Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wielding the Weapon: Intense Prayer

Arthur Wallis' work, "In the Day of Thy Power" continues to challenge me. As you might guess, the "weapon" Wallis references is prayer, and in this section he refers to a key element of effective prayer: intensity!

Citing David Brainerd's diary, E.M.Bounds says of Brainerd: "His whole life was one of burning prayer to God for the American Indians. By day and by night he prayed. Before preaching and after preaching he prayed. On his bed of straw he prayed. Retiring to the dense and lonely forests he fasted and prayed. Hour by hour, day after day, early morn and late at night, he was praying and fasting, pouring out his soul, interceding, communing with God. He was with God mightily in prayer, and God was with him mightily, and by it he being dead, yet speaketh."

Later, Wallis continues...
"If there are those who read such accounts of intensive praying only to reflect with a sigh, "it is too high, I cannot attain unto it," let them recall that "Elijah was a man of like passion with us", that he was overtaken by fear, despondence, and self-pity, and yet "he prayed fervently" (Jas. 5:17) and prevailed with God. Intensive praying, however cannot be worked up; it is a burden that God places upon prepared hearts. When through the spirit we are possessed with such a consuming desire for revival that we feel we must either pray it down or perish in the attempt, we may be confident that God is going to send it. When the cry of the church is, "give me children or I die," then revival is nigh, even at the doors.

It is said that when Dr. Charles Goodell was sent to a rundown Methodist Church in New York City, his people said to him, "We hardly expect a revival here any more. We had them in years gone by, but times have changed." When Sunday came and he went into his pulpit and looked into the faces of his people he said, "My brethren, they tell me you do not expect a revival here. I am telling you this morning that there will be a revival here, or there will be a funeral in the parsonage.". The revival came, and a church dead and discouraged was quickened into life. Such an inflexible determination, inspired by the Spirit, is the underlying factor behind that intensive praying that prevails with God."

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