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lwpray
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



9. Spiritual stamina in intercession is so rare, and the temptation to faint by the way is so great, that the Lord ”spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1-8). The lesson of the parable is this: the widow, who was pleading in court for justice against her adversary, could not move the unrighteous judge by appeals to the law, though it catered for her protection as a widow, because the judge ”feared not God”. He was not moved by appeals to human sympathy or the thought of his reputation, for ”he regarded not man”.
Where all factors and arguments failed, one consideration weighed so with the judge as to cause him to do her justice of her adversary – the fact that ”she came oft unto him”. Said he, ”Because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest she wear me out by her continual coming.” Because of the insistence of her pleading, and for no other reason, the judge changed his attitude, and the widow won her case.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/17 11:17Profile
lwpray
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



10. “And shall not God” – Who, unlike the judge, is infinitely righteous, and ever ready to regard man in his weakness – ”avenge His elect” – who stand in a special relationship to Himself – ”which cry to Him day and night” – in importunate prayer – “and He is longsuffering over them?” – that patience may have its perfect work in them also – ”I say unto you, that He will avenge them speedily.”
Here, then, is the moral: if a judge without pity or compunction could be moved by the importunate pleadings of a helpless widow, how much more shall God, righteous, merciful, longsuffering, be moved by the importunate pleadings of His elect.

In the little booklet Vibrations, Lilias Trotter of Algiers recounts the following, which should encourage every child of God to persevere in prayer: ”One of the pillars that support the gallery of our old Arab house had fallen down into the court and lay shattered on the pavement, carrying with it a block of masonry and a shower of bricks. Down below, alongside of us, a native baker had installed himself six or seven years ago. For hours every night two men had swung on the huge see-saw which in some mysterious way kneads their bread, and every blow backwards and forwards had vibrated through our house, and now at last the result was seen in the shattering of masonry that had looked as if it would last as long as the world.
There is a vibrating power going on down in the darkness and dust of this world that can make itself visible in startling results in the upper air and sunlight of the invisible world, ’mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.’ Each prayer beat down here vibrates up to the very throne of God, and does its work through that throne on the principalities and powers around us, just as each of the repeated throbs from below told on the structure of our house, though it was only the last one that produced the visible effect. We can never tell which prayer will liberate the answer, but we can tell that each one will do its work.”

As we may be called to pray on, week after week and month after month, for revival, let us be assured that each petition will play its part until the cumulative effect of our praying shall be manifested in the sudden demonstration of God’s power. Let us therefore, like the early church, ”continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2). Yes, with importunate praying there must be watching.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/17 23:06Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



11. There are two important words in the Greek of the New Testament meaning to watch. Both are used with the thought of precautionary watching, such as the watching of the sentry (Eph. 6:18; Acts 20:31). Both are also used with the thought of anticipatory watching, looking out for some expected event to take place, as watchmen for the morning, or servants for their returning lord (Mark 13:33; Matt. 24:42). Both these aspects apply in the realm of prayer. There must be precautionary watching because there are innumerable perils to be faced by the warrior who wields the weapon of all prayer. There must also be anticipatory watching, for faith is continually expecting the fulfilment of its petition.

The need for precautionary watching must be plain when we remember that ”our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). The prayer warrior faces an enemy with immense spiritual resources and centuries of experience in spiritual conflict. He is engaged in a battle to the death, and no quarter can be asked or given. When the Devil cannot carry the position by a frontal assault, he will use a flank attack or employ fifth column tactics. Where he cannot intimidate us as a roaring lion, he will come as an angel of light to beguile us. What a need there is for vigilance!


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/18 20:50Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



12. Firstly, we must take precaution by watching unto prayer; that is, with a view to prayer. ”Praying at all seasons. . . and watching unto this very thing” (Eph. 6:18 Darby; cf.1 Pet. 4:7). In other words our approach to prayer requires constant vigilance. The Devil will do his utmost to keep us off our knees. He is a master in the use of decoys and distractions. When the time comes for prayer, how many pressing duties suddenly clamor for attention! Is not this the activity of Satan? ”We are not ignorant of his devices,” we say; but are we not? Or is it that we succumb in spite of our knowledge?
Even such a man of prayer as Andrew Bonar knew such continual attacks of Satan. ”With me,” he wrote in 1856, ”every time of prayer, or almost every time, begins with a conflict.” We are never likely to obey the exhortation to be ”praying at all seasons”, unless we are also ”watching unto this very thing”.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/19 7:44Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



13. Secondly, we must take precaution, not only by watching unto prayer, but by watching in prayer. ”Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.” On the night of His betrayal the Saviour said, to His apostles, ”I will no more speak much with you, for the prince of the world cometh: and he hath nothing in Me; but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do” (John 14:30). The days of His flesh were drawing to a close, and the last momentous conflict with Satan was at hand. As the Saviour entered the garden of Gethsemane He took with Him that favoured trio, Peter, James, and John, that they might share His cup of sorrow, and watch with Him in that last great conflict.

As our Saviour penetrated the dark recesses of that garden in company with the three, it was as though all the forces of hell were let loose upon Him. The fact that ”He began to be greatly amazed and sore troubled” suggests that even the Saviour Himself had not anticipated the unutterable horror of that hour. We can only estimate the intolerable pressure of evil upon His spirit by His own words, ”My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death: abide ye here, and watch with Me” (Matt. 26:38).

In the hour of His deepest woe He sought the fellowship of these three disciples. It is doubtful whether we could find anywhere in Scripture a more striking contrast than the picture that is now presented to us. On the one hand we see the Son of God prostrate on the ground, agonizing for a world’s redemption, the sod beneath Him wet with His sweat and tears; on the other hand we see the men who had pledged their allegiance to Him, had promised to go with Him to prison and to death, all unaware of the conflict and peril of the hour, in the oblivion of sleep. Tenderly He rebukes them, surprise and sorrow mingling with His words, ”What, could ye not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation”(Matt. 26:40).


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/19 20:51Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



14. He who enters with his Lord the Gethsemane of prayer conflict may expect to find himself ”in the forefront of the hottest battle”, and must not be surprised if he is a constant target of the Adversary. His only safety lies in ceaseless vigilance. Any who set themselves, like Nehemiah, to pray and work for revival may find, as that man did, that they have stirred a hornet’s nest of satanic opposition. Such counter attacks can only be met as Nehemiah met them. ”We made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night” (Neh. 4:9).
A military commander’s decision to launch an attack is based largely upon military intelligence, the disposition and strength of the enemy, his morale, his movements and plans. Such information has been gleaned by thousands of watching eyes. Similarly, if we would wage war with the weapon of all prayer, we must watch for the movements of the enemy; otherwise we shall be launching a blind offensive, which may give the enemy who is ever ready to counterattack, the opening for which he has been waiting.

Principalities and powers,
Mustering their unseen array,
Wait for thy unguarded hours:
Watch and pray.

Watch, as if on that alone
Hung the issue of the day;
Pray, that help may be sent down:
Watch and pray.
C. ELLIOTT.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/20 0:21Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



15. Then the need for anticipatory watching, which looks for the expected answer, is suggested by the exhortation, ”Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving”(Col. 4:2). One wonders whether there is any faith in the praying that is never followed by expectant watching. ”We should watch daily,” wrote Richard Sibbes, ”continue instant in prayer; strengthen our supplications with arguments from God’s word and promises; and mark how our prayers speed. When we shoot an arrow we look to its fall; when we send a ship to sea we look for its return; and when we sow we look for an harvest. . . It is atheism to pray and not to wait in hope. A sincere Christian will pray, wait, strengthen his heart with the promises, and never leave praying and looking up till God gives him a gracious answer.”


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/20 8:29Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



16. When God had answered by fire on Mount Carmel and the prophets of Baal had been slain, Elijah said to Ahab, ”Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain. So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he bowed himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees. And he said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a cloud out of the sea, as small as a man’s hand” (1 Kings 18:41).
While Elijah persevered in prayer his servant persevered in watching for the answer. We might think that ”a cloud. . . as small as a man’s hand” was an insignificant token – the first sign of answered prayer is often like that – but to the watching eye of faith it was the harbinger of ”a great rain”.
We say we are praying for the rain of revival, but are we watching for the cloud? Are we ready to act in faith when it appears? As Colossians 4:2 suggests, watching in this way should ever be accompanied by thanksgiving.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/20 21:21Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



This suggests our sixth feature. Prevailing prayer should be –
Thankful

17. ”In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving” (Phil. 4:6). In view of the Lord’s abounding mercy towards His children, it is indeed becoming that they should ”enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise” (Ps. 100:4), but this is by no means all. That the Lord has said, ”Whoso offereth the sacrifice of thanksgiving glorifieth Me” (Ps. 50:23) should be sufficient to move us all to do it, but we are concerned here with thanksgiving in its bearing upon prevailing in prayer.
A praising and thankful spirit has a remarkable ability to quicken the faith of the suppliant, and to release spiritual power for the effecting of that for which we pray. This was so in the case of Abraham who ”waxed strong through faith, giving glory to God” (Rom. 4:20). Again, in the visions of Patmos, John tells us of those who overcame the dragon ”because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony” (Rev. 12:11). The praising ”lips which make confession to His Name” (Heb. 13:15) are a vital part of the word of testimony by which we overcome.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/21 10:17Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



18. At the dedication of the temple by Solomon, the climax of the impressive ceremony was reached ”when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; . . . then the house was filled with a cloud. . . so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God” (2 Chron. 5:13).
It has been characteristic of the recent movement in the Hebrides, that on many occasions when the congregation united in a psalm of praise, the power of God came down, and ”many were the slain of the Lord”. When Jehoshaphat went out in battle against Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, ”he appointed them that should sing unto the Lord, and praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and say, Give thanks unto the Lord; for His mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set Tiers in wait against the children of Ammon. . . and they were smitten” (2Chron. 20:21). It is certainly true that they who have ”the high praises of God in their mouth” have also ”a two-edged sword in their hand” (Ps. 149:6). It was thanksgiving as well as prayer that shut the lions’ mouths for Daniel. Scripture records that ”he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God” (Dan. 6:l0).


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/22 5:58Profile





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