The Importance of Asking God, in Prayer

From William Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour.

I’m sorry I can’t give you the page because I’m now reading it in ebook (perhaps, LOC 21844-21868, but that may vary by ebook), but I give you this extended quote below because I can not come near to saying it like Gurnall did. I hope you can make your way through the old English, as well as the Latin (that’s mostly translated); it will be well worth it. Let’s not let Satan win by us thinking prayer doesn’t move mountains; God does answer.

“We read of taking heaven ‘by force,’ Matt. 11:12.  If ever this may be said to be done it is in prayer. Cælum tundimus et misericordiam extorquemus, saith Tertullian—we knock at heaven, and the merciful heart of God flies open, which we bring away with us.  And in the same apology he speaks of Christians, how they went to pray, as an enemy doth to besiege a town, and take it by storm—coimus in coetum et congregationem, ut ad Deum quasi manufactuâ præcationibus ambiamus orantes.  And then he adds, hæc vis Deo grata est—this holy violence we offer to God in prayer is very pleasing to him.  Surely, if it were not, he would neither help the Christian so in the work, nor reward him for it when it is done.  Whereas he doth both.  He helped Jacob to overcome: ‘By his strength he had power with God,’ Hosea 12:3.  That is, not by his own, but by the strength he had from God.  And then he puts honour upon him for the victory, ‘Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed,’ Gen. 32:28.  It were easy here to expatiate into a large history of the great exploits which prayer is renowned for in holy writ.  James 5:17; Isa. 37; Dan 2:18; II Sam. 15:31; Est. 4:16; Acts 12:5; John 11:41; Jonah 2:2; Joshua 10:12, 14; II Kings 20:10; Ps. 106:23; Eze. 22:30.  This is the key that hath opened and again shut heaven.  It hath vanquished mighty armies, and unlocked such secrets as passed the skill of the very devil himself to find out.  It hath strangled desperate plots in the very womb wherein they were conceived, and made those engines of cruelty prepared against the saints recoil upon the inventors of them; so that they have inherited the gallows which they did set up for others.  At the knock of prayer, prison doors have opened, the grave hath delivered up its dead; and the sea’s leviathan, not able to digest his prey, hath been made to vomit it up again.  It hath stopped the sun’s chariot in the heavens, yea made it go back.  And that which surpasseth all, it hath taken hold of the Almighty, when on his full march against persons and people, and hath put him into a merciful retreat.  Indeed, by the power prayer hath with God, it comes to prevail over all the rest.

He that hath a key to God’s heart cannot be shut out, or stopped at the creature’s door.  Now prayer moves God and overcomes him, not by causing any change in the divine will, and making God to take up new thoughts of doing that for his people which he did not before intend.  No, God is immutable, and what good he doth in time for his people he purposed before any time was.  But prayer is said to more than overcome God; because he then gives, what from eternity he purposed to give upon their praying to him. For when God decreed what he would do for his saints, he also purposed that they should pray for the same.  ‘I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them,’ Eze. 36:37.  Prayer’s midwifery shall be used to deliver the mercies God purposeth and promiseth.  Hezekiah understood this when he calls the prophet to the church’s labour, and bids because ‘the children’—that is, deliverance —stuck in her birth, that he should therefore ‘lift up a prayer,’ Isa. 37:3, 4.  And when Daniel had found the full reckoning of the promise—how long it had to go with the deliverance promised for their return from captivity—perceiving it hastened, he therefore falls hard to prayer, knowing God’s purpose to give doth not discharge us from our duty to ‘ask,’ Dan. 9:3.”

Advertisements

In our weakness…

2 Corinthians 12:9  And he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So I would much rather boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ might reside on me. ULB-EN

As we start this new year, and perhaps feel our weaknesses, let us look to the power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us as we continuously turn to the throne of grace to send revival, within us and throughout the world.

King of King & Lord of Lord

During this Christmas season, I turn our thoughts of praying for revival, praying for the Holy Spirit to pour out power that will renew our hearts, to the Lord Jesus Christ through Whom believers are redeemed. Let scripture speak:

Isaiah 53:3a

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” KJV

Isaiah 9:6

“For to us a child has been born, to us a son has been given;
and the rule will be on his shoulder;
and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.” ULB-EN

He knows our sorrow, our grief, yet is our Wonderful Counselor & Prince of Peace. May we find comfort in Christ, and peace that our heavenly Father does all things well.

Pray While Traveling….

As I travel for the next 24 hours or so, I want to share a quote from The Resurrection in Your life: How the Living Christ Changes Your World, by Mike McKinley. @Michael McKinley/The Good Book Company. 2015, p. 70

“Wherever your day takes you, take the gospel there!”

May the Holy Spirit help me do just that, as part of the great commission.  And, my sisters, may we this day call on our Father:

Psalm 120:1 “In my distress I called out to Yahweh (the Lord), and he answered me.” ULB-EN

Psalm 50:15 “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will rescue you, and you will glorify me.” ULB-EN

How sweet these two Psalm are, even if we are not in distress or trouble, but also especially then; that He promises to answer us and rescue us…that we may glorify Him.

As we again and again petition our God, we know that He not only does not grow weary, but loves to have us come to Him. Oh, that we would together urge Him to send His Holy Spirit to the hearts of His people to revive us to be lights in this dark world, to herald forth the Good News that Jesus Christ came to seek and to save sinners.

Remembering the King Who left His throne for this lowly world, to die for my sin,  now returned there to reign forever.

Spurgeon’s Evening Dec. 5

“And the Lord shewed me four carpenters.” Zechariah 1:20 KJV

I found the following a great encouragement to our time of prayer today. As we ask God to send forth His Spirit to renew and revive souls, let us remember that He has answered in the past and will in the future. Especially note the areas I have marked in bold.

“In the vision described in this chapter, the prophet saw four terrible horns. They were pushing this way and that way, dashing down the strongest and the mightiest; and the prophet asked, “What are these?” The answer was, “These are the horns which have scattered Israel.” He saw before him a representation of those powers which had oppressed the church of God. There were four horns; for the church is attacked from all quarters. Well might the prophet have felt dismayed; but on a sudden there appeared before him four carpenters. He asked, “What shall these do?” These are the men whom God hath found to break those horns in pieces. God will always find men for his work, and he will find them at the right time. The prophet did not see the carpenters first, when there was nothing to do, but first the “horns,” and then the “carpenters.” Moreover, the Lord finds enough men. He did not find three carpenters, but four; there were four horns, and there must be four workmen. God finds the right men; not four men with pens to write; not four architects to draw plans; but four carpenters to do rough work. Rest assured, you who tremble for the ark of God, that when the “horns” grow troublesome, the “carpenters” will be found. You need not fret concerning the weakness of the church of God at any moment; there may be growing up in obscurity the valiant reformer who will shake the nations: Chrysostoms may come forth from our Ragged Schools, and Augustines from the thickest darkness of London’s poverty. The Lord knows where to find his servants. He hath in ambush a multitude of mighty men, and at his word they shall start up to the battle; “for the battle is the Lord’s,” and he shall get to himself the victory. Let us abide faithful to Christ, and he, in the right time, will raise up for us a defence, whether it be in the day of our personal need, or in the season of peril to his Church.”

Let us wait upon the Lord, but in all things,

“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ULB-EN

Fasting….& Resources

Some time ago one of our readers asked about fasting, so I’d like to give a Bible reference/quote as follow-up on that from the beatitudes:

Matthew 6:16-19

“16 Moreover, when you fast, do not have a mournful face as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces so that they may appear to people as fasting. Truly I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face. 18 Thus you may not appear to people as fasting, but only to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret, will reward you.” ULB-EN

I think that last verse is so rich: Our Father sees & rewards.

For me, I think of fasting as giving up something so I can spend the time used during that something in prayer. Fasting does not earn us anything; it gives the extra time for special prayer.

About resources: I’ve been asked what translation or version of the Bible I’ve been quoting from, so will give the web link. It’s called the UnfoldingWord and I use it because it’s public domain. I understand that so is the King James Version, but since that is old English I thought it might be harder for our foreign readers. I do check with other translations to see how they compare, and most have been pretty close in the wording.

Trust in the Lord….

Psalm 146:3-5

3 “Do not put your trust in princes
or in mankind, in whom there is no salvation.
4  When a person’s life’s breath stops, he returns to the ground;
on that day his plans end.
5  Blessed is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
whose hope is in Yahweh his God.” ULB-EN

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 “Trust in Yahweh with all your heart
and do not lean on your own understanding;
6  in all your ways acknowledge him
and he will make your paths straight.” ULB-EN

Sisters, we need to rely upon God in all things. Let us, in this season of prayer for revival, keep our eyes on Him. God has mightily sent His Holy Spirit to do great things among us in the past; He can do it again. Trust in the Lord, and pray on….

Spurgeon’s Evening Nov. 13

My Sisters, let me encourage you today with the words of CH Spurgeon:

“Men ought always to pray.” Luke 18:1 (KJV)

If men ought always to pray and not to faint, much more Christian men. Jesus has sent his church into the world on the same errand upon which he himself came, and this mission includes intercession. What if I say that the church is the world’s priest? Creation is dumb, but the church is to find a mouth for it. It is the church’s high privilege to pray with acceptance. The door of grace is always open for her petitions, and they never return empty-handed. The veil was rent for her, the blood was sprinkled upon the altar for her, God constantly invites her to ask what she wills. Will she refuse the privilege which angels might envy her? Is she not the bride of Christ? May she not go in unto her King at every hour? Shall she allow the precious privilege to be unused? The church always has need for prayer. There are always some in her midst who are declining, or falling into open sin. There are lambs to be prayed for, that they may be carried in Christ’s bosom? the strong, lest they grow presumptuous; and the weak, lest they become despairing. If we kept up prayer-meetings four-and-twenty hours in the day, all the days in the year, we might never be without a special subject for supplication. Are we ever without the sick and the poor, the afflicted and the wavering? Are we ever without those who seek the conversion of relatives, the reclaiming of back-sliders, or the salvation of the depraved? Nay, with congregations constantly gathering, with ministers always preaching, with millions of sinners lying dead in trespasses and sins; in a country over which the darkness of Romanism is certainly descending; in a world full of idols, cruelties, devilries, if the church doth not pray, how shall she excuse her base neglect of the commission of her loving Lord? Let the church be constant in supplication, let every private believer cast his mite of prayer into the treasury.

Live and learn….

My Sisters,

Is not that an old saying “Live and learn”, yet do we? I’ve been reading a lot, because one must read to write, the Bible being the best place to study, yet God has given many “men of old” wisdom that we can learn from. I’ve been reading William Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour, and find that God is teaching me many things, especially about the armour in Ephesians 6:10-20. This book is very deep in knowledge, but I’m currently reading about the helmet which makes it rather funny that it took reading two-thirds of the book before the complete make-up of the armour hit me. I recall Gurnall writing many times about the defensive nature of the armour, that only the sword is an offensive part. In my recent readings, it became very clear that, in most cases, we as Christians are to be on the defensive, protecting the “castle of the heart” as John Bunyan would put it in Holy War.

So, rather than running out to attack Satan’s grounds, let us pray in a way that God would strengthen His people to fight when attacked, not back down, standing firm on the whole counsel of God—His Word, the Bible.