plead with you
to help God harvest His crop. Somehow, my brother, I feel if you
will go into God's harvest fields, He will supply you with
laborers for your fields." The point was well taken. The man
began to weep. We bowed and he came back to God and launched
again into the harvest fields. It was not surprising to this
Preacher, then, to see that in a few days God provided him with
sufficient laborers to gather the best harvest he had ever had.
you requisitioned Heaven lately for necessary workers? Do your
fields go unharvested because you have not prayed the Lord of the
harvest to send forth laborers? This is His plan. Would God we
would believe it enough to do it!
36 — “Lead Us Not into Temptation”
is one of the most important prayers in the Bible. It is a part
of the model prayer, which means it is very important that the
child of God know its meaning.
God does not tempt. James 1:13, "Let no man say
when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be
tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man." Oh,
there is a sense in which the word "tempt" means
"to test," and to this extent, God does tempt or test.
Genesis 22:1, "And it came to pass after these things,
that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he
said, Behold, here I am."
Satan tempts. Matthew 4:1-3, "Then was Jesus led
up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil.
And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was
afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to Him, he said,
If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made
bread." Mark 1:13, "And he was there in the wilderness
forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and
the angels ministered unto him."
God delivers us on occasion to Satan for tempting and even
destruction. I Corinthians 5:5, "To deliver such an
one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit
may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."
God limits Satan's ability to tempt us. I Corinthians
10:13, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is
common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be
tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also
make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
God can keep us from temptation. Revelation 3:10,
"Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will
keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all
the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth."
Watching and praying keeps us from temptation. Matthew
26:41, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation:
the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
There is a difference between watching and praying. Watching is
an extension of praying. It deals here with the night watches. A
person can pray at any time. When he watches and prays, he is
praying in the nighttime. Matthew 6:9-13, "After this
manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in
earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And
forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not
into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the
kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."
God tells us what we are to pray. James 1:14,15, "But
every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and
enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin:
and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
Notice the order here. First, lust; second, temptation; third,
strength to say, "No." Hence, this prayer keeps us two
steps from sin. It gives us extra safety. If we can keep from
lusting, we can keep from temptation. If we can keep from
temptation, we can keep from sin. When we think of the word
"lust" we always think of sensuality and sex sins.
However, the word "lust" simply means "a desire."
If we can keep from wanting what we should not want, and if we
have our desires curbed, then we can keep ourselves from
temptation, and as we keep ourselves from temptation, we keep
ourselves from sin!
notice the progression—desire (lust), then temptation, then
sin, then death. Watching and praying prevents desire or the
lust. Preventing lust prevents temptation. Preventing temptation
prevents sin. Preventing sin prevents death. Death comes because
of sin. Sin comes because of temptation. Temptation comes because
of lust. Lust comes because we do not watch and pray. This is why
the Saviour said, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into
37 — Asking in Jesus' Name
14:13,14,26, "And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that
will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye
shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it. But the Comforter,
which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He
shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your
remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." John 15:16,
"Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained
you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit
should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My
name, He may give it you." John 16:23,24,26, "And in
that day ye shall ask Me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it
you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall
receive, that your joy may be full. At that day ye shall ask in
My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for
is a special promise made for a special purpose. To go in the
name of another means to go with the power and authority of that
person as his representative and substitute. A businessman goes
away on a trip. He leaves a trusted assistant in charge of his
business. Of course, he chooses someone who has earned the right
to represent him while he is away. He chooses someone who carries
the same burden he carries, who has proven himself a hard worker,
trustworthy and loyal. While the businessman is away, his
substitute may have to order materials or make requisitions. He
gives this trusted employee the right to order in his name. Our
Master has gone away. There are those who are His own who have
proven themselves to be trustworthy and loyal and to have a
burden for the work. To such people He gives the authority to go
to the throne of grace in His name and make requisitions. This
authority is earned by dedication to the same task.
our Lord is away, we are told to do the same work that He did.
John 14:12, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and
greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My
Father." It is interesting that this precedes the first
mention of asking in Jesus' name. God is saying that this promise
is only for His work. He precedes it with one of the greatest
verses in the Bible about His work. Our Lord is saying that if we
do the work He did and even greater works than He did, then He
can trust us to go in His name to the Father and requisition our
notice John 16:23,24,26, "And
in that day ye shall ask Me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto
you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give
it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye
shall receive, that your joy may be full. At that day ye shall
ask in My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the
Father for you." It is
interesting that "ask in
My name" is preceded by
"do all in My name."
When we do all in His name, we may ask
all in His name. The asking is earned by the doing. This is no
prayer promise to babes in Christ or to novices in His work. This
is a promise to those who have given their lives to doing the
work that He did and all that they do is in His name. He can
trust them. They have earned that trust by their diligence and
loyalty. They have done His work in His name; now they have the
right to order supplies in His name, but the work must come
first. John 14:12, "Verily,
verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I
do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do;
because I go unto My Father." John
20:21, "Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as
My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you." Acts
1:1, "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all
that Jesus began both to do and teach."
receive hundreds of pieces of mail a week. There are some
questions that are asked over and over again. I may read a letter
and find that it asks me for my position on divorce and what I
think the Scripture teaches about the subject. Now so many
hundreds of people have asked me this same question that I may
say to my trusted secretary, Erma McKinney, "Erma, answer
this in the usual way." I do not lightly give her this
authority. For many years she has worked hard. She has helped
carry my burden and my load. She has been faithful, diligent and
loyal. When she first became my secretary, I did not give her
this authority. There came a day when I felt through her
diligence, work and loyalty that I could trust her. When a
Christian has worked for the Lord until he can be a trusted
servant, when he has carried the burden and has proven his
trustworthiness and loyalty, God may say to him, "Now that
you are doing My work and have proven yourself you may go to the
Father in My name and make requests for My work." This is
what it means in John 15:7, "If ye abide in Me, and My
words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be
done unto you." Notice that unless we abide in Him and
His words abide in us, we may not claim His promise to ask what
we will and receive it.
woman gives herself to a man in marriage. She loves him. They are
not only one legally and physically—they are one in heart, in
spirit and in work. His work is her work; his burden is her
burden; his care is her care. He arranges at the bank so she can
sign his checks. She has proven herself.
there is what is called the power of attorney. This is basically
what asking in Jesus' name means. It means He can trust us with
the checkbook and with the power to transact His business in His
have many staff members who have been with me for years. Meredith
Plopper has been with me for nearly 22 years. Elaine Colsten,
Jennie Nischik and Maxine Jeffries have been with me
approximately 20 years. Dr. Johnny Colsten and Erma McKinney have
been with me for nearly 18 years. Rose O' Brien has been with me
for over 15 years. Mabel Boardway has typed for me for nearly 13
years. Ann Shoaf and Nancy Bewley have been with me about 12
years. For almost 11 years Brother Ray Boardway has been Director
of our Adult Choir. Judy Anderson has been with me almost 11
are people whose diligence, loyalty and integrity have been
tested by time and dedication. They, as well as others on the
staff, have earned my trust. Each in his own department is given
liberty to spend his own budget as he or she sees fit. I believe
that each carries a burden for his own work akin to mine. I trust
him and in many areas give him freedom to go in my name, to do in
my name, and to ask in my name.
suppose that while the boss is away, his assistant in charge
abuses his privilege of going in the employer's name and suppose
he uses this power for his personal use. The employer becomes
aware of this abuse, and he will withdraw the privilege from his
once trusted employee.
Lord, may I be so diligent in Your work, and may I enter into
Your burden so that You can count me trustworthy, diligent and
loyal so that I may have the authority to pray in Your name. I
promise You that I will not abuse that authority. I will not go
in Your name carelessly. I will try to ask for things for which
You would ask if You were here. As I approach Your throne of
grace, I will do so carefully and soberly realizing that I am
Jesus' representative requisitioning supplies for the greatest
work of the world. Oh, God, may I earn Your trust, and may I keep
that trust. With the passing of the days, may my burden be more
like Your burden and my work be more like Your work. I pledge
myself to do all in Your name, and I thank You for the degree of
authority given me to ask in Your name. May I never abuse or
misuse this trust! Amen."
38 — Praying for the Sick
"Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let
him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the
elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him
with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall
save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have
committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults
one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
praying for the sick for this age? This is the question that has
been asked again and again concerning God's healing of the sick.
Some take our text passage and point to James 1:1b, "to
the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad." Then they
say the book of James was written to those twelve tribes, so they
say that the promises of James 5:13-16 are not for this
age. Those who do so should examine Romans 1:7a, "To all
that be in Rome." Does this mean that Romans is not for
us? Of course not! Though the letter was written to those in
Rome, the message of Romans is as real and valid today as it was
the day it was penned by the Apostle. Those who would relegate
the promises of James 5:13-16 only to the twelve tribes
should read I Corinthians 1:2a, "Unto the church of God
which is at Corinth." He might continue reading the
early verses of each of the epistles. II Corinthians 1:1,
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and
Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth,
with all the saints which are in all Achaia." Galatians 1:2,
"And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches
of Galatia." Ephesians 1:1, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus
Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus,
and to the faithful in Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:1, "Paul
and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in
Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and
deacons." Colossians 1:2, "To the saints and faithful
brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and
peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." I
Thessalonians 1:1, "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto
the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in
the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our
Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." Are all of these
promises and epistles written just for the people to whom they
are addressed? Of course not. Neither is the epistle of James! In
fact, a careful reading of the epistle of James would find the
mansion of our Lord's return. Read James 5:3-9, "Your
gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a
witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye
have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire
of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of
you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have
reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have
lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have
nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have
condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. Be
patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold,
the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and
hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter
rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of
the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren,
lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the
door." Certainly our Lord did not return in the days of
the writing of the book of James. I think he is telling us that
the promises are for the entire church age and to all the people
of God. Now I am not saying that there is no dispensational
teaching in James. I AM saying that God is just as interested in
healing one of His children who is a Gentile as He is in healing
one of His children who is a Jew.
some rules worth noting would be as follows:
Salvation is always the same.
God's desire to help His people is always the same. His
compassion is always the same.
Right and wrong are always the same.
considering healing the sick it must be mentioned that it is not
always God's will to heal the sick. Paul spoke of a dear friend,
Trophimus, who was ill. II Timothy 4:20, "Erastus abode
at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick."
Speaking of Epaphroditus, Paul said in Philippians
2:27,30, "For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God
had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I
should have sorrow upon sorrow. Because for the work of Christ he
was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack
of service toward me."
Corinthians 12:1-10, " It is not expedient for me doubtless
to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I
knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the
body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell:
God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I
knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I
cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into
paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for
a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will
not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to
glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I
forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he
seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be
exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations,
there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of
Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For
this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from
me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My
strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will
I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may
rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in
reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for
Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
we find the Apostle himself was afflicted with a thorn in the
flesh. He had some physical malady. On three occasions he sought
the Lord for healing, and God did not see fit to heal him.
Instead of healing him, He promised grace that would be
sufficient. Some of the dearest Christians in the world and some
of the sweetest of God's saints suffer affliction. This is not
because of their sin. It is because they have been chosen for the
ministry of suffering. In any discussion of God's healing the
sick, it must be carefully noted that it is not always God's will
to do so.
God uses medicine with which to heal the sick. Colossians
4:14, "Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you."
I Timothy 5:23, "Drink no longer water, but use a little
wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities."
Isaiah 38:1-5, "In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death.
And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said
unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou
shalt die, and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the
wall, and prayed unto the LORD, And said, Remember now, O LORD, I
beseech Thee, how I have walked before Thee in truth and with a
perfect heart, and have done that which is good in Thy sight. And
Hezekiah wept sore. Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah,
saying, Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of
David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears:
behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years." Isaiah
38:21, "For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs,
and lay it for a plaister upon the boil, and he shall recover."
II Kings 20:7, "And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And
they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered." These
are a few of the passages in the Bible that remind us that God
uses doctors and medicine.
Luke, Paul's companion on much of his missionary travels, was a
physician. No doubt God gave Luke to Paul, not only as a
Spirit-filled companion in travel, not only as a fellow servant
of God, but as a guardian of his health. I thank God for those
godly physicians to whom I minister week after week. Some of the
dearest, most faithful soul-winning Christians in our church are
recently after the Sunday morning service a dear father brought
his infant son by the office. He asked if I would anoint him with
oil and pray for him. Of course, I did. He told me that he had
taken him to one of the doctors who is a member of our church and
that the doctor had suggested he come to the Preacher for prayer
and anointing first. This is not unusual, for these godly men
realize that sometimes God chooses to use the prayers of His man,
and sometimes He wishes to supplement that with dedicated
the question comes: How may we be healed, and what is the
procedure that should be followed in the seeking of healing for
Realize that Satan is the author of sickness. Job
2:4-7, "And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for
skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put
forth Thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he
will curse Thee to Thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan,
Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan
forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore
boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown." It was
Satan who afflicted Job. Luke 13:16, "And ought not this
woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo,
these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath
day?" Notice it was Satan who had caused this illness.
II Corinthians 12:7, "And lest I should be exalted above
measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given
to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me,
lest I should be exalted above measure." It was a
messenger of Satan that buffeted the Apostle Paul. I
Corinthians 5:5, "To deliver such an one unto Satan for the
destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day
of the Lord Jesus." Satan is the destroyer of the flesh.
Sometimes God allows Satan to afflict us, but it is Satan himself
who is the author of sickness.
Confess your sins. Sickness is often caused by sin. Such
was the case of Miriam in Numbers 12:10, "And the cloud
departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became
leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and,
behold, she was leprous." It was sin that caused the
illness of Uzziah in II Chronicles 26:19, "Then Uzziah
was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and
while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in
his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from
beside the incense altar." It was sin that caused
Gehazi's sickness in II Kings 5:27, "The leprosy
therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for
ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as
snow." Jeroboam was afflicted by sin. I Kings 13:4,
"And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of
the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that
he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him.
And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that
he could not pull it in again to him." Herod was made
ill by sin. Acts 12:23, "And immediately the angel of the
Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was
eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost." The sin of
unworthily sitting at the Lord's table and taking of His supper
causes illness. I Corinthians 11:30-32, "For this cause
many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we
would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are
judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be
condemned with the world." Also note John 5:24,
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word,
and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and
shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto
life." After a person has realized that Satan is the
author of sickness, then he should confess every sin of which he
is aware in his life.
Pray for yourself. James 5:13, "Is any among you
afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms."
Remember that king Asa was not healed because he sought not
the Lord but the physicians. His sin was not that he sought the
help of the physicians; his sin was that he sought only the help
of his physicians. After realizing that Satan is the author of
sickness and after confessing our sins, we should come to God and
pray for ourselves.
Be anointed by the man of God. James 5:14, "Is any
sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and
let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the
Lord." Now I have never had a healing campaign nor a
prayer line, but I do keep a little bottle of olive oil in my
office. It is used every week as God's people who are ill come by
the office and ask me to pray and anoint them with oil. Now this
does not make me a fanatic; it simply reveals that I believe the
Word of God. I put a little oil on my fingertip and place my
finger upon the forehead of the one who is ill and pray a prayer
in the name of Jesus that He will heal them. Both the person who
is ill and I agree that we are going to love the Lord, whatever
He does, and that we realize that sometimes God wants us to
suffer for His name, but since He will often heal the sick in
answer to the prayer and anointing of God's man, it is something
that the child of God ought to seek when he is ill.
Be sure that you are right in your heart with others.
James 5:16a, "Confess your faults one to another, and
pray one for another." Many people could have been
healed but were not because of bitterness, hatred, malice, envy,
jealousy and other sins harbored in the heart.
Pray for others and ask them to pray for you. Contact all
of God's people in whom you have confidence and whose prayers you
respect, and ask them to join you in prayer for your recovery.
If necessary, and if you feel led, use the doctor and
medicine. God often uses them as agents for the healing of
few years ago 11 ladies in our church who had been told by the
physicians that they could never bear children got together and
came to me. We confessed our sins, I anointed each with oil and
prayed for God to open their wombs and/or give life to the seed
of their husbands. Within two years those 11 ladies gave birth to
12 babies. Each lady had one except one, and she had twins.
praise the Lord!
few paragraphs ago I made mention of a man coming by the office
asking me to anoint his infant son who had a hole in his heart. I
told of that little infant boy who was brought to my office for
prayer and anointing who was immediately healed. The very next
week the doctor declared him as well. How pitiful it is that as
soon as one of God's men begins to believe God, he is then
branded as some kind of a nut, off-brand or fanatic, when the
truth is, there is a loving Father Who wants us to be well and
has made provisions for our healing in most cases.
few months ago a dear lady stood in our services to tell how that
she had a tumor of the brain and that she had come by the office
for prayer and anointing and God had marvelously healed her. Her
doctors attested to the fact that she definitely had had a tumor
and that it definitely had been removed without surgery.
am thinking of that little lady in our church who was to have
open heart surgery. She met the conditions as outlined in this
chapter (which I teach my people), and the open heart surgery was
avoided because of God's mercy and healing.
Pastor's School of 1982 many of our people lined up on the
platform to testify of God's healing powers in their lives.
a few days ago I was preaching in Raleigh, North Carolina. A
couple came by after the service to talk with me. They showed me
a precious little baby and said, "Here he is."
said, "What do you mean?"
said, "The doctors all said it was impossible for us to have
children. Two years ago when you were here you anointed us with
oil and prayed for God to give us a baby. Here he is. praise the
am not talking about a wild spectacular kind of an exhibitionism.
I am talking about a quiet faith and trust in God that says,
"There is a God in Heaven, and He loves me, and in most
cases He wants me to be well, though it may be that He would want
me to suffer for His name and that my illness may be a ministry.
It also may be that He wants to use me to the praise of His glory
by healing my body."
39 — Priests and Intercessors
I Timothy 2:1,
"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications,
prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all
men." I Peter 2:5,9, "Ye also, as lively stones, are
built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up
spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. But ye
are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a
peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who
hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light."
Isaiah 61:6, "But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD:
men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the
riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast
yourselves." Revelation 1:6, "And hath made us kings
and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion
for ever and ever. Amen."
of this study deals with praying for our own needs, or selfish
praying. This is not bad. The Lord tells us to ask what we will.
He tells us to bring our desires to Him, and certainly as His
children we have a right to do so. However, there is another form
of praying, and that is intercessory prayer, or praying for the
needs of others.
often we hear such statements as, "We Christians are
priests; we can come to God for ourselves." The latter part
of this statement is accurate. We CAN come to God for ourselves;
however, that does not make us priests. The work of a priest is
to mediate for others. Now as a child of God a Christian has a
right to come to God for himself. There is, however, a priestly
work that the child of God can enjoy, and that is when he
intercedes for others at the throne of grace.
priest received from the people their sacrifices and presented
them to God. Hebrews 5:1, "For every high priest taken
from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God,
that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins."
Deuteronomy 10:8, "At that time the LORD separated the tribe
of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand
before the LORD to minister unto Him, and to bless in His name,
unto this day." Deuteronomy 21:5, "And the priests the
sons of Levi shall come near; for them the LORD thy God hath
chosen to minister unto Him, and to bless in the name of the
LORD; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke
be tried." Deuteronomy 33:10, "They shall teach Jacob
Thy judgments, and Israel Thy law: they shall put incense before
Thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon Thine altar."
the Levitical system, being a son of Aaron (the high priest) made
the priesthood accessible. However, just being a son of Aaron was
not enough. Even a son of Aaron could not do the work of a priest
without a special ordinance. In other words, being Aaron's son
gave one access to the priesthood, and no one could do the work
of a priest unless he was a son of Aaron, but being a son of
Aaron did not in itself allow one to enter into the work of the
Christian has access to the priesthood simply because he is
saved. As a Christian he is a child of God and only children of
God can enter into the priestly work of praying for others, but
one is not doing priestly work just because he is a child of God.
Leviticus 8 and Exodus 29 we have instructions
about the setting aside of the priesthood. Among other things,
Aaron's sons had to be washed, clothed, anointed with oil, have
sacrifices offered on their behalf, have the blood applied, and
have their garments sprinkled with blood and oil mixed together.
They had to be free from contact with death and defilement, and
no inheritance of other tribes would be theirs.
are some beautiful pictures here of our Saviour and our
salvation. For example, the anointing with oil and the
application of the blood was first done to the lobe of the right
ear. Then it was applied to the thumb of the right hand and then
to the big toe of the right foot. This is so beautiful in that it
pictures so vividly our salvation. First, the application was on
the ear. This is the way the Gospel comes to us. Romans 10:17,
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of
God." We hear the Word of God. Then the
application was made to the hand because once we hear the Word of
God we must receive Christ as our personal Saviour. This is
followed by the application to the foot because when we hear, we
are to receive; when we receive, we are to go and take the
message to others.
the ceremony, the sons of Aaron became priests. They were his
sons before they became priests. Sonship gave them access, but
there had to be a special ordinance before they could do the
work. Sonship with Christ gives us access to the throne of grace
in order that we may interceded for others as priests of God, but
we ourselves must decide to do the work of the priesthood by
taking advantage of our access to the throne of grace to plead
and intercede for others.
this writing my mother is 94 years of age. For years she has been
a priest, interceding for her son as he travels and as he
Baptist Church of Hammond has many dear shut-ins. Some of the
sweetest saints in the family of God are those dear people who
call me Pastor whose world is a room, whose sky is a ceiling,
whose horizon is a wall, whose grass is carpet, and whose
sunshine is a window; yet, I am constantly aware that these dear,
sweet saints of God are my priests. They pray for me; they
intercede for me as they do for others in the work of God.
years ago a lady came to Hammond to live. She had been a pastor's
wife. God had taken her husband home to heaven. She had heard of
our ministry and loved our work, and the Holy Spirit led her our
way. Her name is Mrs. Bartel. She is a very important priest to
me. We provide her with a little apartment in our church
building, and she is my prayer warrior. My secretary gives her a
list of my speaking engagements. She knows where I am speaking,
what day I am speaking, what time of day I am speaking. This
enables her to pray for me all the time I am preaching. I never
stand anywhere in America to preach without the awareness that
Mrs. Bartel is interceding for me, asking God to give me strength
and power as I preach. She is a priest, not because she is a
child of God. She has access to the priesthood for that reason.
She is a priest because she had chosen to take advantage of the
access that being a child of God gives her to the throne of
often when I am sitting on a platform somewhere across America or
around the world ready to preach, I will find myself with
moistened eyes and a glad heart simply because I am aware that it
is bedtime back home. I think of all the little boys and girls
who are bowing their heads saying, "Dear God, bless my
Preacher. Give him power while he preaches and bring him back
home safely." I think of all the men whose bodies are weary
and tired from a day of toil who are bowing their heads before
retiring asking God to bless their Preacher and watch over him
while he is away. I think of all the ladies at the close of the
day harried by a busy day of activity who pause to say a prayer
to God for their Preacher, who is away. They are my priests
interceding for me. Thank God for all of them! They are a part of
the work and contribute a vital part to my ministry and all the
victories that are won where I am serving God. They are my
partners! They share with me in the victories now and will share
in the rewards later.
40 — Faith in Prayer
is a growing process. In Mark 9:24 the father of a
demon-possessed boy said to the Saviour, "Lord, I
believe; help Thou mine belief." God wants the unbelief
to diminish and the belief to increase. That is the purpose of
let us notice that faith is needed in prayer. Mark 11:24,
"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire,
when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have
them." Mark 9:23, "Jesus said unto him, If thou
canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."
James 5:15, "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick,
and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins,
they shall be forgiven him."
we have to recognize that it is a sin not to have faith. Hebrews
11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for
he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a
rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Mark
4:40, "And He said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is
it that ye have no faith?" Mark 16:14, "Afterward He
appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them
with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed
not them which had seen Him after He was risen." There
Lord Jesus asked in Luke 18:8b, "When the Son of man
cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" He asked the
disciples in Luke 8:25, "Where is your faith?"
notice Hebrews 12:1, "Wherefore seeing we also are
compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay
aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."
Especially look at the words, "The sin that doth so
easily beset us." Now what was this besetting sin? It
should not be difficult for us to know. In the previous chapter
there was but one subject at hand, and that was the subject of
faith. Hebrews 11 is the great faith chapter. It lists the
great hall of fame of those who have had faith. The word
"wherefore" which begins chapter 12 means
that it connects chapter 12 with what has gone before,
that is, chapter 11. Immediately it mentions "the
sin that doth so easily beset us." Could it be that our
Lord is talking about the sin of not having faith? It is
certainly true that not having faith is the besetting sin of most
of us. Oh, to believe what God has done! Oh, to believe that God
can do it again! Oh, to believe that God WILL do it again! Oh, to
believe that God will use ME to do it again!
it is a sin not to have faith, then we should examine the means
of obtaining faith and of increasing our faith.
Hear the Word of God preached. Romans 10:17, "So
then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Proverb 28:9, "He that turneth away his ear from hearing
the law, even his prayer shall be abomination." Notice
that the faith cometh by HEARING the Word of God. There is
something about hearing the Word of God that increases our faith.
When I read the Bible, I often read aloud because when I hear it,
my faith is increased.
the importance of preaching! I love to do it, and I love to hear
it! I never hear a man of God proclaim the Word of God without my
faith being increased.
Read the Word of God. By reading His Word, we learn of His
nature and of His pattern of behavior. We find that He forgave
others, such as He forgave the thief on the cross. That gives us
faith to believe that He will forgive us. We read how He provided
for Elijah and for the apostle Paul, and that gives us faith to
believe that He will provide for us. We read of His omnipotence,
and that gives us faith to believe that His power will care for
us. We read of His promises. That gives us faith to believe that
He will keep those promises even as He kept them to those in the
Bible. Oh, the tragic neglect on the part of God's people of the
Word of God! I think sometimes we read too many other books. I
think sometimes we listen to too many religious radio broadcasts.
I think sometimes we trade our shields of gold for shields of
brass. We read too many newspapers and too many magazines and
listen to too many radio broadcasts and watch too much
television. We are so busy buying and selling, marrying and
giving in marriage, and eating and drinking that we do not have
time or take time for the Word of God. No wonder our faith is so
weak! No wonder our lack of faith is often our besetting sin!
Read all of the Bible. Matthew 4:4, "But He
answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread
alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of
God." Notice the statement, "EVERY WORD that
proceedeth out of the mouth of God." This is why it is
so vital to read the Bible through. We need to read all the
Bible, the Chronicles as well as the Psalms, the genealogy of
Christ as well as the life of Christ, the minor prophets as well
as the major prophets.
someone will ask me, "Preacher, what is your form of Bible
hastily reply, "Reading the Bible."
will ask, "What kind of helps do you use?"
reply, "I use the Bible."
it all! Man lives by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth
Act on the faith that you have. Mark 9:22-24, "And
ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to
destroy him: but if Thou canst do any thing, have compassion on
us, and help us.Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all
things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the
father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I
believe; help Thou mine unbelief."
is an investment. Whatever faith you have, invest it. God will
reward it, and you will reap dividends of more faith. Hebrews
11:8, "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a
place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed;
and he went out, not knowing whither he went." The
saints of Hebrews 11, the faith of God's servants, led to
answers that led to more faith that led to greater acts that led
to more faith that led to greater answers that led to more faith
that led to greater answers! So whatever the degree of faith one
has, he should invest that faith, and act upon it, and his faith
20:27, "Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger,
and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it
into My side: and be not faithless, but believing." Luke
24:39, "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself:
handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye
see Me have."
you say, "my faith is too weak." All right, then use
that weak faith. Go ahead and start. Notice Matthew 17:20,
"And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for
verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard
seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder
place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto
you." Start with claiming Matthew 6:33, "But
seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all
these things shall be added unto you." You could claim
Malachi 3:10. Notice Malachi 3:8-10, "Will a man rob God?
Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee?
In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have
robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into
the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove
me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you
the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there
shall not be room enough to receive it."
God reward your little faith with little results. The you take
the increased faith that those results give you and invest those,
and He will reward your more faith with more results which will
increase your faith to great faith; then He can reward your great
faith with great results!
we hear the Word of God preached, hear it read, read it, read all
of it and act upon the faith that we have, it increases our love
for our Saviour. It is easier to trust someone more as you love
him more. Trust is faith, and as we learn to love the Saviour
more, we learn to trust Him more; and since without faith it is
impossible to please Him, as we love Him more and trust Him more,
we please Him more!
41 — Praying for the Unsaved
question was sent to me: "Pastor, why pray for the unsaved
when God wants them saved more than we do?" The answer to
this question certainly warrants space for a treatise of this
sort. We know that it is Scriptural for God's people to pray for
salvation of others. Romans 10:1, "Brethren, my heart's
desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be
saved." Romans 9:1,2, "I say the truth in
Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the
Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in
if man can persuade God to save a soul, it would challenge the
doctrine of the free will of man and would give ammunition to the
heresy of hyper-Calvinism.
we are to pray for sinners. Perhaps we should learn why.
A person must DECIDE to get saved. Heaven is for the
whosoever wills, and Hell is for the whosoever won'ts. God made
man for fellowship and voluntary love, He gave man both an
alternative and a will so that man could choose to love Him.
God wants all to choose Him. II Peter 3:9, "The
Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count
slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any
should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
Jesus died for all men. The blood of Christ was shed for all
men. The grace of God is extended to all men. Salvation is
offered to all men. It is completely against the nature of God
and His Word to believe that God has predestined some to go to
Heaven and predestined some to go to Hell. If a person misses
Heaven and spends eternity in endless torment, it will not be of
God's choosing; it will be of man's choosing because God wants
all to choose Him.
God will not force His will on man. Of course, God wants
fellowship with man. That was the purpose of man's creation. Oh,
how sweet was the fellowship between God and Jesus! Jesus spoke
of this fellowship in John 17:5, "And now, O Father,
glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had
with thee before the world was." Oh, how Jesus
anticipated the restoration of that fellowship as He prayed in
the garden of Gethsemane! Perhaps God enjoyed fellowship with
Jesus so much that one day He decided to make a lot of little
Jesuses in order that He might fellowship with many. The great,
loving heart of God wants that love returned, and He wants it
voluntarily returned, so God will not force His will upon man.
That would defeat the purpose of His creation of man.
Our prayers do not affect the sinner's will. The will of
the sinner is his rich heritage. Yes, we are to pray that sinners
will be saved, but our prayer will not change the eternal plan of
God whereby He requires sinners to receive Him willfully as
Saviour in order to have eternal life.
Our prayers CAN cause God to give the unsaved man more
opportunities to be saved. Though God will not nullify the
sinner's will, He will, however, in response to our prayers, give
that sinner more chances to exercise his will and more
opportunities to receive Christ as Saviour. Matthew 9:37,38,
"Then saith He unto his disciples, The harvest truly is
plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord
of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His
harvest." Notice, we are to pray the Lord of the harvest
that He will send or thrust firth laborers into the harvest
field. This means that we are to pray that God will send more
soul winners. Of course, the more soul winners that are sent, the
more opportunities the sinner will have to receive Christ.
Bible teaches that all men have an opportunity to be saved. John
1:9, "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that
cometh into the world." Psalm 19:1, "The heavens
declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His
suppose that there are two people in a remote part of the earth
who have never heard the story of Jesus. The Bible tells us that
the moon and the stars and the heavens declare the glory of God.
These two people ignorant of the Gospel, look to the heavens. The
heavens say to each of these men, "There was Somebody Who
made these stars and Who made this moon and Who made the sun"
One heathen man hears the message and believes it. He says in his
heart, "I believe Somebody greater than man made that."
other heathen man says to himself, "I don't believe it."
I don't believe that there is any great being behind the creation
of the heavens." Because that man did not act upon the
knowledge that he had, God is not bound to give him more light or
more knowledge. However, the man who acted on the knowledge that
he had received from God will be given more light." As long
as he continues to act upon the light he is given, God will
continue to give him more light until one day he will hear the
glorious Gospel of Christ. The truth being emphasized here is
that all men are lighted by the truth of God. It is also true
that God will increase the number of opportunities that an
unsaved man has to receive Christ in response to the prayers of
God's people. We CANNOT and God WILL NOT take away from the
unsaved person his will, but we can through prayer cause God to
give those whom we love and for whom we pray more opportunities
to receive the Saviour. Ah, this is a wonderful truth and gives
us even added incentive to continue to pray for the salvation of
our loved ones!
In answer to our prayer, God may even make salvation more
enticing to the sinner. In the Bible, salvation is likened to
eating. God will not, in answer to our prayer, force a sinner to
eat, but He may make the food smell better! He may put some
parsley around the edge of the plate to decorate it. He may adorn
the Gospel so as to make salvation more appealing. He is not
forcing salvation upon anyone in answer to the prayer of the
believer; He is making it more attractive to the unsaved man
because of the believer's prayers.
When we pray for sinners, God gives us more burden for them,
which makes us more likely to be the laborers that God is going
to send into the harvest field.
1957 I preached in the city of Chicago for the first time, Dr.
Bob Jones, Sr., Dr. John R. Rice, Dr, G.B. Vick and I preached in
a series of round-robin Bible conferences. One night I would
preach at the First Baptist Church of Harvey, just South of
Chicago; at the same time Dr. Rice would be preaching at the
Northside Gospel Center; Dr. Jones would be preaching at the
Belden Avenue Baptist Church and Dr. Vick would be preaching at
the Oak Park Bible Church. The next night each of us would go to
another church. We conducted central services in the mornings at
the Belden Avenue Baptist Church. The night that I preached at
the First Baptist Church of Harvey, I had to drive from the
Northside of Chicago to Harvey. I found that Halsted Street went
all the way from the north side of Chicago to Harvey, so I got on
Halsted Street. Boy, was I in for a surprise! What a trip! I
drove and I drove and I drove and I drove, and it seemed that I
would never arrive in Harvey. The more I drove the more burdened
I got for Chicago. The more I saw of the millions of people and
of the conditions that prevailed, the more my heart broke. Soon
tears were flowing down my cheeks. I drove and wept and wept and
drove. Before I got to Harvey I was praying for God to send
somebody to Chicago. I realized and remembered that this was the
city of Dwight Moody, the city of R.A. Torrey, the city of Paul
Rader, and yet it seemed so desperate for the Gospel. I continued
my praying when I returned to Texas. I pleaded with God to send
somebody to Chicago. I begged Him to thrust laborers into the
harvest. God answered that prayer, but not in the way I had
planned. I was the laborer that He sent to Chicago! I was the
answer to my own prayer, and now for nearly a quarter of a
century I have spent most of my life trying to reach the
greater-Chicago area; now 20,000 people a year from the Chicago
area walk the isle for salvation in the First Baptist Church of
The best way to pray for the unsaved, then, is to pray that
God will send laborers. This does not mean that we should not
ask God to save souls. The terminology is not the important thing
here. The important thing is the burden! When we pray for
sinners, regardless of what terminology we use, God's answer to
that prayer will be sending more laborers and making the Gospel
more enticing to them so that the unsaved will have more and
better opportunities of exercising their will.
will come nearer taking such action for His friends. Isn't it
natural for one to do favors for a friend? Hence, God will come
nearer obeying the request of His friends.
behooves us to find how we may become His friend. This is found
in John 15:14, "Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I
command you." It is also worth note to see in Matthew
9:37,38, Jesus addressed His statement to His "disciples."
"Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is
plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord
of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His
harvest." God is simply saying, "I will send forth
laborers into the harvest fields if My friends and disciples ask
Me to." He is promising that He will give added
opportunities for salvation to our friends and loved ones if we
will be His friends, and we become His friends by obeying His
commandments. Of course, the great commandment, or Great
Commission, is Matthew 28:19,20, "Go ye therefore, and
teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and
of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all
things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you
alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
the best way to engage God into giving our unsaved loved ones and
our unsaved dear ones more and better opportunities to exercise
their wills for salvation is for us to enter into that labor of
soul winning and obeying Christ's command. The one who wins souls
where he is will have more influence on God that he may send
laborers into the harvest fields of those dear to him.
question then comes, "Why then does God often give peace to
the Christian that his loved one will be saved." Every
Christian who has been a soul winner and who has prayed for
sinners can give testimony to the fact that there are times when
a subtle peace and a confident assurance comes that God is going
to save a loved one. Does this mean that God is going to save
then in spite of their will? Absolutely not! It must be
remembered that God has foreknowledge. Though He does not control
the will of the unsaved man, He is aware beforehand whether or
not this unsaved man is going to accept the Gospel. Because of
this foreknowledge and because He knows that the will of the
sinner is going to be favorably exercised for Jesus, God can, and
sometimes does, give us peace that it is going to happen. Maybe
the Lord is like us in that sometimes He has a hard time keeping
from "spilling the beans." Maybe He gets so excited
knowing that the sinner is going to receive Him that He wants to
share the good news with us.
blessed and Scriptural truths should entice us to pray more for
sinners and rive us to our knees praying for the salvation of
those who are dear to us!
42 — United Prayer
"And it came to pass, that, as He was praying in a certain
place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord,
teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." II
Corinthians 1:11, "Ye also helping together by prayer for
us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many
persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf." Romans
15:30, "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus
Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive
together with me in your prayers to God for me." Matthew
18:19,20, "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall
agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it
shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where
two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the
midst of them." Matthew 6:8,9, "Be not ye therefore
like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need
of, before ye ask Him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our
Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name."
it is usually best for the Christian to pray alone. Sometimes the
temptation is to pray a pretty prayer and not to dwell on the
Saviour as we should when others are hearing us. So it is usually
more effective if the child of God does his praying and agonizing
alone. Most Bible praying was done this way, and most Bible
teaching has to do with this type of praying. However, sometimes
two people can share the same burden enabling them to pray
effectively together. This, of course, should be when they have
the same thing in common. A mother and a father could pray for a
child. Partners could pray together for a business. Children
could pray together for a parent. Pastors could pray together for
Luke 11:1 the disciples said, "Teach US to pray."
No one said, "Teach ME to pray," but rather, "Teach
US to pray." Then in the model prayer that follows this
request we are told to pray, "OUR Father."
Notice, it is not "MY Father," but "OUR
Father." This at least, implies that our Lord realized
the need for united prayer on some occasions.
Matthew 18:19, notice especially the words, "it
shall be done for THEM." Obviously there was united
prayer, and God gave an answer to them collectively. When Peter
was in prison the church met and prayed in united prayer. At
Pentecost there was united prayer. Acts 1:9, "And when He
had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and
a cloud received him out of their sight." Acts 1:12-14,
"Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called
Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey. And when
they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode
both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas,
Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon
Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with
one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary
the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren." United
prayer is also mentioned in II Thessalonians 3:1, "Finally,
brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free
course, and be glorified, even as it is with you."
Colossians 4:3, "Withal praying also for us, that God would
open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ,
for which I am also in bonds." Philippians 1:19, "For I
know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer,
and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." On
occasions when people share the same burden, united prayer can be
very effective. Perhaps this is the reason our Lord always prayed
alone. No one shared His burden. No one understood His heartbeat.
remember many time when Dr. John R. Rice and I prayer together. I
would pray for the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, and
he would pray for the SWORD OF THE LORD, and I would pray for
Hammond Baptist Schools, and he would pray for the Voice of
Revival Broadcast; then one of us would pray for America! Ah, a
chord was struck! We had reached a place in our prayers where we
could agree in one accord, and what sweet fellowship we had with
the Lord and with each other as we together poured out our hearts
for our nation.
is why it is always best in united prayer to have a small group.
It is difficult to find a great number of people who have the
summary, it is usually best to pray alone. Occasionally a group
may pray together if they share the same burden, but it should
usually be a small group.
prayer should be practiced only if the same burden is shared. By
the way, it need not be in the same place. It could be at the
same time. People separated by many miles from each other could
have united prayer at the same time as they meet together at the
throne of grace. This can be a tool of great blessing.
43 — The By-Products of Prayer
course, the main reason to pray is that we might get things from
God. Matthew 7:7, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek,
and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
John 16:24, "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name:
ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." John
14:14, "If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it."
Matthew 7:11, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good
gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which
is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?" Matthew
7:8, "For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that
seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
James 4:2, "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to
have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not,
because ye ask not." Matthew 21:22, "And all things,
whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
us remember now that we are talking about praying, which is
is good. Psalm 50:23, "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth
Me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew
the salvation of God." Psalm 150:6, "Let every thing
that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD."
However, praise is not praying!
is good, for Psalm 1:2 says, "But his delight is
in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and
night," but meditation is not praying!
is good. I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from
all unrighteousness." Daniel 9:4, "And I prayed unto
the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the
great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them
that love Him, and to them that keep His commandments."
However, confession is nor praying!
is good! Philippians 4:6, "Be careful for nothing; but in
every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your
requests be made known unto God." However, thanksgiving
in not praying!
is asking. The main thing is getting things from God. However,
there are blessed bonuses that come to the child of God God when
he prays. These are in additional to the answer itself.
Prayer keeps the Christian from temptation. Matthew
26:41, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation:
the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Mark
14:38, "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak." Luke
22:40, "And when He was at the place, he said unto them,
Pray that ye enter not into temptation." Luke 22:46, "And
said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into
temptation." Of course, we are to pray for God to
deliver us from evil, for Him to "lead us not into
temptation," but even prayer itself, when we are asking
for something from God, comes wrapped with resistance to
us suppose that one of my church members who is easily tempted
could talk with me several times a day. We may not mention his
temptation. We may not discuss his weakness, but we just talk. He
may ask me for help in other areas, but the very fact that we
interact with each other and talk together would give him added
strength to resist temptation. When the Christian comes to God in
prayer, he may or may not mention his temptation. He may be
asking for daily bread. He may be asking for some special need,
but just to fellowship with God builds a person's general
spiritual health and his resistance to temptation. This is a
blessed bonus of prayer.
Prayer gives joy. John 16:24, "Hitherto have ye
asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your
joy may be full." A child sits at the table. He asks his
daddy to pass the meat. His daddy does pass the meat. It brings
joy to the child. Now the child didn't ask the dad to pass joy;
he asked the dad to pass the meat, but in his dad's provision,
joy accompanied the meat. In receiving provisions from parents,
joy is an accompanying by-product.
young couple gets married. The husband is a good provider and
supplies his wife's needs and wants. Her every request in his
desire, and he gladly grants her wishes according to his ability.
This security and love gives the wife more than her requests, her
needs and her wants; it gives her a joy of being provided for, a
joy of having security and a joy of being loved. When the child
of God comes to his Heavenly Father and requisitions Him for a
need, when that need is supplied, there is a blessed by-product
Peace of mind is another by-product of prayer. Philippians
4:6,7, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer
and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made
known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all
understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ
Jesus." The child who lives in a house provided by his
father, eats food provided by his father, wears clothing provided
by his father and lives neath the care, provision and protection
offered by Dad has no need to fret. He knows his dad will care
for his needs. The child of God who walks with his father and who
has his prayers answered will soon find that he has no need to
fret or worry, and as the Father answers his prayers, He places
in His bag of blessings a sweet little item called peace of mind,
are many other sweet little bonuses that God gives to His child
who prays. To be sure, the main purpose of prayer is to receive
our needs in answer to our petition, but isn't it nice to get
home from the heavenly commissary to find that the Heavenly
Groceryman has placed a few little things in the bag of blessings
that we did not order—such things as peace, joy and protection
When we pray for others, God often gives us some of the same
thing that He gives to our friend in answer to our prayer. In
Luke 11, in the story of the man who went to his friend at
midnight and asked for three loaves, it is interesting to see
that the Bible does not say the friend gave him three loaves; it
says he gave him, "as many as he needeth." He
asked for three loaves for a friend, but he got AS MUSH AS HE
NEEDED. It seems that God said, "Here take some for yourself
too." At least, this is a Biblical principle.
Jacob came to Jabbok and prayed for Esau, God gave to Jacob
something special. He changed his name to Israel, which means "a
prince," and He made him a prince with God.
Moses came to God to pray for his people, God gave Moses a bonus
and made him His friend, for Exodus 33:11a says, "And
the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto
another chapter I tell the story of Cindy coming to ask me to buy
a dress for a friend who was poor and needed a dress appropriate
to wear to a Valentine banquet. Cindy prevailed and I agreed to
purchase a dress. Cindy and I went down to pick out the dress. I
was so proud of her for being concerned about her friend that I
said, "Puddin', pick one out for yourself too." Often
God is so pleased when we are concerned about others when we pray
for a certain need for a friend, that when God answers that
prayer, He gives our friend the thing for which we asked, and God
says, "Here, you can have one too." This is just
another of His wonderful bonuses to those who pray!
44 — Prayer, a Soul-Winning Method
the hardest people that I try to win are those that are the
closet to me.”
Hyles, I find it so hard to witness to my own loved ones.”
why is it that I can win others, but I have a difficult time even
trying to win those in my own family?”
are just a few of many statements that I hear from even the best
soul winners. There is certainly a valid reason for this. Those
who are the closest to us know us best. They know our weaknesses
as well as our strengths. They see our low days as well as our
high days. They see the back room as well as the living room.
Because of this, if a Christian is able to win his own loved
ones, he must live a consistent Christian life. The Christian
must convince his unsaved loved ones and those who know him best
that Christ is real and that the Christian life is something to
be desired. Mahatma Gandhi, the man who in his day probably
influenced more people than any other man on earth, is quoted as
having said, “I would be a Christian if it were not for
Christian was witnessing to a waitress at a restaurant. The
waitress said, "I don't want to be a Christian. I have seen
too many of your church people come in here, and if what they
have is Christianity, I don't want it!"
soul winner livingly replied, "Ma'am, I know that Christian
people aren't what they ought to be, but can you find anything
wrong with Jesus?"
tears the waitress replied, "No, I can't, and if more of you
people would live like Him, more people like me would want to be
presenting the proof of Christ and His claims on us, perhaps no
other method would be more persuasive than for the unsaved who
are the closest to us to observe our answers to prayer and to see
God's working in our lives. If week after week, month after month
and perhaps even year after year our loved ones could see God's
answers to our prayers, they could be convinced that there is
something to the Christian life.
us notice some examples in the Bible.
behavior of the returning exiles from Babylon convinced the
heathen nations that God was with them. Psalm 126:1,2, "When
the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them
that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our
tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD
hath done great things for them." Notice the progression
here. (1) The Lord turned again the captivity of Zion; that is,
the people of God had been delivered. (2) It was like a dream to
them. Notice the words, "We were like them that dream."
They could hardly believe it was true. For years they had been
slaves in Babylon; now they were returning home to their beloved
land. As they journeyed on that trip of hundreds of miles they
found it hard to believe that it could be so. (3) Their mouths
were filled with laughter. (4) They began to sing. (5) The
heathen said, "The Lord hath done great things for them."
Especially notice in verse 2 the word "then."
When did the heathen say the Lord hath done great things for
them? After they had seen evidence of their deliverance from
captivity and had heard their laughter and their singing. It was
obvious to the heathens that God had been with these people.
is always easier to witness to people when God's workings are
obvious in our lives. Especially is this true when they continue
to see God answering our prayers. It will not be hard to win lost
loved ones when Christian people convince them of the reality of
Christ, and we will not convince them of the reality of Christ if
we continue to hide the Gospel by our inconsistencies and
powerlessness. II Corinthians 4:3, "But if our gospel be
hid, it is hid to them that are lost." One of the most
famous atheists in history said that he could explain away every
argument concerning God and the Bible except the Christian life
of his mother. In the First Baptist Church of Hammond we have a
lady named Mrs. Mamie Brown. She had a grown son who was not
right with God. One day he made it right and is now a fine pastor
in Rock Island, Illinois. pastor Mel Brown has now served
faithfully in that field for many years. He said, "The thing
that Got me right with God was my mother's life. We had Jesus for
breakfast, Jesus for lunch, Jesus for dinner. I saw Jesus in my
mother's life, and that is what brought me to Himself." What
the pastor could not do and the church could not do, what the
theologians could not do, the sweet consistent Christian life of
his dear mother prayed him to Jesus and prayed him into the
first year of college was at a state university. The constant
pounding of doubt into my mind by the professors began to take
its toll. (This is why I recommend all young people to go to
Christian colleges!) I went through a period of restlessness and
doubt. I decided to find out who was right—my professors or my
mother. During that year I read the entire Bible through on my
knees. I became convinced that the Bible is the Word of God, and
through all of my doubts one thing kept coming back to
me—Mother's faith in the Book and in the Christ of the Book. I
had seen her in adversity, in poverty, in loneliness, in
disappointment, in the depression of the 1930's, and I was
convinced that Mother's God was real!
let us look again at Psalm 126. In verse 3 we have
the people of Israel witnessing as they said, "The Lord
HATH done great things for us, whereof we are glad," or
"That's why we are happy!" Now notice they did not
witness to the heathen until the heathen had seen their lives. It
was obvious that they had been delivered from captivity. The
heathen had heard their laughter. They heard their singing. They
saw their lives and said, "The Lord hath done great
things for them."
would not be hard for us to win those closest to us when they can
say, "The Lord hath done great things for them."
People at work will want to know our Saviour when they can
say, "The Lord hath done great things for them."
Husbands will want to receive the Christ that their wives
have when they can say, "The Lord hath done great things
for her." Children will want Mom and Dad's Saviour when
they can say, "The Lord hath done great things for them."
Young people will will their parents when Dad and Mom can
say, "The Lord hath done great things for them." A
church can will people in its neighborhood when it can be said,
"The Lord hath done great things for them."
number of years ago I was soul winning on the north side of
Hammond. I knocked on a door and a tall man came to the door. I
told him who I was and he began to laugh at me and turn to 13
people in his living room and say, "Hey, folks, guess who's
here. Old Hyles from First Baptist Church! Hyles is the biggest
fake in town!"
said, "Sir, I wish you wouldn't say that. I'm not a fake.
I'm not what I ought to be in every area, but, bless God, I'm
sincere, and I'm not a fake. What I have in my heart is genuine,
and my call to serve God is genuine."
laughed and kept on calling me a fake, making fun of me and the
church. Before I knew it I said something that shocked me as well
said, "Sir, if you say that one more time, you're going to
said, "Just what are you going to do?"
I shocked myself. I said. "I'm going to pray for God to kill
you." Oh, my soul! I had never said anything like that
before! I have never said anything like that since! I had not
planned to say that, but said it I did and said it I had, and
there was no backing out!
laughed even the louder, looked at the 13 people in his living
room and made fun of me again. Then he said, "Hyles, you are
said, "That does it!" Before I knew it, I put my hand
on his head and began to pray. I said, "Dear Lord, the God
of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God that parted the Red Sea for
Moses and the God that made the sun stand still for Joshua, I
pray in Jesus' name that You would vindicate Your servant. This
man has made fun of the Gospel and of me, Your servant." I
said, "Dear Lord, vindicate Thyself now."
man interrupted and said, "Reverend, hey, reverend . . ."
I kept on praying. I said, "Lord, I pray that right now in
the presence of these people You would . . ."
interrupted me and said, "Hey, Reverend, you ain't no fake!
You ain't no fake! You ain't no fake!"
be quite frank, I am not sure what God would have done; I am sure
I was a bit careless in making such a statement. The point is,
however, that the man respected me. He did not like me, but he
respected me. He ridiculed me, but he respected me. He felt that
my Christianity was genuine. Oh, how this doubting world needs to
see a Christianity that is real! Nothing will convince people
more quickly than to see our prayers being answered by a living
is interesting to note that this testimony of the Jews as they
laughed and sang was on their return from Babylon. This testimony
had not always been obvious. For example, when they got to
Babylon they sat down and wept when they remembered their
homeland. Psalm 137:1, "By the rivers of Babylon, there
we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion." Though
they had been great harpists, they refused to play the harp in
Babylon. Instead they hanged their harps upon the willow trees.
Psalm 137:2, "We hanged our harps upon the willows in the
midst thereof." The Babylonian people then told them
they heard they were great singers and they wished they would
sing for them. Psalm 137:3, "For there they that carried
us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us
required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion."
The people, however, had lost their song because they were in
a strange land. How sad it is! It is the strange land that needs
to hear the song!
ago I was pastoring a small country church in east Texas. We had
a member of our church who always loved to testify at church, and
yet on the job he was so inconsistent. All of his testimonies at
church would start the same way, "I am always glad to say a
good word for my Lord." It is strange, however, that he was
never willing to say a good word for our Lord out when people
needed to hear it. We need to say a good word for our Lord out
where they are saying bad words about our Lord. We need to bless
Him where they curse Him and to sing of Him where they sing the
heathen songs. The people need to hear the message and the
singing and see our changed lives in the market place, in the
school room, at the shop, in the factory, in the office and
wherever men congregate.
have a fine lady in our church named Ruth Ramsey. She and her
married daughter, Patti Frantz, had prayed for Mrs. Ramsey. For
years they prayed. For years they would have times of fasting.
They continued to believe God for his salvation. One day he was
stricken with a heart attack, was rushed to the hospital, and he
suddenly died! There in the hospital room these dear prayers
warriors literally prayed him back to life. He was marvelously
saved and is now a fine member of First Baptist Church. I have no
doubt that the thing that won Mr. Ramsey to Christ was the
consistent life of his wife. Day after day after day and week
after week after week she lived Christ. There was obviously
something real. He saw her pray. He heard her pray. He saw the
answers, and now he knows her Christ!
Daniel's consistent Christian life and answers to prayer
convinced Nebuchadnezzar of the reality of Daniel's God.
Daniel 2:46-48, "Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon
his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should
offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. The king answered
unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God
of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing
thou couldest reveal this secret. Then the king made Daniel a
great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over
the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over
all the wise men of Babylon." In verse 46 we have
that word "then" again just as we had in Psalm
126:2. When the heathen had seen the transformed lives of the
Israelites, THEN they believed it as real. Now we have the story
of Daniel living for God and having his prayers answered. It was
THEN that king Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and believed in
Daniel's God. Nebuchadnezzar had seen Daniel's life. He had seen
Daniel's refusal to drink the king's wine. He had seen that God
was with Daniel as He gave him the interpretation of the king's
dream. The king had seen his own magicians fail, his own
astrologers fail, his own sorcerers fail and the Chaldeans fail.
Then he saw Daniel succeed. He saw that Daniel was different. He
saw Daniel's prayers answered. He heard Daniel give the
interpretation of the dream. THEN he believed in Daniel's God.
Often people say to me, "Pastor, it's so hard to win those
who are wealthy or educated." It will not be so when kings,
governors, mayors, professors, the rich and the famous can be
convinced by our lives and by our answered prayers that there is
a God in Heaven.
The answered prayer of Elijah convinced the people that the
Lord is THE God. I Kings 18:36-39, "And it came to
pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that
Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham,
Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that Thou art God
in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done all
these things at Thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this
people may know that Thou art the LORD God, and that Thou hast
turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the LORD fell,
and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones,
and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And
when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they
said, The LORD, He is the God; the LORD, He is the God."
famine had been in the land. Ahab the king blamed Elijah the
prophet for the famine. Elijah the prophet knew that the famine
was caused by the sins of the king and the people, and he told
Ahab so! Elijah challenged the king to a contest. He suggested to
the king that they take two bullocks. Ahab and his prophets
should place one bullock on the alter and pray for fire to come
from Heaven and consume it. Then Elijah would do likewise, and
whichever bullock was consumed with fire from Heaven would prove
who had the true and living God. The prophets of Baal chose a
bullock, placed it upon the alter and called upon the name of
Baal. They called all morning, "Oh, Baal, hear us."
The Bible says, "But there was no voice, nor any that
answered." Then they leaped upon the alter which they
had made, begging for fire to come from Baal. Of course, there
was no fire! At noontime Elijah began to mock them and tell them
to cry louder. He said, "Maybe Baal is talking, or maybe he
is hunting, or maybe he is on a journey, or maybe he is asleep
and you have to wake him up." I Kings 18:28 says,
"And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their
manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon
Elijah told the people to come near to him. He took twelve stones
according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob. "And
he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid
him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour
it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, Do it
the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do
it the third time. And they did it the third time. And the water
ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with
water." (I Kings 18:33b-35) Elijah then prayed for fire
to come from Heaven. Fire did fall from Heaven and consumed the
burnt-sacrifice, the wood, the stone and the dust, and it even
licked up the water that was in the trench! In verse 39 it
says, "And when all the people saw it, they fell on their
faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is
the God." Notice the word "WHEN." When
they saw the answer to Elijah's prayer, they believed that
Jehovah was the true God. The world waits for us to show them the
truth of the Gospel, and nothing will show them this truth quite
as much as their seeing our answers to prayer.
Pharaoh's magicians were convinced of God's workings by the
answers to Moses' prayers. Exodus 8:17-19, "And they
did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote
the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast;
all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of
Egypt. And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring
forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and
upon beast. Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the
finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened
not unto them; as the LORD had said." These heathen
educators saw the miracles of God in Moses' life and said in
verse 19, "This is the finger of God."
world will not be convinced of the reality of our profession
until they see the reality of our lives and the reality of our
prayers. No wonder this generation of synthetic Christianity has
little effect on the heathen world. Christians sing the same rock
music that the world sings. (We might add a few little frivolous
Christian words.) We watch the same soap operas on television
they watch. We smoke the same brand of cigarettes they smoke. We
use the same bad words that they use. We don't tithe either.
Christian men wear the same type long hair that they wear. I
Corinthians 11:14, "Doth not even nature itself teach you,
that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?"
Christian ladies dress as immodestly as they do. No wonder
the have so little confidence in us.
received a call from a lady asking if I would go to the hospital
and witness to her dying husband. I asked her what church she
attended and she told me. I said, "Have you asked your
pastor to go and try to win him to the Lord?"
replied, "Oh, you see, Reverend Hyles, my pastor doesn't
specialize in cases like that."
what she was saying was that when it came to the deathbed, her
pastor wouldn't do. He would do for a sermonette on Sunday
morning. He would do for weddings and funerals and maybe even
counseling, but when it came to preparing people for eternity, he
didn't specialize in cases like that. That pastor could do a
marvellous favor to the world by getting out of the pulpit.
The deputy on the isle of Paphos believed because he saw
Paul's answers to prayer. Acts 13:6-12, "And when
they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain
sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus: Which
was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent
man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the
word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by
interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy
from the faith. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with
the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, And said, O full of all
subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the Devil, thou enemy of
all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways
of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee,
and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And
immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went
about seeking some to lead him by the hand. Then the deputy, when
he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine
of the Lord." There is that word "THEN"
again. In verse 12 the deputy believed. When did he
believe? After he had seen God's power on Paul! Elymas the
sorcerer had interfered with Paul's witnessing to the deputy.
Paul looked on him and said, "O full of all subtilty and
all mischief, thou child of the Devil, thou enemy of all
righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of
the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and
thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season." As
soon as Paul had said that, blindness came upon Elymas the
sorcerer. It was then that the deputy believed, "being
astonished at the doctrine of the Lord." This is just
another of many examples in the Bible where people were saved
because of the answered prayers of God's people.
are many other similar cases such as that of the Philippian
jailor. Acts 16:25-33, "And at midnight Paul and Silas
prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the
foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the
doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. And the
keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the
prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed
himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul
cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are
all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came
trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them
out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said,
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and
thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to
all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the
night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all
his, straightway." The jailor and his entire household
received Christ and were baptized because of the prayer of God's
men. When the jailor saw the answered prayer, he cried, "What
must I do to be saved?"
you win those closest to you? Would you win your loved ones?
Would you win the deputies, the kings, the false teachers, the
one who shares your house with you, your parents, your children,
your brothers, your sisters? They can be won, but it will be so
only as they are convinced of the reality of your Christian life.
Perhaps nothing can convince them, more quickly than for them to
observe your prayers and God's answers.
ago when I enrolled in college in Marshall, Texas, I found a job
at J.C. Penny Company. I pastored a church on the weekend and
went to college and worked at J.C. penny during the week. Then,
by the grace of God, I was called to pastor a country church
several miles outside of Marshall, Texas. It was close enough for
people in Marshall to attend. One by one I saw the people who
worked at J.C. Penny Company receive Christ. I baptized the
manager of the men's department, his wife, one of the secretaries
up in the office area, her sister, her sister's husband, her
father and her mother. The lady in the ladies hosiery department
got saved; so did the assistant manager of the men's department
and his wife!
day I asked one of the people who had been saved what really was
the thing that caused them to be saved. The answer was that I was
the first college student who worked there at J.C. Penny Company
who REALLY worked. It was because while I was there I led the
store in sales. This convinced them that what I had was real.
new convert as he was dressing after bring baptized was
approached by the pastor. The pastor asked him what it was in his
preaching that caused the man to come to Christ. The convert
said, " 'Tweren't your preachin', pastor, it was Grandma's
practicin'." How true!
45 — Praying for Each Other
the greatest thing that one individual can do for another is to
pray sincerely for him. The Apostle Paul felt the need of the
prayer's of God's people. He strongly hinted in his epistle to
the Romans that when they prayed for him, they fought his battle
with him and entered into his labors! Romans 15:30, "Now
I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and
for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in
your prayers to God for me." He wrote the Colossians
asking the saints there to pray for him. Colossians 4:2,
"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with
thanksgiving." He also sought prayer support from the
Corinthians people. II Corinthians 1:11, "Ye also helping
together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by
the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our
behalf." Likewise, he sought prayer help from the
Thessalonians. II Thessalonians 3:1, "Finally, brethren,
pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and
be glorified, even as it is with you." He showed his
confidence in the prayers of his friend, Philemon, in Philemon
22, "But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that
through your prayers I shall be given unto you."
also reminded the people of God that he prayed for them, just as
he requested them to pray for him. Such assurance was given to
the Romans in Romans 1:9, "For God is my witness, whom I
serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without
ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers." He
told the Ephesians that he constantly prayed for them. Ephesians
1:16, "Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of
you in my prayers." At another place he said, "Without
ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day."
(II Timothy 1:3b) Again he said, "We do not cease to
pray for you." (Colossians 1:9b) We owe it to others to
pray for them.
Prayer is getting things done for others that you cannot do.
II Corinthians 1:11, "Ye also helping together by prayer
for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many
persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf."
years ago when Cindy was in college she came to me one day and
asked if I could buy a dress for one of her friends. I replied
that I barely could keep my own family clothed without clothing
her friend also. She persisted and prevailed, and I agreed to buy
a dress for her friend. We went to a nice ladies' shop and bought
a beautiful dress. Now what Cindy could not do, she could ask me
to do, and the only chance that her friend had to have a new
dress for the Valentine's Banquet was for Cindy to pray to her
dad for a new dress for her friend. There are things that I would
like for my friends to have that I cannot give them, but I have a
wealthy heavenly Daddy to Whom I can go and seek His help on my
had a very close friend who was getting married. Linda whispered
in her ear and said, "Daddy, my friend doesn't have enough
money for a honeymoon. She and her groom simply cannot afford a
honeymoon. Is there anything you could do?" I happened to
admire her friend very much, and so I slipped a sizeable sum of
money into the couple's hands on their wedding day. Now I would
not have done this if Linda had not asked, for I was not aware of
their need. What Linda could not do for her friend, her dad could
do, so she prayed her dad that he would.
I find someone in need, I always ask, "Can I help?" If
the need is beyond my ability to help, then I go to my heavenly
Daddy and ask Him to help.
Praying for others enables us to love people that we otherwise
would not love. Romans 15:30, "Now I beseech you,
brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of
the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to
God for me." Of course, this would include praying for
those that despitefully use us. Matthew 5:44, "But I say
unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good
to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use
you, and persecute you." Such praying will generate love
for the enemy in the heart of the one who prays.
I feel the slightest touch of ill will coming my way, I put on my
prayer list the name of the one who possesses that ill will
toward me. I don't pray for him to love me. I pray for his needs.
If I feel the slightest negative feeling toward a brother or
sister in Christ, I immediately put that name on my prayer list
and pray for his needs. What a blessing to see God answer the
prayer, even as He answered Cindy and Linda's prayers!
Praying gives us an interest in others. Philemon 22,
"But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that
through your prayers I shall be given unto you." For
years I have prayed every day for the churches in my area; that
is, the Bible-preaching churches, of course. Now I start with the
Oak Forest Baptist Temple in Oak Forest, Illinois, pastored by my
good friend, Dr. Bill Schroeder; then I pray across the Calumet
region, all the way to Chesterton, Indiana, at the Fairhaven
Baptist Church, pastored by my good friend Roger Voegtlin. In
between I pray for churches in Sauk Village, Illinois; Dyer,
Indiana; and Lowell, Indiana. I also pray for the Calvary Baptist
Church of Highland, Indiana; for a church in Griffith, Indiana;
for a church in Schererville, Indiana; and one in Merrillville,
one in Lake Hills, and the churches in Whiting and Hessville. I
pray for the Central Baptist Church of East Chicago, for the
Hessville Baptist Church of Hammond and on and on for churches of
like faith. Then is it any wonder that I love to hear of good
reports of God's blessings upon these churches, and is it any
wonder that I feel an obligation to help and a desire to help
when a sister church has a need! This all begins at the throne of
grace, when I pray for them.
you want to feel a closeness to your children? Pray for them. Do
you want to feel a closeness to your friends? Pray for them. Do
you have an enemy that you want to love? Pray for them.
Praying gives you more victories. The people for whom you
pray receive the answer to your prayers. Their victory is your
victory; their thrill is your thrill. Their achievement is your
achievement, and you have become a part of their team and you are
able to share in their victory. I am convinced that in Heaven we
will share the reward of those for whom we diligently prayed.
There are churches all across America that are on my prayer list.
I almost feel as if I were a member of those churches. When I go
to preach at one of them or visit there, I feel like one of the
people, and their victories give me joy akin to the joy that I
receive when victories come to the church that I pastor.
Praying makes us grateful for each other. Ephesians
1:16, "Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of
you in my prayers." One of the surest ways to feel loved
is to feel that someone is praying for you. When I pray and when
you pray, we meet at the throne of grace. Though miles separate
us, we are actually together, for we are meeting at the same
throne, talking to the same God, asking for the same thing. No
wonder prayer partners are close partners!
46 — Group Praying
"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites
are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the
corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I
say unto you, They have their reward."
praying should be done alone. Nearly all the praying Jesus did
was alone. He admonished us that when we pray we should enter
into our closet. There is usually enough room in a closet for
only one person. No doubt the reason that our Saviour prayed
alone was that He had no one with whom He could share His burden
or no one who carried a burden similar to His.
there are examples in the Bible of groups who prayed. When Peter
was in prison, the church prayed for him. In the upper room, 120
prayed. Our Lord reminds us that two or more can pray together if
they agree. Matthew 18:19, "Again I say unto you, That if
two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they
shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in
Heaven." In the model prayer, Jesus taught us to pray,
"OUR Father." Note, He did not say, "My
Father," but "Our Father." This would imply
that at least sometimes we are to pray with someone."
then is it best for a group to pray? The answer is obvious. When
a special emergency arises and the burden is the same to all,
group praying is in order. I can remember praying with Dr. John
R. Rice. SO often we would kneel to pray. He would pray for the
Sword of the Lord; I would pray for the First Baptist Church of
Hammond. He would pray for the Voice of Revival Broadcast; I
would pray for Hyles-Anderson. He would pray for the Sword book
ministry; I would pray for Hammond Baptist Schools. I am sure
that in such cases our praying would have been more effective had
each of us prayed alone. Ah, but then came the time when Dr. Rice
would pray for America! Tears came from my eyes, and my heart
began to hurt as I joined him in that prayer for this great
burden that both of us shared equally.
is why a mother and a father can pray together for a child; they
share the burden. There is no mention in the Bible of
regularly-scheduled praying except in the family unit.
is so easy for regularly-scheduled prayer groups to become
sessions of idle talk or even gossip. There is also the danger in
our special prayer groups for us to pray for others to improve,
which is simply a way for us to criticize someone to a friend and
place it in the disguise of spirituality and prayer. If one is
going to pray for the improvement of another and mention his
faults, it is best for him to go into the closet and pray alone.
occasion so-called prayer groups have deteriorated until they
became a thorn in the flesh of the pastor and divisive to the
church. It is probably best to have prayer warriors who can come
together in an emergency. While I was in college I had a prayer
warrior. We did not meet regularly, but we had an agreement that
we would meet when either of us had a burden or a need. If I
faced a difficult test, I would call my prayer warrior. We would
meet at our appointed place and pray together. If he had a burden
or a need, he could call me. Sometimes we met to pray, sometimes
we prayed over the phone together, and sometimes we agree to pray
for each other. It is usually best, however, for the Christian to
do most of his praying alone. For example, most of my praying for
the finances of the First Baptist Church of Hammond is done
alone. Most of our people are concerned about the finances. A few
of our people have much concern, but nobody stays awake at night
and carries the load as much as the Pastor, for the "buck"
stops at his desk!
I am praying for the power of God on my life, I usually do it
alone. There are many who no doubt would like for me to have the
power of God, but since their desire is only a fraction of mine,
I believe I can best seek the fulness of the Holy Spirit alone in
the burden is equal, group praying is beneficial. When the burden
is unequal, praying alone is probably best.
nights I have prayed all night concerning a financial need. My
feet have paced many motel room floors. I have walked by the hour
up and down the sidewalk alongside a freeway. Ah, how sweet has
been the fellowship, how sure are the promises, and how definite
are the answers!
and regularly through the years I have had long season of prayer
for the power of God and the fulness of the Holy Spirit. These
were times alone with God, times of pleading, begging and
there have been times during the years when I felt another shared
a burden on a near-equal basis. We have gotten together without
an effort to pray pretty prayers or to seem pious and have poured
out our hearts to God together. In such cases, group prayer can
be very effective. Since, however, it is usually impossible for
another to share with me anywhere near the degree of the burden I
carry for a matter, I find it more effective to pray alone most
of the time.
47 — Prayer Is Work
4:12,13, "Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ,
saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that
ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I
bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that
are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis."
word "laboring" in this passage means "pain."
The word "fervently" comes from from a Greek
word which means "to agonize." Sometimes it is
translated "wrestling." At other times it is translated
"struggling." Few Christians ever mature enough to
discover that prayer is hard, physical work. Jesus prayed in
Gethsemane until His perspiration became as great drops of blood.
Jacob prayed at Jabbok until he was wrestling and his leg became
out of socket. Many times I have gotten up from a session of
prayer soaked with perspiration, and at other times after a
season of prayer I have been physically sore.
mentions this labouring in prayer in Galatians 4:19, "My
little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be
formed in you." Notice the word "travail."
His prayer was of such a nature that he labored as a woman giving
birth to a baby.
notice the word "again." Paul is saying that he
is praying so hard for them now that he is laboring again. This
means that he had prayed so hard for their salvation that it was
like travail or labor in birth. Now he labors again after they
were saved. Notice how long he labors—"until Christ be
formed in you." Ask any mother if the labor stops after
birth. Ask a mother whose son is living in sin which travail
hurts the most—the travail of giving birth or the travail of
pleading with God for his life. Ask a mother whose daughter is
pregnant before she marries. Ask a mother whose son is living in
a communal. Ask a mother whose child is bound by the chains of
narcotics. The labor never stops if a successful child is reared!
has not always been labor. In the garden of Eden, man and God
fellowshipped. Ah, 'twas beautiful as man fulfilled the purpose
of his existence in offering fellowship, adoration and praise to
his Creator. However, this fellowship was broken by sin.
is usually thought that Eve sinned first and then brought the
forbidden fruit to Adam, and then he sinned; however, we are
reminded in the Bible that it was man that brought sin into the
world and not the woman (Eve). Romans 5:12, "Wherefore,
as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and
so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."
I Corinthians 15:21,22, "For since by man came death, by
man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all
die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
seems to be the teaching of the Bible that Satan came to Adam
first. Perhaps he was alone, or perhaps Adam and Eve were
together when Satan came. To say the least, Adam was tempted
first, but he was not deceived. I Timothy 2:13,14, "For
Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but
the woman being deceived was in the transgression." Then
Satan came to Eve and offered her the same temptation. Genesis
3:6, "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for
food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be
desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did
eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."
II Corinthians 11:3, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the
serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should
be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." The
word "beguiled" here means "really
beguiled." Eve really fell for the Devil's temptation! She
yielded and then brought the temptation to Adam. Adam was not
deceived. No doubt he took the fruit to please Eve. He entered
into it with his eyes open. Eve was beguiled; Adam was not. Eve
was deceived; Adam was not. This is why we have Romans 5:12.
Notice, "By one MAN sin entered into the world."
did Adam resist the first time and not the second? It was because
of the influence of a woman. This shows the tremendous power that
a woman has over a man. She can get him to do things that the
Devil, without her help, can not get him to do. A man who would
not normally go into debt will do so for a woman. A man who would
not normally compromise will do so for a woman.
is another teaching here. A woman should be very careful what she
entices a man to do, especially if he is her man!
the story goes this way. Satan came to Adam. He was not deceived.
He came to Eve; she was deceived. What Satan could not seduce
Adam to do, Eve could. Adam with with his eyes open in order, no
doubt, to please Eve. Because of this, the entire human race
fell, the trees dropped their leaves, the serpent was filled with
poisonous venom, the roses sprang thorns, the winter winds howl,
the chilly blast of winter comes, woman gives birth in pain, man
makes his living by the sweat of his brow, and man by nature is
alienated from his God.
Christ that alienation can be cured and man can be restored to
fellowship. Once he is restored to fellowship through the blood
of Christ and the full payment and pardon for sin by our Saviour,
man has access to the throne of God. He may plead with God for
his needs, he may travail and travail and travail again and
travail again. That travail is labor and work, but ah, the sweet
results. When a woman holds her infant in her arms and feels the
warmth of motherhood, and the travail fades into the background
and makes it all worthwhile. When the child of God sees sinners
converted to Christ, sees babes in Christ mature to spiritual
adulthood and sees miraculous. definite answers to his prayers,
suddenly it is all worthwhile!
48 — Prayer and the Unseen World
10:12,13, "Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from
the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and
to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am
come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia
withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the
chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the
kings of Persia."
had prayed a prayer. God had granted his request and had given
the answer to an angel. That angel started his journey toward
Daniel with thee answer to Daniel's prayer. He was intercepted by
the prince of the kingdom of Persia who fought against the angel
and attempted to prevent him from delivering God's answer to
Daniel. Michael, the archangel, was summoned to the conflict. He
prevailed over the prince of the kingdom of Persia and freed the
angel to take God's answer to His servant, Daniel. The answer was
21 days late, however, for the conflict in the unseen world
lasted for this amount of time. The cause for this delay was a
spiritual battle in the unseen world.
are many reasons for seeming delays in God answering our prayers.
In some instances, God may be preparing the answer for us. For
example, suppose a young man feels it is the will of God that he
have a certain young lady to be his wife. He may pray and ask God
to give him this young lady. God may be perfectly pleased for him
to have her, but she may not be ready for marriage yet. There may
be a work that God must do with her before He sends the answer to
the young man.
God delays an answer because the person praying is not ready for
the answer. For example, it may be that the young man who desires
the young lady is not ready for marriage yet. He may have to be
prepared for the answer before it can come.
the Christian asks, and God may put his name on the answer, but
He may keep it for awhile because for some reason a delay is
necessary. God, Who knows when the time is right for the answer,
send it when He knows it is best. This is the reason that God can
say that we can believe that we HAVE received them. Mark
11:23,24, "For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall
say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into
the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that
those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have
whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever
ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye
shall have them."
while I am waiting for the answer that God has set aside for me,
I am to keep on praying. Elijah knew that rain would come, but he
prayed seven times. So even while we are waiting for the answer,
we keep on praying.
the question comes, "Who is this prince of the kingdom of
Persia who interfered with the angel as he was taking the answer
from God to Daniel?" In order to understand this, we must
examine Ezekiel 18:1-10, "The word of the LORD came again
unto me, saying, Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus
saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou
hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of
the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine
heart as the heart of God: Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel;
there is no secret that they can hide from thee: With thy wisdom
and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and
hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: By thy great
wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and
thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches: Therefore thus
saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the
heart of God; Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee,
the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords
against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy
brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt
die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas.
Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but
thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth
thee. Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand
of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD."
Notice especially that there is mentioned here the "PRINCE
OF TYRUS." Notice in verse 2 that this Prince of
Tyrus is a man. "Yet thou art a man." It is
important to remember that we have hear a Prince of Tyrus who is
now must look to Ezekiel 28:11-19, "Moreover the word of
the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation
upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord
GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in
beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious
stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the
beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and
the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of
thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee
so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up
and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in
thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was
found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have
filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned:
therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God:
and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the
stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty,
thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I
will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that
they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the
multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick;
therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it
shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth
in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know
thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be
a terror, and never shalt thou be any more." In these
verses we have mention of the king of Tyre, or Tyrus. We have
already met the PRINCE of Tyrus; now we meet the KING of Tyrus.
We have already found that the prince of Tyrus was a man. Now we
must find who is the king of Tyrus. There are several things said
is full of wisdom. Verse 12.
is attractive, full of beauty. Verse 12.
has been in the garden of Eden. Verse 13.
has an anointed cherub (angel). Verse 14.
was once perfect. Verse 15.
sinned. Verse 15.
was cast out of Heaven. Verse 16.
is this king of Tyrus? It is Satan himself. Satan was once full
of wisdom and beauty. He was also in the garden of Eden with Adam
and Eve. He was perfect until he sinned. He was once an anointed
cherub. He was one of the three archangels, Michael and Gabriel
being the other two. He had under his dominion one-third of the
angels. Then there was war in Heaven as he tried to unseat God.
Because of this, he was cast out of Heaven. So this king of Tyrus
is the Devil!
important thing to notice here is that there were two rulers of
Tyrus—there was an earthly ruler who was a man and who could be
seen; there was an unseen ruler who could not be seen who was
Satan. Here we find that a nation has a seen ruler who is the
king, prime minister or president; then there is an unseen ruler
also who rules the visible ruler.
all came about because of man's in in the garden of Eden. Satan
is the god of this world. II Corinthians 4:4, "In whom
the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which
believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who
is the image of God, should shine unto them." It is
noteworthy how this came about.
made the earth. Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God
created the heaven and the earth."
world then, is His. Psalm 24:1, "The earth is the
LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell
gave Adam dominion over the earth. Genesis 1:26,27, "And
God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and
let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the
fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth,
and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So
God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he
him; male and female created He them." Psalm 8:6, "Thou
madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou
hast put all things under his feet." Adam was then, in
a sense, the god of this world.
came to Adam in the garden and Adam, in a sense, sold his lease
to Satan. Notice Luke 4:5,6, "And the Devil, taking Him
up into an high mountain, shewed unto Him all the kingdoms of the
world in a moment of time. And the Devil said unto Him, All this
power will I give Thee, and the glory of them: for that is
delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it."
Notice especially in verse 6 the words of Satan, "For
that is delivered unto me." The world was delivered to
Satan. This is why he is the god of this world. It was delivered
unto him by Adam, who had been given dominion over it by God. So
Adam sold his lease.
praise God, Adam's lease will run out, and Jesus will become King
and God of this world! Revelation 21:3-6, "And I heard a
great voice out of Heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God
is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His
people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And
God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be
no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be
any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that
sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He
said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And
He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning
and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain
of the water of life freely." Until then, God's will is
not done on earth. For example, God is not willing that any
should perish, but men do perish. II Peter 3:9, "The Lord
is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness;
but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should
perish, but that all should come to repentance."
what we call the Lord's prayer, we are admonished to pray, "Thy
kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven."
This points to the kingdom when Jesus shall reign on earth
for a thousand years and God's will will be done, even as it is
done now in Heaven.
there are two rulers of a nation, the seen and the unseen, such
as the prince of Tyrus and the king of Tyrus, the affairs of
nations, then, are controlled by the unseen world. Our battle
then is not against flesh and blood (the prince of Tyrus), but
against rulers of darkness, principalities, etc. (king of Tyrus).
Ephesians 6:12, "For we wrestle not against flesh and
blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the
rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual
wickedness in high places." We have two enemies—flesh
and blood, and principalities and rulers of darkness.
our battle is not against flesh and blood, God has given us
weapons of war with which to fight our real enemy which is the
king of Tyrus, or the unseen ruler. For those weapons notice
Ephesians 6:11-19, "Put on the whole armour of God, that
ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. For we
wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto
you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in
the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore,
having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the
breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the
preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield
of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery
darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the
sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always
with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching
thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open
my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel."
weapons are listed in the above verses. There are several of
them, such as truth, the Word of God, prayer, soul winning (our
feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace),
salvation, etc. One of the tragedies of our day is that preachers
and churches are often spending too much time fighting the prince
of Tyrus (the seen ruler) by political involvement, the ballot
box, political clout, etc. Now this is not wrong, for we ought to
fight the battle for that which is seen, but many times more
important than that is fighting the unseen power with the
spiritual weapons aforementioned. The church of Jesus Christ
needs to get back to the old-fashioned methods of fighting the
unseen world. The Devil is after our nation. We must fight the
seen powers, but with much more vigor and time and effort, we
must fight the unseen powers. If America is ever saved, she will
be saved by the praying minority as we launch the weapons of
prayer, Bible study, faith, soul winning, etc. against the king
is after your child. How tragic it is that most of us spend so
much time fighting off the visible powers from our children and
not enough time on our knees using spiritual weapons against the
unseen powers that are dedicated to their ruin! There was a day
when old-fashioned moms and dads fed their children on the Word
of God, prayed them to Jesus in the prayer closet, and the unseen
powers were defeated!
across America several years ago churches began to grow. Soul
winning, prayer, Bible study and Bible reading were weapons
launched against the unseen powers. A great movement was begun.
Great churches were built. The greatest soul-winning churches in
the history of Christianity covered this country. Because of
this, multiplied thousands came to Christ, which gave us more
church members, which gave us more votes, which gave us more
clout. Bear in mind, however, that we got this clout and these
votes by soul winning and by using spiritual weapons. Because of
this, conservative men were elected to office. We became amazed
at our power and, no doubt, got impressed with it. Therefore,
because of our attack on the unseen rulers, we saw some of the
seen rulers change. So we erroneously started spending more time
fighting the seen and less time fighting the unseen. The battles
were won because of soul winning, Bible study and prayer. Now we
have substituted excessive political endeavor at the expense of
the spiritual weapons. It is not surprising then that the next
election found us seeing a great wave of liberals coming back
into office. What we did with the spiritual weapons fighting the
unseen world, we undid with the carnal weapons fighting the seen
world. What America needs is to get back to building great
churches! America needs to get back to the prayer closet, back to
soul winning, back to old-fashioned Bible preaching! Our nation
will not be saved in the halls of Congress; our nation will be
saved in the halls of prayer. Our nation will not be saved
because of power with men; it will be saved because of power with
God! We are more than conquerors through Him, that loved us, but
we have to fight with spiritual weapons!
author is not advocating political isolation. I think it is
splendid for Christians to be involved in the election process,
but not at the expense of the old-fashioned use of old-fashioned
methods that strike at the foundation of the battlements of Hell
and against which the unseen powers cannot stand.
years ago a group of young people moved in a building near the
First Baptist Church of Hammond and started living a communal
type of life, which included various kinds of immorality. It was
a reproach to the entire neighborhood. Naturally, the neighbors,
including the First Baptist Church, were infuriated. Members of
this group would pass out literature which included dirty
four-letter words. They would do this right across the street
from our church. We, along with merchants in the area, resolved
to have this institution closed. The mistake we made, however,
was launching our main attack against the prince instead of the
king. We gave most of our effort in fighting the visible power
instead of the invisible power. We contacted the mayor, and
though he sincerely wanted to close down the place, he was unable
to do so. Then we contacted the city council, then the health
commission, and then other visible leaders. All of our efforts
failed. The efforts of downtown businessmen ended likewise in
failure. The place continued in operation. It seemed that our
only hope was prayer, soul winning and other spiritual weapons.
day during a church staff meeting I looked through the window of
a door leading to the hallway of our educational building and saw
the operator of the organization motion for me to come to him. I
went out in the hallway. He was weeping. His hippie-like
appearance was clothed in repentance. He told me that he wanted
to be saved. He had watched us and had observed what the First
Baptist Church did for others and began to realize the harm that
he and his group were doing. He told me that he was about to die
and that he had to get saved! In just a few minutes he was a
child of God. The next Sunday morning with a neat haircut, a
clean shirt, a fresh shave, shined shoes, neatly pressed trousers
and an attractive tie, he walked down the isle of First Baptist
Church of Hammond professing his faith in Christ. The next week
the institution across the street was closed! The methods by
which it was closed were those that were used against unseen
powers, rulers of darkness and principalities. All efforts to
have it closed by the use of carnal methods against the visible
prince failed, while the use of spiritual weapons against the
invisible king succeeded, for the king was in control of the
49 — “This Kind” of Answers to Prayer
"And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing,
but by prayer and fasting."
Mark 9:23, "Jesus said
unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him
chapter deals with God's provisions for the big needs of our
lives. There are times when our needs rise far above the normal
ones of daily provisions such as food, clothing, shelter, etc.
There is a need for healing from a serious illness. There is a
need for a wayward son or daughter to be brought back to God. In
such cases and in other cases where the need is a great one, the
conditions for God answering our prayer may be somewhat different
God is a God Who answers big requests. Jeremiah 33:3,
"Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great
and mighty things, which thou knowest not." Notice
especially the words, "great and mighty things."
Matthew 13:58, "And He did not many mighty works there
because of their unbelief." Notice in this passage that
there is a reason why God does not do great and mighty things.
Notice especially the words, "He did NOT many mighty
works there because of their unbelief."
81:10, " I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of
the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it."
There are times when God wants us to open our mouths wide! There
is something big He wants to give us.
32:17,26,27, "Ah Lord GOD! behold, Thou hast made the heaven
and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there
is nothing too hard for Thee: Then came the word of the LORD unto
Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is
there any thing too hard for Me?" Our God is a God of
limitless power and there is nothing that He cannot do.
17:20,21, "And Jesus said unto them, Because of your
unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain
of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to
yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be
impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by
prayer and fasting." Especially take note of the words,
"this kind." This teaches us that there is a
certain kind of need that requires a certain kind of action. This
is talking about the big prayers which require big answers for
big needs. Such was the case of the boy who was possessed by the
demon. While Jesus was on the mount of transfiguration with
Peter, James and John, talking to Moses and Elijah, a man brought
his demon-possessed son to the disciples. The disciples tried to
heal him, but they could not. When Jesus returned from the
transfiguration, the man brought his son to our Lord. Our Lord
healed his son. Then the disciples asked Jesus why they were
unable to do so while He was gone, whereupon Jesus reminded them
that "THIS KIND goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."
3:20,21, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding
abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power
that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ
Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
Notice especially the words, "exceedingly abundantly."
Again God is talking about big answers to big prayers.
4:2, "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have,
and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye
ask not." If we have not because we ask not, then it
could be said we have little because we ask little or we have
much because we ask much.
59:1, "Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it
cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear."
Luke 1:37, "For with God nothing shall be impossible."
Notice again the limitless power of God which reminds us that God
can and wants to answer our big requests.
For big answers to big requests, God usually requires prayer
and fasting. Mark 9:28,29, "And when he was come into
the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we
cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by
nothing, but by prayer and fasting." Moses needed
something big from God when he fasted forty days on Mount Sinai.
Jesus needed something big from the Father when He fasted forty
days in the wilderness of temptation. Daniel, Ezra, Jeremiah,
Paul, Joshua, David, Anna, Barnabas and other great Bible
Christians were asking big things from God because we find them
big thing was being asked in Jonah 3:5-7, "So the people
of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on
sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his
throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with
sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed
and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his
nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste
any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water."
big thing was being asked by the Jews in Esther 4:16, "Go,
gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and
fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or
day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go
in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I
perish, I perish."
big thing was asked by Joshua after the battle of Ai when he
called a fast. It was also a big thing that was being asked by
Ezra when he called a fast in Ezra 8:21-23, "Then I
proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might
afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for
us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. For I was
ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to
help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto
the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good
that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them
that forsake him. So we fasted and besought our God for this: and
he was intreated of us."
big thing was being asked in Cornelius in Acts 10:30, "And
Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and
at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood
before me in bright clothing."
if a child of God learns to get his big needs from his Father, he
must learn how to fast. Sometimes this means hours of fasting.
Sometimes it means days of fasting. Sometimes it may even mean
weeks of fasting. One can have conversions without fasting, but
if he has THIS KIND of conversions, he will have to pray and
fast. There are some kinds of revival that we can have without
fasting, but if we want THIS KIND of revival, we will have to
learn to fast. There are some miracles that may be obtained
without fasting, but if we want THIS KIND of miracles, we will
have to learn to pray and fast.
There are several types of fasting. We normally associate
fasting with being deprived of food, but actually it includes
more than just the appetite for food. It includes at least the
food. God wants us to enjoy food. That is why He made it
so tasty. It is so wonderful that God provided for us the means
of enjoying that which if our fuel. Psalm 103:2,5, "Bless
the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who
satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is
renewed like the eagle's." No doubt when God made the
apple He said, "I'm going to make it tasty so My people can
enjoy their refueling." When He made the strawberry, He
thought likewise. Yet, sometimes for a big request to be
answered, God requires us to go without food for a season. In
most cases it could be one day a week. Often I have prayed and
fasted for one day a week when seeking God's help concerning a
big need. There have been times when I have seen fit to fast
three days per week or maybe just for three days in begging God
for a certain thing that would require a miracle. Then there have
been times when the fasting should last for longer seasons. If a
person is to fast for the first time, it would be wise for him to
counsel with someone who has had experience at fasting before he
enters into a fast.
Sleep. The Lord was good to us when He gave us that "R
and R" time of the day when our bodies are refreshed through
sleep. Psalm 127:2, "It is vain for you to rise up early,
to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his
beloved sleep." Yet there are times when our needs are
great and when to have them met would require a miracle when a
person should pray and fast without sleep. Our Lord often spent
the night in prayer, and we are admonished that if we would have
the mighty power of God upon our lives we will have to forfeit
our sleep on some occasions in order to have our big requests
Beauty. Be that, I am referring to the beauty of nature.
This chapter is being written while driving through the beautiful
mountains of northern California. God certainly must have been
loving us when He made this part of the world. I think He said,
"My people will enjoy these beautiful evergreens. They will
feel secure when they see these mountains. They will love the
shade of these beautiful valleys. God must have loved us a lot
when He carved the Puget Sound. He must have loved us a lot what
He made those pyramidic mountains that we call the Rockies. He
must have had us in mind when He raised the redwoods as the
Samson of all the trees, when He dropped lakes in Minnesota like
teardrops of piety, when He raised the pines of the Carolinas
like steeples on the horizon, when He painted the deserts of
Arizona and when He mingled all of those colors to form the
rainbow. Yet, there are times when we are to deprive ourselves of
such satisfaction to our senses. These are times when we need
great answers to great prayers from a great God. This is why we
are admonished, "Enter into thy closet." There
are times when all of our beauty should be found in Him and He
should become our bread, our food and our rest. We enter into a
closet without sleep and without food, and we plead with God for
sex. God was merciful and kind when He made the
reproductive process a pleasure, and certainly He reminds us that
marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled. Hebrews
13:4, "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled:
but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." Yet,
just as is the case of eating, in sleeping and in seeing the
beauty of nature, there are times when couples should forego the
pleasures of love-making in order to seek the mighty power of God
or to receive a miracle from our Heavenly Father. Notice Exodus
19:14,15, "And Moses went down from the mount unto the
people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.
And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come
not at your wives." Here is an example when husbands and
wives were told to withdraw themselves from each other in an
effort to seek a miracle.
could be applied to other things such as sports, music, pleasure,
hobbies, etc. There are times when an answer to prayer is going
to one of miraculous proportions and we are going to have to have
THIS KIND of answer. "THIS KIND cometh forth by nothing
but by prayer and fasting." Oh, may God teach us to open
our mouths wide to seek THIS KIND of answers by THIS KIND of
praying and fasting!
50 — Tomorrow's Guarantee of God's Provision
"Behold, He smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and
the streams overflowed; can He give bread also? can He provide
flesh for His people?"
that great song, perhaps the most popular of them all, "Amazing
Grace," there is a stanza that says, "Through many
dangers, toils and snares I have already come. 'Tis grace hath
brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home."
78 tells of the Israelites recounting what God had done in
the past and yet doubting what God could do in the future. In
verse 12 they said, "Marvellous things did he in
the sight of their fathers." In verse 13 they
said, "He divided the sea, and caused them to pass
through; and He made the waters to stand as an heap." In
verse 14, they said, "In the daytime also He led
them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire."
In verse 15 they said, "He clave the rocks in the
wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths."
In verse 16 they said, "He brought streams also
out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers,"
and yet in verse 19 they doubted that God could care for
their needs. In verse 20 they looked to the past and said,
"Behold, He smote the rock, that the waters gushed out,
and the streams overflowed," but now they doubt when
they say, "Can He give us bread also?" How sad!
The miracles of the past stood by themselves. They offered no
encouragement to the people of God concerning the future. They
did not affect their faith. This is so often the case with God's
are two people who enjoy the same blessings. One rejoices about
the blessing and frets for tomorrow. The other says, "He did
it yesterday; He will do it again tomorrow!"
are two people. One says, "He did it once; I wonder if He
will do it again?" The other says, "He did it once; I
have learned what He is like, and I know He will do it again."
are two people. One gets a blessing. The other learns a
are two pastors who look to the past and recount the great
miracles of God upon their churches. One says, "He provided
in the past; He will in the future." The other says, "He
provided in the past; I wonder if He will in the future?"
believer must always realize that God does not change; He always
responds the same way under the same conditions. Not only can we
say, " 'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far," but
thank God we can say, "And grace will lead me home."
is a young person who has just graduated from high school. He
looks back and says, "God has been so good"; then he
frets about college. Here is another young person who says, "God
has been so good while I was in high school, and I know He can
see me through college."
I enrolled at East Texas Bible College I did not have one dime in
my pocket, but I knew I was going through college. How did I
know? God had seen me through high school! When the day for my
high school graduation came, my mother asked to speak to me. She
said, "Son, I'm sorry, but there is no way you can go to
your graduation tonight because you must wear a suit to
graduation." (In those days high school graduates did not
wear caps and gowns). Young men wore suits and young ladies wore
formal dresses.) She proceeded, "We just don't have any
money. I have tried to find some. I have tried to borrow it; I
have tried to earn it, but in a few hours the commencement
service begins and there is no way that Mother can see that it
will be possible for you to go to your graduation." I went
to the back room and knelt beside my little bed and pleaded with
God to provide a suit for me so I could go to my own high school
graduation. I got off my knees and in just a few moments I heard
a voice on the front porch. It was the postman. I went to the
mailbox, and there was a letter from my uncle Harvey. I opened it
and read something like this, "Dear Jack. I just found out
that you are graduating. I didn't have time to buy you a present;
I hope this $50 check will be satisfactory." (It was!) In
those days $50 could buy a suit, a tie, a pair of shoes, a new
shirt, new socks and the whole works. With tears of joy dropping
from my 17-year old eyes, I went down to a men's store and bought
a pair of shoes, a pair of socks, a new shirt, a tie and a suit.
In a few hours I walked across the platform of the McFarland
Auditorium at Southern Methodist University (an auditorium rented
by the high school for our graduation exercises) dressed as
nicely as anybody, but with a heart full of confidence that God
cares for His own. I knew God would see me through college
because He saw me through high school!
is a person who is graduating from college. He says, "Praise
the Lord. He saw me through college, but I am worried about the
future." Another graduates from college and says, "Praise
the Lord, He saw me through college and I know He will take care
of me in the future." When I graduated from college, I knew
that God would care for me. Do you know why? He cared for me
while I was in college, and I knew He would care for me in my
ministry to follow.
had arrived on the college campus without a dime. I had to find a
job quickly. I took my Bible, went down to the courthouse square
and knelt there on the square in Marshall, Texas, and opened my
Bible to Jeremiah 33:3, "Call unto Me, and I will answer
thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest
not." I claimed this promise. I said, "Dear God, I
beg You for a job." I looked up and saw the J.C. Penny store
down the street, and I said, "Dear God, I ask You for a job
at J.C. Penny store." With my Bible open to Jeremiah
33:3, I went down to the store and asked if I could see the
manager. A heavy, whitehaired man named Mr. Croft came to me. He
said, "May I help you, sir."
said, "Yes, sir, I think I'm going to work here."
said, "How do you know? Why do you think that?"
showed him Jeremiah 33:3 and told him that I had just
prayed on the courthouse square and asked God for a job. He
looked at me and said, "Young man, I just fired four men
from the men's department, but you are hired!" He later told
me why. He said he knew that I would either be the best salesman
that J.C. Penny store had ever had or the biggest flop in the
history of the country, and he had to find out which one it would
be! The next day I went to work at J.C. Penny Company.
is just one of many instances where God provided for this
preacher during college years. At the end of my college training
as I looked back to see how God had provided, would not I be able
to know that God would provide in the future? Grace has led me
safe thus far, could not grace lead me home?
is a person that says, "God has been good to me in my young
adulthood, but I'm worried sick about middle age." Another
person says, "God has been good to me in my young adulthood,
and that proves He will provide in my middle age." I love
the story about the little boy who went with his mother to the
grocery store. There was a big container of candy right beside
the cash register. The little boy looked longingly at the candy.
The groceryman saw him and kindly said, "Son, go ahead and
get a handful. It's free to you." The little boy kept
looking, but didn't move a hand. The groceryman said again, "Go
ahead, son, get a handful. I won't charge you a penny for it. You
are a good boy. I want you to have it free." The boy did not
move his hand; he just kept looking longingly at the candy. The
mother said, "Go ahead, son! The groceryman has told you
it's all right, and it's all right with mother too. Get a
handful." The boy didn't move a hand, but kept looking
longingly at the candy. Finally the groceryman looked at him and
said, "well, son, if you are too timid, I'll get it for you.
So the groceryman got a handful of candy and placed it in the
lad's pocket. A big smile came across the boy's face. As they
walked home, the mother looked at the boy and said, "Son,
why didn't you get the candy yourself when the groceryman told
you you could?"
smile came across the boy's face and he said, "Mama, 'cause
his hand is bigger than mine!" Yes, and God's hand is bigger
than mine, too. His grace has led me safe thus far, and His grace
will lead me home.
is a person whose family is grown and middle aged, and he is
coming to the closing years of his life. He looks back and says,
"God has been good to me in helping me rear my family, but I
am so worried about old age." Here is a person who looks
back at middle age years and says, "God has been good to me
in helping me rear my family, and I have learned a great truth
that God will care for me in my old age." One says only, "
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far." The other says,
"And grace will lead me home!"
is a person facing the sunset of life. He looks back over his
life and he says, "I have had a wonderful life and God has
provided, but I am afraid to die." Another looks back over
life and says, "I had a wonderful life, and God has been so
good to provide, but now that death is coming, He must have
something so wonderful and so much better for me after death."
beloved, His mighty arms can hold the infant like a mother, build
a wall around one in life's noonday, and lay a bridge of sunset
over which the old man's feet may walk serenely into eternal day.
of the main reasons we Christians should not fear death is that
it will give us a chance to see our Heavenly Father in action. A
boy whose dad is a sailor would love to see his dad at sea. A
child whose dad is a statesman would love to see his dad in the
Senate. A child whose dad is a judge would love to see his dad on
the bench doing his works. A child whose dad is a doctor would
love to see him in his office as he is used as an instrument of
healing. A child whose dad is an athlete would love to see his
dad perform on the athletic field A child whose dad is a lawyer
would love to see his dad perform in court. How much more would a
child whose Dad is God anticipate going to work with God and
getting to see Him at work in the glory place!
yes, I sometimes wander into worry. I sometimes ask myself, "How
will I live when I get older?" I have laid nothing away for
a rainy day, and then I look up to God and say, "Shall not
He Who sent angels to our door, shall not He Who kept the cruse
from going empty, shall not He Who dropped manna from the sky,
shall not He Who fed Mother and me when I was a boy, shall not He
Who sent me a graduation suit six hours before I was to walk
across the platform, shall not He Who sent me through college,
shall not He Who gave me a job at J.C. Penny Company, shall not
He Who provided for our needs when my salary was $7.50, shall not
He Who has provided for me thus far also provide for me in my old
age? Oh, yes, He will! I know He will! He will! He will! He will!
Praise God, I know He will!
yes, I sometimes wander into worry about the church. How will the
church keep going? The burden is getting heavier all the time,
the responsibility is greater, but I stop and say, "Shall
not He Who has seen us through these years see us in the years to
come? Shall not He Who has taken an annual budget of $60,000 and
made it in 23 years an annual budget over $12 million care for us
in the future too? Shall not He Who has led in building two grade
schools, a junior high school, two high schools and a college
lead us in the future also?
little girl was in the hospital. The nurse came in one morning to
visit the little girl who was very ill. The nurse was in an
unusually crabby mood that morning. The little girl said, "Good
nurse very abruptly said, "Good morning."
little girl said, "Nurse, you don't seem very happy. You
must not have heard the good news."
nurse said, "What good news?"
girl said, "Didn't you hear the good news that Jesus got
this simple servant of God ask you the question, "Did you
hear the good news?" Did you hear the good news in Matthew
6:33? "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His
righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Did you hear the good news in Philippians 4:19? "But my
God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory
by Christ Jesus." Did you hear the good news in Romans
8:28? "And we know that all things work together for good to
them that love God, to them who are the called according to His
purpose." Did you hear the good news in Psalm 37:4?
"Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee
the desires of thine heart." Did you hear the good news
in Psalm 37:19? "They shall not be ashamed in the evil
time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied."
Did you hear the good news in John 15:7? "If ye abide in
Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it
shall be done unto you." Did you hear the good news in
Psalm 91:1? "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the
most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."
Did you hear the good news in Psalm 23:1? "The LORD is my
shepherd; I shall not want."
you hear the good news in Psalm 37:25? "I have been
young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous
forsaken, nor His seed begging bread." Did you hear the
good news in Hebrews 13:5? "Let your conversation be
without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have:
for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Did you hear the good news in Psalm 37:3? "Trust in
the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and
verily thou shalt be fed." Did you hear the good news in
Jeremiah 33:3? "Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and
shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."
Did you hear the good news in Malachi 3:10? "Bring ye all
the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine
house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I
will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a
blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
Did you hear the good news in Psalm 34:22? "The LORD
redeemeth the soul of His servants: and none of them that trust
in Him shall be desolate." Did you hear the good news in
Psalm 37:9? "For evildoers shall be cut off: but those
that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth."
you hear the good news in Psalm 34:7? "The angel of the
LORD encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth
them." Did you hear the good news? Did you hear the good
news? Did you hear the good news?
believe that God has all of your suits ordered for the rest of
your life. I believe that God has all of your food ordered for
the rest of your life. His banks do not fail; His cargo bearing
ships do not sink. He feeds the ravens and clothes the lilies of
the field. Psalm 50:10 still says, "For every
beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand
hills." Did you hear the good news that He fed three
million Jews for 40 years? Did you hear the good news that He
gave water from the rock? Did you hear the good news that the
Jew's shoes never wore out? Did you hear the good news that He
sent ravens to feed Elijah in I Kings 17:4? "And it shall
be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the
ravens to feed thee there."
you hear the good news in Matthew 6:30? "Wherefore, if
God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to
morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you,
O ye of little faith?" Did you hear the good news that
He fed the quail to His people for thirty days? Did you hear the
good news? Did you hear the good news? Did you hear the good
you hear the good news that God answers prayer? Hope for answered
prayer is midnight's noontime; it is sunset's sunrise; it is the
song of the dumb; it is the parent of faith; it is the rainbow of
the storm; it is the shadow of a dream; it is the sister of
charity; it is the cemetery of doubt; it is the discouragement's
pallbearer; it is the dying man's tomorrow. Did you hear the good
you cannot trace God, you can reach Him through prayer. When your
wooded walk leads you to the place you began, and you are walking
in circles, you can find Him through prayer. When the last helper
has fainted, the last cure has failed, faith's last leaf has
withered and your last friend has faltered, there is a God in
Heaven Who answers prayer Who will care for you and provide for
yes, I sometimes wander into worry when I ask myself, "How
can I carry the load with over 65,000 members, with over $12
million a year to raise, with over three sermons a day to preach,
with over 150 counseling sessions a week, with over 200,000 miles
a year to travel, with a college to keep going, with two high
schools to oversee, with a junior high to help operate, with two
grade schools to finance and care for, and with over tens of
thousands of people across America who seek my counsel, how can I
carry the load? Then I am reminded, "Shall not He Who has
given wisdom to a little Texas introvert continue to give
strength to bear the load? Shall not He Who has led me safe thus
far lead me Home?" I simply look to the past and say, "
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far," and look to the
future and say, "And grace will lead me Home!"
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