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lwpray
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 WIELDING THE WEAPON



IN THE DAY OF THY POWER
The Scriptural Principles of Revival
By Arthur Wallis


CHAPTER ELEVEN
WIELDING THE WEAPON

”After this manner therefore pray ye.” (Matt. 6:9).

Paul, that outstanding soldier of Christ, has said that ”the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds.” (2 Cor. 10:4). Although many will acknowledge that one of the greatest of these weapons is ”all prayer”, comparatively few seem to be able to use it with real effect against the hosts of darkness. In addition to the vital principles just considered, there are other important features set forth in Scripture emphasizing the manner in which the weapon should be wielded for success.

Firstly, prevailing prayer necessitates that in our petitions we should be –
Definite
Much ineffectiveness in prayer is caused by the vagueness of the request. If water is allowed to flow at random over a wide area it will dissipate its energy and produce only a marsh. If confined to a riverbed its power may be harnessed to turn a mill or generate electric power. There is, of course, a place for general praying, but the kind of praying that prevails is that which has been focused by the Spirit of God on a definite objective.
There is a place and time in military strategy for general harassing tactics, but when the moment arrives for attack and advance, success depends on the concentration of force at the strategic points. If the vital objectives are seized, victory is assured.

When Bartimaeus cried out to Jesus to have mercy on him, the Saviour asked him, ”What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” (Mark 10:51). Was it not obvious to the Saviour what he wanted? Of course, but the Lord was encouraging him to be definite in his petition, to change ”have mercy upon me” to ”Lord, that I may receive my sight.” We often ask God to bless this or that; He might well answer, ”What wilt thou? What exactly do you want Me to do for you?” Be specific, be definite in prayer. Let the prayer objectives be clearly defined.
If we want revival, let us plead the promise of the outpouring of the Spirit. Let us pray for the church to be quickened in love and life and power. Let us pray for believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Let us pray that conviction may seize the godless, and that there may be a great turning to God. Let us pray that the Lord alone may be exalted in that day.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/9 7:14Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



2. Charles Finney recorded the following: ”Some ladies had come over to New York, and were much struck with the progress of the revival movement there, particularly with some instances of remarkable conversions that had occurred in the case of individuals after special prayer made by Christians. They asked me a good many questions, and, among other things, wanted to know if I really thought it of any use for them to pray for a revival in their place. I related some facts to encourage them, and told them to go home and agree, together with other ladies of their acquaintance, to observe a closet concert of prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
They went home, and engaged some half dozen of them for that purpose, at sunrise, at midday, and at sunset. Three times a day they prayed for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on their place. Now, mark, they had a definite object in their prayer. They had no minister, but when the Sabbath came round the people assembled to hear a sermon read, and the conviction that the Holy Spirit was there that day was irresistible. At the close of the service no fewer than seventy individuals, who had been awakened, came together to be instructed by the deacons in regard to what they should do about the salvation of their souls, and a great revival followed.”

Being definite in prayer not only concentrates spiritual pressure upon the vital objectives, but also serves to quicken faith in the heart of the suppliant. For Bartimaeus to say before that crowd, ”Lord, that I may receive my sight,” not only required faith, but served to quicken faith that the Lord would do it. It is so with us. If we are definite in our prayer, God will be equally definite in His answering. ”Jabez called on the God of Israel . . . and God granted him that which he requested.” (1 Chron. 4: 10).


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/9 20:51Profile
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 Re:

Thanks Lars.


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Mike Balog

 2004/2/10 2:39Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



Secondly, our praying should be –
Daring
3. This is a characteristic of faith in action – it is daring. The possibilities of daring prayer are not limited by the personality, imagination, or courage of the one who prays, but solely by what is revealed to that one of the power of God, the promises of God, the will of God. When the Spirit of Truth illuminates the histories and promises of Scripture, what scope there is for daring prayer. A quickened faith must truly exclaim, ”With God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).
But the question that needs to be faced is this: is our praying in its very nature an acknowledgment of the omnipotence of our God and of His willingness to bless super-abundantly? Someone has well written, ”we feel instinctively that our praying is mistaken when it has ceased to be daring – whenever it has all tamed down to a decorous and decent asking for the very minimum of God’s expenditure of power, and when our requests impose upon Him no requirement of action which is beyond our natural level of thought.”

We can imagine the feelings of someone with exceptional power and ability, who is compelled to stand by inactive and watch another struggle in weakness and incompetence to fulfil some task that he could willingly do for him in an instant. It must be torture indeed to possess extraordinary powers and not be given the opportunity to exercise them. How often do we keep the Almighty standing by in silent inactivity, with all the power of the universe in His hands, yearning to intervene, to demonstrate His power and reveal His glory; while we toy with spiritual things, earthbound in our thinking, working, and praying! Well might the Lord say of us, ”Oh that My people would hearken unto Me. . . I should soon subdue their enemies, and turn My hand against their adversaries” (Ps. 81:13), and again, ”I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek My face.” (Hos. 5:15). On the other hand, a daring faith does not stagger at the promises of God; a daring faith can open the windows of heaven for revival; a daring faith delights the heart of God.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/11 21:49Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



4. The Lord emphasized this same truth when he spoke in Luke 11:5 of the man who knocked up his friend at midnight with the request, ”Friend, lend me three loaves.” Although he was refused at first, he eventually obtained all that he needed. How? ”Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity [shamelessness – Darby] he will arise and give him as many as he needeth.” The rendering ”importunity” greatly limits the meaning; the word is shamelessness or impudence, and conveys the idea of the daring element in prayer.

He was daring because of the hour when he made request. It was midnight. This midnight hour which finds the church of Christ slumbering, and the world in spiritual darkness and need, is but a challenge to daring prayer. Are we bold enough to accept the challenge? He was daring because of the measure of his asking.
The Eastern loaves were large and substantial. Could he not have made do with half a loaf till morning came and he could buy more? No, he was daring enough to ask for three, and by his boldness he obtained as many as he wanted. He was daring because he persevered until he obtained. He was met with a rebuff, ”Trouble me not”; a shut door, ”the door is now shut”; a hindrance, ”my children are with me in bed;” a definite refusal, ”I cannot rise and give thee”: but he persevered until the rebuff was withdrawn, the door opened, the hindrance removed, the refusal reversed. The Lord was careful to point out that it was not because of his friendship with the other, but because of his daring that he prevailed. ”Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace.”(Heb. 4:16).

Thou art coming to a King,
Large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such
None can ever ask too much.
J. NEWTON.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/13 7:29Profile
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 Re:

Do we believe this?
In all that is stated here?
Do I?

I pray that we eat this 'scroll'


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Mike Balog

 2004/2/13 7:44Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



Thirdly, our praying should be –
Intense

5. Peter was miraculously released from prison through such praying by the church. ”Peter therefore was kept in the prison: but prayer was made earnestly of the church unto God for him.”(Acts 12:5). The word ”earnestly” is derived from the verb ”to stretch out,” and suggests that they were drawn out in prayer to their utmost capacity. As an athlete straining for the tape, they were praying at full stretch.
The apostle whose deliverance was effected by this kind of praying uses the word in the only other reference in the New Testament, ”love one another from the heart fervently” (1 Pet. 1:22; cf. Acts 26:7; 1 Pet. 4:8; Luke 22:44).
Perhaps the only English word that adequately conveys the meaning of the original is ”intensively”. A comparative form of the word is used to describe the praying of the Saviour in the garden, ”And being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly [or more intensively]: and His sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.” (Luke 22:44). This supreme example of intensive praying shows that it is related to soul agony, and those who enter this realm of prayer with their Lord must expect to know something of the fellowship of His sufferings.

”As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” (Isa. 66:8). This might be a true description of the birth of many a revival. Movements of the Spirit are born out of soul travail, and no record shows this more clearly than the diaries of David Brainerd. E. M. Bounds says of him, ”His whole life was one of burning prayer to God for the American Indians. By day and by night he prayed. Before preaching and after preaching he prayed. On his bed of straw he prayed. Retiring to the dense and lonely forests he fasted and prayed. Hour by hour, day after day, early morn and late at night, he was praying and fasting, pouring out his soul, interceding, communing with God. He was with God mightily in prayer, and God was with him mightily, and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/14 12:14Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



6. Let us glance at a few entries in his diary three years before the visitation of the Spirit upon his labours, and see how this young warrior of only twenty four years wielded the weapon of all prayer.
His entry for Monday, April 19, 1742, reads as follows: ”I set apart this day for fasting and prayer to prepare me for the ministry, to give me divine aid and direction, and in His own way to ‘send me into His harvest’. In the forenoon, I felt the power of intercession for precious immortal souls; for the advancement of the kingdom of my dear Lord and Saviour in the world; and withal, a most sweet resignation, and even consolation and joy in the thoughts of suffering hardships, distresses, and even death itself, in the promotion of it: and had special enlargement in pleading for the conversion of the poor heathen. In the afternoon God was with me of a truth. Oh, it was a blessed company indeed! God enabled me so to agonize in prayer that I was quite wet with sweat, though in the shade and the wind cool. My soul was drawn out very much for the world; for multitudes of souls. I think I had more enlargement for sinners, than for the children of God; though I felt as if I could spend my life in cries for both.”

Then on Monday, June 14, the same year, he wrote ”I set apart this day for secret fasting and prayer, to entreat God to direct and bless me with regard to the great work I have in view, of preaching the gospel. Just at night the Lord visited me marvellously in prayer: I think my soul never was in such an agony before. I felt no restraint; for the treasures of divine grace were opened to me. I wrestled for absent friends, for the ingathering of souls, and for the children of God in many distant places. I was in such an agony, from sun half an hour high, till near dark, that I was all over wet with sweat; but yet it seemed to me that I had wasted away the day, and had done nothing. Oh, my dear Jesus did sweat blood for poor souls! I longed for more compassion towards them.”

If there are those who read such accounts of intensive praying only to reflect with a sigh, ”It is too high, I cannot attain unto it,” let them recall that ”Elijah was a man of like passions with us,” that he was overtaken by fear, despondence, and self pity, and yet ”he prayed fervently” (Jas. 5:17) and prevailed with God.
Intensive praying, however, cannot be worked up; it is a burden that God places upon prepared hearts. When through the Spirit we are possessed with such a consuming desire for revival that we feel we must either pray it down or perish in the attempt, we may be confident that God is going to send it. When the cry of the church is, ”Give me children or I die,” then revival is nigh, even at the doors.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/15 6:01Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



7. It is said that when Dr. Charles Goodell was sent to a run down Methodist Church in New York city, his people said to him, ”We hardly expect a revival here any more. We had them in years gone by, but times have changed.” When Sunday came and he went into his pulpit and looked into the faces of his people, he said, ”My brethren, they tell me you do not expect a revival here. I am telling you this morning that there will be a revival here, or there will be a funeral in the parsonage.”
The revival came, and a church dead and discouraged was quickened into life. Such an inflexible determination, inspired by the Spirit, is the underlying factor behind that intensive praying that prevails with God. It is this same determination that provides the next characteristic.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/16 3:35Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



Fourthly, prevailing prayer must be –
Importunate

8. We are exhorted to ”pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). This means praying on in spite of delays and discouragements, and through weakness and fatigue, until prayer is answered. Importunate praying serves to build up spiritual pressure on the enemy until his defences crumble and the victory is won. Isaiah declared, ”For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness go forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burneth”; and again, ”I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that are the Lord’s remembrancers, take ye no rest, and give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isa. 62:1, 6). Here, then, is an inspired picture of importunate prayer in action.

If our spiritual battle is one of successive advance and retreat, it may very often be due to lack of persistence in prayer. It was the uplifted hands of Moses on the hilltop that swayed the battle waged by Joshua in the valley (Exod. 17:8 13). The hand stretched out in conflict is immediately influenced by the hand stretched up in intercession. ”When Moses held up his hand, . . . Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.” (verse 11).
Charles Finney always said that when he lost the spirit of prayer he ceased to preach with power. ”But Moses’ hands were heavy” (verse 12); this is a sad yet fitting description of much of our praying. But before the day was done, Moses, supported by his companions, became importunate, ”and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua prostrated [margin] Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.” May God give us the steadfast hands of importunate prayer.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/16 20:58Profile





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