God Coming Down!
"Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence, as when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make Thy name known to Thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Thy presence!" (Isa. 64:1-2).
The prophet Isaiah lived in a time when Israel was in a backslidden condition. Her cup of iniquity had about come to the full, and she was soon to be carried away captive to a heathen land.
There were mountains of difficulties in the way of God’s work. The people were divided, and nothing, it seemed, could bring them together. The worst thing was their lukewarmness – the hardest thing in the world to deal with.
The adversaries were ridiculing and mocking, saying, "Where is thy God?" And these taunts did not trouble them very much because there was very little fear of God among the people.
In the midst of this situation, Isaiah perceived that if God would only come down; that is, if He would manifest His presence, it would solve every problem.
The mountains would flow down at His presence. Nothing could stand in the presence of Almighty God; and His manifested presence would break down every barrier and sweep away everything that hindered.
He saw that God’s fire would melt the people and bring them together by His power. He saw that the waters would be made to boil so that lukewarmness would vanish. And, best of all, His name would be made known to the adversaries; skepticism would be swept away, and His people would tremble in His presence.
A Similar Condition Prevails Today
Without a doubt we are living in a time similar to that of Isaiah’s day. We see conditions in America are terrible. There are divisions among God’s people everywhere. False doctrines and cults have swept thousands into fanaticism and delusions of vast variety. On every hand there is a lukewarmness that is appalling.
The Apostasy Is upon Us!
Thousands have lost their faith and left their first love. The only thing that can solve the problem is the manifest presence of God! All our programs, our great preaching, our organizations, our choirs and orchestras, radio and television – everything that man can do – has failed to solve the problem.
But, if we can get God to come down and manifest Himself, the mountains will flow down at His presence, the divisions among God’s people will vanish, and we will be brought into one great united body.
And, more than that, the lukewarm people will be set on fire for God. The waters will be made to boil. The enemies of Christ will be made to know that His power is real, and His name will be made known to the adversaries.
The words of Isaiah take us to the very heart of today’s problem of getting God to come down and manifest His presence among us. "And there is none that calleth upon Thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of Thee: for Thou hast hid Thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities" (Isa. 64:7).
Let us face the truth. God has declared exactly why He does not come down: His people are backslidden, and not a man can be found who will stir himself up to take hold of God in effectual prayer.
It is clearly the sense of this Word that God will come down, however bad conditions may be, provided He can get His people to call upon His name.
Many instances in the history of the church prove this, for the greatest men who have lived to shake the world with God’s power have been, every one of them, men of prevailing prayer. The one effectual means for bringing back the presence of God to the people is prevailing prayer!
The greatest lack among God’s people is that of travailing prayer. The old-time praying urge is hardly known in Christian lands today. But we should be reminded that there has never been a Holy Ghost revival in the history of the world that has not been prayed down!
And the praying had to be prevailing prayer – prayer that was desperate; prayer that stirred people up to such fervency of spirit that they fairly took hold of God.
Months of Agonizing Prayer
That was true in Evan Roberts’ time. It was the months of agonizing prayer that was not only in his life but in numbers of others in Wales – that finally rent the heavens and brought the presence of God down.
I have seen many times in revival meetings where God’s Spirit began to move on people whose hearts were open, and who were hungry for God – until that heavenly urge was upon them, and they would pray all night long, wrestling with God like Jacob of old! (Gen. 32:24-30).
I have seen such tremendous results come after such travailing prayer that I am certain that wherever there is real travailing prayer that takes hold of God, it will bring the presence of God down! (Read Daniel 9:1-23).
"As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children" (Isa. 66:8).
Prayer Means Warfare!
I want you therefore to see one tremendous truth right here that most of God’s people have overlooked. The devil knows that the power of prayer is the greatest weapon that God has put in our hands against the enemy.
He knows that if he can keep the people from praying, he will stop a revival, and knowing this, he will do anything and everything in the world that he can to choke down a real spirit of Holy Ghost praying.
Busy with Good Things
If you start to pray – to pray through, you are going to meet with a real battle in the spiritual realm. The devil brings drowsiness upon you. He will divert your mind on to something else. He will do anything under the sun to keep you from praying through! The devil knows that if you can get your prayers answered you can solve any problem in the world and accomplish any purpose for God.
While preaching has a place in the plan of God, and a wonderful place at that, yet the greatest preaching in the world, unless backed up by travailing prayer, cannot bring the Holy Ghost revival we must have today!
If we can get our prayers answered we can accomplish anything for God. A prayer of faith can do anything. Jesus said, "Nothing shall be impossible unto you" (Matt. 17:20).
The devil knows this, and for that reason the real attack he is making on God’s people today is an attack against the spirit of prayer, to keep them from seeing the importance of it, and really taking hold of God.
Shall we face the responsibility for God’s holding Himself aloof in the heavens? We cannot escape it. We can refuse to acknowledge it now, but it will meet us at the judgment seat of Christ. Then it will be too late! The opportunity for mighty conquest through the power of God will be gone forever. Lost souls that might have been saved must be met. We cannot roll the responsibility upon someone else. Each of us must face it as our own!
Now then let us look this thing squarely in the face. Let us recognize that God has given us the reason why He does not come down here – because His people are backslidden, and none have called upon His name.
That expression "called" has tremendous significance. It denotes desperation. It denotes importunity and a stirred-up condition that puts men into a desperate place. The main thing is, Isaiah says, "There is none that stirreth up himself to take hold of God."
He shows here that because prayer is a battleground, and because the enemy is going to do everything he can to choke down and hinder a spirit of prayer – that a man must necessarily stir himself up in order to be able to pray effectually.
The Great Problem Today
We must get the people of God to see that they must stir themselves up if they really want to prevail in prayer, and that unless they do prevail in prayer, God will not come down and manifest His presence!
Therefore we must see that the battle lies right here – the battle against ourselves – the battle against the flesh that would become slothful and indulgent and indifferent to the great needs today!
To stir yourself up means something! It means that you have got to go against the tendencies of your own flesh, even against the desires of your flesh, that you have got to recognize that you need to be stirred up or otherwise there would be no necessity for such a command that you stir yourself up.
God demands a real heart of love in us, a heart with true interest in His work. He is looking for that heart of love before He can cooperate with us. We must take it upon ourselves to stir ourselves up.
God cannot cooperate with us until our hearts are willing to tune in with God, and He must have a manifestation of love in our heart and of faithfulness to His cause before He can trust us with His blessing and His power.
For that reason the great call to God’s people all over the world today is to stir themselves up to take hold of God! If we will do this, there is not a shadow of a doubt in the world that God will come down and manifest His presence.
So, whoever you are, recognize the tremendous importance of prayer, see the crying need for the presence of God, and acknowledge there is only one way to get God’s presence manifested and that is for you, through real, intercessory, prevailing prayer to stir yourself up to take hold of God. If you will do that, God will manifest Himself.
Resolve this very moment that, by God’s grace, you are not going to shirk the battle. You can expect when you start on this line to meet a tremendous opposition from the devil – a real conflict, before you will ever be able to pray through to glorious victory.
You can expect the devil to beset you on every hand, to oppose you in every way possible, and to do everything in his power to choke you down and to discourage you. But brother, sister, pray through! Face the battle and fight it through to the finish!
Get on your face before God, and stay there until you have taken hold of God! If you feel yourself getting drowsy or your mind wandering, just simply take an attitude against your own flesh.
Like Daniel, set your face unto the Lord – and with the purpose of heart, and all the determination of your soul, stir yourself up to take hold of God!