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Pray For The Power Of Pentecost
By Andrew Murray
The Great Commission was given in connection with Pentecost, and its fulfillment was made entirely dependent on it. "It behooved…that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations...but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:47-49). "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto…the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
The Great Commission can only be carried out by a church in pentecostal power. The great and burning question of the missionary problem is, How can the church be brought back to the place where the disciples and the early church were, when, in the power of the Holy Spirit, they did what no other generation since their time has done? The church of Pentecost was not merely an example and pledge of what God could do, leaving it to us to choose if we would enjoy the same blessing. Nay, it is much more a revelation of God’s will as to what His church ought to be, and of what is absolutely indispensable if there is to be any real hope of securing obedience to the command to bring the Gospel to every creature.
Prayer Is the Key
The first coming of the Holy Spirit in power was to a prepared people. For three years Jesus had the disciples in His training by His interaction with them, by the sight of what He did, by His reproofs and instructions, preparing them to be the recipients and the channels of that Holy Spirit from heaven, who should come to take the place of His earthly presence, and open within them His abiding indwelling. The men whom Christ had fitted to become the leaders of the church, and to embody in their lives His own, with the mind and the life of the Spirit, had learnt to give up everything for Christ.
When Christ ascended the throne, one would say the preparation was complete. It was not so. One thing more was needed to finish the work. It was the ten days of continued, united prayer and supplication. I hardly know a passage in Scripture which presents prayer in such a wondrous light. God in heaven has done all that was needed; Christ has finished His work for His disciples and in them: Pentecost has still to wait ten days for their prayers. Prayer is to put the finishing touch to the work of preparation. In it is to be found that complete and continuous turning away from earth, that opening of the whole being to God, that rising into heaven, and that abiding in Christ there, which is to prove that these men are indeed prepared vessels for God’s Holy Spirit. When Jesus had been glorified, when the Lamb had taken His place in the midst of the throne, the stream of the river of the water of life broke forth from the throne of God and the Lamb, and flowed as streams of living water into and out of these praying disciples. It is even as it is written of Christ: "It came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended ...upon Him" (Luke 3:21-22). When every other condition has been fulfilled, prayer, continued prayer, is needed to bring down the blessing. Prayer is the key that opens the windows of heaven. Prayer must be preached and practiced as the first and the last duty of a church that hopes to have the power of God seen in its work. The ten days continued prayer must teach the lesson that is so simple, and yet so difficult to master, that what little prayer does not obtain, much prayer, earnest believing prayer, prayer continued long enough, will bring down.
Love, Self-Denial and Prayer
The missionary problem is a personal one. Every believer, in receiving the love of Christ into his heart, has taken in a love that reaches out to the whole world. On every member of the church the Great Commission rests: the Gospel to every creature. Let each of us begin with himself in seeking for the church the restoration of her pentecostal power for the work of conquering the world for her King.
It was prayer that brought Pentecost – intense, continued, united prayer; prayer that did not cease till it was answered. Such prayer is not an easy thing. As Hudson Taylor said, "Not only must the missionaries suffer in going forth, but the church must go forward in self-denial to the point of suffering. Redemptive work, soul-saving work, cannot be carried on without suffering. If we are simply to pray to the extent of a simple, pleasant, and enjoyable exercise, and know nothing of watching in prayer, and weariness in prayer, we shall not draw down the blessing we may. We shall not sustain our missionaries, who are overwhelmed with the appalling darkness of heathenism; we shall not even sufficiently maintain the spiritual life of our own souls. We must serve God even to the point of suffering, and each one ask himself in what degree, in what point, am I extending, by personal suffering, by personal self-denial even to the point of pain, the kingdom of Christ?"
Let us give ourselves anew to prayer, that the church may be restored to her pentecostal state. Let us by faith yield ourselves wholly to the Spirit, and receive Him by faith to fill us. Let us give ourselves to prayer for the power of the Spirit in the life and work of the church at home and abroad. The command to preach the Gospel to every creature is urgent, all the more from having been neglected so long. The need of the pentecostal power is urgent beyond all thought. Yet prayer brought it. Prayer still brings it. And few feel how feeble our power of prayer and our power in praying is. Let us go back and study what it was that fitted these humble fishermen and women to pray so. It was this one thing: Jesus Christ had their whole heart. They had forsaken everything for Him. His love filled them and made them one with Him, and with each other. The fellowship of love strengthened them. Their ascended Lord was every thing to them: they could not but pray. Let us pray in secret. Let us unite with others, and pray without ceasing, and watch unto prayer that, for the sake of His Son and a perishing world, God would restore His people to their first estate in the devotion and power and joy of Pentecost.
But let us ever again remember: the missionary problem is a personal one. A passionate love to Jesus Christ, born out of His love, truly possessing each of us personally, will teach us to pray, and to labor, and to suffer. Let us pray for such a love.
Taken from The Key To The Missionary Problem by Andrew Murray.