In The Prayer Battle For Revival – Refuse To Be Discouraged
By W. J. Harney
One dark cloud that Satan throws upon the skies is discouragement. He is well aware of the fact that a discouraged soul is easily defeated. Discouragement places us in the fog, covers the lighthouse, and puts us in troubled waters. A discouraged man is a weak man, too weak to stand the strain of a siege. To be discouraged is to be blocked about and hedged in by a force that is akin to hell. Discouragement comes largely through our eyes.
In the city of G__ we were conducting a meeting. We had run nine days and nights. It seemed the whole thing was encased in ice and we were all in the frigid zone. There were no signs of conviction as far as one could see. We had not failed to declare the whole Gospel. We had exhorted and begged the Christians to be much in prayer.
On Monday morning as we came from the parsonage to the church, we met a man and his wife, saints in the church, and they were blue. They were discouraged and downhearted. They said, "Think of it! We have called you here and now we have prayed and fasted and you have preached, and the ninth day is upon us and no break. We cannot come to church this morning."
We said to them, "The darkest hour is just before dawn. Never be discouraged. Never give up, because first, it is not our work; second, we are not doing it from a selfish viewpoint; third, God knows best how and when to give a revival; fourth, He has promised that His Word should never return unto Him void and we must look to Him, not to the environments. We must look to Him, not to the hardness of the people.
"We know that this is one of the most indifferent places in which we have ever preached. The people are careless, negligent, filled with worldly pleasures and amusements and seemingly they have no desire to give God a chance at their souls. We must keep at it. We cannot afford to quit. If we become discouraged we might just as well quit."
We had gone into the woods the evening before and fallen upon our face and cried to God: "This is an awful battle! Our arms are too short. You must do the work. You know best. You understand that we have done all we saw to be done. Seemingly the saints have prayed. Can this be Your opportune time? Hear us for Calvary's sake!"
Assurance had come that God was going to give the revival. We went on to the church that Monday morning, had several songs and earnest prayers, arose in the pulpit and gave our text and started to say something, when, all at once one could feel that the Triune God had moved in much of Heaven's artillery. Angels seemed to be standing thick in the church. The Shekinah was there!
A woman jumped to her feet and said, "Sister Jenkins and I do not speak. I want you to pray for me...." A merchant who was a rival to another merchant arose in the audience and said, "Mr. Jacobs, if you will meet me halfway we will bury the hatchet, handle and all...." A schoolteacher got up to say something, but fell prostrate...Amidst great excitement, sixteen or seventeen souls swept into the kingdom.
The discouraged couple heard the excitement and came running into the church. I said, "God always answers by fire those who stand still and see the salvation of God and do not watch the waves climb the skies and lash the stars, but keep at it, cling on and pray clear through!"
On Sunday night in this revival, twenty rushed to the altar at the first call, twenty came at the second call and all of the forty were gloriously saved. This evangelist of God knew that to let God have His way through him, he must cover up his eyes. Many get discouraged, grow fainthearted, become dismayed and well nigh give up. If we were to go by faith, sing and work by faith, we would be on the victory side. It is the enemy's business and he is ever on the alert to discourage God's people. He knows that discouragement is one of the greatest channels through which he can defeat them and drive them from the field of victory. The more we study this enemy, the better we understand how so many good, honest souls are put out of business. You can listen to their sighs and sobs and look into their faces and read that they are under the baneful influence of this treacherous enemy. He has put a veil over their vision, thrown clouds upon their future.
We must keep our eyes on God, who is able to bring strength out of weakness, light out of darkness, wisdom out of ignorance, and a great rain upon the parched earth. We must keep our eyes on Him who put the sea to sleep, the lightnings and thunders in prison, who saved His apostles from a watery grave, quieted the storm and brought the little bark safely into the harbor.
We must ever look to Jesus Christ and never forget and let our eyes fall on environments. The God who answered Elijah is the same yesterday, today and forever, the unchangeable God accessible to all humanity. The God who answered Elijah by fire on Mount Carmel is your God today. He loves you and longs to free you, satisfy you, fill and thrill you with His sweet presence.
Discouragement is to the soul what arsenic is to the body. It destroys it; it deadens the sensibilities, puts us on the disadvantage ground and places us at a guilty distance from God. Do not let the devil get your eyes on the drought, on the dust, on burnt vegetation. Paul says to look unto Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of your faith. If we look heavenward, we see heavenly things, hence will be encouraged. To look earthward means discouragement and defeat. Let us look to Jesus, and He will carry us through!
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