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Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : WIELDING THE WEAPON

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lwpray
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



19. By precept and by practice Paul taught the churches that prayer and thanksgiving are two that God hath joined together, and no man ought to put asunder. He exhorts us to ”pray without ceasing”, and then, as though in the same breath, he adds, ”in everything give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:17). At the commencement of almost every epistle he writes in words like these: ”We give thanks to God. . . praying always for you” (Col. 1:3).
When, at Philippi, he and Silas were arrested by the authorities for no other crime than delivering a captive of Satan, they had their garments rent off them, and their backs lacerated by many stripes of the rod. They were cast into the inner prison, and their feet made fast in the stocks. They were indeed ”in the wars”, but they were ”the wars of the Lord”, and these veteran warriors knew how to fight in them. Not by murmurings and recriminations, but by a spirit of prayer and praise they would conquer; and so the midnight hour found them ”praying and singing hymns unto God”, the other prisoners their silent, wondering audience (Acts 16:25).
The mighty earthquake that opened every prison door and loosed every man’s bands, the attempted suicide of the jailer, his subsequent conversion with his whole house, and the eventual release of the apostles complete the wonderful story. How irresistible is the gospel war chariot when drawn by the steeds of prayer and praise.




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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/23 1:55Profile
lwpray
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



Finally, the seventh feature must be noted. To prevail in prayer we must be –
Patient

20. That perseverance and vigilance are vital to prevailing prayer has already been stressed, but these qualities demand yet another which is basic to the whole ministry of intercession – patience. In prayer the self-discipline involved in patient waiting is one of the means by which God fits us to receive the answer, and this is especially true in revival. God will very likely keep us waiting much longer than we would have chosen or could have expected. The waiting period, whether short or long, is a time of indispensable preparation for the outpouring that God has purposed.
The greater the blessing God intends, the longer the time, in all probability, that we shall have to wait, because the preparation needs co be correspondingly deeper. Therefore, discouraged prayer warrior, ”let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing” (Jas. 1:4) when at length God’s hour shall strike.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/24 3:01Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON




21. Let us not think, as we plead for revival, that we have to move God to share our concern and burden about the matter. We feel as we do because God has stirred us to share but a fraction of His concern. Our longing is but a feeble, pale reflection of His own. Our exercise of patience should draw us into deeper fellowship with ”the God of patience”, who has manifested such longsuffering towards the sons of men. How long has He waited for us before we began to wait for Him? Let us also remember that for nigh on two thousand years the Son has been at the Father’s right hand engaged in this very ministry of praying and waiting – ”till His enemies be made the footstool of His feet” (Heb. 10:13). ”The Lord direct [our] hearts into the love of God, and into the patience of Christ” (2 Thess. 3:5).


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/25 11:38Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



22. It has already been shown that the rains of Palestine, especially the former and the latter, are typical of the outpouring of the Spirit; and that these rains could only be expected at their appointed seasons, and so they had to wait for them, and they did so with eager anticipation. Job alludes to this in describing how men waited for his counsel: ”They waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain” (Job 29:23). ”Are there any among the vanities of the heathen that can cause rain?” asked the prophet, ”or can the heavens give showers? Are not Thou He, O Lord our God? Therefore we will wait upon Thee; for Thou hast made all these things” (Jer. 14:22).
Just as the first outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost revealed the essential features of every subsequent outpouring, so the preparation for that outpouring constitutes a pattern for those that follow. The apostles were charged by Christ to ”wait for the promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4). They did so by continuing steadfastly in prayer until the day of Pentecost was fully come. All this shows us that waiting in prayer is not an incidental but an essential in the work of preparation. We cannot have revival when we like. We can have it if we fulfil the conditions, but one of these is that we continue patiently in prayer until God’s time comes. Even God has to wait for the moment He has Himself ordained. ”The husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient” (Jas. 5:7).


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/26 2:02Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



23. If by the grace of God we are enabled to continue patiently in prayer for God’s intervention, is it possible that we could be disappointed at last? Promises innumerable spring from the sacred page to deny such a thought. ”Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt thee” (Ps. 37:34). ”None that wait on Thee shall be ashamed” (Ps. 25:3; cf. Isa. 49:23). ”The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him” (Lam. 3:25). ”Though [the vision] tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not delay” (Hab. 2:3). ”For ye have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise” (Heb. 10:36). The experience of every patient and expectant soul is a testimony to ”a God. . . which worketh for him that waiteth for Him” (Isa. 64:4).

Few, if any, in modern times have demonstrated so forcibly the value of patient waiting upon God as George Muller. Referring to his daily prayer for the conversion of certain individuals, in some cases for many years, he wrote: ”Still the answer is not yet granted concerning those persons, while in the meantime many thousands of my prayers have been answered, and also souls converted, for whom I had been praying. I lay particular stress upon this for the benefit of those who may suppose that I need only to ask of God, and receive at once. . . Patience and faith may be exercised for many years, even as mine are exercised, in the matter to which I have referred; and yet am I daily continuing in prayer, and expecting the answer, and so surely expecting the answer, that I have often thanked God that He will surely give it, though now for nineteen years faith and patience have thus been exercised.”


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/26 11:05Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



24. Similarly, David Brainerd’s diary not only reveals, as we have seen, the intensity of his praying, but how it pleased God to test his patience to the utmost. During his labours among the American Indians, he had often been uplifted by hopeful signs of a work of God among them, only to be disappointed when the effects seemed to fade away, so that he wrote on August 2nd, 1745, ”My rising hopes, respecting the conversion of the Indians, have been so often dashed, that my spirit is as it were broken, and courage wasted, and I hardly dare hope.” But though endurance was stretched to the full Brainerd continued to cling to God. The following day he records ”a surprising concern” among the people as he preached. This increased daily, and in less than a week the Spirit of God was mightily poured out, and the revival had begun.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/27 1:50Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



25. His reflections on this, in the conclusion of Part I of his journal, are deeply significant: ”It is remarkable that God began this work among the Indians at a time when I had the least hope of seeing a work of grace propagated amongst them. I was ready to look upon myself as a burden, and began to entertain serious thoughts of giving up my mission. I do not know that my hopes respecting the conversion of the Indians were ever reduced to so low an ebb. And yet this was the very season that God saw fittest to begin this glorious work! And thus He ordained strength out of weakness, by making bare His almighty arm at a time when all hopes and human probabilities most evidently appeared to fail. – Whence I learn, that it is good to follow the path of duty, though in the midst of darkness and discouragement.”


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/27 10:59Profile
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 Re: WIELDING THE WEAPON



26. Be strengthened then, discouraged Christian, to ”wait on God continually” (Hos. 12: 6). In response to patient persevering prayer God will surely, in His own good time, open to you the windows of heaven.

O living Stream – O gracious Rain,
None wait for Thee, and wait in vain
(TERSTEEGEN 1769).

The doorway of prevailing prayer lies open if we will but enter in. Abraham, Hannah and Samuel, Daniel and Nehemiah, Moses and Elijah, Paul and Epaphras, and countless others whose names are known only to God, were men and women of like passions with us, but they prayed and prevailed. They became what they were by grace, in spite of what they were by nature, even as we read of Jacob: ”In the womb he took his brother by the heel; and in his manhood he had power with God” (Hos. 12:3). Their prayers ascended as incense to the throne. Through intercession they opened to a dying world the treasuries of grace. Who follows in their train?

END


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/2/28 2:40Profile





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