Prayer For The Spirit’s Presence And Power
By Rich Carmicheal
We are living in a critical time as we see the increase of evil, lawlessness, deception, sin and spiritual darkness all around us. This increase is not really surprising since the Bible forewarns us of such things, including the Apostle Paul’s warning that “in the last days perilous times will come” (2 Tim. 3:1; cf. Matt. 24:7-13). A spiritual battle is raging and our adversary the devil knows his time is short.
All of this is of great concern, of course, but how good it is to know that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church! (Matt. 16:18). How good to know that as believers we are strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, and, clothed in the armor of God, we can withstand in the evil day! (Eph. 6:10-18). How good to know that our God is sovereign over all and His purposes are being fully accomplished! The Lord Jesus Christ will soon return in all of His glory as King of kings and Lord of lords, and evil will be cast away forever!
So while we may grieve the conditions around us, our hope is full as we set our hearts on all the glory that is to come. We also realize that this is not the time to cower, but the time to take full advantage of the opportunity to impact the world around us – “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16). We are “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13-16) and we are called to be “children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom [we] shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…” (Phil. 2:15-16).
Consider as well this beautiful description of our vital calling: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14). We are the Lord’s own special people, saved by His grace, redeemed by His precious blood, and this is the hour for our lives to be filled with righteousness, godliness and good works – for His glory!
In order for us to live and bear fruit to the Lord’s glory, other people will need to see something in us that ultimately draws them toward the Lord. We have no hope of impacting others apart from the Lord’s touch upon our lives. In fact, apart from Him, we can do nothing! (John 15:5). We cannot depend upon our own strength, abilities and resources, but we need, as Jim Cymbala states in the opening message, “something from heaven” – fire and strength that only the Lord can provide. We need supernatural measures of wisdom, power, mercy and godliness. We need rivers of living water flowing from within us (John 7:38). We need lives marked by the fruit of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
Thankfully, our Lord is much more than able to fill our lives with all that we need. As A.W. Tozer reminds us in his article, our God is infinite and has unlimited resources, including unlimited life, love and mercy to share with us. Our God is indeed “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20). As we draw near to Him, He promises to draw near to us (Jas. 4:8), and as He does, He fills our lives with His power, His life and His love.
The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
A vital key to all of this is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told the early disciples: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). They were faithful to wait and to pray, and on the Day of Pentecost the Lord was faithful to pour out the Holy Spirit upon them (2:1ff), and to continue to fill them with the Spirit (4:31). And with His presence and power, they moved out and began to impact cultures around them to the point they were accused of turning the world upside down (17:6).
What about us? Are we willing to wait and pray for the Spirit’s presence and power today? As Jesus teaches, our heavenly Father is certainly generous to give the Holy Spirit: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13). Along with this, Jesus promises, “…Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (11:9-10). Is it not time that we ask, and seek, and knock until the Lord fills our lives to overflowing with His Holy Spirit? Do we not need Him to fill us with His power, His fruit and His gifts? Do we not need the Spirit of truth to guide us into all truth? (John 16:13). Do we not need the Spirit to fill us with boldness to speak the word of God? (Acts 4:31). Do we not need the Spirit of holiness to sanctify us? (Rom. 15:16; 1 Cor. 6:11).
Prayers for God’s Blessings
On this last note, a major theme in the center portion of this issue is sanctification. We realize this is a vital theme and we are grateful to the Lord for the opportunity to share these articles with you, including an outstanding one by Charles H. Spurgeon. We pray the Lord touches your heart through these messages and through this entire issue, even as He has our hearts. We also include two prayers below, asking the Lord to work through them in your life and ours as we live and minister in these last days.
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:14-19).
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light” (Col. 1:9-12).