Friday, July 12, 2013

“Prayer: The Heartbeat of Revival”

Third Quarter 2013 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
Prayer: The Heartbeat of Revival
For the week of July 13, 2013
 “You are getting the coming of the Lord too far off. I saw the latter rain was coming as [suddenly as] the midnight cry, and with ten times the power.” {SpM 4.3}
 The beginning of the Loud Cry and the Latter Rain is to be found in the Message of Christ Our Righteousness, the essence of the 1888 Message, the Gospel, the Power of God unto Salvation.  The final outpouring of the Latter Rain is coming, as we are told, with ten times the power of the Midnight Cry. 
There is a word in Gospel Workers which speaks plainly upon this question, page 370, 371. Speaking about the apostles, it says:
“They were waiting in expectation of the fulfillment of his promise, and were praying with special fervency. This is the very course that should be pursued by those who act a part in the work of proclaiming the coming of the Lord in the clouds of heaven; for a people are to be prepared to stand in the great day of God. Although Christ had given the promise to his disciples that they should receive the Holy Spirit, this did not remove the necessity of prayer.”
 We advocate a “study” of the theology of the Gospel message, and while this is valid and necessary, we stand in the same place as the apostles, needing to use God’s channel to Himself to experience what the Gospel intends for us to experience in spiritual power.
 “Well, then, we see that so far as themselves and their work was concerned and so far as the power that was opposed their work was concerned, we stand exactly in the situation in which they stood at that time when Jesus ascended to heaven. We stand exactly in that place where all the power of this earth is allied against the message which we are to give to the world, and therefore we need, just as they, to be endued with power from on high. So it is a literal fact that we stand exactly where they did when Jesus ascended to heaven and told theme to tarry until they got that power.”  (A.T. Jones)

Jesus’ prayer life reveals a constant dependence on His Heavenly Father.  The gospels give us glimpses of the source of His spiritual power.  It was on His knees alone with the Father that the Savior received His greatest strength.

They prayed all the more earnestly. They continued in prayer with one accord. Those who are now engaged in the solemn work of preparing a people for the coming of the Lord, should also continue in prayer. The early disciples were of one accord. They had no speculations, no curious theory to advance as to how the blessing was to come. The power was to come only in answer to prayer, and a deep heart longing for His Righteousness, His love, His Spirit,, His Mind, His Life. 
 We are told that “We will search for and find Him, when we seek for Him with all of our hearts.”  Have we, are we, and will we seek, and continue to seek for Him, for the indwelling of the Spirit of God, the power of Love?  “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness.”  We may have the experience of David, and find our souls panting for the living God, to ache to unite our hearts with His.
 “Only by love is love awakened.”  The key is to have the experience of the apostles BEFORE Pentecost, as well, to see and experience the love of Christ, revealed at Calvary, which alone can melt the sinner’s heart.  We need to “taste and see that the Lord is Good”, and that we can do “nothing” without Him.. 
 We live in an age in which activity, programs, slogans, “efforts”, books, tapes, videos, satellite programs, are all utilized to bring about the “revival and reformation” which our church desperately needs.  Yet we are told that “A revival need be expected ONLY in answer to prayer.”  SM, 1, p. 121.  As E.M. Bounds said, “Prayer is not preparation for the work.  Prayer IS the work.” 
 Pastor R.A. Torrey, a powerful revival preacher in the late 19th C. and early 20th C. commented that “We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power.  We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions, much machinery but few results.”  This is to be taken seriously, for we were warned that Satan’s last work would be to make us too busy.  Yet, if we see the love of God, revealed at Calvary, if we glimpse the “matchless charms of Christ”, “duty becomes a delight, and sacrifice a pleasure.”  We fall in love with Jesus, and our heart aches to commune with Him, to walk with Him, and our desire is not primarily to have “power”, but to have relationship, a union of heart and mind, a conformity to His character, and the power becomes “natural” to those whose heart is kept by the power of God through faith. 
 The Agape love of God motivates the true Christian, a love which is self sacrificing out of great love for others.  Christ came to minister to others, and thus sought for that daily baptism of the Holy Spirit, to reveal the Father, to convert hearts, to impart grace to those who so desperately needed it. 
 Joel 2:29 "And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call."
 “Where is going to be deliverance? "In the remnant whom the Lord shall call." But who is Satan making war against? The remnant. Who has Satan rallied all the powers of earth against? The remnant. Where is he directing all his force and efforts? Against the remnant. and right there is deliverance. Brethren, the best place in the world to be, is right where the devil is spending all his efforts, because there is deliverance. That is where the grace and power of Jesus Christ are, and Satan has got to rally all his hosts to make any show at all. That is the best place on earth to be, because Christ is there; God is there; and "my people shall never be ashamed."
Brethren, I am awfully glad of these things. I am just as glad as I can be of what the Lord says in that chapter, because it is all present truth you see. Every verse is right now, and tells such wondrous things. He is going to do such wondrous things; and all He asks of us is to seek Him with all the heart that we may have it all. If we seek Him with half the heart we cannot have it all. We want to seek Him with all the heart to get all He has. Let us do what the Lord says, and "Be glad and rejoice, ye children of Zion"; for "the Lord will do great things" and ye shall never be ashamed" and there is deliverance "in the remnant" that the devil is warring against with all his might.” 
Sermon #7
Third Angel's Message And Praying for the Latter Rain.
1993 General Conference Session
by A.T.Jones
 We have found that there is nothing that will hold us up in this time but the power of God. We have found that nothing will satisfy us, nothing will do for us, but the character of God. We have found in the matter of  business affairs so far as this world is concerned, that we cannot depend upon any of these any more, but only upon the things that God gives. We have found that as to life itself, we cannot count on that anymore; the only thing that will satisfy, the only thing that we can depend upon, the only thing that will meet our demand--the demand of the people who will now stand for the Lord--is that life that is better than this one--the life that is eternal, the life of God.  We know that we are dying for lack of the true spiritual experience that God alone can give us, and it will come ONLY in answer to prayer.  Ask and you shall receive.  The Greek reads, “Continue to ask, and you will continue to receive.”  God calls for a prayer without ceasing, for a desire without waning, for a love without end, for we want eternal life without end. 
 Such an experience is greatly to be experienced through the united prayers of a people who have learned that such unity in prayer results in a power greater than that merely of private prayer.   EGW, Feb. 25, 1903.  “The power given will be proportionate to the unity of members and their love for God and for one another.” 
 People may question why prayer is so important, since Christ redeemed the race while they were yet sinners, bringing justification unto life to all men.  But as the gift purchased us probationary time in which to return in loyalty and love to God, God waits, respecting our free moral choice, as He is doing everything He can for us and through us even before we pray, yet He is limited by our own choices.  Ps. 78:41-42.

 If we turn the gospel into a seeking for power, we will miss the essence of God wants.  He wants us to fall in love with Christ, and such a love is expressed in a continual trust, loyalty, dependency, faith in the one who has given, and will continue to give, all we need for life and godliness, through a knowledge of Him.  God is love.  As we truly comprehend this, we will reach out for the only source of love in the universe. 

-Thomas Cusack

Raul Diaz