"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

Filling Our Place In Prayer

By Lois J. Stucky

    Articles that encourage our faith in God and His promises to answer prayer are always timely, and surely so in this hour. Increasingly these are perilous times and there is need for Christians to be, like Abraham, "strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded" that what God has promised, He is able also to perform (Rom. 4:20-21). "Perilous times" are associated with the "last days" spoken of in 2 Timothy 3:1. Some of us may be in the generation through which God wants to bring to consummation His great plans for the return of His Son and the ushering in of His glorious reign! Ought we not, then, to strive to be men and women of strong faith, able to fill well our God-assigned place in His agenda? There is a harvest to be gathered in! Sad, sad the condition of millions around the world who bow before a lifeless deity who is deaf to their pleas, unable to perform anything for them, doomed for eternity! Christians, this is our hour to pray, to believe God, to step up to the responsibility to which God has called us – if we are not already doing so!

    To be sure, many Christians today are faced with personal, grave concerns such as are facing all people around the world: shortage of finances, troubled relationships in the family or at work or church, unsaved and wayward dear ones, health problems, threats to safety and to our very life, abounding sin in society, etc. But these concerns must not becloud our vision of our almighty God and what He is able to do and what He has promised to do. If our primary focus is not on God, then instead of praying prayers of faith, we will, like many others, suffer from waning hope and worry or depressing acceptance of ill fate. How can our lives then count for God and His cause? Overcoming personal problems through faith and prayer trains us and strengthens us for our King’s service.

    Frances Ridley Havergal, a lady who lived over 100 years ago, penned for us a secret of her life of outstanding devotion and service to her Lord in spite of limitations of frail health, when she wrote: "Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blessed – finding as He promised, perfect peace and rest." Though she died at the early age of 42, it was with words of victory on her lips: "Splendid to be so near the gate of Heaven," "So beautiful to go!" She left behind many hymns that have aided countless saints to have a closer walk with God. "Ever, Only, All for Thee!" came from her heart and pen at another time. In these songs she shares secrets that made her a fountain of blessing to many. Might we, too, stay our hearts and minds on God and His promises, and experience a life of peace and joy and fruitful service for our Lord. Ever, only, all for our beloved Lord!

Hindrances to Answered Prayer

    While strengthening ourselves in faith in God’s promises to hear and to answer prayer, we must keep in mind that a serious hindrance to answered prayer is sin in the life. God tells us in His Word: "Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear" (Isa. 59:1-2). You can read in the verses following that declaration some of the sins that prevented God from hearing the prayers of the Israelites.

    The psalmist David wrote: "If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me" (Psa. 66:18). "Regard" can mean consider or approve. "Regard iniquity in my heart" tells us that sin that may be hidden from the eyes of man is seen by God in the heart, and it as well as outward sin is sufficient cause for unanswered prayer. A. B. Simpson teaches that God can hear the prayers of sinners, or how else could we go to Him for forgiveness of our sins? "But," Simpson says, "that is a different matter from expecting Him to answer our prayers while we are deliberately committing sin without an honest purpose to abstain from it."

    It is good to pray often, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psa. 139:23-24). Then humbly give God time to do that. It is when sin has been put out of our lives that we have "confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight" (1 John 3:21-22).

That God May Be Glorified

    Oftentimes our hearts are deeply touched by needs of which we learn. Our prayers may be sympathetic and fervent, but they might also be tinged with selfishness. For effective prayer, the uppermost desire of our heart and the direction of our praying should be that in this particular life or instance, God be glorified and His will done and His purposes furthered. The answer that would please us most might not be what most glorifies God. God tells us in His Word that His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa. 55:9).

    Though bowing to His ways may sometimes be costly to us, we have great cause to praise and adore Him for His lofty ways. Consider how He has chosen us to be part of what He planned from before the foundation of the world. He planned a Bride for His beloved Son, one day to stand by His side, clothed in beautiful garments of purity and holiness, made white by the Blood of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave Himself for us. What a high and holy calling is ours! We dimly comprehend the marvelous grace that God has extended to us in Christ. Ought not the fitting of ourselves to fulfill His calling supersede anything in the world that might crowd it out of first place in our life? The Apostle Paul set a worthy example for us, and he calls God’s people to "Do ALL to the GLORY OF GOD" (1 Cor. 10:31). What an eminent goal!

Every People and Nation

    Remembering that the hosts in Heaven who join in eternal praise to the Lamb that was slain for them, will be composed of people out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation (Rev. 5:9), our prayers should enfold saints in every land. Please take to heart the prayer calendar on page 7, praying for the persecuted Church. We are members one of another, and when one suffers all suffer (1 Cor. 12:26). In the Church in this hour there are many suffering for Jesus’ sake. As Jesus was, they have been hated without a cause (John 15:25). It is stated in the introduction to the calendar on page 6, that more Christians were killed for their faith in the 20th century than in all the previous 19 centuries combined! God help us to carry our persecuted fellow members of the Body of Christ on our hearts for prayer! Jesus told His disciples, as we read in John 15 and 16, He was hated because He told sinners of their sin. Because His followers have been chosen out of the world, the world hates them for Jesus’ sake. Though the hatred of the world which falls upon Christ’s followers may cause much sorrow and suffering, the Father in Heaven comforts with the assuring word that "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Rom. 8:18).

    In the constitution of Gospel Revivals Inc, publishers of Herald of His Coming, the founders state that one object of the ministry is to encourage charity (love) among – and toward all – who "love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity" (Eph. 6:24). This remains an important intent of the ministry. We are deeply grateful to all who, through the years, have been partners with Herald of His Coming in outreach into many countries of the world, calling to holy living and to readiness for the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ. With every day bringing us closer to our Lord’s coming, the urgency for the message increases.