BY CLIFTON JONES
It is important to note that: Praying will not stop trouble from rising, but it will surely keep you from failing.
It is important to note that we are living in an age of tremendous immorality. Many ministers are loosing their anointing due to sexual misconduct, financial misconduct, eye and ear pleasure, in other words,
lustful gratification. Prayer will under gird your life by becoming your built in alarm. Prayer will actually alert you to danger before rather than after it happens. It will give you the power to prevent it from happening. When you give prayer the proper place in your life, it will give you tenderness of heart and a sensitive spirit. It is this kind of tenderness that is needed to give us compassion for the souls of men and a burden for human needs.
A sensitive spirit born out of prayer makes us aware of both good and evil. Because we work so closely with people of the opposite sex, it is imperative that we remain prayerful. Or else, our flesh (human nature) will deceive us into false feelings or misguided affections. Anyone who in not prayerful will be blinded to the seduction of the devil. Many servants of the Lord have fallen victim to this evil. Be sure there is someone somewhere whose chemistry is compatible with yours. Therefore, it is in your best interest to remain spiritually strong.
Everyone loses when ministers fail. It is embarrassing to the spirit of Jesus Christ; it is frustrating and destructive to the ministers family. It causes some saints to feel disillusioned, and believing that maybe it’s not possible to live a life of victory. “If he/she couldn’t live it how can IT’ I want to go on record saying that a prayerless person has no more business in the ministry, than a pig has running the health department. It is prayerlessness that produces men of greed, covetousness and worldliness. It is prayerlessness that
produces weak and carnal minded leaders. Many of good preachers are hindered to the degree that they are unable to cry aloud for fear that they will be exposed.
Anytime we allow ourselves to fall to a spiritual level that won’t permit us to speak the word of God without fear or favor, we are as dead men. I hope no one will get the idea that I belong to that narrow sin crowd; that is, one of those who believe sexual sin, and one or two more are the only sins there are. No! My point is that when one is not prayerful, the door to all kinds of sins will swing open. My strong contention is that prayerlessness is the first step in sin’s direction. Jesus said in Matthew 26:4 1, “Watch and pray, that ye
enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak. “Failing to pray causes our spirit to decline to the level of our flesh. Therefore, when a weak spirit and the flesh get together, the end result is sin.
James 1:15 “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
TRUE PRAYING WILL DELIVER A MAN FROM SINNING & SINNING WILL HINDER A MAN & FROM PRAYING.
Psalms 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear [me].”
Oh! May we repent before the throne of God and beg His forgiveness for our carelessness toward prayer, our coldness in prayer, and our absence from prayer. In spite of our feebleness in prayer, we have not ceased to preach. Without the genuine anointing, our much learning has equipped us with much material to preach but no power to convict, convince, or convert. I am certain that much of our preaching has very
little lasting results. Why? It takes anointing to destroy the yoke.
Someone may ask, “What is anointing?”
Well, it is somewhat difficult to define; yet, it is easy to recognize when it is present or absent. When it is present, yokes are destroyed, life is generated, freshness prevails, and all manner of good things happen. Needless to say, when it is absent, it is like an April snow on a fruit crop. It produces more death than life. The absence of anointing produces routine, cut and dry services.
A word of caution, when we obtain this divine equipment, let us glorify Him for allowing that fresh oil to lubricate our messages so that He can be heard. Abused anointing leads to suicide! We should remember
we are only the vessels that He anoints to glorify His name. Anointing is not something you can learn, yet, through prayer, you can invite it upon your life. I have often said we could afford to be less learned and more anointed.
Fellow ministers, in spite of what the crowd may say, we need to fortify our lives with prayer; or else, we will minister to the physical and emotional parts of men without ever invading their spirits. Only anointed preaching can reach and meet the eternal needs of the soul. Please understand I am not saying one cannot preach at all without praying. I am saying, however, that it will lack the soul awakening anointing that reveals the mind and the purpose of God. Just like a carpenter would not think of building without a hammer, plumline, level, square and ruler, neither should we try working for the Lord without prayer.
The anointing has become almost a stranger. Preaching and teaching is dull and lifeless. Repentance has been replaced with shallow commitment. Courage, boldness, dedication, compassion, vision, honesty
and such like are now very rare commodities in the church. Many of our churches are like “Child care centers” full of helpless babies waiting for someone to do something for them.
MANY LEADERS SEEM TO BE HAPPY KEEPING THEM AS BABIES SO THAT WE WON’T HAVE TO GROW UP EITHER.
In other words, we have not created an atmosphere of prayer that will grow real mature saints.
No minister or missionary, deacon, brother or sister can lead the way into prayer with the same results or authority as the pastor can. May we weep before the altar until a fire is rekindled in our prayer closet. If we do not repent of our prayerlessness, we will never be delivered from this blinding, deceiving and crippling sin.
THE REAL VALUE OF THE PRAYER MINISTRY CAN ONLY BE DETERMINED & APPRECIATED BY PRAYING. PRAYER IS NOT A SUBJECT FOR ACADEMIC INVESTIGATION OR INTELLECTUAL DEBATE. IT IS THE HIGHEST HONOR & A SUPREME PRIVILEGE TO BE ABLE TO HOLD A CONVERSATION WITH THE KING OF GLORY.
Please don’t keep the King waiting
YOU AND YOUR BIBLE
All serious pray-ers must be devoted Bible students. First of all, use the word of God for your own food. Let it speak to you; hide it in your heart and it is alive. It is a light. Not only will it shine on your situation, it will act like a surgeon and perform on you a divine cutting or transplant or whatever else is needed.
Dear saints, we should never use the Bible as just a book to preach or teach from. It is first and foremost a book to live by. The more of God’s word we get in us, the more of God’s awareness we will have in us. God and His word is one. It is impossible to over emphasize the necessity of possessing the word and letting the word possess us. I am convinced many of us are strangers to a real relationship with Jesus! This lack of relationship is reflected in our daily living and can only be remedied through the word and prayer.
In I Timothy 4:15, Paul assures Timothy that if he would meditate upon the things of God, give heed and live in line with God’s word, he would profit by saving himself and them that hear him. In order for us to be
profitable and a spiritual success, we must be word lovers. We must possess a “Mary-like” spirit. In Luke 10, we have two sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus is teaching in their home, and Martha feels that serving Jesus is more important than listening to him. Mary, after all, sits at his feet to receive every word. Martha’s spirit is most often reflected in today’s church world. This kind of attitude says serve the Lord so that you can express your love. On the other hand, the spirit of Mary is saying get to know the Lord so that you can develop your love and release him in your service.
It is not possible to properly teach the life giving principles of God’s word if we don’t know and practice them ourselves.
Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
To live in agreement with God’s word, we must be faithful readers of God’s word.
Psalms 119:130 “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”
As this light is received, we are expected by God to live in that light. The more we live in agreement with the light, the more light we receive.
Proverbs 4:18 “But the path of the just [is] as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
Consequently, to neglect to pray and read God’s word is to remain in the camp of the ignorant and the uninspired. It is not enough to know the 23rd Psalm and other very familiar passages. We must know the
central character and focus of the Bible personally. This knowledge can only come by regularly searching the scriptures. Please note that my main emphasis is placed upon scripture searching for personal
inspiration, information and knowledge of God and His will. Because, in so doing, your faith is kept alive. Then and only then are we able to effectively lead others to a wholesome relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh Lord, Help us to stop raising and promoting Bible-less preachers and teachers!
If we are going to be Bible believers, Bible teachers and preachers, we must first be Bible students. Read it, study it, live it, and then preach and teach it. We must allow Psalms 1:2, “But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.,” to become our personal statement of commitment. For the more we chew on the Word and meditate on the Word the more it increases our faith.
It is a real blessing for your ears to hear your mouth repeat what God’s word says. Our faith is fed by the word of God. Therefore, we need to keep a steady diet of I-Es word so that we can develop a life of biblical faith consummated in prayer.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS TAKEN FROM PRAYER CLINIC II, 1990, PAGES 131-138. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH