No Christian Is Greater Than His Prayer Life
The church has many organizations, but few agonizers; many who pay, but few who pray; many resters, but few wrestlers; many who are enterprising, but few who are interceding. People who are not praying are playing; the people who are not praying are straying.
A sinning man stops praying, a praying man stops sinning.
The pulpit can be a shop window to display one's talents; the prayer closet allows no showing off.
Watch and pray, or you will rust and decay.
Two preequisites of dynamic Christian living are vision and passion, and both of these are generated in the prayer closet. The ministry of preaching is open to a few. The ministry of praying is open to every child of God.
Don't mistake action for unction, commotion for creation, and rattles for revivals.
The secret of praying is praying in secret. A worldly Christian will stop praying and a praying Christian will stop worldliness.
When we pray, God listens to our heartbeat. Hannah's "lips" moved, but her voice was not heard (1 Samuel 1:12-13). When we pray in the Spirit, there are groanings which cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26).
Tithes may build a church, but tears will give it life. That is the difference between the modern church and the early church. Our emphasis is on paying, theirs was on praying. When we have paid, the place is taken. When they had prayed, the place was shaken (Acts 4:31).
In the matter of effective praying, never have so many left so much to so few. Brethren, let us pray.
No Man - I don't care how colossal his intellect - No man is greater than his prayer life.
Prayer: Power of Another World
Right at this moment a phenomenon, spiritual in character, is happening - in a place I could name, but dare not. Fifteen men, feared by demons, envied by angels, wondered at by man, are committed to a Spirit-designed assignment. These stalwart men of faith send out no prayer letters, solicit no funds and resolutely refuse to let their names be published. Their vigil is without precedent.
They have bought "gold tried in the fire." They have "eyes anointed with [divine] eye salve." Their souls are drenched with Calvary love. They are girded with might in the inner man by the Holy Spirit. How else could they have spent, asthey have done, more than hundreds of consecutive nights of prayer for revival?
This is no prayer marathon, no itch for records - just passion for the lost. Such men are our modern Patons, Brainerds and Bounds.
In the deeper dimensions of prayer, in my opinion this is the deepest: intercession.
"Prayer is the simplest form of speech that infant lips can try." said James Montgomery.
True enough. But it is also so vast that it outranges all speech and exhausts every vocabulary. Eloquence is no value.
Moses stammered, but got prayer answered. Hannah opened not her lips, but triumphed in her intercession.
Can anyone with spiritual insight doubt that Hannagh's problem - barrenness - is ours today? If our altars areempty, what sense is there in our gloating over our Sundayschool statistics, our colossal missionary pledges and our rally efforts?
Take barren Rachel. Obviously Jacob loved Rachel more than he loved Leah. She was beautiful to behold and doubtless loeaded with jewels, as the custom of the day way. But these, or even Jacob's spendid devotion, offered no comfort. The "women's delight" was with Leah, for she had four laughing lads about her skirts. Men mockedand womenshot out the lip at unfruitful Rachel.
I can imagine this forlorn woman met her husband one morning, her hair disheveled, her eyes more red with weeping than ever Leah's had been, and her voice course with groanings. Flinging herself at the feet of her Lord, she cried with a piercing cry, "Give me children, or else I die!"
Oh, for thousands of Christians in America to cry this same petition. Oh, for thousands of pastors to be heart-broken about barren altars.
It is true that science has alleviated some of the suffering our mothers knew in childbirth. But science will never shrink the long slow months needed for child formation. As the coming babe encumbers the body of the mother, so the growing "body" of revivaland soul-ravail dislocates the church.
As a mother-to-be wearies moreas the time of the birth draws near, often spending sleepless but not tearless nights - so the lamps of the sanctuary burn midnight oil while distressed, sin-carrying intercessors pour out their soulsfor a nation's iniquities.
As an expectant mother often loses desire for food in the interests of the one she will bear and denies herself certain things- even so a denial of food and consuming loveto lie quiet before the Lord seizes believers shamed by the barrenness of the church.
As women in pregnancy hide from public gaze (or used to), as the time of deliverance draws near - so those in travail of soul shun publicity to seek the face of a holy God.
Revival comes as a result of the cleansed section of the church bent and bowed in supplication and intercession. Sickened at the sight of perishing millions, they wait - perhaps days, weeks, months, in some cases (as with the fifteen mentioned) years - until the Spirit moves upon and through them; until heaven opens in revival blessing.
Let us not forget that women of the Bible who once werebarren later brought forth some of its noblest children, Sarah,barrenuntil ninety years of age, brought forth Isaac. Rachel's cutting cry, "Give me children or I die!" was rewarded with the gift of Joseph - who in turn delivered a nation.
Manoah's barren wife gave Israel Samson, who too was a nation's deliverer. Hannah, sobbing, ignored the critical Eli, prayed - and gave the nation the prophet Samuel. The barren and widowed Ruth found mercy and bare Abed, who begat Jesse, the father of David, of whose line came our Saviour. Of Elizabeth, "well stricken in years," came John the Baptist - of whom Jesus said, "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater ..."
Shame of childlessness provoked these women. But what mighty sons they bore!
For the present failure in the church the most pathetic excuse is that we are barren of money. Rubbish! We lack the supernatural!
E. M. Bounds was right in saying that when God wants to do a job He looks for a man. "We are God's method. What the Church needs today is men whom the Holy Spirit can use - men of prayer."
Elijah was not an angel, nor was he sired by a seraphim. Elijah was not a demi-god. The divine record states that Elijah was a man - "a man of like passions as we are."
God had said that with a worm He would thresh the mountains (Isaiah 41:15), and in Elijah He did it. (Any worms around today?)
What was it that made Elijah, you ask? Faith made him all he became. And faith will do the same for us.
The resources that Elijah knew are available still - plus the finished work of the Cross and the mighty power of the Holy Spirit.
We are not half-serious enough about the spiritual peril of millions. We are only "half there" if we merely want power to get a message over. Or to keep clean from sin.
What about stopping hell's legions?
How about invading heathen darkness?
Is it too much to believe that the Lord will endue men with a deep baptism with the Holy Spirit for this "end time" ministry that - even as Jerusalem trembled under the God-intoxicated menfrom the upper room in a matter of a few days - will shake nations in a matter of weeks?
We must repent of our unbelief - weep over our dryness - and take time to be holy.
About fifty years ago an attempt was made to assassinate Van Plehve, the Czarist Prime Minister. The plot failed, and Sazanov, the leader, was sent to prison camp, one of the worst of its kind in Siberia. Prisoners there were flogged unmercifully. Sazanov schemed to show this crass wickedness to the world. Finally he hit upon a plan. When the guards were relaxed, heseized a can of kerosene, drenched himself with it and then set himself alight - so that the world gazing onone human torch might see past him to the incredible sufferings of his comrades.
All that for communism!
We Christians are not asked to burn like that. But we are offered the change of becoming "a living sacrifice," of wielding a weapon of faith that will bring down onthis spiritually stagnant age the power of another world.
Elijah prayed and the fire fell. He prayed and the people fell. He prayed again and the rain fell.
Brethren, let us pray, and let it be a prayer of intercession.