When human helplessness appeals to the Almighty God. When in prayer and the travail of the soul, we run into the arms of Almighty God. True godliness is just as true, steady, and persevering in the realm of faith as it is in the province of prayer. If doubt is banished from the heart, and unbelief made a stranger there, what we ask of God shall surely come to pass.

Therefore, I say unto you, What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. – Mk 11:24 We should ponder well that statement — “Believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Here is described a faith which realizes, which appropriates, which takes. Such faith is a consciousness of the Divine, an experienced communion, a realized certainty.

Faith is the foundation of Christian character and the security of the soul. When Jesus was looking forward to Peter’s denial, and cautioning him against it, He said unto His disciple: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, to sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fails not.” – Lk 22:32

Here the Lord Jesus was declaring a central truth; it was Peter’s faith He was seeking to guard; this is because when faith is broken down, the foundations of our spiritual life give way, and the entire structure of religious experience falls. It was Peter’s faith which needed guarding. Hence Christ’s solicitude for the welfare of His disciple’s soul and His determination to fortify Peter’s faith by His own all-prevailing prayer.

In the 2 Peter, Peter has this idea in mind when speaking of growth in grace as a measure of safety in the Christian life, and as implying fruitfulness. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 2 Pet. 1:5 – 7 Of this addition process, faith was the starting-point — the basis of the other graces of the Spirit. Faith was the foundation on which other things were to be built. Peter does not enjoin us to add to our works or gifts or virtues but to our faith.

Much depends on starting right in this business of growing in grace and spirituality. There is a Divine order, of which Peter was aware; so he goes on to declare that we are to give the diligence to make our calling and election sure, which election is rendered certain adding to the faith which, in turn, is done by constant, earnest praying. Thus faith is kept alive by prayer, and every step taken, in this adding of grace to grace, is accompanied by prayer. Faith in Christ’s ability to do great is the faith which prays greatly and regularly.

Again: Faith is obedient; it goes when commanded, as did the nobleman, who came to Jesus, in the day of His flesh, and whose son was grievously sick. John 4:46 – 53

Moreover: Faith acts. Like the man who was born blind, it goes to wash in the pool of Siloam when told to wash. – John 9:1 – 7 Like Peter on Gennesaret it casts the net where Jesus commands, instantly, without question or doubt. Luke 5:1 – 7 Such faith takes away the stone from the grave of Lazarus promptly. A praying faith keeps the commandments of God and does those things which are well pleasing in His sight.

Obedience helps faith, and faith, in turn, helps obedience. To do God’s will is essential to true faith, and faith is necessary for implicit obedience. Yet faith is called upon, to wait in patience before God and is prepared for God’s seeming delays in answering prayer. Faith does not grow disheartened because prayer is not immediately honoured; it takes God at His Word and lets Him take what time

He chooses in fulfilling His purposes, and in carrying on His work. There is bound to be delay and days of waiting for true faith, but faith accepts the conditions — knows there will be delays in answering prayer, and regards such
delays as times of testing, in the which, it is privileged to show its mettle, and the stern stuff of which it is made. The case of Lazarus was an instance of where there was a delay, where the faith of two good women was sorely tried: Lazarus was critically ill, and his sisters sent for Jesus. But, without any known reason, He delayed His going to the relief of His sick friend. The plea was urgent and touching  — “Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick,” — but He was not moved by it, and the women’s earnest request seemed to fall on deaf ears. What a trial to faith!

Furthermore: His tardiness (lateness) appeared to bring about a hopeless disaster. While Jesus tarried, Lazarus died. But the delay of Jesus was exercised in the interests of a greater good. Finally, He makes His way to the home in
Bethany. “Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes, that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless, let us go unto him.” Fear not, O tempted and tried believer, Jesus will come, if patience is exercised, and faith holds fast. His delay will serve to make His coming the more richly blessed. Pray on. Wait on. Thou canst not fail. If Christ delay, wait for Him.

In His own good time, He will come, and will not tarry. Delay is often the test and the strength of faith. How much patience is required when these times of testing come! Yet faith gathers strength by waiting and praying. Patience has its perfect work in the school of delay. – James 1:1 -4

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

In some instances, a delay is of the very essence of the prayer. God has to do many things, antecedent to giving the final answer — things which are essential to the lasting good of him who is requesting favour at His hands.
Jacob prayed, with point and ardour (enthusiasm or passion), to be delivered from Esau. But before that prayer could be answered, there was much to be done with, and for Jacob. He must be changed, as well as Esau. Jacob had to be made into a new man before Esau could be. Jacob had to be converted to God before Esau could be converted to Jacob. Among the large and luminous utterances of Jesus concerning prayer, none is more arresting than this: ”John 14:12 – 14 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.

And whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in My Name, I will do it.” How wonderful are these statements of what God will do in answer to prayer!
Faith in Christ is the basis of all working, and of all praying. “Have faith in God.” Faith covers temporal as well as spiritual needs. Faith dispels all undue anxiety and needless care about what shall be eaten, what shall be drunk, what shall be worn. Faith lives in the present and regards the day as being sufficient unto the evil thereof. It lives day by day and dispels all fears for the morrow. Faith brings great ease of mind and perfect peace of heart. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusted in Thee. Isa. 23:6 When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we are, in a measure, shutting tomorrow out of our prayer. We do not live in tomorrow but today.

We do not seek tomorrow’s grace or tomorrow’s bread. They thrive best and get the most out of life, who live in the living present. They pray best who pray for today’s needs, not for tomorrow’s, which may render our prayers unnecessary and redundant by not existing at all! True prayers are born of present trials and present needs. Bread, for today, is bread enough. Bread given for today is the strongest sort of pledge that there will be bread tomorrow. The victory today is the assurance of victory tomorrow. Our prayers need to be focused upon the present, we must trust God today, and leave the morrow entirely with Him. The present is ours; the future belongs to God. Prayer is the task and duty of each recurring day – daily prayer for daily needs.

As every day demands its bread, so every day demands its prayer. No amount of praying, done today, will suffice for tomorrow’s praying. On the other hand, no praying for tomorrow is of any great value to us today. Today’s manna is what we need; tomorrow God will see that our needs are supplied. This is the faith which God seeks to inspire. So leave tomorrow, with its cares, its needs, its troubles, in God’s hands. There is no storing tomorrow’s grace or tomorrow’s praying; neither is there any laying-up of today’s grace, to meet tomorrow’s necessities. We cannot have tomorrow’s grace, we cannot eat tomorrow’s bread, we cannot do tomorrow’s praying. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof;” and, most assuredly, if we possess faith, sufficient also, will be good.

The Prayer of Agreement

Bible Texts: Matthew 18:18-20; Deuteronomy 32:30; Romans 8:26 There is tremendous power as two or more agree in prayer concerning anything they may need. Of the many prayer promises in the Bible, perhaps none is more
significant than Matthew 18:19. Yet many dedicated Christians go through life having a knowledge of the Word — having read and even studied Matthew 18:19 — without really appropriating it in their own lives. God didn’t put all of the promises about prayer in the Bible just to fill up space. They are there for our benefit. They are there for us to act upon. To get the full impact of what Jesus is saying in Matthew 18:19, let’s look at the verses preceding and following it. Matthew 18:18-20

Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Notice the phrase in verse 19: “… it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” The strongest assertion one can make in the English language is to say “I shall.” In this Scripture Jesus promised,”… it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. “He also said, “If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14).

The Greek translation is more beautiful than the English, but it has a number of idioms that cannot be translated into English and retain their full meaning. The literal Greek rendering of Jesus’ statement is, “If you shall ask anything in my name and I don’t have it, I will make it for you.”

Authority to Bind and Loose
Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” We usually apply this Scripture to a church service. Of course, it can refer to this, but what Jesus really was saying here is wherever these two people are who agree, He is right there with them to make their prayer good. Jesus was bringing out the fact that whatever we bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever we loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Heaven will back us up in what we do on earth. We have the authority to lose and to bind.

Instead of using this authority, however, too many people allow the devil to blind them. They think they can’t help it if they are defeated and depressed. They think there is nothing they can do about it. But they can do something about it by acting on this Scripture: by agreeing in prayer with just one other believer. During 1957, our nation experienced an economic recession. Oregon was a state which felt the recession quite desperately. At that time I was holding a revival in Salem, Oregon. As I preached on the subject of the prayer of agreement, a couple in the church decided to claim this promise and make it work for them. They owned a piece of property which they had been trying to sell for two years with no success. With times so difficult, it seemed impossible to sell it, yet the couple agreed in prayer that they would be able to sell it with the Lord’s help. When the man visited the real estate agent, he was told that since they hadn’t been able to sell the lot when times were good, there was little hope they could sell it now. The agent did suggest that the man talks to a client who previously had been interested in the lot. The agent wasn’t too optimistic, but he said if this client didn’t buy the lot, he would try once more to sell it.

Remembering Jesus’ promise concerning the prayer of agreement, the man approached the client, offering to sell the property at the same price they had discussed before. This time the client said he would take it. For two years this couple had been in financial trouble, desperately needing to sell their lot. They could have had the money all the time if they had only exercised their authority by agreeing in prayer that “it shall be done for them of my Father
which is in heaven.” Instead of believing with their hearts and saying with their mouths, the couple had been praying that God would do something about it. They now realized that they should have done something about it. (We have our part to play. When we make our move, God will then move.)

Multiplied Prayer Power
Deuteronomy 32:30 How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up? We may be mighty in prayer alone, but we can be mightier with someone joining us. We read in the above verse that one can chase a thousand, but two can put ten thousand to flight. With someone agreeing with us in prayer, we can do ten times as much as we can do by ourselves. A lot of people don’t need to be involved; just a husband and wife will do — just two.



When it comes to changing things Memory Text: Acts 13: 1 – 2 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and
Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. The Christians we just read about in Acts 13, however, came together and “… ministered to the Lord, and fasted.” More than one person was involved in this account, because it says, “As THEY ministered to the Lord, and fasted….” This is the true prayer of worship.

One could hardly blame them for being discouraged. However, as someone has said, Paul and Silas got into jail, but they didn’t let the jail get in them. This is the reason many people are defeated. Trouble comes to everyone, but our attitude toward it is what makes the difference between victory and defeat. How we look at the situation makes the difference in whether we get out at all. In the example of Paul and Silas, we can find help for our midnight hour — our time of testing — when the storms of life threaten to sweep us overboard. Paul and Silas weren’t in Philippi on a vacation. They were there to do the Lord’s work. They weren’t out of the will of God. The first thing that some people think when adversity strikes is that they surely must be out of the Lord’s will or such a thing wouldn’t have happened. But Paul and Silas were right in the middle of God’s will. If we were meant to measure if we are in God’s will be whether or not everything runs smoothly, with no hard places and no sacrifices, then Paul never got in the will of God in his entire ministry — he missed it from beginning to end!  Let us notice something else in verse 25: “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: AND THE PRISONERS HEARD THEM.”

They weren’t quiet about it. They were praising God out loud right there in jail. Not only did the prisoners hear them, but God heard them! “And suddenly there was a great earthquake so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed” (v. 26). Deliverance came while they were praising God.


A Song in Battle

Let us look at an Old Testament counterpart to this story. During the reign of King Jehoshaphat, the Ammonites and Moabites came against the Israelites. Jehoshaphat cried out to the Lord in prayer and He answered him.  2 Chronicles 20:15,17-19,21,22

15  And he said, hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s…. 17  Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, 0 Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you. 18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem
fell before the Lord, worshipping the Lord.                                                                                                                                    19 And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with a loud voice on high____                                                                                                                                 21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth forever.   22And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. Jehoshaphat knew his army was no match for those of the countries banded against him, but he knew his God was more than a match for them. He called a
prayer meeting and the people fasted and prayed.

The Spirit of God moved upon a young man in the congregation and he stood and prophesied. The Lord told them
not to fear, for the battle was the Lord’s. The next morning when they went out against the enemy’s powerful armies, they did not go against them with swords and spears but with songs of praise (v. 21). They marched and chanted, “Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth forever.” In their hour of trial, instead of cowering in fear, the children of Israel sang praises to God just as Paul and Silas did in jail. And what was the outcome of this battle? Look at verse 22: “And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon,
Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.” When they began to sing praises to God, He did something.

They witnessed a manifestation of God’s power. God’s Desire for Man’s Praise God made man, so He would have someone to have fellowship with. He made man for His own pleasure. It is true that God is concerned about us and wants to meet our every need, but even more than that, He wants our love, worship, and fellowship. We are born of God. He is our Father. No earthly parent ever enjoyed the fellowship of his children more than God enjoys the fellowship of His sons and daughters. And in this kind of atmosphere, God normally ministers to us in unusual ways. I am convinced that we miss out on many blessings because we don’t take time to get into the right attitude of worship and to minister to the Lord.


The Power of Praise

Let me call your attention to the fact that this is the kind of atmosphere God can move in. We read in Acts 13:2, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, THE HOLY GHOST SAID….” With hearts full of love and praise, yielded to the Lord, the Holy Spirit can manifest Himself and make known God’s will and leading for His children’s lives. A minister told me of an experience he once had which illustrates this power of praise. Early in his ministry, while he was still a young evangelist, he was staying at a pastor’s home during one of his revival meetings.

During the night a call came for the pastor to go pray for a baby who was having convulsions. The pastor had been called out of town to preach a funeral, but the pastor’s wife asked this young evangelist to go with her and a few other faithful Christians to pray for the child. Relating the experience to me, he said, “We rebuked the devil, prayed at the top of our voices, and went through all the motions we sometimes feel are necessary to get God to hear our prayers. After about forty minutes of such rigorous praying, the child was no better but continued having convulsions. “I had done about all I knew to do — I’d done everything I’d ever seen anybody else do — but nothing happened. Then the group gradually became quiet and the pastor’s wife began to say softly, ‘Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,’ and praises began rolling from her lips. She continued in this spirit of praise for about ten minutes. Finally, one by one, all of us picked it up until we were all praising God. In the midst of that atmosphere, the child’s convulsions ceased, and he fell asleep.

“We stood around rejoicing, but while we were talking, the child awakened and went back into convulsions. We became alarmed and started to pray and rebuke the devil. We anointed the child with oil and laid hands on him. We went through all the usual manoeuvres again, but nothing seemed to help. “Then when we settled down again, the pastor’s wife began to praise the Lord, ministering to the Lord, and telling Him how much she loved Him. We all joined in, and soon the child’s convulsions stopped, and he went to sleep, permanently healed. That night I
witnessed the power of praise.” This was an instance when the prayer of worship worked when nothing else would. As these believers, like those in the Early Church, “ministered to the Lord,” the Holy Spirit moved and manifested the mighty power of God.”And they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.” (Luke 24:52,53). Praise, a Characteristic of the Early Church A spirit of praise and rejoicing was a characteristic of the Early Church. Luke 24:50-53 50And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52And they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: 53And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.

After the disciples watched Jesus return to heaven, they went back to Jerusalem with hearts filled with praise and thanksgiving to God. Then we read about them in Acts 2:46,47: “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Notice the expression,  “They, continuing DAILY with one accord… eat their meat with gladness … praising God… ” With these early Christians, this wasn’t spasmodic (occurring or done in brief, irregular bursts.) occurrence — something that happened once in a great while.

The Bible uses the words “continually” and “daily.” Too many Christians today get “prayed through” about every six months and have a time of praising and blessing God. If we were writing about their experience, we would have to use the words “occasionally” or perhaps even “semi-annually.” But the Bible records that the early Christians “were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.” If we want to see the same manifestation of power the Early Church had, we are going to have to see the same manifestations of praise they had.

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