By: Ralph M. McGuire
“And it shall come to Pass afterward, that I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28).
THE OLD TESTAMENT records the victories of Israel, and her utter defeats. Ezekiel of old depicted Israel in a period of apostasy and degeneration as a “valley of bones.” This horrible picture of death and desolation represented the “whole house of Israel.” The bones were disjointed, scattered and dry. This condition that plagued Israel in her misery and impoverishment preceded God’s great plan of salvation
and the birth of the church with “open heavens” that promised full restoration.
God spoke to Ezekiel and said, “Prophesy to these bones.” This prophecy of Ezekiel was consistent with Isaiah the prophet, who said, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus came in power and great glory “afterwards.”
It is interesting to discover how many times God has “turned on his prayer conditioning” in the history of man.
Joshua became elated and self-confident after the great victory of Jericho. Thus God found it necessary to turn on heaven’s “prayer conditioning” in the miserable humiliating defeat at the battle of Ai.
Again and again, as Israel sojourned in the wilderness, she was “prayer conditioned” by God’s providence, as well as by His stern hand of judgment. When Moses cried unto God, the plagues were stayed, and God’s wrath was appeased.
Notice how the barrenness and depression of Hannah in a very vexatious and uncomfortable situation, produced one of the greatest prayers of history. Elkanah had two wives. While Peninnah did bear children unto him, Hannah was barren. The continual taunting of Peninnah brought embarrassment, as well as
great anxiety, to the heart of Hannah. In this state of depression and grief, Hannah cried out to God in utter despair. Petition was born out of competition and grief, thus lifting this grief-stricken girl to the highest realms of prayer that became most acceptable to God. First, she cried in selfish wishfulness, then up she soared to higher planes, and to such a complete consecration and selfless dedication as is seldom recorded in Scripture. Out of this beautiful petition, a prophet was born, who was to become one of the greatest prophets of Israel. “Prayer conditioning” produced the Prophet Samuel.
This king, like many leaders today, exalted himself before God, and basked in pride and self-glory, as he beheld his kingdom and the work of his hands. His sin was not so much boastfulness alone, but that he did not honor and glorify God. God sent this king to the “pastures” of confusion, and there “prayer conditioned’ ‘ him. His reasoning departed from him, and he crawled with the beasts of the field, until his nails grew
like birds’ claws, and his hair hung like Eagles’ feathers. Why? Simply to establish forevermore that God must be exalted and honored and reverenced as God.
King Nebuchadnezzar summed up his experience, and stood a new man with a new spirit and a very humbleheart, declaring this powerful testimony: “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase” (Daniel 4:37).
One of the strangest imprisonments or confinements in the entire history of man was in the “belly of a whale.” God made the “reservations,” and equipped the monster with “prayer conditioning.” “He prepared a fish,” and spoke to the fish, at the proper moment, to take Jonah aboard. Jonah’s case was a very
“stubborn” one, but certainly not an impossible one.
The storm, the whale, the depth, the darkness, the fears, the hopeless despair amidst entanglement of weeds, the foul odors-only to mention a few of the troubles of Jonah-all were ordained by God as “prayer conditioners.” Strange as it may seem, it was not until the third day that “Jonah cried out of the belly of hell.” Had there been no “prayer conditioning,” Nineveh, with its 120,000 souls, would have perished.
(The above article appeared in an issue of The Pentecostal Herald.)
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