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Prayer: A Force that Causes Change
Faithful in Prayer Volume 5
By David Williamson
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2012 David A. Williamson
All rights reserved.
THE FALLOW GROUND
The clock had to be broken; the secondhand seemed to never move. As soon as this last period of the day was over, we would begin Christmas break. Although this was more than 45 years ago, I still can feel the excitement level rising in me and throughout the school. The old building had seen many Christmas breaks, but once again the anticipation built to a higher and higher crescendo. Students were nearly bursting with expectation of the fun and excitement of Christmas break. Finally the last few seconds did pass, the bell rang, and with a hoop and holler, we ran down the hall and out the door.
Life goes tripping along; a day passes on to another day, then weeks, months, and years go by. There are milestones that capture our attention, but mostly, the days just flow one after another. Days are so much like other days; it is hard to even remember anything about them just a week later. What can you say about last Tuesday? Is there something of note about a week ago last Monday? There are days we remember, like the day before Christmas break that I just described, but most days are as James describes life, just a vapor that soon vanishes away.
For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
James 4:14 (NKJV)
However, in contrast to a vapor of our days, most people want their days to count for something. There is an innate part of man, something within the DNA of all men that desires to do something of value. People want to make their life and work count. How about you?
God has called us for this time. And His call is not for just drifting though life, with nothing to show for our time. He has called us to add value to our days and to the days of those around us. This is a high calling in Christ Jesus. Around us we see people, or hear of people, or we read of people, who have taken God at His word and stepped into His call. They do things, accomplish things, they have great fruit. This is what we want for our life.
With this idea in mind, life becomes more like a race, a race we run, to win. There are some fundamentals that will help with our running the race, instead of just watching as our race goes by. First, before we can apply these fundamentals there is a basic requirement: are you a Christian? Have you made Jesus Christ Lord of your life and set your mind and heart to seeking to be His disciple? This is the all important first step for a fruitful life. (For more information on this necessary step, see the section, Prayer for Salvation, near the end of this book)
When you are a Christian, you are in a good place for God to work with you and help you. He has made provision for you and your race of life. His provision for a full life begins with your heart. Dealing with the issues of our heart, opens the door for God to work throughout every part of our life. It is His process for building a life of great value and purpose. In Hosea we read of God's plan and process.
Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.
Hosea 10:12 (NKJV)
The process is straightforward. Step one; break up your fallow ground, this is heart preparation. Step two; seek the Lord, this is effective prayer. Step three; continue until the result comes, the rain of His righteousness. And when God comes and rains righteousness on you, your days will be like those of Jesus; of great value and power.
Breaking up your fallow ground is dealing with the issues of the heart. Please note that this verse from Hosea is not written to the lost; if it was, it would be a command to deal with the land in the wilderness state. Nor is it to backsliders; it does not speak of ground willfully abandoned. This is a command to Christians who have ground that is unproductive due to lack of or limited cultivation. Seed could be sown and rain given, but the yield would be meager at best, because the ground is not prepared. Isn't this the state we find in much of the church today? Isn't this the state of the heart of many people; vast tracts of fallow ground. Is this the state of your heart?
The fallow ground of the unprepared heart is first of all hard. It is insensitive to sin and unresponsive to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Hardness of heart leads to the life of the Pharisee. The hard heart is formal and cold. It fulfills religious duty, but with little fruit of holiness or effective ministry, and is characterized by a lack of God's power.
having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 3:5 And 7 (NKJV)
"Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."
Hebrews 3:15 (NKJV)
The fallow ground of the unprepared heart is also weed covered ground. Jeremiah also writes about fallow ground. His admonition is also to break up the fallow ground, and then he goes on to instruct us, not to sow among thorns. The world and its ways are the weeds and thorns in many hearts. These weeds must be dealt with if we are going to have fruitful harvests and value of abundance in our life.
The problem of weeds is currently an epidemic. Never in history have weed seeds been more available. At the same time there is less teaching and training, on how to deal with weeds. If we allow weeds to flourish, it leaves our hearts unsuitable for effective cultivation. "As the gardener well knows, the weeds need not be willfully encouraged in order to flourish; they are the product of sloth, indifference, and neglect", writes Arthur Wallis in his book on praying for revival, In the Day of Thy Power:
For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: "Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your hearts, You men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, lest My fury come forth like fire, and burn so that no one can quench it, because of the evil of your doings."
Jeremiah 4:3-4 (NKJV)
I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; and there it was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall was broken down.
Proverbs 24:30-31 (NKJV)
And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.
Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
Matthew 13:7 And 22 (NKJV)
The fallow ground of the unprepared heart is unproductive and unprofitable. Hard and weed infested ground will not yield a good harvest, even if God poured out His blessing, there would be no great harvest, the ground would remain unfruitful.
This is not what God wants, He expects us to be fruitful. God commanded Adam to tend the garden and be fruitful. When Noah left the ark this same command came once again, be fruitful. Jesus declared the fields were white; that is ready for harvest. He told us to pray for laborers for the harvest; this is being fruitful and it is what He expects of you and me.
For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.
Hebrews 6:7-8 (NKJV)
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
John 15:2 (NKJV)
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
John 15:5 (NKJV)
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-8 (NKJV)
This is a good time to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the condition of your heart and show you any place of hardness or weeds. Ask Him to reveal to you the true nature of your heart and how to deal with what He reveals to you. To be effective in prayer we need to break up the fallow ground.
Let us pray!
A look through the catalog revealed all kinds of items, from toys to appliances. And you did not need money; all you had to do was to take the books to the store and redeem them for the item you wanted. The books where filled with S & H Green Stamps.
This was a popular form of trading stamps used in the United States from 1930s until the 1980s. The stamps were distributed by supermarkets, gas filling stations, and many stores. They were given as a bonus to shoppers, much as some credit cards give awards (such as mileage or cash back) for shopping. Each book when filled was worth 1200 points and could be redeemed in special Green Stamp stores. It was fun to get the stamps and fill the books. It was great to go with my Mom to the store and get items for "free".
One of the great missionaries of the nineteenth century was Hudson Taylor. Until the mid 1800s, all of the empire of China was closed to the Gospel, except for small pockets around the port cities like Canton. Taylor changed all of that. Think about what he did, he was able to go to China, minister to thousands of people all over China, start the China Inland Mission, and open many mission works in the inland provinces of China. These are great accomplishments for a man who started with and often had no support or backing. And yet there is more to the story and this is the key for us today. Hudson Taylor said, "When God decided to evangelize inland China, He looked around to find a man who was weak enough for Him to use".
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Ephesians 6:10 (NKJV)
This is what God wants with us; for us to be weak enough for Him to use. We have gone to great lengths to do what we think we can do and tried to do it in our strength and abilities, by our ways and plans. However, now it is time to begin to do the seemingly impossible, and God works with and through men and women of prayer, weak enough for His power and glory to be their strength.
To help us make this transition from personal weakness to His strength manifest in our life, we must be established in Him and in His gift of salvation. There are seven revelations that make men and women weak enough for Christ to use and make strong in prayer. When we have made these revelations a reality in our life, receiving and meditating on them, until they are real in our heart and mind, then we will walk and pray with power in our new life, and will have exchanged our weakness for His empowerment.
He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established; he will not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies.
Psalm 112:7-8 (NKJV)
To help us remember these revelations, I have included, for each one, a short quip or story. The first four are in this article and the next three in the following article.
REALITY OF REDEMPTION
Redemption means to buy up or ransom. This is what Christ did for us; He redeemed us from the curse. A way for us to remember this is the Green Stamp program. Mom and I would take the books of stamps and redeem them for great household items.
Christ, by His death and resurrection, has redeemed us from the curse of the law. He paid the price of the curse due to us, so we could live under the blessing of Abraham. There is a great description of the blessing and curse in chapter 28 of the book of Deuteronomy. The first 15 verses present the blessing and by redemption we have this blessing.
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Galatians 3:13-14 (NKJV)
Redemption has been obtained for us by Christ; it is a done deal, completed 2000 years ago on the cross. Our redemption is an eternal redemption, the victory was over Satan and all his forces and it was, and is, a full and complete victory that lasts forever. And our redemption is not just something we get later in Heaven, it is operational now and is ours. If you are in Christ, then redemption is a reality. You are no longer under the curse, no longer under the dominance of Satan. You have great authority as a redeemed believer in Christ. Redeemed!
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Hebrews 9:11-14 (NKJV)
REALITY OF THE NEW BIRTH
When I was young there was a show on TV that was very popular, the show was so popular that it has continued in various forms, off and on, until today; the show, "To Tell the Truth". In this show three people claim to be a person and the panel of stars must determine, by asking questions, which ones are imposters. At the end of the show the announcer says something like, "Will the real David Williamson, please stand up!" And the one who is not an imposter, the real person, stands up.
The second reality is that of the new birth. By new birth, we are a new creation in Christ; once we are born again, we are the new person, the real person we are designed to be. The person I was before I was born again is dead. The old things, nature, and ways of thing and acting are gone.
When at the end of the show the announcer says, "Will the real David Williamson, please stand up" this is what should happen in our life; the new man standing up and living as the born again, new creation in Christ. This new man is reconciled to God and empowered by God for action (including effective, fervent prayers that avail much!). A new creation in Christ!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (NKJV)
by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2 Peter 1:4 (NKJV)
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)
REALITY OF BEING MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD
Coming home from a trip to a conference in Costa Rica, I was stopped at customs in Miami. They took me to a special room and made me sit and wait, and wait, and wait. I could see the customs official working feverishly on a computer and then he was joined by another official. The first man kept pointing to me and then pointing to the computer. Finally, they came to me and said I could go. I said thank you, but I was curious. "What was this about?" They said they were looking for a man named David Williamson, but by looking at my passport they became convinced it was a different David Williamson. So I was free to go and enter the US. Thank God for my passport.
Being made the righteousness of God is having right standing with God. Christ took my sin so that I might have His righteousness. When I stand before the Father, I do so with Jesus' righteousness. This is a wonderful place to be; in right standing with God! This is like having a passport for the country of Heaven that says I have permission and authority to live in Heaven and enjoy all of the benefits of citizenship. This is a wonderful position, the righteousness of God!
Excerpted from Prayer: A Force that Causes Change by David Williamson. Copyright © 2012 David A. Williamson. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
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