As Nation rises against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and the ultimate battle between good and evil intensifies, there is an urgency to put on the whole armor of God and joint the battle action of “…praying always…” (Ephesians 6:11-18).
Attacks of the enemy may be fierce with fiery darts and the warriors may grow weary in the good fight of faith, but great victories are coming for those who follow Him who wears the Victor’s Crown! The King of Kings and Lord of Lords leads a victorious army (Revelation 19:11-16)!
God’s parade of heroes did not stop with the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. Abraham, Sara, Rahab, and Gideon will be joined by some of us who will, through faith, subdue kingdoms, work righteousness, obtain promises, quench violence, escape destruction, become strong, fight valiantly, and turn to fight the armies of the enemy (Hebrews 11).
One of the great heroes of biblical battles was General Gideon (Judges 6 and 7). The victory God gave to him is one of the most astounding feats of war ever recorded. He came from hiding, full of fear and questions, but he because a warrior full of faith with authority. Read his story in Judges 6 and believe the following:
- There is power in one person committed to God’s cause. “Go…thou shalt save Israel…have not I sent thee…thou shalt smite as one man…”
- Angels become in involved in human lives. “the angel of the Lord appeared to him…”
- God has confidence in us in spite of our lack of confidence. “I am the least in my Father’s house…The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor…”
- God is patient in our preparation and mobilization. “…shew me a sign…that thou talkest with me…(and the angel said) I will tarry until thou come again…”
- Miraculous confirmation can follow commitment. “…there arose up fire out of the rock and consumed the flesh…”
- Commitment is expressed in action. “…Gideon built an altar…”
The Lord instructed Gideon to throw down the altar of Baal in his family and to build an altar to the Lord where it stood. It is interesting to observe that Gideon built the altar where he pulled down the stronghold.
Gideon enlisted corporate effort. In fear, but by faith he took ten others with him. If two of you agree…one shall chase a thousand; two shall chase ten thousand. Small prayer groups agreeing together are a mighty force for personal victories that are multiplied into spreading, far-reaching effect.
And remember – God is faithful! The Lord had said Gideon would smite as one man and verse 31 confirms that “…one hath cast down his (Baal’s) altar.”
Remember when Gideon’s army, though separated into smaller groups, surrounded their common enemy and acted with the force of unity, a great victory occurred all around the enemy’s camp.
“And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran…(Judges 7:21)…”for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (II Chronicles 20:15).
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Do the words contradict each other? Maybe not. When we have done everything we know to do and yet have not achieved desired results, we are humbled. But if what we desired is very important to us we will become desperate.
Jacob was not an humble man. He was ingenious, self-reliant, and manipulative. He had a knack for handling things himself. He had learned to make things happen. He knew God, received the promises of inheritance from God, but may have been “too smart for his own good.”
His “roots” were right. His attitude was wrong. His desire was for the right thing. He wanted the blessing and received it, but receiving the blessing did not bring the ultimate fulfillment. He continued in his self-reliant, manipulative, ingenious ways until, in desperation, he had to recognize he was not in control. Humble, but persevering, he prevailed when he had failed. It seems a bit strange to me that there is no record of Jacob communicating with God between his first encounter at Bethel until he is commanded to return to his homeland (Genesis 28, 31). Perhaps he did, but it appears praying, talking to God, was not his strong point. His only reference to God is when he became angry at Rachel’s despair because of her barrenness. “Am I in the place of God…,” he snapped, side-stepping the issue because he couldn’t control it (Genesis 30:2).
God will suffer long to bring an heir of promise into divine destiny. He even allowed Jacob to use the riches of his blessings to try to manipulate receiving the fulfillment of his promise. He was on his way to the land God promised him. Esau was an obstacle. So in order to find favor, Jacob recounts to Esau all of the blessings God has given to him (Genesis 32:5). He then reorganizes to be more effective and impressive (Genesis 32:7-8). In a last attempt at controlling the situation he gives abundant gifts from what God had given him (Genesis 32:13-20). But none of this worked to bring the desired results.
In spite of his character flaws and his self-sufficient ways, God was committed to fulfill his promises of great blessing and continual presence to him. However, this could only happen after he faced God alone, separated from all God had given him and done for him in circumstances he could not manipulate or control (Genesis 28:10-15). In desperation, he wrestled until God touched him and changed him. Only then could he move into the inheritance the Lord had promised.
Humble desperation comes when we quit talking about who we are and what God has given us, and are willing to admit that we are not smart enough, spiritual enough, or rich enough to receive the fullness of the promise of the great and massive last day outpouring. We cannot manipulate revival. We may mask what we know God wants to do by exploiting what God is doing. Could our busyness in counting and our impressive talk of organizing and planning only postpone an encounter with God that could bring the ultimate fulfillment of the promise of the fresh outpouring we dream of? Jacob tried this. He was an heir to the promise but he had to reach a point of humble desperation to fully receive what had been promised.
We are heirs of the promise. We have been blessed abundantly. Our leadership has formulated plans and programs that have increased our effectiveness. The blessings of God upon our fellowship are often discussed and for these things we are thankful. Our giving, out of what God has given us, has escalated. All of this is good but the deep desire of our hearts will only be fulfilled when we separate ourselves alone with God and in humble desperation prevail with Him until he touches us in a way that will change us.
No amount of growth, giving, talk or trying will take the place of a spirit of humble desperation. We must forget our self-sufficiency in our spiritual work, our ability to make things happen, our effectiveness in impressing people and focus on seeking God in humble desperation.
Yes, the promises are true. Yes, they are ours for the believing. Yes, we are a people peculiar to Him, called by His name. But God is always drawn to the humble, and the desperate, not those who proclaim His blessings for the sake of impression or attempted manipulation.
Desperation is a result of facing a need beyond our ability and control. Humility is an acquired attitude. Scriptures are replete with admonitions for us to humble ourselves (Matthew 18:4, Luke 18:14, James 5:6, Psalms 35:13). Humility is an honest appraisal of ourselves, recognizing what God has done for us and who we are in Him, but knowing we haven’t received all or become all He wants. Humility brings honesty concerning our need. In view of the need for a massive harvest of souls in this world we must guard against our thanksgiving becoming braggadocios and numbing our sense of need for God. The Psalmist reminds us “…he forgetteth not the cry of the humble” (Psalms 9:12).
In the much claimed promise of II Chronicles 7:14, we should note that “humble” precedes “pray.” Prayer is the basic and essential ingredient for revival, but it must flow from a humble heart, desperate for God to touch us and change us.
All that we are is not sufficient. All that we have is not enough. All that we can do will never suffice. Our only hope is to wrestle in prayer with humble desperation. The world waits for the church to pray the promise into fulfillment.
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The many descriptive names of God were given by revelation in time of need. Jehovah Saboath – the Lord of hosts—is one of the compound names of Jehovah Lord). No less than 260 times this powerful descriptive name of God appears in the scriptures.
“The Lord of hosts is with us…”—when nations rage (Psalm 46:6, 7).
“The Lord of hosts is with us…”—when there is war in the earth (Psalm 46:9,11).
“The Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory”—and mighty in battle (Psalm 24:8, 10).
“The Lord of hosts…”—will fight and defend (Isaiah 31:4, 5).
Abraham gave us Jehovah Jireh, “the Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:13, 14). Moses gave us Jehovah Rapha, “the Lord that healeth” (Exodus 15:26). But, amazingly, Jehovah Saboath, “the Lord of hosts” (a revelation not of provision, but of extreme power) is introduced to us for the first time by a woman—a praying woman named Hannah.
Hannah, a desperate, praying, weeping, worshipping woman of faith and praise was pressured by the pain of personal problems which she could not control; but Hannah prayed. She turned her trouble, grief and torment into intercession. Her continued intercession was beyond the ordinary because Eli did not recognize it. Her desperate intercession led to revelation of all the divine and heavenly power available for her need when she called on…the Lord of hosts. Her weeping intercession was miraculously answered and she altered history with her prayer. What a testimony to the power of a woman’s prayers! What a testimony of the power of the Lord of hosts.
What prompted her to such heights of appeal as…the Lord of hosts? No one had ever used this title before in prayer. Saboath is derived from root words which mean army or the verb which means “wage war.”
Perhaps she had been influenced by another woman, Deborah, who had lived in the same mount Ephraim and had initiated great faith. In her song of victory over the seemingly impossible odds of the enemy, Deborah sang, “…I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel…They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera…So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might” (Judges 5:3, 20, 31).
Do you need the Son of Righteousness to arise? Have you, as Hannah, struggled on for too long with sad countenance, painful problems, and taunted by your enemy? You may fell helpless, but there is a God, the Lord of hosts, whose throne is established in the heavens, who rules over all and whose heavenly host excels in strength to do his commands (see Psalm 103:19, 20).
Regardless of the circumstances, the Lord is high and lifted up as Isaiah saw him in his day of grief and confusion. Isaiah used the powerful, descriptive name, Jehovah Saboath, 62 times.
The Lord of hosts is a predominant and powerful description of God which we can focus on in these days of spiritual attack and desperate need. The distressful times in which Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi lived caused these great prophets to use this name over 85 times in 20 short chapters.
What could a shepherd boy with a slingshot and stones do up against an armed giant? When David faced Goliath, there was more involved than a rock and a sling. “I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts” was David’s strategy and power (I Samuel 17:45). All David had was a need, an appeal, faith, and the Lord of hosts. It was enough. When David took the strong hold of Zion it was because “…the Lord God of hosts was with him…” (II Samuel 5:6, 10).
Paul assures us that spiritual war and attack will come, but we have a parallel force of power through God to pull down strongholds we can handle with earthly weapons (II Corinthians 10:4).
“Resist the devil, and he will flee…” (James 4:7). “Resist” in word study can be defined as “the armies are arrayed against.” We do not have to cower in depressed weakness and fear. In prayer, through faith, we can call on the Lord of hosts—Jehovah Saboath—the revealed name of power for help in time of need.
Why did Hannah call on the Lord of hosts? Faith’s initiative enabled her to reach beyond the restrictions of present circumstances. No one had ever prayed like she prayed, but her need and her desire enabled her to reach beyond the ordinary. She boldly reached for the power of God in prayer. That power is still available.
Abraham asked, “…is anything too hard for the Lord” (Genesis 18:14).
Jeremiah answered, “…there is nothing too hard for thee” (Jeremiah 32:17).
The possibility of the impossible has been proven over and over again by people like us who were most often provoked by desperate needs to appeal through prayer and initiate faith in the power of God, who is able to do more than we can think or ask.
So, look up, there is more available than what you can see! “…be strong…saith the Lord…for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:4).
And if God, the Lord of hosts, is for us, nothing else counts!
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“He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” (Matt. 3:11)
As Pentecostals we understand the part—“ with the Holy Ghost”—but what about the fire?
More than 300 times fire is mentioned in the bible. It is often a symbol of God, His judgment or His acceptance. The angels, as ministers of God, are compared to fire. At His second coming, Jesus will appear in fire. The Holy Ghost is compared to fire. Fire and sacrifices are often linked together.
Abraham took fire with him to Moriah (Gen. 22:6). Peter warmed by a fire in the temple courtyard (Matt. 14:54). Paul helped build a fire on the island of Melita (Acts 28:2-3). Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire in the tabernacle (Lev. 10:1).
However, there is one fire that makes the difference—the fire of God’s holy, manifested presence and power.
“And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar….which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.” (Lev. 9:24)
“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven…and the glory of the Lord filled the house…and when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down…they bowed…and worshipped…” (II Chr. 7:1,3)
In both these instances, there had been much planning, work, activity, and sacrifice from the people. However, it is when they had waited before the altar that the fire of God fell and the people were affected.
The fire that makes the difference comes on those who tarry at the altar of prayer and sacrifice. There is no substitute for the fire of God. The “strange fire” offered by Nadab and Abihu is clearly man’s attempt to act in the things of God without seeking the mind of God! Death is the result of this careless spirituality!
A new millineum is open before us—a new decade, a new year, a new month, a new day. The most important thing we can do is to wait at the altar of prayer until the fire of God, His manifested presence and holiness, comes in its fullness of power. And if we do, when we do, He will come, and the people will bow and worship.
As the royal priesthood of the New Testament church, we need to be aware of our responsibility to the altar.
“And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning…The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.” (Lev. 6;12-13)
Prayer is the priority to preaching, studying, organizing, working, planning, singing, and shouting. Paul wrote “…first of all….prayers…” (I Tim. 2:1)
God’s house shall be called a house of prayer, but what have we made it? (Mark 11:17)
The maximum or minimum results of all our efforts in the new millennium, will be determined by the ministry of prayer. It will be the fire that will make the difference.
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Dr. Paul Bilheimer in his classic book, Destined for the Throne, reminds us that “the fate of the world is in the hands of nameless saints.”
During this past year in the country of Myanmar (Burma), where the gospel is very restricted, 400 saints gathered under the banner of World Network of Prayer in two prayer summits to intercede for our world. We rejoice in that, but I remember the lone prayer evangelist strapping himself with rope to the back step board of an open jeep as his only way of getting to an unevangelized area where he would seclude himself in deep intercession for the souls of the lost. He and many others tilted the balance in this Buddhist country until the Spirit was poured out and we have a thriving church in spite of obstacles.
“the fate of the world is in the hands of nameless saints” Interceding-in prayer!
I remember also Northeast India where the Holy Ghost was poured out on thousands of praying Presbyterians. I remember the dedicated workers trudging through the wilderness, pushing out the frontiers of the Kingdom, with blood-sucking leeches locking onto their legs. To redeem the time in reaching their unevangelized location, they wouldn’t stop until they had at least 6 leeches which had to be removed.
“the fate of the world is in the hands of nameless saints” Praying and going!
And in my own Louisiana, praying mother concerned for her family and community, was surely the cause of the breakdown of the car of an itinerant Pentecostal pioneer preacher. In the middle of the night, Bro. Hawthorne was forced to knock on her door to ask for help. When he identified himself, she started praising God, shouting and dancing because, she said, “I have been praying for a preacher and a church!” And one of many churches birthed by prayer started the next night on her front porch.
“the fate of the world is in the hands of nameless saints” Praying people.
The WNOP is now 4 years old, organized with coordinators in 30 districts, the Black and Spanish fellowships and in 109 nations around the world. Almost all of Africa, much of Europe, and countries around the globe are uniting in focused agreeing prayer. We have a dedicated team of volunteers, some who work up to 15 hours a week. They range in age from their teens to the eighties. Brother and Sister Knowles come every week. He and Frank McGarvey spend their time in prayer in the chapel while Sister Knowles answers the prayer line, prays and assists with other work.
“the fate of the world is in the hands of nameless saints” And they are praying!
755,000 Prayer Guides, which form the basis for informed intercession for pastors, missionaries, and leaders, have been distributed to saints, to prayer groups, and used in prayer meetings around the world.
Prepared teams for Prayer Evangelism are walking the streets of unevangelized cities around the world praying for the people in darkness. There was real breakthrough in Holland last year. While doing a prayer walk in Honduras this past year, there was a dramatic change in the political, economic and spiritual climate. Mark Foster and Raymond Woodward, along with a group of pastors from Louisiana, felt the beginning of a breakthrough in Quebec during a time of Prayer Evangelism. As they prayed in a Catholic Cathedral, recognized as a holy place, they witnessed the shattering of a candleholder directly in front of them, which was said to be unbreakable. They felt this was a sign of a breakthrough.
Praying children, led by a Pentecostal teacher, diverted a tornado headed directly for their school, a powerful witness to the power of prayer. A child’s earnest prayer dislodged an unmovable sinner father and deposited him at the foot of the cross. A Pentecostal woman, Billie Jean Bauer (DeQuincy, Louisiana) is stretching a prayer covering over many schools with Partners in Prayer, teaming churches with schools. The testimony from the schools, ” We feel the difference! Come now and do a prayer walk on site.” She was recently invited to speak to a gathering of 80 Superintendents and is receiving enthusiastic acceptance.
Jack Yonts, Jr. is not only breathing and living, but preaching to reach the lost! All because his crisis request, as with the thousands of others we receive, went out to over 1000 individuals and groups who share them with multiplied numbers of prayer partners, prayer meetings, and post in prayer rooms. They are also deposited in the chapel at World Evangelism Center, and many are posted on our website where we also received thousands of requests last year. On our prayer telephone line we receive hundreds of calls a month.
“the fate of the world is in the hands of nameless saints.” And they continue in prayer!
Through WNOP every Home Missionary has at least four prayer partners; Metro Missionaries have at least four prayer partners, Foreign Missionaries have at least eight prayer partners. Every leader, board and committee meeting, and every crusade are well covered in assigned prayer with follow up reminders to continue in prayer.
During General Conference we sat with amazement as over $4.9 million was invested into the Kingdom. What you didn’t see was this: a group of saints and pastors led by WNOP Coordinator, Bro. Kellstrom, were praying through the Book of Acts, which was the design of the Prayer Room. Just before the Missions service started they gathered around the area designated “Pray for a Spirit of Apostolic Giving” and started interceding. The presence of God came into the room as they prayed for a spirit of Apostolic giving, as in the Book of Acts, would come to the people.
“the fate of the world is in the hands of nameless saints.” Sensitive to the Holy Ghost!
One afternoon recently, missionary Kathy Miller,, walked into the WNOP office in St. Louis and said, “You know I will soon be going alone into 3 Muslim countries where we have never had a witness. I need prayer partners-it is a dangerous venture.” With our rapid communication, it was out by e-mail within minutes-the call for prayer! The next morning, we had 23 pledges of prayer partners; by afternoon, 48; and the last time I checked, we had 71 prayer partners!
“the fate of the world is in the hands of nameless saints” Praying saints!
The World Network of Prayer is not a program. It is the hub to motivate, direct and focus prayer for the ultimate purpose of proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom to the whole world.
When prayer was lifted to the place of priority in Acts 6:4, “We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word,” something very special happened. Not only did the number of disciples multiply greatly, but a company of priests was obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7). God is bigger than any of us and He will fulfill the promise of the great outpouring of the Holy Ghost on this world. Prayer is the escort for this outpouring. I plead for the priority of prayer among us. When prayer becomes the continual priority the disciples will multiply greatly and the obedient priests/ministers will become the multiplied laborers Jesus told us to pray for when he spoke of the great harvest. (Luke 10:2) Jesus said, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray…”
“the fate of the world is in the hands of nameless saints.” Are you one of them?
Published in categories: Thetus Tenney