But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses         Acts 1:8

 

What witnesses they were. The mighty working of God through the power of the Holy Spirit was evident in the early Church. Before long, Christians were being accused of turning the world upside down. How was this possible? What preceded this demonstration of God's power? They were waiting in prayer!

Although it is addressed primarily to Ministers, the book Power through Prayer by E. M. Bounds would be beneficial reading for all of us as part of the body of Christ in learning the importance of prayer in ministry. God does not anoint plans, but men to accomplish His will-men of prayer. Here are some thoughts from the book.

"The apostles knew the necessity and worth of prayer to their ministry. They knew that their high commission as apostles, instead of relieving them from the necessity of prayer, committed them to it by a more urgent need; so that they were exceedingly jealous else some other important work should exhaust their time and prevent their praying as they ought; so they appointed laymen to look after the delicate and engrossing duties of ministering to the poor, that they (the apostles) might, unhindered, 'give themselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.' Prayer is put first, and their relation to prayer is put most strongly-'give themselves to it,' making a business of it, surrendering themselves to praying, putting fervor, urgency, perseverance, and time in it."

"Paul is a preeminent example. He asks, he covets, he pleads in an impassioned way for the help of all God's saints. He knew that in the spiritual realm, as elsewhere, in union there is strength; that the concentration and aggregation of faith, desire, and prayer increased the volume of spiritual force until it became overwhelming and irresistible in its power. Units of prayer combined, like drops of water, make an ocean which defies resistance. So Paul, with his clear and full apprehension of spiritual dynamics, determined to make his ministry as impressive, as eternal, as irresistible as the ocean, by gathering all the scattered units of prayer and precipitating them on his ministry. May not the solution of Paul's preeminence in labors and results, and impress on the church and the world, be found in the fact that he was able to center on himself and his ministry more of prayer that others? To his brethren at Rome he wrote: 'Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in prayers to God for me.' To the Ephesians he says; 'Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.' To the Colossians he emphasizes; 'Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest as I ought to speak.' To the Thessalonians he says sharply, strongly: 'Brethren, pray for us.' Paul calls on the Corinthian church to help him: 'Ye also helping together by prayer for us.' This was to be part of their work. They were to lay to the helping hand of prayer. He in an additional and closing charge to the Thessalonian church about the importance and necessity of their prayers says: 'Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men.' He impresses the Philippians that all his trials and opposition can be made subservient to the spread of the gospel by the efficiency of their prayers for him. If Paul was so dependent on the prayers of God's saints to give his ministry success, how much greater the necessity that the prayers of God's saints be centered on the ministry of today! Called, commissioned, chief of the apostles as he was, all his equipment was imperfect without the prayers of his people."

"The plea and purpose of the apostles were to put the church to praying. They did not ignore the grace of cheerful giving. They were not ignorant of the place which religious activity and work occupied in the spiritual life; but not one nor all of these, in apostolic importance or urgency, could at all compare in necessity and importance with prayer."

The thing most needed today in the world is this same mighty working of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Where can we obtain this power today? Direct from God in answer to prayer. "Gifts, talents, education, eloquence, God's call, cannot abate the demand for prayer, but only intensify the necessity for it."

By the power of the Holy Spirit, prayer is life changing. A praying people, a praying Church, just might turn the world upside down again.

How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"    Luke 11:13

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.      John 15:7,8

2006 Pray-Today

    

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