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Hard To Find A Prayer Meeting

Leonard Ravenhill said that the prayer meeting was the Cinderella of the Church.  He said that she (the prayer meeting) was unloved and she was tucked away in the castle.  Yet beauty is truly found in the prayer meeting.  It was prayer, after all, that Jesus sent His disciples to after His ascension to the Father (Acts 1:14).  It was on the day of Pentecost, while the disciples were at prayer, that the gift of the Holy Spirit came.  After Pentecost, the disciples continue to pray (Acts 2:42).

In fact, prayer marked the early disciples.  All through the book of Acts we find the church at prayer.  In Acts 3:1 that Peter and John were heading to the temple during the hour of prayer.  It seems from this text that the Apostles kept the hour of prayer.  They continued to seek God.  These Apostles did not trust in their Pentecostal experience in Acts 2 to keep them.  They kept on praying, kept on seeking.  Paul the Apostle would later write that disciples are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), to be devoted to prayer (Colossians 4:2), to be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12).  Prayer was not then some vain ritual.  Prayer was their direct communication with the Father through the Lord Jesus (John 14:13-14; Hebrews 4:14-16).  The Apostles had seen the power of prayer in the life of the Lord Jesus (Luke 5:16).  In fact, it was the prayer life of Jesus that caused the Apostles to come to the Lord and ask Him to teach them to pray as well (Luke 11:1).  They heard the words of Jesus to always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1).

And yet what about us?  Is my life marked by prayer?  Is my life marked by my seeking His face?  If prayer was a focus for the early disciples, why not also today?  If the early disciples needed to pray, we also ought to seek God’s face as well!  We have exchanged prayer for technology.  We have substituted the presence of God with emotions.  We have convinced ourselves that we can make it though with human power but not with the power of God.  As E.M. Bounds wrote, “Men are looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.”  God does not anoint methods.  God anoints people.  God may very well work through some of our methods but He is looking for people who will cry to Him and those He will use for His glory.

Prayer meetings are hard to find these days.  There was a time when the church would often meet to pray.  I remember as a boy going to New Year’s Eve prayer meetings and I remember going with my parents to the prayer meetings at our church.  Some of those prayer meetings were more teaching and more talking than actual prayer meetings (what one man called “worthless prayer meetings”).  When I was a young disciple, Wednesday night was often called “prayer meetings” instead of “family night.”  These days, prayer meetings are hard to find.  Churches have many programs but the prayer meeting is all but abandoned these days.

We need a revival of the prayer meeting.  We need churches that preach the truth to not only preach the truth but pray.  If Jesus is truly on His throne, this should stir us to prayer.  If Jesus is truly risen from the dead, this should stir us to prayer.  If Jesus is our faithful high priest, this should stir us to prayer.  If we look at our fallen sinful world and yet see the promise of God in Psalm 110:1, this should stir us to prayer.  If we have truly experienced the gospel, this should stir us to prayer.

I pray that the prayer meeting makes a comeback.  I pray that God will stir His children to pray.  I pray that the Holy Spirit, who teaches us to pray (Romans 8:26-27), will stir up His people to prayer.  The cults are seeking their false gods.  The false religions of this world are seeking their false gods.  How much more should we who know the true and living God not seek His face?  We often seek God for His hand but oh for us to seek His face!  Our God alone hears our prayers (Psalm 65:2).  Our God alone is able to move mountains (Mark 11:22-24).  Our God alone is able to save.  Let us seek His face!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/25/2014 at 4:26 PM

Recommended Reading from Leonard Ravenhill

Leonard Ravenhill was a true man of God.  In his later years, brother Leonard would spend up to 9 hours a day in intercessory prayer.  His book, Why Revival Tarries?remains one of my favorite books along with his book, Revival Praying.  Brother Leonard was himself trained under Samuel Chadwick and was friends with A.W. Tozer.  He also discipled Keith Green.  His passion for God was known by many.  He is dearly missed.

This link will give you book titles you can get on your Kindle.  I would urge you to read them all.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/03/2013 at 10:58 AM

The Aim of the Disciple: Make Disciples of Christ

Jesus said that we were called to make disciples (Matthew 28:19).  He called us, saved us, transformed us – all this so that we would glorify His name in the earth and that we might be a light to draw others to Jesus Christ.

Sadly, some believe their job is to bring people to their point of view theologically.  In other words, their job is to convert disciples to their particular views whether it be Arminians converting Calvinists to Arminianism or Calvinists converting Arminians to Calvinism.  I know of two Calvinists in particular who see it their job to a) answer every Arminian out there on their Calvinistic theology and b) to convert as many people as possible to Calvinism.  These men are passionate about Calvinism.  They adore Calvin.  They adore all Calvinists.  Their passion is to teach others about Calvinism since, in their minds, Calvinism equals the gospel.  They spend hours on Twitter and Facebook and other social sites trying to answer their critics or spread their Calvinism.  Oh yes, they will occasionally praise God for something but in the end, it is Calvinism that is their passion and delight.

Why do they want to convert everyone to Calvinism?  As I stated, they believe that Calvinism is the pure gospel.  They believe that Calvinism along glorifies God and it alone is the true gospel of the Lord Jesus.  They believe that Jesus Himself was the first Calvinist and from Him came the Apostles and eventually Augustine and eventually Calvin and so forth to this day.  They believe that men such as Arminius or John Wesley are men who tried to pervert the true gospel.  They believe that all other systems outside of Calvinism hold to works-salvation.  You can assure them over and over again (as I have) that you hold to justification by faith and that you are kept by faith in Christ but they will in turn argue that your “faith” is a work and that you are not saved by God’s grace nor the gift of faith that He gives to His elect but you hold to salvation by works.  When you quote passages about God saving you by grace through faith such as Ephesians 2:8-9 or Titus 3:5-7, they again will say that you still hold to works salvation since you believe that God saves you because of your faith.  When you argue that your faith is not a work to be saved but is a humble confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior (Romans 4:5), they will again claim you hold to works salvation since you still deny that your faith is a gift from God that came after He regenerated you so that you could believe.  It is a never-ending cycle.  I had one of these two Calvinists tell me that I needed to repent even after I assured him that I was saved by grace alone through faith in Christ alone.  Yet since I am not a Calvinist, I am lost.

I pray that there are no Arminians like this nor that I am like this.  My passion is to preach the gospel of Christ and not Arminianism.  I want to see people saved.  If they become faithful disciples of Jesus and fellowship with Calvinists, so be it.  I only want to see souls saved.  I am not interested in spreading the fame of Arminius or Wesley.  I only want Jesus to be exalted.  I thank God for Arminius or Wesley but do not believe they have ever saved one sinner.  Jesus alone saves.

My heart here is to see us all, both Arminians and Calvinists and all in-between, preaching Christ and Him crucified.  I asked one of the above Calvinists if he was more concerned that I was an Arminian or a disciple of Jesus.  He answered, “A true disciple of Jesus will always be a Calvinist.”  I deplore such thinking.  I want people to be faithful followers of Christ and not a man.  Calvin was a sinner.  Augustine was a sinner.  Luther was a sinner.  Campbell was a sinner.  Ravenhill was a sinner.  Tozer was a sinner.  Only Jesus saves sinners.  I believe these men would tell us to look to Christ alone to be saved and not to flesh.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/10/2013 at 6:10 PM

Do Something!

We all can come up with a thousand reasons why we don’t do this or that type of evangelism.  We make excuses for why we don’t open air preach such as, “Well I don’t think that is effective” or we are not bold enough.  We make excuses about why we don’t give out tracts such as, “Well I believe friendship evangelism is more effective.”

But my point is do something!  Don’t allow compromise to rob you of the joy that comes from preaching the gospel to the lost.  Do something.  Do anything to get God’s Word out.  Pass out tracts.  Pray for the lost.  Preach in the open air.  Give money to missions.  Do something for the gospel.  Don’t be lazy and allow people around you to go to hell while you sleep in the light.  Don’t study theology and sit in your warm office and never talk what God has been teaching you and take it to the lost.  Jesus commands us to go (Matthew 28:19).  The Great Commission is not a suggestion.  It is a command.  He calls us to go and preach His gospel to all of creation (Mark 16:15).  God saved us so that we would worship and adore Him and take Him to every single aspect of our lives (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

When you criticize the “cooky” street preacher, do you share your faith?  When you talk about how you think servant evangelism is the best method of sharing your faith, do you still preach the gospel to the very ones that you are helping?  Are people around you heading toward hell while you sit there with the truth and say nothing?

Leonard Ravenhill wrote,

“Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry?
Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die?
Could a fireman sit idle, let men burn and give no hand?
Can you sit at ease in Zion with the world around you DAMNED?”

Can we?  Can we just sit here and study God and His Word and not be moved to compassion for the lost?  Does not the very heart of God shine forth at the very beginning in Genesis 3:15 with His giving of a Redeemer?  Our God is a missionary God who sent both His Son (John 3:16) and His Spirit (John 16:8-11) to convict the world.  Romans 2:4 says that it is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance.  He does this in the giving of His Son.  How then can we ignore those around us who need the gospel?  How can we pass by the people we work with or in Wal-Mart who need Jesus and His forgiveness?  The world is not coming to the Church.  The Church is commanded by Jesus to go to them.  Jesus has even equipped us with bold power from the Holy Spirit to evangelize the nations (Acts 1:8).

Let us forsake our laziness and go and preach the gospel to the lost.  They will not come to you.  You must go to them.  Preach to them.  Pray for them.  Give out tracts.  But do something!  Nothing equals damnation.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/15/2013 at 8:30 AM

Our Lack of Prayer Shows Our Lack of Faith

We say that we believe in God.  We even acknowledge the miracles that He did in the Scriptures.  We believe He is a God who raised the dead, who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead, who is an ever-present help in the time of trouble (Psalm 46:1).  But I ask the question, does our prayer lives resemble our faith in God?  Or does our prayer life show that we really don’t trust God at all.  We seldom pray.  Seldom are found on our knees crying out to Him.  So few know how to pray today.  So few know how to really touch the throne of God in their intercession.

Leonard Ravenhill wrote it best when he wrote,

No man is greater than his prayer life.  The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying.  The pulpit can be a shop-window to display one’s talents; the prayer closet allows no showing off.

Poverty-stricken as the Church is today in many things, she is most stricken here, in the place of prayer.  We have many organizers, but few agonizers;  many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters.  Failing here, we fail everywhere.

The great saints of God labored in prayer.  George Whitefield said, “Whole nights and weeks have I spend in intercession before God.”  John Wesley would rise every morning at 4 AM to seek God for the first four hours of his day.  David Wilkerson “tithed” his day to the Lord by spending the first four hours of his day alone with God in prayer and studying His Word.  Martin Luther would pray for up to 2 hours a day.  David Brainerd, the great missionary to the American Indians and son-in-law to Jonathan Edwards, would often lie on his face before God for hours crying out for the souls of the Indians.  John Hyde, the great missionary to India, was known as “Praying Hyde” for his hours in prayer.  E.M. Bounds was known to pray for 8 hours a day near his death.  David Livingstone, the great British missionary and explorer of Africa, would pray for hours next to his bed and he died there.

Yet what about us?  We know the Word.  We know that Jesus said that we would pray if we are His disciples (Matthew 6:5).  We know His promises to hear us and answer us if we pray in faith (Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14).  We know the example of the early Church (Acts 2:42; 12:5; 16:13).  We read the commands to pray in the Epistles (Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6-7; Colossians 4:2-6; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Hebrews 4:14-16; James 4:2-3; 5:16; 1 Peter 3:12; 4:7; 5:6-7) yet we don’t pray.  We know the promise of Romans 8:26-27, that the Spirit helps us pray but we don’t pray.  We show our lack of faith by our prayer lives.

Ravenhill also wrote, “The acid test of devotion is our prayer lives.”  What does your prayer life or mine say about our faith in God?  Let it not be said of the pagans and those who worship false gods that they are more devoted to their false gods than we are to the one true and living God.  The Muslim bows before Mecca crying out to a false god five times a day.  Can the disciple of Jesus not say that we pray more than five minutes a day?  The Buddhist sits alone in meditation for hours seeking a false reality.  Can it not be said of the disciple of Jesus that we don’t get alone with God and meditate on His Word (Psalm 1:1-3) and seek His face who is true?  The cults are known for their zeal.  Should not we be more zealous for the truth of God?

I have no doubt that God is merciful but our lack of faith in Him must disturb the angels.  No doubt God is sovereign but He has called His people to prayer and yet we would rather sit and watch television or waste time than to seek His face.  The prayer closet offers no rewards, no applause from men.  The prayer closet does offer this: the promise of Jeremiah 33:3.  I urge you saints of God to labor in prayer.  Seek His face at all times.  Our God will hear and He will restore and He will move in power as we cry out to Him.  He is more than able (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/27/2012 at 12:46 PM

Why Revival Tarries?

I was saved in 1992 and for the first two years of my Christianity, I can say that it was lukewarm at best.  My prayer life and my passion for God in His Word were not on fire at all.  In 1994 I went to the mountains and on the way I stopped at a small Christian bookstore in Pickens, SC and there I purchased a book by an author that I had heard of when reading Keith Green’s biography, No Compromise.  His name was Leonard Ravenhill.  The book was Why Revival Tarries?

There are few books that consume a person like this one did for me.  Ravenhill wrote later about the first time he read a book by E.M. Bounds while attending college in England.  He says that instead of him reading Bounds, Bounds went through him.  Bounds challenged Ravenhill to commit himself to a life of prayer and a passion for revival was born.  Ravenhill’s two mentors were the late Samuel Chadwick who himself wrote several books on prayer and holiness that are powerful reads and the late A.W. Tozer who also taught Ravenhill how to pray and adore God.  From Bounds and Chadwick and Tozer came Leonard Ravenhill’s passion for prayer that he captured in his book Why Revival Tarries?.

The book is simply a profound book.  Like few books this book challenged me toward prayer like I had never been challenged before.  I remember that night after spending the day reading Ravenhill’s book, I lay on the floor and wept over my lack of passion for revival and my lukewarm prayer life.  I wept over the lost and the countless souls that I had passed by and never uttered one word of salvation in Christ.  I wept over my lack of passion for the Word of God.  The tears flowed that night and I repented deeply from my heart for my sinfulness by failing to love Jesus with all that was in me (Mark 12:29-31).

Leonard Ravenhill was a man of prayer.  A couple of friends and I drove all the way to Texas to meet Leonard Ravenhill who would die just a few months later.  At that time Ravenhill was having prayer meetings at his home where men of God would come and pray for hours.  Ravenhill was known to pray as much as 9 hours a day before he died.  His heart wept for the lost, for the glory of God to be restored to His Church, and for the Church to awaken herself in prayer.  He would read 1 Samuel 12:23 and weep over the sinfulness of not seeking God in the Church.  Ravenhill truly was a prophet of God who called the people of God to holiness, to exaltation of Christ alone, and to prayer.  I have never met a man like him.

I hear people make excuses about their lack of prayer.  Too busy.  Too full of ministry.  Too tired.  I hear people say things such as, “God wants quality praying and not just quantity praying” but sadly I have found He gets neither.  We claim that Jesus is our life, that He is our passion, that He is our desire yet is He?  What consumes you?  Does prayer and seeking God’s face consume you?  Is your number one passion the presence of God in your life?  Is prayer a top priority or just something you religiously do or do when you are in dire straits?  Prayer must be a priority as prayer demonstrates, unlike many other things, our faith in Christ.  If we fail to pray it’s because we really don’t believe in the power of God.  We believe in our own wisdom, our own power, our own ways.  Prayer must be a focus.

Sadly, I know few churches who are committed to radical revival praying.  Prayer breeds revival.  The great revivals under Edwards or Wesley were started and sustained through faithful praying.  In fact history records that every great revival came when people started praying with fire.  Even the day of Pentecost came with people praying in the upper room (Acts 1:14).  The book of Acts goes on to record by the inspiration of the Spirit that the early Church prayed (Acts 12:5 for example).  The Epistles are full of references to prayer.  Even Revelation 5:8 tells us that the prayers of the saints rise up before the throne of Almighty God.

And yet few today pray.  When Ravenhill died in 1994 his wife Martha stated through tears that he was heartbroken that he never saw a true biblical revival in his lifetime.  For years Leonard Ravenhill had prayed for revival to fall on the Church.  He was heartbroken over the playing in the Church and not the praying in the Church.  In Why Revival Tarries? Ravenhill calls the prayer meeting the “Cinderella of the Church.”  Once Leonard was invited to preach at a church a series of meetings that they were calling a “revival” and before he preached the first sermon he walked down the stage at this large church and asked the pastors from the church to come up front.  He then went one by one to them asking them how much time do they regularly give to prayer.  Hardly any were truly praying.  Brother Leonard went up and said, “I have no reason to believe from the utter lack of praying from your pastors that you desire revival.  You came to hear a good sermon and not to seek God.  That is not my heart and I want nothing of it.”  And he walked out.

Oh how I long to pray with fire like that!  I want to be desperate for my Jesus.  I don’t want to sit around and talk about Jesus or think about Jesus but I want to seek Him.  He is worthy to be praised and He is worth more to me than life itself (Luke 14:25-35).  Jesus taught us to pray always and not lose heart (Luke 18:1) and that is just what I want to do.  I want to be a man of prayer.  Above being an expositor of the Word or a great theologian or a great husband, I want to first and foremost be a man of prayer.

The great hymn O Breath of Life by Mrs. B.P. Head is worth reading and taking to heart.

O Breath of life, come sweeping through us,
Revive Thy church with life and power;
O Breath of life, come, cleanse, renew us,
And fit Thy church to meet this hour.

O Wind of God, come bend us, break us,
Till humbly we confess our need;
Then in Thy tenderness remake us,
Revive, restore, for this we plead.

O Breath of love, come breathe within us,
Renewing thought and will and heart;
Come, Love of Christ, afresh to win us,
Revive Thy church in every part.

O Heart of Christ, once broken for us,
’Tis there we find our strength and rest;
Our broken, contrite hearts now solace,
And let Thy waiting church be blest.

Revive us, Lord! Is zeal abating
While harvest fields are vast and white?
Revive us Lord, the world is waiting,
Equip Thy church to spread the light.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/28/2012 at 10:42 PM

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