THE AUTHORITY OF PRAYER
Pastor Harold Brokke
BLESSINGS ARE RELEASED THROUGH PRAYER
Prayer is the great means by which the blessings of the Spirit are released into the world; it is the place of spiritual origin. The will and purposes of God are conceived and born into the world through the power of effectual prayer.
We notice in the book of Acts that every fresh and vital operation of the Spirit began in reference to prayer. Pentecost began in a prayer meeting. Peter and John were on their way to pray when they healed the lame man.
The boldness of the early disciples was supplied as the Church made its supplication to God during the first persecutions. The conversions of Saul and also of Cornelius were the direct fruits of calling upon God. The movement to evangelize the Roman Empire is in the prayer band at Antioch. Lydia, the first recorded convert on European soil, was the product of "a place of prayer".
WHY PRAYER IS EMPHASIZED?
Why should the Holy Spirit be so precise as to mention prayer in connection with His every moving and manifestation? Would He emphasize it so much if it were not a key to His work of glorifying Jesus I Christ in the Church and in the world?
If anything is to prove a spiritual benefit among men, it must have two elements in it. The will and power of God will have to perform it and, somewhere, some human souls will have to pray in faith for it to happen!
We must not only believe that our right of access through the blood is a good and wonderful privilege, but we mist see it as a necessary counterpart of all that God is working in the human race. We must reject the thought that God will act sovereignly and without the prayer of faith.
The Spirit of God is called the "Spirit of prayer." Whenever the work of Christ is to he revealed the Spirit of prayer must prevail. This is a sure evidence of man's utter dependence on God.
WHAT DOES THE PSALMIST SAY?
The reason for the deep importance of prayer is contained in Psalms 115:16, "The heavens are the heavens of Jehovah; but the earth hath he given to the children of men." The sentence, "the earth hath he given to the children of men" does not directly speak of prayer, but It is a basic truth to show us the necessity of prayer. God has given" the earth to the children of men.
He gave it to Adam as the head of the human race before his fail into sin. God has never withdrawn that gift from man, even though men have abused and misused that stewardship. God has, instead, provided salvation through the shed blood of Christ, foreshadowed by the sacrificial system in the Old Testament times.
RIGHT OF ACCESS THROUGH PRAYER
Men who have repented from sin and trusted in God's provision in Christ regain the right of access to His throne of grace. The final restoration and full purpose of God in the world is being brought about largely through men who faithfully use this glorious right of access.
Mankind has violated the right to manage this earth under the guidance of God, and has, through disobedience, come under the influence of the devil. However, God, in His wisdom, has never tampered with, or taken away the stewardship of the earth from man.
The Lord's integrity and certainty of His word depends on that (see Gen. 1:28-31).
GOD PERFORMS WITHOUT WITHDRAWING MAN'S ORIGINAL STEWARDSHIP
How does this, then, pertain to prayer? Prayer is the means by which God is permitted to perform His will in the world without withdrawing man's original stewardship of the earth. Through prayer man contacts God and obtains His guidance, grace, and authority to perform God's will.
Thus God's redeemed creature, man, retains his responsibility in the earth, and God is permitted to perform His loving purposes among us. As the people of God, we need to deeply consider the trust that God has granted us. "The earth hath he given to the children of men." Have we acknowledged that gift? Only we who acknowledge that we have this sin-cursed earth as our responsibility and the riches of the grace of Christ at our disposal will really lay hold on the fullness of God's will.
This is a healthy, scriptural view of prayer. It takes a saved man to pray for the salvation of sinners; it takes a holy man to pray for the perfecting of the saints. It takes a man who has obeyed in spirit and life the commission, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel," to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send forth laborers into His harvest.
BROKENNESS AND HUMILITY
God has the power and wisdom to send forth laborers; the sin of the world is great and the command is plain, hut the prayers of God's people are lacking. God cannot and will not act apart from the prayers offered up in the Name of Jesus, the Son of Man, to Whom God has given "all authority in heaven and earth".
God is seeking to make and keep us in brokenness and humility that we might be inspired by the Spirit of prayer. Our own ways, no matter how good they may seem, corrupt and hinder God's working. If God has given renewed men the earth, then each one of us has a world responsibility. Our hearts must obey every command of His, claim every promise, and embrace every discipline that will enable us to exercise authority in the evangelization of the world.
THE TRUE EXERCISE OF AUTHORITY
The scriptural example of the true exercise of authority is, of course, our Lord Jesus Christ. In the perfect Son of Man, God had an Instrument and a Servant through Whom He could perform His good pleasure on the earth, i.e., the destruction of Satan's works and the regeneration of man. Jesus, as the crucified and risen Son of Man, has gained authority both in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18), over the living and the dead (Rom. 14:9), and over every spirit and over all flesh (John 17:2). Jesus Christ is "far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come..." Eph. 1:21. It is this Jesus Who is the " head over all things in the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all."
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only source of true authority, and every true child of God shares in this authority. How ignorant, passive, and unbelieving the Church has been toward its blood-bought privilege and responsibility to exercise the authority of Christ in the evangelization of the world, in destroying the strongholds of Satan, and in the saving and renewing of fallen human beings.
GOD IS SEEKING!
God is seeking for those who, like His blessed Son, will be His instruments and servants to carry out His will on the earth as it is carried out in heaven. Let us who consider these things, by the grace of God, make every adjustment in order to be in a position for Him to use us. " For the eyes of Jehovah run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him." II Chron. 16:9.
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