FROM WHENCE COMETH THIS SPIRIT OF PRAYER?
It comes from a burden. Where does the burden come from? Partially and the emphasis being made here is it comes from vision. It comes from seeing. Seeing what God has promised, what God can do, what God is capable of, what God wants to do, and what God desires to do.
It comes from seeing our lack, our need, our impotence, our need of Him and His power. It comes by seeing the work the enemy has done. It comes from seeing the lack of God’s promises being fulfilled. Here are several examples from scripture.
Isaiah 59:1-2-Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy that it cannot hear:
Here Isaiah acknowledges what God is capable of and desires to do but then in verses 2-15 he gives a vivid description of why God is hindered from moving and the wicked conditions in that society. He as well as God seem grieved, dismayed, and shocked that knowing what God desired to do and could be done and how wicked things had become there was still no intercessor (verse 16). No one concerned enough to meet the conditions to make a difference, avail themselves, stand in the gap and pray down God’s power.
Isaiah 59:16-And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor:
Another example from scripture:
Isaiah 64:1-3-Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, as when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.
Isaiah acknowledges his great need of God Himself coming down and doing what Isaiah realizes he cannot do in and of himself. For God to rend the heavens and come down. For the mountains which represent the strongholds and pride of man (humanism, communism, false religion, sin) to melt and come down at His presence. For the waters which represent the multitudes of peoples to boil at His presence and make His Holy terrible fear known among the multitudes, bringing conviction on the peoples, and making known His name to His adversaries.
He realizes for this to happen someone must stir themselves to call upon the name of God and take hold of Him until He rends the heavens and comes down!
How are men stirred?
We are told in 2 Timothy 1:6-“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God that is in thee…”
To stir up means to fan into a flame. How is this done?
Acts 17:16-Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
Paul was stirred as he saw the city wholly given over to the worship of idols. If saints today would obey the great commission to go where the lost, deceived, blinded multitudes are and begin to try to reach them they would be stirred to call upon the name of God and take hold of Him for His power to set the captives free.
Unfortunately most people never attempt to obey the heavenly vision given to Paul and commanded to all:
Acts 26:18-19-To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
It is not until we obey this command to go into the world and attempt to attack satan’s stronghold’s and reconcile sinners that we really find out how much of God’s power we really possess and how much we really need and depend upon Him. This causes us to see our need and lack and cry out to Him.
Psalm 119:139-My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.
What caused David to be filled with zeal? Seeing his and the enemies of God forgetting God’s words.
John 2:17-The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
What filled Jesus with zeal to drive the moneychangers out of the temple? Seeing his Father’s house which was to be a house of prayer made a place of merchandise. Seeing God being misrepresented and reproached. In John 2:17 the disciples were remembering the words from the Old Testament book of Psalms.
Psalm 69:9-For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.
Jesus was filled with zeal because His Father’s name and house had been reproached and that reproach fell upon Him and moved Him to action. We should be moved to action as we see the Lord misrepresented and reproached and as we see those He died to save wholly given over to the worship of idols.
This is what stirred Paul. It was what stirred Isaiah. It should stir us also.
In the book of Joel the prophet saw the terrible judgment coming on God’s people and on the land (Joel 2:1-11).
In chapter 3 Joel saw the vision of the potential harvest as well as the judgment coming (Joel 3:12-14).
Realizing his and God’s people’s great need and their great lack he says the following:
Joel 2:12-Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping and with mourning:
Turning to God with all the heart always involves fasting and weeping and mourning. If these are not present then there is not a turning to God with all the heart.
Joel 2:13-And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
This rending of the heart involves godly sorrow that worketh repentance and a heart change.
Joel 2:14-Who knoweth if He will return and repent and leave a blessing behind Him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?
God is very merciful and if His people turn back to Him with all their heart it is possible God may have mercy and spare them some judgment or at least prolong it.
Joel 2:15-Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
There is a much greater potential for good as God’s people meet together in unity (Psalm 133), with one accord and in one place (Acts 2:1), of one heart and of one soul (Acts 4:32), in the unity of the spirit (Ephesians 4:3), in the unity of the faith (Ephesians 4:13), and in the unity of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 17), to pray, fast, repent and intercede.
Joel 2:16-Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber and the bride out of her closet.
This corporate prayer time of fasting, repenting, and interceding was even more important than upcoming wedding. Call off the wedding for now and get to the house of God to join other believers in repenting, interceding, fasting and seeking God.
Joel 2:17-Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people Where is their God?
One of the biggest hindrances and difficulties today of God pouring out His spirit on His people is getting leaders to forsake their petty differences which are usually mainly a cover up for pride, territorialism, and a desire to be “King of the Hill”.
When God’s people obey Joel 2:12-17 then God will have mercy (verse 18) and will pour out His spirit upon His people and the land.
God is looking for laborers and this includes intercessors (Isaiah 59:16).
Isaiah 64:7-And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee:
Ezekiel 22:30-31-And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them;
God is desiring a praying church, an interceding church, a concerned church, a burdened church (2 Chronicles 7:14, Joel 2:12-17).
Many excuses are made and offered as to why more are not saved, why God’s kingdom is not advanced, etc. but the real reason behind all of it is a lack of burden, a lack of concern that translates into a lack of prayer.
Isaiah 66:8-As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.
As believers see the promises of God (Isaiah 59:1-2, Isaiah 64:1-3) and what God desires to do, and as believers see their need of God’s power and lack of God fulfilling His promises due to their lack of seeking, believing and obeying Him they begin to cry out to God.
Psalm 63:1-2-O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
Here the Psalmist is desiring to see God come down. He realizes he is in a dry land and is hungering and thirsting for God to pour out His spirit and water the seeds that have been sown.
Isaiah 44:3-For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.
God promises to pour out His spirit and fulfill His promises upon those who meet the conditions. God desires to move and come down but He must have intercessors who are hungry and thirsty, who are desperate and give themselves to seeking Him.
Zechariah 12:10-And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications:
As God’s people begin to hunger and thirst for God to come down and be glorified and began to seek Him and give themselves to prayer God will begin to pour out upon His faithful saints the spirit of grace and supplications, to seek Him, to petition Him, to supplicate Him, to beseech Him to fulfill His promises.
Hosea 10:12-Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you.
It is one thing to do some praying but it takes the supernatural ability of God given by a spirit of supplications to seek God and take hold of Him until He comes and rains righteousness upon us. This is the spirit of prayer.
Zechariah 10:1-Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain;so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give showers of rain, to everyone grass in the field.
God says even if we are in the time of the latter rain we are still to ask for the latter rain and not idly sit around and wait upon Him to send it in His sovereignty. He promises if we will ask He will send it.
We are in desperate need of God and without His anointing and Spirit we can do nothing.
Zechariah 4:6-Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
Realizing this, seeing His great promises and what He desires to do and not seeing them fulfilled causes us to cry out to Him in desperation (Psalm 63:1-2, Isaiah 64:1-3). We are in a dry and thirsty land and are in need of His spirit. We have had truth and seed sown but we must have His Spirit to water those seeds and bring those seeds to fruition.
Isaiah 32:15-Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.
We are in a dry spiritual wilderness but we can pray, seek, ask, petition and believe God to make this wilderness a fruitful field and then continue to seek God until the fruitful field becomes a forest.