THE PRAYER OF INTERCESSION
THE TRAVAIL OF THE INTERCESSOR
By: Sallie Morley
“He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied . . .” (Isaiah 53:11).
IN NO REALM of the Lord’s work, or in the prayer life, does the Christian meet more resistance from powers of spiritual darkness than when praying for a lost soul. If a soul is of infinite value to God, it must be very valuable to the devil also, considering the way he builds bulwarks around those whom he has in his power.
It is not necessarily difficult to pray for religious projects that we have on our minds, or to seek the Lord’s blessing on certain programs that we have planned. But when we make up our mind to “pray through”
for some lost soul until we can feel the victory, right from the start we feel an opposition so strong that we are tempted to give up before we begin. We doubt that the person can really be saved, or that now is
the time. Or our own spiritual weakness rises up before us, and we seem not to have strength to go on. So we stop praying and get busy doing something else. It is always easier to do than to pray.
No wonder the Bible admonished us to PERSEVERE in prayer. PERSEVERING is pushing, forcing our way into the Holy of Holies. Intercessory prayer is hard work-soul labor. Sometimes the darkness is so great we cannot feel the presence of God. We seem to be struggling alone, but as we PERSEVERE, the anointing of
the Spirit will come to help us.
A Lonely Life
The intercessor is a lonely person- at least, from an earthly standpoint. Other Christians can spend much time talking, eating, fellowshipping, and seem content with a meager prayer life. But the person who dedicates himself to God for this priestly work will become eternity-conscious. The burden of lost souls weighs upon him. There is a gnawing at his heart which finds no relief until he is weeping before the throne in behalf of lost humanity.
The Intercessor Is A Burden-Bearer
Carrying burdens for others is not a pleasant task. Our own flesh rebels; it is humiliating to our puffed-up, inner SELF. But just as in the physical realm an expectant mother must carry the embryo and submit to times of depression, discomfort and self-discipline until her time comes to be delivered, the same is true in the spiritual realm. Patient submission to the tedious task of burden bearing mellows the soul and stamps a
Christlike image on the burden-bearer.
Bringing To Birth
When the time comes for a physical birth, the mother must exercise will power; she must press on when her own strength seems to be gone. Even so, in the spiritual realm, the intercessor must not recoil from labor pains. There is a time of soul anguish. The enemy withstands us. We feel his hot breath; the hellish force would seem to crush us. We must not draw back. We seem to be struggling against a wall of’ darkness, and we think we can’t go on. We lack words to pray more. But we must maintain our position, take authority over the enemy, and believe God to deliver the lost soul. When we have no more words to pray, we can, at least, stand our ground and believe!
The Apostle Paul says: “I labor, striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me” (Colossians 1:29, Amplified Bible).
Then comes rest, a confidence that the work has been done. We may or may not see immediate results. It matters not. The Spirit gives witness that the victory has been won.
The Food of the Intercessor
“To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna. . .I am the living bread. . .he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.”
He who dedicates himself to the strenuous task of many hours of prayer for the kingdom work will need to renew his strength from time to time. He may have been accustomed, before, to Bible-reading in a light way. Now, he will learn to eat the Word. Hungering for spiritual help, he will find hidden lessons in familiar passages that he overlooked before.
Also, He who is the LIVING WORD will reveal Himself to him. In the secret place of soul travail, the prayer-warrior will find companionship with the ONE who was bruised for our transgressions and who ever liveth to make intercession. And the sweetness of the fellowship will far outweigh our puny sacrifice of separation from earthly friends.
The Garment of the Intercessor
“The Lord hath anointed me. . .to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy, for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:1, 3).
It is absolutely necessary that the intercessor learn to intersperse his times of agonizing and wrestling with seasons of worship and rejoicing. The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Humanly, we cannot endure; there must be a heavenly anointing.
This supernatural anointing and help comes through praise and worship. The entrance into the presence of the Lord is with praises: “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4). Often we are weak and unprepared for spiritual battles because we fail to praise the Lord as we should.
The high priest in the tabernacle entered into the Holy of Holies in the midst of a cloud of perfumed smoke from the golden altar of incense. We, too, need a special robe to enter into the holy Presence. Worship and praise will cause the “glory cloud” to descend, clothing us with His strength and power. Then we are equipped to fight spiritual battles.
The High Calling of Priesthood
The intercessor is a priest and shares the ministry of the great High Priest in the holy sanctuary in heaven. Priesthood is a high calling and goes beyond the rank of presidents and kings. It is perhaps the most sublime vocation that a Christian can attain. It is a labor which refines his inner nature and makes him like his Lord.
The Hebrew word for a priest is “cohen,” and means “one who stands up for another, and mediates in his cause.” That is, the priest takes on himself the guilt of the other person, pleading his case. In a sense, he is a substitute for the guilty person. We know that Christ is the real substitute for sinners. But the earthly priest, identifying himself with his Lord, feels the High Priest’s compassion for sinners, and offers himself for their salvation.
The Responsibility of the Church in World Affairs
The intercessor must plead for souls as individuals, but his responsibility goes beyond that. The Lord intended that the church should be a mighty factor in resisting the advance of Satanic powers in national and world affairs. Prayer should be concentrated on government authorities, world leaders, national
and international events. If the church does not fulfill her task, Satan will so dominate governments that doors will close to the gospel, and the church will find hers elf retreating as darkness covers the earth.
The church, infilled with the Holy Ghost, is the most powerful factor in this world. To her has been given the authority of ruling over spirit-foes. She must exercise that authority, snatch souls from the burning, withstand armies of demons, and claim victories for the kingdom of God.
(The above article appeared in an issue of The Pentecostal Herald.)
WHERE ARE THE WEEPING INTERCESSORS?
By: Harold M. Freligh
There will be no sound of the rushing mighty wind denoting the Holy Spirit’s coming in revival power until there is the sound of weeping heard between the porch and the altar.
It is impossible to have the power of Pentecost without its price. The familiar and oft quoted promise of the outpoured Holy Spirit predicted by Joel (2:28-29) is preceded by the preparation of mourning, fasting and intercession. The priests must be found functioning in their appointed place before God will perform His work. “Let the priests. . . weep between the porch and the altar.” (2:17).
“Between the porch and the altar” is the place of mediator ship. The porch is the place where the populace assembles. The altar is where sacrificial offerings ascend to God. The priests stand between the two as mediators, representing God to the people and the people to God. Since believers are kings and priests unto God, (Rev. 5:10), this call is to all of them.
“Come, Lie All Night in Sackcloth” Joel 1:13
“Between the porch and the altar” is the place of intercession. Joel called upon the priests to pray there because of imminent and dire need. God had found it necessary to chasten His people. A devastation of locusts had been sweeping over the land. The drunkards were summoned to awake because the grapevines were destroyed. (1:5). The husbandmen were warned to howl because there were no harvests. (1:11). But God’s ministers, the priests, were exhorted to mourn because of a higher, worthier motive; “for the meat-offering and the drink-offering is withholden from the house of your God.” (1:13). God’s cause was
suffering on account of this plague, and God’s people must lament: “Come, lie all night in sackcloth.”
But the plague of locusts did not arouse God’s people. Consequently, He sent a more severe affliction. In Chapter 2 the prophet sees the coming of a still greater disaster. An army of warriors comes marching into the land. They practice the scorched earth policy: “A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness.” (verse 3).
This army is worse than the locusts; it spares neither crops nor lives. When God chastens He often touches our property first, and if we do not learn through the first stroke He touches our persons. It was so with Joel’s people. It is frequently so today. Chastening is God’s call to repentance;
“Therefore also now. . . turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.” (verse 12).
It is a call to everyone – old man, children, and even infants. The bridegroom and the bride are also included. (verse 16). The priests especially are included. They, of all persons, are expected to weep between the porch and the altar. Here they take their stand for their highest ministry – intercession: “Spare thy people, O Lord.”
“Between the porch and the altar” – a place of mourning and instead of salty tears, stains of blood have been found there. Zacharias was slain there. (Matt. 23:35). He is not the only servant who has been clubbed in this sacred precinct, and that by officialdom. (II Chron. 24:20-22). Is it to throw stones at each other that we assemble between the porch and the altar! Where are the priests to stand in the gap?
“Between the porch and the altar” – a place of mourning and intercession. But in the last days what do we find! Conditions as in the days of Noah. (Matt. 24:37-39): Eating and drinking instead of fasting; rousing hilarity instead of a solemn assembly. Prayer in the upper room is the forerunner of power from on high. Deep humility of soul must prepare the way for the coming of the Holy One. This is the price of Pentecost. It will always be so.
Oh, Where are the Weeping Intercessors?
Do existing conditions yet not alarm us? Merry-making continues while helpless victims are being mowed down by an advancing army. Dope addiction is slaying our youth. Sexual impurity is defiling our school children. Diabolical murder, simply for the thrill of it, is casting its lurid spell over our teenagers. Atomic extinction is menacing us all. Oh, where are the weeping intercessors?
If our youth conferences are to compete with Vanity Fair, it soon will be a race to see which can put on the bigger ballyhoo to lure customers. When young people are entertained instead of challenged, their theme song will become, “Tell Us A Story” instead of “Oh, Sweet Wonder!” If they are to respond when the
evening altar call is given, they seem to require a guarantee that this will not interfere with the snack time, and the boy-meet-girl social hour that is to follow.
Lot, Chairman of the Banqueting Committee
There was a time when separation meant giving up even good things as well as questionable. Our Isaacs were laid on the altar. Our self-assertive, mocking Ishmaels were ejected. Our worldly-minded Lots were banished. But now Lot is made chairman of the banquet committee. Ishmael is dressed up and brought in as the jovial clown to entertain the feasters, and Isaac is given the seat of honor and toasted and told what a good fellow he is.
Have our preachers’ retreats resolved themselves into intellectual spreads, garnished with a few spirits and
inoffensively seasoned with a little prayer? Can any minister carry a burden for others when he is pressed with the urgency of getting home from his night service to see his cherished television program! Is there any preparation for the Lord’s Day among children of God when their chief talk in the Sunday morning greeting concerns the entertainment of the night before!
Bulging Stomachs and Starved Souls.
Is the rally point of our summer conventions the lunch stand instead of the nightly prayer altar! Soft drinks and hot-dog sandwiches dabbed with light-hearted talk under the yellow lights are effective cathartics against all the operations of the night service that has just preceded. An array of bulging stomachs and starved souls is not formidable to our spiritual foe. Fellowship over the teacup is becoming more fashionable than fellowship in prayer.
The repentance and the performance of the first works that accompany the first love are quite obliterated by feasting and frolic.
“Here the tramp, tramp, tramping…” not of God’s army, but of invaders: “like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.” (Joel 2:5).
Europe is dismembered. Korea is sawn asunder. China is drenched in innocent blood. Vietnam is fallen and bleeding at the last gateway to the Southeast. And the next to fall?
“Time for Tears – Not Trifling.”
Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! It is no time for trifling, but for tears. Let us seek intercession instead of indulgence. The urgency of the hour is enough to draw us together to God and to one another.
God’s ear bends low. Does He hear the voice of weeping and the cry of prayer, “Spare Thy people, O Lord”? Not till He hears that sound rising between the porch and the altar will His church hear the rushing mighty wind.
(The above article was a pamphlet published by the Gospel Tract Society, Inc. in Independence, MO.)
A BURDEN – BORN PRAYER
By: Arthur L. Clanton
The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O Lord, how long shall I. . .cry out unto thee? I will stand upon my watch. . .to see what he will say unto me.
THE VERSES, or parts of verses, that form the basis for this article are Habakkuk 1:1, 2; 2:1. They set forth three things that are vitally connected with prayer, especially intercessory prayer.
A Man With a Burden
Habakkuk was a man with a burden. He was particularly burdened over the sin and evil of God’s people. But he was also burdened over what the Babylonians would soon do to God’s people. Spirit-filled
Christians should be burdened over any alarming trend or condition in God’s church. They should be burdened over the backslidings of wayward brothers and sisters. There is something wrong spiritually with a Christian who does not love his brother.
A lack of brotherly concern is sometimes manifested in such statements as these: “Brother. . .has back-slidden, and that’s too bad. But thank God, I still feel His divine presence. If Brother. . .wants to go back into the world, that’s his business.”
We are taught in God’s word, “Bear ye one another’s burdens. . . .” We cannot share in the bearing of another’s burdens without being burdened ourselves. There are many other kinds of burdens. And these
would surely crush us if we could not obtain help from God.
A Burden Should Lead to Prayer
Habakkuk allowed his burden to lead him to pray. A burden is a liability rather than an asset if we don’t pray, and get victory over it. There is a God who sees us and knows our hearts. When we are burdened, and go to Him in the right way, He will do something about our burden.”
So Habakkuk went to prayer. He prayed, and he prayed, but it didn’t seem to do any good, Finally, in near desperation, he asked the Lord this question: “O Lord, how long shall I cry. . .?” He wanted to know how long he should continue praying, when it seemed he was not getting through, and the answer was not coming.
This is a good question for us. Sometimes a husband prays for a wife for twenty or thirty years, and he wants to know, “How long should I keep on, Lord?” A wife prays for an unsaved husband for forty years and then asks, “Should I keep praying Lord? It hasn’t seemed to do any good.”
Just how long should we pray for something? We should pray until God gives assurance that He has heard us, and that He is going to give us what we ask; or until He says, “No, I’m not going to give it to you,” That is how long we should pray.
Look, for instance, at Elijah. Before Elijah prayed for rain, God had already said, “I am going to send rain upon the earth.” Yet when Carmel was finished, and the fire had fallen, Elijah went up higher toward the top of the mountain with his servant. He got his head between his knees and began to ask God to do what God had already said He was going to do.
He prayed once, and then said to his servant, “Go up to the top of the hill, look over to the Mediterranean Sea, and see if you see any sign of rain.”
The servant came back and said, “Elijah, I don’t see a thing. The sky is clear over that way.”
Elijah got his head between his knees and prayed again, then said, “Go up there and see.”
The servant went and came back, saying, “There’s Still no sign of rain.”
So Elijah prayed three times, four times, five time, and six times, then seven times. After the seventh time, the servant came back and said, “Elijah, I see a little cloud rising out of the sea, like a man’s hand.”
Elijah must have said to himself. “That’s what I’ve been waiting for.” And he told the servant, “Get down and tell Ahab he had better harness up the team, get in his chariot, and head for Jezreel, because I hear the sound of an abundance of rain.”
Elijah didn’t stay up there and pray until the lightning was flashing in his eyes, the thunder was booming in his ears, and the rain was pelting him in the face. When God showed him the sign that his prayer was answered, then he stopped praying.
That is how long we should pray. When God says to us, “I’ve heard you, and I’m going to give you what you desire, then we don’t have to pray any more. We should rather thank God for His promise until it is fulfilled.
The Bible tells us, “If we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” If, after He has assured us that our prayers are heard, and we continue to ask him
for the same things, that is a mark of unbelief, rather than of faith.
How long should we pray if what we are asking is not in God’s will? We should pray until this is revealed to us by His saying, “No, I am not going to give it to you.” Then we should stop praying, for it is rebellion to ask anything contrary to the will of God.
This is illustrated by an incident in the life of the man Moses. Some forty years before Israel entered Canaan, Moses failed God as he brought water but of the rock for them in the wilderness. Because of this failure, God said to him, “. . .Ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them” (Numbers 20:10). Nothing could have crushed Moses more than these words, for the supreme desire of his heart was to lead Israel into Canaan.
Moses thought that, through petitioning God, he could change His mind. He said, “I pray thee, let me go
over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.” One can sense the longing in his heart as he prayed.
Listen to the words of Moses, as he penned God’s answer to his prayer: “The Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter” (Deuteronomy 3:25, 26). And there is no record that Moses ever again asked God for the privilege of entering Canaan.
The Apostle Paul spoke of the time that he was given a thorn in the flesh (II Corinthians 12:7). One can well imagine his saying, “I don’t like this thorn. It is unpleasant. It is tormenting me.” Perhaps he was not too disturbed, because he knew that the Lord answered prayer, and had helped him on many occasions.
He went to the Lord in prayer, and asked Him to remove the thorn, but there was no answer. Again he went to prayer, and again there was no answer. When he prayed for the third time, God told him that He was not going to remove the thorn, but would rather give him grace to bear it. Paul never again asked God to remove the thorn.
“How long shall I cry out unto thee?” Habakkuk asked in anguish. “How long shall we pray for a certain thing? we ask. Until God says, “I am going to give you what you desire,” or “I am not going to give it to
you.” To continue to pray for this thing after that is a sign of either unbelief or rebellion.
The Listening Side of Prayer
Not only did Habakkuk have a burden, not only did he cry out to God in prayer, but he also listened. He
said, “I will stand upon my watch. . .to see what he will say unto me.”
There is a listening side to prayer. There is a world of difference in talking to someone and talking with him. If one makes a telephone call, and does all the talking, he is talking to the one whom he has called. If the one called also talks, the caller is talking with him.
Somewhere in one’s prayer time, when he has made his requests known unto God, he should say, at least in his heart, “Lord, I have talked to You; now what would You like to say to me?” And then he should quietly listen for the voice of God.
If we will do this, God will encourage us. He will help us solve our problems. If there is something in our
hearts alien to His will, He will reveal it to us. And, perhaps, if something unpleasant lies ahead, He will tell us about it, that we may fortify ourselves with overcoming grace.
The prophet Elijah did a lot of talking, but in his time of discouragement, when he finally got quiet before the Lord, and listened, God spake words to this effect: “Elijah, you have over-emphasized your problems. Things are not as gloomy and hopeless as you thought. I have seven thousand men in Israel who have not bowed before Baal. And your work is not finished; I have other things for you to do.”
Of course, Elijah hadn’t known any of these things before, because he had been so busy running and talking that he had taken no time to listen.
Many people have inner ear trouble. It not only affects their hearing, but it sometimes makes them dizzy, so that they cannot walk straight. There is also a malady that could be classified as spiritual inner ear trouble. One afflicted with this disease not only does not clearly hear the voice of God, but he is apt to stagger in his spiritual walk with God.
There is a listening side to prayer.
May Habakkuk’s experience be a lesson for us, Let us take our burdens to the Lord in prayer, and then listen to see what He will say unto us.
(The above article appeared in the March, 1976 issue of The Pentecostal Herald.)
IF MY PEOPLE . . . WILL . . . PRAY
By: C.M. Becton
When Jesus took leave of the eleven apostles at the ascension, He entrusted to them a superhuman task. They were to go make disciples of the people of all the nations.
It was a humanly impossible task. But He who sent them knew what He was doing. He equipped them for their superhuman task in a twofold manner. First, He equipped them with the Holy Ghost, and this put the
whole world at the disposal of this small group. Secondly, He equipped them with prayer, the means by which all of these powers are imparted to the individual believer.
When at His ascension He took leave as far as His physical presence was, concerned, He extended His almighty arm so far down that we insignificant men can reach it every time we bend our knees in prayer.
Whenever we touch His almighty arm, some of His omnipotence streams in upon us, into our souls and into our bodies. And not only that, but through us, it streams out to others. This weapon is the more valuable to the friends of Jesus, because it is not possible for the enemies of Jesus, to make use of it.
The most important work we have to do is that which must be done on our knees.
There is not a substitute for this great and mighty weapon. We are prone to think that when we are real busy in the work of the Lord, then we can, without danger, spend less time in prayer. This way of thinking is in our very blood. And Satan sees to it that it is quickened into life at just the right time.
It is necessary for the Spirit of God to burn into our hearts. The most important work we have to do is that which must be done on our knees, alone with God, away from the bustle of the world and the compliments of men. This work is the most important of all, because it is prerequisite to all the rest of the work we have to do in the kingdom of God: preaching, pastoral work, meetings, administrative groups, organization,
etc. If the labor of prayer does not precede, as well as accompany, all of our work in the kingdom, it will become nothing but a work of man, more or less capably done and with more or less effort and agitation as the case may be, but resulting in nothing but weariness both to themselves and to others.
The work of praying is prerequisite to all other work in the kingdom of God. It is by prayer that we couple the powers of heaven to our helplessness, the powers which can turn water into wine and remove mountains in our own life and in the lives of others, the powers which can awaken those who sleep in sin and raise up the dead, the powers which can capture strongholds and make the impossible possible.
There are, no doubt, many who have not given much attention to prayer. Prayer is looked upon mainly as a means of sustaining our life in God from day to day in the midst of an atmosphere which is so worldly that
it almost chokes to death our weak, frail, spiritual life. And we pray accordingly. We move in a narrow circle about ourselves and those nearest to us. Now and then we widen the circle a little bit, especially when we gather with the people of God, and the mighty tasks of the kingdom of God at home and abroad are placed before us. But when we get back home into our daily routine, our prayer-circle narrows down again.
If prayer is the very heartbeat of our life in God, it is obvious that our prayer life will become the target against which Satan directs his best and most numerous darts. He understands better than we do what prayer means to ourselves and to others. That is why his chief attack is directed against our prayer life. If he can in one way or another weaken it, his prospects of stealing our life in God without us even noticing
it are great. Satan desires above all to provide himself with servants who think that they are God’s children and who are even looked upon as children of God by others. There are those who would like to appear spiritual, have the name of being a spiritual person, but in reality they are not spiritual at all because Satan has succeeded in putting a stop to their prayer life.
The protest of the carnal mind against prayer is made indirectly, very cleverly and at the opportune time.
It is important for us to bear this clearly in mind. By so doing we will, in the first place, be able to account for something which we formerly could not understand, namely, the aversion to prayer which we feel more or less strongly from time to time. In the second place, we must keep the hindrance to prayer which we have at all times within our own bosoms constantly in mind, or else our prayer life will most certainly ebb
out. The thing to remember is that our carnal nature, will not refuse directly to participate with us in prayer. ii this were the case, our warfare against our flesh would be comparatively simple. On the contrary, the protest of the carnal mind against prayer is made indirectly, very cleverly and at the opportune time. Instinctively and automatically it will mobilize all the reasons it can conceive of for not praying now: You are too busy; your mind is too preoccupied; your heart is not inclined toward prayer; later on you will have more time, your mind will be more calm and collected, and you will be able to pray in a more devotional frame of mind.
Finally you decide to pray, but all of a sudden the thought comes: I must do this thing first. When I have finished this, I shall be ready for a good season of prayer. Then you do the thing you have in mind. And when you have done it, your mind has become distracted One thing after another begins to clamor for your attention. And before you know it. the whole day is gone, and you have not had a single quiet hour with God. Woe to the person who is unacquainted with these foes!
The first and the decisive battle in a connection with prayer is the conflict which arises when we are to make arrangements to be alone with God every day. If the battle is lost for any length of time at this point, the enemy has already won the first skirmish.
There is a profound and beautiful passage bearing on this in Philippians. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” The only way in which we can gather and keep collected our distracted minds and our roaming thoughts is to center them about Jesus Christ. By that I mean that we should let Jesus lay hold of, attract, captivate and gather about Himself all our interests. Then our sessions of prayer will become real meetings with God. Just as the
radii of a circle runs to the center, so all our thought should run toward God.
There are those who would like to appear spiritual, have the name of being a spiritual person, but in reality they are not spiritual at all because Satan has succeeded in putting a stop to their prayer life.
(The original source and/or publisher of the above material is unknown.)
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 imprisonment’s 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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