Godly Litmus Test
You specialize instead in discerning -- finding out and then approaching with complete commitment the matter of achieving the Will of God.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? Doing Alright today? Oh, I’m fine, thank you, nice of you ask, [chuckle] I feel great. Praise the Lord. Oh, I’m glad to be back with you. I look forward to these times when we can share from God’s Word, don’t you really? So grateful that God has made it possible through these many radio stations to share something of His Word with you.
What I’m doing in these few days is to look at Romans 8 as a contrast to 2nd Peter 2, the second chapter of 2nd Peter is an awesome description of what happens when fallen, sinful human nature walks around in the church and Peter in almost brutal terms describes it. And I’ll come back to the middle of that chapter just as soon as we’ve finished the listing of some of these things in Romans 8, which I’ve looked at as a contrast, a contrast to what Peter is saying showing us what the real thing is. If you look at a counterfeit the way to tell the counterfeit is to be an expert in the real thing. Wouldn’t you say? And so Romans 8, if you wanna put it that way, is to help you and I, help you and me, I guess, is better, isn’t it? To be experts in the real thing, yes.
So we were talking about new power in prayer the last time we got together. “We know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” When you don’t know what to pray, just wait before God and worship and let the blessed Holy Spirit of God speak through you as He may. He knows what God the Father wants, “he that searcheth the hearts”, that’s God the Father.” Man looketh on the outward appearance but God looketh on the heart” says the Bible. “He that searcheth the hearts”, that’s a phrase describing God the Father, God the Father knows the mind of the Spirit because He, the Spirit makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Now how do you achieve this thing we call praying in the Spirit? I started that the last time we got together, by advising us all to go to the Word of God, you pray better when you pray on the basis of God’s Word, read and meditate upon God’s Word until your heart is warm and tender with the truth and then pray that back to God, look at some of the precious promises that we have in the Word of God and use them as a basis for your praying. Pray on the basis not of what you want, but of what God says, of what God wants.
One of the things you learned in fundraising is that you don’t go to people and say, “Help us because we’re broke.” You go to foundations and corporations and say, “I want to help you in your objectives for your foundation or for your corporation.” then you get some help. That’s a basic principle of fundraising as many of you folk know.
Well, you’re gonna apply the same approach, if you will in this matter of praying. You don’t go to God and pray and say, “God help me because I’m poor,” or “Help me because I’m hurting,” or “Help me because whatever.” You specialize instead in discerning, finding out and then approaching with complete commitment, the matter of achieving the will of God. What does God want in this situation? What is God saying about my need? What is God saying about this relationship? What is the Bible saying to me about the desires that I have concerning which I wish to pray? Do you follow that? If you want to pray in the Spirit pray on the basis of the revealed will of God in the Bible. Now, then there’s a subjective element here that is not really something you can pin down formula fashion, and that has to do with getting your own soul ready to pray. That takes some time, it takes waiting on God.
I’ve told you the story of the aged lady whom we visited, my sister and I back in the 1930s, when I went out as a college boy to visit her and some other folk and preach around, in Southern California, you would have laughed to see me. I brought my own suitcase, and then I had with me, one of the first portable powerful amplifiers. It was manufactured by Andy Wyzenbeek and was called the WICO amplifier, and it was a great big case that contained the amplifier unit itself as well as the loud speakers and then there was a niche in it for a 100 feet of cord, it was compact, it was maybe about 2 x 2 x 18 inches, something like that, it was bulky. And you could see me on the train with my suitcase and with that huge thing going on out to California and then trenching around from one meeting to another, where I had opportunity in the open air, or in tent meetings or wherever it may be, using my big amplifier that I had so proudly brought along. [chuckle]
I’m sure people must have chuckled, but then I had a great time and ministered here and there as a young preacher and one of the things we did was to go to see this older lady who was known to be a great prayer warrior. I came to her home and I explained to her that I had heard that she was a great person of prayer and I just wanted to spend some time praying with her. She very kindly said “Well sit down young man.” So my sister and I sat down in her drawing room, and we chatted for a while and then we were going to pray. And she suggested gently, “Well, now young man perhaps you’d like to pray first.” So I said, “Alright.” and I launched out and did the best I could, I prayed my best prayer. Have you been in positions like that where you were called on to pray and you got your mind in creeper gear and thank God that he was on the job and tossed in a little fundamentalist theology to make sure you were on the right side of the fence and prayed for different things and different people and did the best you could and then signed off, which is precisely what I did.
Well then there was a silence and nothing happened except the ticking of the clock, and I thought, “Well I bet the dear old soul has fallen asleep.” and so I opened one eye, I thought, “Well I’ll risk one eye.” [chuckle] looked at her. No, she was sitting quite erect with hands folded primly in her lap. She wasn’t asleep at all, she was very, very quiet. And after what seemed to be a very long time she said, “Our Father.” and I knew, dear friends, that that lady was plugged in to the switchboard of heaven. There was a dynamism in that room, there was a sense of an electric sense of God’s presence that was undeniably real. Took time, took time to pray in the Spirit.
Now that’s what the scripture means when it says wait on the Lord. Wait on the Lord. “They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.” “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart.” See, trust in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Wait on the Lord. What does it mean? It means you have to spend time until your own soul is tuned in, that takes time, you can’t just rush in with a laundry list and speed it off and go away again and feel as though you have prayed in the Spirit. Now I know there are times when you can’t take time. Peter was sinking, and he prayed a very short prayer. You remember that one? Matthew 14, a very short prayer, he cried, “Lord save me.” Short, urgent, no meditation there because he was going down for the third time, he had already swallowed gallons of Lake Galilee water, couldn’t swim probably and there he was, Jesus stretched forth his hand and caught him and said, “Oh little faith. Why did you doubt?”
So there are times in life when you can’t take any time you have to call up heaven in a hurry, and I realize that with you, I realize that there are crisis times when you fulfill the admonition call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not. There are other times though that if you’re going really to reach into the very heart of God, you better take the time to be controlled by the indwelling Holy Spirit as you pray. Pray on the basis of the Word of God, pray on the basis of what you know to be the will of God, take time to let the Holy Spirit tune the receiver of your soul to the wavelength of heaven.
The time that you spend in prayer is always the best invested time of the day, don’t be too busy to take that extra time and don’t be satisfied with anything less than the touch of God through His Word. I’ve been in situations where it seemed nothing was happening and I was so frustrated, and time was going by and I could feel the day starting around me, and I can remember on one occasion praying desperately, “Oh Lord, hurry up. There isn’t much time left.” And then God graciously met me and opened up his Word to me and made my heart tender with His truth. You can always hear from heaven, if you insist on it, be willing to spend the extra time.
I used to tell the fellows in Youth for Christ. Spend an extra 30 minutes with God after your mind has told you, “Let’s get out of here.” Now, there’s a little monitor somewhere back in your cerebellum there that gets fed up and gets restless, and you’ll find yourself saying, “Well, I prayed long enough let’s get going now, let’s get on with the day.” There is a certain somebody or something that says to you, “Let’s get out of here, you’ve prayed long enough. Say Amen. Time to have the benediction.” The disciples felt that way, they came to the Savior one day and they said, “Send the people away for the day is now spent, you’ve preached a long time Lord, and night is coming on, you better send them away.” He said, “You give them something to eat instead.” God’s way is not always to quit. God’s way oftentimes means carry on, keep on. And so I found it a very good practice to spend those extra minutes in prayer after my mind has said to me, “Get on out of here, say Amen and quit.”
Your salesmen know that it’s the extra two or three calls you make after you would have a right to quit. Those are the ones that make you the money, isn’t that true? It’s the extra calls that make a successful salesman. It’s the extra research that makes a successful presentation, it’s the extra background that makes a successful novelist. It’s the extra font of knowledge that may never be expressed in the text book that makes a successful teacher. And it’s the extra moment you wait before God, that makes a successful prayer. The Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us. The next time you don’t know quite what to say in prayer, just be quiet and say, “Lord you know.” and just wait on God, and the Spirit of God will tell you, he will and you will find yourself praying sweetly in the will of God, just make sure you want what God wants. That’s what really matters after all. He that searcheth the hearts, that’s God the Father, knows the mind of the Spirit, because He, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
So we’ve come so far: A new commitment, a new law of life, a new set of priorities, new dynamics, new leadership, a new cry not of fear but a family love,( Abba father), new assurance, new hope and new power in prayer.
Next time we get together, we’ll have a new rationale for life. Romans 8:28, this remarkably wonderful promise. “All things work together for good to them that love God.”
Dear Heavenly Father, we worship Thee and we love Thee. And we pray that today, Thou would through Thy Holy Spirit pray through us effectively. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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