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In this, his fourth volume, Williamson shares a series of articles previously published in the weekly online newsletter Voice of Thanksgiving. The articles promote power in prayer-prayer that accomplishes God's plans and goals here on ...
In this, his fourth volume, Williamson shares a series of articles previously published in the weekly online newsletter Voice of Thanksgiving. The articles promote power in prayer-prayer that accomplishes God's plans and goals here on earth. In this collection, Williamson continues with themes leading to power in prayer:
DREAM OF PRAYER
When I was a high school teacher I worked closely with many coaches. Over the years I learned that coaches are dreamers. Before every season they dream. They dream about what could happen with the team and they dream about the individuals on their team. They dream about their team winning a lot of games and going to the championship game and winning. The dream might be of the perfect season, or it could be of the team that comes from behind and wins in the end. The games of the season could be easy wins, showing the great superiority of the team or incredible battles fought against immense odds, and earning final victory just as the gun sounds to end the game. Hey, I told you coaches were dreamers.
They also dream about the men or women on their team. The dream here is for growth, maturity, and success in both the games and life. The good coaches are more concerned with the dreams of success for their players than dreams of the team. And often the coach who is most concerned about players wins a lot of games. So year after year, coaches dream about the team and the individuals on the team.
In prayer there is room for dreams as well. The Bible records many wonderful promises made by God. The greatest of these relates to the salvation of man. It is a great marvel that God is willing and able to deal with sin and rebellion in man. The promises given through the prophets Isaiah and others, tell us that God would send His Son, Jesus Christ, to take the punishment of mankind's wickedness and thereby provided for salvation. And God did just what He promised.
All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
ISAIAH 53:6 (NKJV)
After this first and greatest promise, God has also made other promises to believers. Some of these promises concern prayer. He promises to listen to and then answer prayers. This promise is so powerful, so immense in its scope and potential that most people fail to believe it is possible. And fewer still pursue the promise and its fruit. Prayer is a promise that most are satisfied with having a little, when so much is available.
My dream is that people would seeking what God has for us, seeking all He has promised, seeking His fullness and best, in prayer. This seeking to see God's promises concerning prayer fulfilled can be expressed several ways. I like to use a simple phrase, "More people praying, more prayers, and more effective prayers."
For me, the dream is, first, to have more people praying. The power of the promise is null and void for people if they do not pray. The second part of the dream is to have people praying more prayers. A life with prayer is good, a life with an abundance of prayers is better. The third part of the dream is to have abundance of prayers and for them to be effective, fervent prayers that avail much. This is my dream and I hope my dream will be fulfilled in you; that you will pray, an abundance of prayers, and they will be effective, fervent prayers that avail much.
Fulfillment of this dream will be a great blessing for individuals, the Body of Christ, and for the world. We can have a great prayer life, an effective prayer life, and if we do, it will be of great value to us and to the people around us. The dream is fulfilled in people who have a desire to grow and mature in prayer. They see where they are, where they could be, and they desire to find how to get to where God wants them to be in prayer.
We need to pray. The Bible is filled with men and women of prayer. Jesus, Paul, John, David, Solomon, Moses, Joshua, and many others prayed and called for others to pray. And nowhere in the Bible is there a restriction on who may pray. There is no IQ minimum, height standard, number of years of schooling, color or length of hair, skill with languages, or even an age requirement. Everyone may, can, and should pray. Make the dream come true, pray.
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." So He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one."
LUKE 11:1-4 (NKJV)
To pray is good, to pray a lot, is better. There is a great need for prayer. To answer the need, we need more people praying and more prayers. One of the great campaigns of Satan today is to make people too busy, tired, stressed, or whatever, to pray. We must overcome Satan's attacks on prayer.
All of the efforts of Christian men and women, all of their work and ministry, is better, more powerful and dynamic, if birthed, bathed, and borne along by prayer. Too meet the needs we face, our personal needs, family needs, church needs, and national needs, we must have prayer, much prayer. Make the dream come true, pray and pray more and more.
He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor;
ISAIAH 59:16 (NKJV)
And there is no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You;
ISAIAH 64:7 (NKJV)
More Effective Prayer
There was a man who people called Father Nash. His real name was Daniel Nash and he lived in upstate New York from 1763 to 1837. Nash, who served as a pastor in the area near his home, caught an eye ailment. His eyes were inflamed and he was almost entirely blind for about six months. He could not read or write, so he spent almost all of his time in prayer. This brought a dramatic change in his life; he became a man of prayer. He worked day and night in prayer. The focus of much of his prayer was the salvation of lost men and women.
At age 48, Nash decided to give himself totally to prayer. He spent much of his time praying for Charles Finney's meetings. Nash became the man of prayer behind Finney, praying for revival and the ministry. And from his knees came hours of prayer and wonderful answers to his prayers.
Stories of Nash are nearly legendary, but several documented stories serve our purpose here. For example, Nash carried a prayer list. On this list were names of specific people he had made the focus of prayer. Every day and often several times a day, he would pray for these people. People described his prayers as "wonderful" and "almost miraculous", but the most important point was he prayed for the people on his list until they got saved and time after time he got answers, they were saved.
His power in prayer could be overwhelming. There was a man named Dresser who went out of his way to rail against the local revival and to swear and blaspheme if he saw Christians. He took special delight in attacking young men who had just been converted in Finney's meetings. Nash heard about Dresser and put him on his prayer list and prayed. A few days later Dresser came to the local meeting, confessed his sins, and was converted.
There were other men associated with Finney who were called to prayer, for example Abel Clary. Clary was described as a good man and an elder of the church, who had been licensed to preach, but he had a heavy burden for winning men to Christ and for prayer. The burden was so strong he gave all of his time to prayer.
Nash, and often another man or two, often this was Clary, would go quietly into towns three or four weeks before Finney was scheduled to have meetings. They would rent a room and give themselves to prayer, to much prayer, to effective prayer. They would be so burdened for the meetings and for people that they would not be seen for days. For example, Finney records the following:
When I got to town to start a revival a lady contacted me who ran a boarding house. She said, "Brother Finney, do you know a Father Nash? He and two other men have been at my boarding house for the last three days, but they haven't eaten a bite of food. I opened the door and peeped in at them because I could hear them groaning, and I saw them down on their faces. They have been this way for three days, lying prostrate on the floor and groaning. I thought something awful must have happened to them. I was afraid to go in and I didn't know what to do. Would you please come see about them?" "No it isn't necessary," I replied. "They just have a spirit of travail in prayer."
From Lectures on Revival by Charles Finney
This was Nash's norm, travail in prayer. He did not attend many of the meetings, but would pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to convict people of their sins and soften their hearts, so they would be saved. If there was opposition to the meetings, Nash prayed harder.
When he was seen in public, Nash could be bold as well. There was a time when some young men decided to break up Finney's meetings. Nash had been praying nearby and stepped out of the shadows and announced to them,
"Now mark me, young men! God will break your ranks in less than one week, either by converting some of you, or by sending some of you to hell. He will do this certainly as the Lord is my God!"
Finney in relating this story tells how he thought his friend had "lost his sense". However, by the next week the leader of the group had come, confessed his sinful attitude, been saved, and began to tell all his friends about Christ. Before the week was out nearly the entire group had come to Christ.
Time and space in this article do not allow other stories of Nash and Clary, nor of other men and women of effective prayer, like Brainerd, Backus, Bounds, Erskine, Edwards, Guyon, Howells, Hyde, Knox, McGready, Murray, Müller, Studd, and others. Not satisfied with the conditions around them, they gave themselves to prayer, and not just prayer, but effective, fervent prayer that avails much.
There is a high call, from God, a call to Christians to step up to effective, fervent prayer that avails much. Response to this call will be the deciding factor of success or failure of churches and ministries, families and individuals. Will you step up to the call?
Without the backing of effective prayer our attempts to touch this generation, with the Gospel, will fail. We cannot go enough, preach enough, give enough, broadcast enough, minister enough, or any of the other good things we must do to reach this generation, if we do not have effective prayer backing our efforts. Without the prayers of Father Nash there would not have been the revivals of Finney. Without the effective prayers of men and women today, stepping up to the high call of Christ concerning prayer, there will not be the revivals we so desperately want and need. I ask you to make the dream come true; pray, and pray more, and pray effective prayers that avail much. Will you pray?
Let us pray!
Growing up at our house everyone had jobs, things like washing dishes, taking out the trash, or taking the laundry to the laundry room. One of my jobs was to mow the lawn. It was a good job for me and while we had a good sized lawn, it was not too hard to do. Every week I was required to check over the mower, fill it with gas, and then mow.
In God's family, the Father gives jobs to His children. This is true for every member of the family, we all get jobs. With each job comes responsibility. The question is, as a member of the Body of Christ, for what are you responsible? Some of our responsibilities are general and some personal and specific. We are given assignments by God and He expects us to complete the job. This is true for things like sharing the Gospel message and living out the Christian life before the world.
Our realm of personal responsibility includes prayer. We have been assigned the job of praying. This job is not just praying for our personal needs, it is praying for others, both those in the Body of Christ and for those in the world. We have a responsibility to pray for the Gospel message to go to our neighbors and to every group, tribe, and nation.
God has assigned each of us a specific task. The call to prayer is a call to be responsible for getting the job done. We are called to follow in the footsteps of Paul and many others in bringing the Gospel to the people of every nation. This requires many things; among these are men and women who will be responsible in prayer for answers to meet every need for the job.
To get the job done we need men and women to go to the nations. They come by prayer. We need men and women to be senders and supporters of those who go. They come by prayer. We need massive amounts of money to send and support the ministries. It comes by prayer. We need open doors of opportunity to share the Gospel. They come by prayer. We need opposition to sharing the Gospel defeated. This comes by prayer.
Will you be responsible in prayer for a new outreach or move of God? Will you be responsible in prayer for the renewal or growth of an outreach or move of God? Will you be responsible in prayer for men and women stepping into and fulfilling their call of God? Will you be responsible in prayer for the provision for men and women responding to His call? Will you be responsible in prayer for God bringing revival to a people group, nation, or region? Will you be responsible in prayer?
Let us pray!
WORKING FOR SUCCESS
There is an old adage, "Tell everyone you meet about Jesus, use words if you must". All over the world there are Christians working. Most live a quiet life, with no fanfare or notoriety. They go about their work in God's grace and mercy. They walk by faith and demonstrate the love of the Lord. They are Christians in action, not just name. Their immediate goals vary, but their goals are part of the broad objective of winning this generation for Jesus. Some of these people work where whole groups of people hear and respond to the Gospel message. Others are winning men and women one at a time.
With all this work going on it may seem the job will soon be done. This has happened before, think of the first generation of Christians and the work of the ministry of the first years of the Christian era. Jesus went about doing good, healing all who were sick and oppressed. He was followed by the great exploits of the first disciples; some of these are recorded in the book of Acts. The faith spread rapidly throughout the region of the Middle East and beyond. It appeared the job would soon be done. However, Jesus knew there was much to do then and there is still much to do.
Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.
JOHN 4:34-36 (NKJV)
As we look both around the world and close to home, things look very much the same as they did then, the fields are white for harvest. This is our generation to win for Jesus. The question is, are we up to the task? We can work and even work hard, but will it be enough? If we are going to be successful, we must work the way Jesus worked. If we work like He worked, we will make a difference for the people of our generation.
One of the keys to His work was prayer. Jesus was and is the man of prayer. When He walked here on earth, He was the man of effective, fervent prayer. Effective, fervent prayer made the difference for Him and it is the instrument of change that will make a difference for us as well.
Excerpted from Prayer: A Force that Causes Change by David Williamson. Copyright © 2010 David A. Williamson. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
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Introduction: A Vision for Effective Prayer.................... VII
Unit One A Call to Effective Prayer.................... 1
Article 1 Dream of Prayer.................... 5
Article 2 Responsibility.................... 13
Article 3 Working for Success.................... 15
Article 4 The Riches of Christ.................... 19
Article 5 Nevertheless.................... 23
Article 6 Prayer Tears.................... 29
Article 7 Perfect and Complete.................... 33
Article 8 The City of Our God.................... 37
Article 9 Breakthrough.................... 43
Unit Two Preparation for Effective Prayer.................... 49
Article 10 Prayer Mask.................... 51
Article 11 Maturity in Prayer.................... 59
Article 12 A Platform for Effective Prayer.................... 65
Article 13 Clean Pot.................... 73
Article 14 Okay, Guard, and Desire.................... 79
Article 15 For the Joy Set Before Him.................... 87
Unit Three Components of effective Prayer.................... 93
Article 16 Basics of Effective Prayer.................... 95
Article 17 Study Guide for Effective Prayer.................... 101
Article 18 Components of Effective Prayer.................... 109
Article 19 Power in Prayer.................... 115
Article 20 Blessed Back.................... 123
Article 21 The Correct Prayer for the Job.................... 129
Unit Four Walking in Effective Prayer.................... 135
Article 22 A Key to Success.................... 139
Article 23 A Pathway to Success.................... 147
Article 24 Wisdom.................... 153
Article 25 Expectation.................... 161
Article 26 Faith In.................... 169
Article 27 The Old Barn.................... 175
Article 28 The Armor of Victory.................... 181
Prayer for Salvation.................... 187
Voice of Thanksgiving.................... 189