THIS WEEKS MESSAGE
"THE PRAYER OF FAITH"
Presented to by Pastor John S. Torell from his home church
Your responses and comments are always welcome.
This message is available on audio Cassette from our Book Store
16 November 1997
Today's message is on the prayer of faith. We start our scripture reference in the book of James chapter 5 verse 13. [It is the Apostle James that coined the term PRAYER OF FAITH.] Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing Psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
This is the prayer of faith then. God wants us to begin to have the prayer of faith.
We have just recently started to videotape our Sunday services. I asked a person from our Michigan outreach what they thought of the tape. The response was good except he said, "You do not look at the audience when you're speaking." So I checked it out and sure enough he was right. Standing in front of a video camera knowing that thousands may be viewing you is intimidating. It's just another way for the devil to bring us down. When we are afflicted -- let us pray. When we are happy -- let us sing Psalms.
Turn to Psalms chapter 100. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all you lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know you that the Lord he is God: it is he that has made us, not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be the thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Make a joyful noise onto all the lands. When you're happy, praise Him. When we are afflicted, let us pray. The effectual fervent prayer availeth much. It profits strongly. God is saying here through James, if you and I pray the prayer of faith something will happen. It does not matter who is praying the prayer faith, God will do what we have prayed for and answer us. He says confession and praying for one another.
Turn to first Kings chapter 17 verse 1, and we will see how Elijah prayed, [First we read in James that Elijah was subject to like passions as we are (meaning he is no different than you and I.) He prayed earnestly (God heard him.) that it might not rain. It rained not on the earth for a space of three years and six months. He prayed again and the heaven put forth rain and brought forth fruit.] And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my words. And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Chetith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
Elijah prayed; Elijah took action. So many times when we pray, we pray and then we run and hide. We tell people, "See you later. If our prayers are answered call me, if not, don't bother me." Elijah confronted the King, he had prayed, he obeyed and for over three years there was not one drop of rain over Israel. God heard his prayer. I'm sure that other people had prayed. The King was praying. God said that he would hear Elijah's prayer at this time.
Turn to first Kings chapter 18 verse 36. [Three years later.] And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that you art God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that you art Lord God, and that you hast turned their heart back again. [This was a prayer of faith. Where Elijah said Lord hear me, (read the entire chapter and understand that the Baal prophets had been dancing and screaming for the whole day. He took the sacrifice and built an altar. I do not know where they found the water but they had water there. He covered everything until it was floating in the water to make sure that no one could say that he had prepped it. Do you know what I was told in the seminary concerning this particular passage? The professor told us that Elijah had a miracle because he had sneaked up oil. It was oil that the poured on the altar instead of water. That is why it burned. These are your modern day preachers and teachers. I believe it was water. The prayer of faith is prayed by a man or woman that stands in front of circumstances that cannot be controlled. You stand there with the prayer of faith ready to go. You say, "Father God, hear me.") Look in verse 38, Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them to escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew of them there. And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.
God is ready to have a move. We do not have Baal prophets today to slay, but we have evil spirits. We have the evil spirit of pornography, alcohol, drugs, crime, incest, you name them, they are all around us; intimidation, insecurity, inferiority, sickness-these are demons that are just hovering around us. They're telling you and I that they are victorious. They are going to do us in. I have news for them. We are going to cut their heads off, because our God is ready to make the move. The prayer of faith, the absolute prayer of faith, is where we simply stand upon the word of God.
Please turn to the second Kings chapter 6 verse 8. [This is Elisha who was a student of Elijah.] Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp. And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that you pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are came down. And the King of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice. Therefore the heart of the King of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will you not shew me which of us is for the kingdom Israel? And one of his servant said, None, my Lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in your bedchamber. [Know that was a pretty good prophet. Elisha actually was given the words that the king of Syria spoke in his chambers. He warned that king of Israel. The king of Syria said, "I am going to nail that prophet." That showed his stupidity. He did not understand both was dealing with God. He said, "Go get that prophet and lets kill him."] And we said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he's in Dothan. Therefore sent he thither horses, chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compressed the city about. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compressed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! How shall we do?
That would be the same thing as if you woke up one morning and you would find that the Red Chinese have arrived from Mexico. You would find that every freeway, every route was blocked with Tanks and gunships. They are all around us. There is no way to escape. There are thousands of them. And Elisha's servant said, "What do we do now?" Here is the answer. Elisha said, "Fear not!" This is the first thing Satan tells you and that is to fear. You have cancer, fear! You've lost your job, fear! You cannot pay your bills, fear! FEAR!
And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. Then Elijah prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, opened his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord open the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
God is Holy angels are around us constantly. We may not see them, but they are there with walls of fire and flaming swords.
Turn to the book of Hebrews chapter 1 verse 13. But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
God's holy angels have been sent forth to minister for you and I. Every person here has angels assigned to you. They were assigned to you the moment that you were conceived in your mother. At the very moment that egg was fertilized, angels were assigned to you to keep that cell from being destroyed. From that one cell you became a person. You have angels with you all the time.
One of the brothers here and myself had the opportunity to minister this past week in a nearby community. As we were driving in to the toll Plaza over the Bay Bridge, all the lanes were merging together. I could not believe what I was about experience. There was a large tractor trailer with a pup trailer attached to it. He was bearing down on me so as I had nowhere to turn. I was blocked on all sides. There was nothing I could do. I could not speed up or slowdown, and I do not know how these three vehicles managed to merge into the same lane without hitting each other. I said to my passenger, "We have angels with us." This is not the first time that this his happened to me. I do not want you to be discouraged today. Know this-there are angels around you. You do not talk to the angels; you talk to God. God will send you angels on assignment, to help you when you have a need.
Second Kings first 18 of chapter 6. And when they came down to him Elisha prayed onto the Lord, and said, Smite these people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. [Imagine Elisha going out to these Red Communists from China, saying, "Look, you are in the wrong place. If you don't mind I will be glad to lead you." That took a lot of guts and courage to go up to your very enemy. He had to trust that God had blinded them. You don't read Elisha saying to servants, "Go down and check them out." He did not do that. He went down himself.] Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man who you seek. But he led them to Samaria. [The capital of Israel. Here you have all the Syria troops walking behind Elisha like puppy dogs. They were following the man they came to capture blindly. They did not even see that they were walking right into the city of Samaria, into a trap. They could not see what was happening. They were as happy as a lark. You know why? Because God's holy angels had blinded them. They could not see where they were going.] And it came to pass, when they were come into to Samaria, that Elisha said, Lord, open their eyes of these men, that they may see. And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. And the king Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? Shall I smite them? And he answered, you shall not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou has taken captive with a sword and was a bow? set bread in water before them, that they may teach and rain, and go to their master. And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land Israel.
You can just imagine the king when he got all his troops back. He said, "What happened to you?" We met this person. He told us where to go and before we knew what we were doing, we were in the middle of Samaria. This person was the man we were looking for. We were blinded.
You and I have to learn that we serve a powerful God. When we pray the prayer of faith, something is going to happen. We cannot be intimidated.
Turn to the book of Acts as we look at some examples, chapter 4 verse 18. [Most of the time people say, "We have tried everything else, so I might as well pray."] And they called them, and commanded them not to speak it all or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, Judge you. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. For the man was about 40 years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed. And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they [the rest of the apostles heard this, the 70 others, the 3,000 new converts] heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, you are God, which has made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of your servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together. For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord behold their threatenings: [We need to know how to survive. We need some guns. We need extra food supplies. We need an escape plan. Father God, help us to find a cave where we can hide ourselves until you are coming back. That is how people pray today. Survivalists are always looking to see how they can survive. These servants of God were not into survival. They were into Jesus. These men and women, what did they ask for? They said, behold their threatenings] and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of the holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
We are not here to survive. We are here to fight. We are here to enlarge the kingdom of God, to pray the prayer of faith. We are not here to be entertained. We are here to serve.
In Egypt about 100 or 200 years after Christ, this is after the apostolic church had developed. There were approximately 50,000 holy men that had not understood the gospel. They got saved and filled with the Holy Ghost and then said, :We are going to survive." There was a colony in Egypt of about 50,000 of these men. There were some canyons just south of them. In these canyons they had dug out caves in the sides of walls. Somehow, they pulled themselves up into these caves, and they would set their day and night. This is how the monks were started. Do you know what God did? He sent down persecution. Armies came in; they took and killed every monk. Those monks never gave the gospel to anyone else. They were selfish, inwardturned people, and they died there by themselves. The rest of the church began to move out. Paul believed Jesus was going to come back in his day. They were all saying, "Let's not get married or do anything because Jesus is coming back. Let us get the gospel out here and there and Jesus will come." Eventually, the Holy Ghost was able to make them understand that the gospel was going to go to all the world. Because these people prayed, you and I have the gospel today. It is that not wonderful? At least I think so.
Look again in Acts chapter 4 verse 31. And when they had prayed, [What kind of prayer did they pray? It was the prayer of faith.] the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and all filled with the holy ghost, and they spake the word God. [With what? Boldness!] And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought to the things to which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common. [The prayer of faith. Great power.] and do with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
Today, people want to see power. They want to see people slain in the spirit. They want to see miracles. The power that we should really seek is the power to be a witness, so that people will know that the resurrection has taken place, and people should come to Christ. We could have a service here where everyone would be slain in the spirit. They could be rolling on the floor, doing all kinds things. The power is to be able to go out and convince an atheist, an agnostic, a Satanist, that Jesus is Lord. That is the power! This is the power that the early church had.
Please turn to the book of Acts chapter 10 verse 1. There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a Memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose calls is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. [Here's a man Cornelius, praying, a devout man, one who had embraced Judaism. He was looking for God. He was praying but Judaism does not have God anymore. He was after the resurrection. With the prayer of faith God sent an angel. You pray and God will send angels if there is a need. And God went into action.] And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
Acts 10 verse 44, While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision [These are the Jews.] which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the heard them to speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to the baptized in the name of Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
These men were moved by the Holy Spirit. Their prayer of faith went into action.
Please turn to the book of Acts chapter 12 verse 1. Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also.(Then were the days of unleavened bread.) [Just before Passover.] And when he had apprehended him, he put them in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep them; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison : but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. [Prayer was made without ceasing. They had started to pray. Their prayer of faith was, "Oh God, don't let Peter die." What were the odds? Not very good. Peter was shackled to soldiers. If he moved his arm, he moved a soldier. They were imprisoned; how could God possibly get Peter out? An angel. Angels can do a lot of things. The angel came in.] And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he when out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were passed the first in the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
We are going to need this kind of prayer now. This is what you and I are facing today. The Iraqi government has placed in this country approximately 1,000 young men and women between ages of 24 and 30 years old. They are in every city of this nation. They are scientists who have had training in our universities. They have brought into this country biological weapons, powerful Anthrax, and a number of other things. This was made public about a year ago. What we're seeing on television now is Clinton, in desperation, talking about a problem. The problem, is that it is already here. There was one particular person that defected to our country and shared some things. There are containers that are similar to the common 10 gallon sprayers that we use on our gardens and yards when we spray for weeds. They built some devices that they put under cars with some tubing. In a given moment there will be about 50 teams; they would drive through Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Washington, Seattle, Chicago, New York. As they drive through these cities, they will open the tank and blow the viruses out. The estimation is these are biological weapons developed here by the American government that we sold to Saddam Hussein. If he wants to thank us now. When these are released we're going to have hundreds of thousands of people affected. I listened to one scientist explain: those that have received the virus and are taken to hospitals are dying. The only ones that can survive are those that have not been contaminated. If we can get a vaccination to them they will survive, but as of yet we do not have enough vaccination. We started praying this week against that. I want to warn you right now. I prayed to God it will not happen, but I believe in a situation like this here, that if it begins to happen, we are going to have to stand and say, "Father God, even if I breathe in 10,000 of those germs, the Holy Ghost will kill them. And I will not surcome." We do not have any physical defense. We are stripped bare for the first time in the history of America. We are stripped totally naked with no defenses, accept God. It is going to take the prayer of faith.
Turn to Acts chapter 13 verse 1. Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Semeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
The prayer of faith-men prayed and God gave specific guidance. God will guide you and I. Up to now our Christian faith has been a game to a degree for many of us. We have not really had to face actions, troubles and now we're going to need to know how to pray the prayer of faith.
Acts chapter 27 verse 14. But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven. And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then take away. But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, you should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort you to be a good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God has given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, Sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.
We're sitting here in a nice comfortable place. I want you to picture this; here's a ship, waves are probably crashing over the bow. The ship is being tossed. Paul is hanging onto a mast someplace. The water is splashing all over him and he is saying, "Be of good cheer!" Can you imagine the people looking at him and saying to themselves, "Be of good cheer?" We are in the midst of the storm, and Paul says be of cheer, because of an angel, and angel God stood by me last night and said, "We shall be saved." God wants you and I to be able in the midst of turmoil, to not be moved by circumstances and be anxious or nervous, or breakdown; He wants us to stand! And this says the Lord God Almighty. He wants us to come to this place in our walk with Him. Most of us can never get to that place because we keep saying, "God, send somebody to do it for me." I was there Friday. I was a pitiful site. I was wiped out. I believe God let it happen to me to show me that none of us have arrived, and we constantly have to look upon Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Praying leads to confidence. Paul said, "Be of good cheer."
Acts chapter 27 first 33. And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them to all take meat, saying, This day is the 14th day that you have tarried to continue fasting, having taken nothing. Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thinks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. [He gave them an example. He did not wait for circumstances.] Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat. And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. [God delivered them.]
Please turn to the gospel of Luke Chapter 11 verse 1. And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciple said onto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. [Teach us to pray. We need that. We had a rip roaring prayer meeting this past week. God gave us some visions. He showed us spiritual things, in the spiritual world. The Holy Ghost boldness came over us. We got holy anger. We began to tear down some strong holds, and do some destruction. God has been answering some prayer this week in a mighty way.] When you pray, say, Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
There are six points in the Lord's prayer. Jesus said, "Worship the Father." In the midst of tribulation or whatever it is, begin to worship. Worship Him and say, "Father God, you are worthy; Holy is your name." This is where we start. It is by worshipping Him. When you are given your eviction notice, your pocketbook is empty, you have been fired from your job, you have no idea how you're going to survive, this is when you lift your hands and say, "Holy is Your name, my heavenly Father I praise You. I PRAISE YOU!" You know why? There is no crisis in heaven. There's no shortage. God is never surprised. God has a solution to every problem you and I face. We just have to pray it down.
Secondly, ask that the kingdom of God shall come into power on this earth. Begin to say, "Father God, enlarge your kingdom. Let your kingdom be enlarged. Use me to enlarge it." Pray that God's will will be done on this earth. Say, "Father God, I want Your will to be done." What is God will? It is not God's will that we should Nuke the Iraqis and wipe them out; they need Jesus. I believe what we need to pray for in this case is a miracle. There is a church in Iraq that is suffering. There is a church in Iran that is suffering. There are believers there, they need a miracle. We are threatened as a nation because we have sinned. I believe God can do fantastic things if the church would begin to pray. We used to pray a lot for South Africa. During the transition of South Africa a few years ago, when they changed from a white government to a national government, which is basically black, they were the majority. All the diplomats and everyone pulled out, because they expected a blood bath. This is what happened; 30,000 men and women in South Africa, whites, blacks, Indians, mix races, got together in a soccer stadium and they got all of God. When everyone had left, they were waiting for the war to break out and the slaughter to take place. They were there for several days. They got a hold of God. The blood bath never took place. The transition of power took place. The gospel was preached. The problem with you and I is this; we are so tied up into our own personal feelings, emotions, and projects. We should be saying, "Father God, what is happening in the earth right now? How would you like me to pray?" Instead, we're always asking God to give us more money, or give me this or that thing. We want God to make us happy. God is not as concerned about our happiness as He is about having His will done on this earth. When His will is done, we will be happy.
Fourth; Pray for your daily bread, both spiritual and physical.
Fifth; Forgiveness of sins and forgiving others.
Sixth; Lead us not into temptation. Father God, lead us not into temptation. We can pray that. Jesus taught the disciples that they should be persistent, never give up, regardless of the circumstances.
The gospel of Luke Chapter 11 verse 5. And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
You and I need to be persistent. Father God, we need this miracle. We need an opening here. We need to win souls for Christ. We would like to see You work in our church. We need to be persistent in our prayers and pray the prayer of faith.
Jesus said: ask and it shall be given you, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. Isn't that wonderful? Verse 9 of Chapter 11, the gospel Luke Jesus says, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Let's begin to seek.
My wife and I met a couple sometime back; I will not say where it was. Twelve years ago we prayed for them. They came to us from another church. Their marriage was over. They were headed for divorce. The man was headed for a mental institution. They attended our church for a while. We took them through deliverance. They were healed. About ten years later we met them. I asked them how things were going. The woman said, "Marvelous. Our marriage is stronger than ever. We are the best of friends. God has done wonderful things in our lives. Jesus is real." So many times when we think we pray for different things that it doesn't work. Does it work? YES! You cannot be lazy. You have to put some effort into it. You know what that means? That means in the name of Jesus we're not going to lose heart.
Please turn to the book of Hebrews Chapter 11 verse 1. [Faith will give birth to the prayer of faith! Faith in God will give birth to the prayer of faith. That is where it starts.] Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice then Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Faith is where we start. We have to have faith. It is a gift from God. Where can we go and dig up some faith? It would be nice if I could say to you that we just received a shipment of faith and it is in the bookstore. A bag of faith will be sold to you cheap. You take the bag of faith, open it up and eat it and then you'll have faith in you. That would be nice. It does not work that way. Faith comes from the word.
Turn to the book of Romans chapter 10 verse 17. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word God. Faith comes from the Bible. This is where your faith comes from. Faith is not something that you can work up. You eat the word of God. You read the word God. You begin to read it, and read it, and read it, and read it, and faith will begin to rise within you. Most people do not read the Bible. They are lazy! I have not seen so many lazy people in my whole life as there are today. Wouldn't be nice folks, if we could have an angel service, where we could say, "Father God, we need some food. Lord, we do not want to cook the food. We want it pre-cooked. Father God, we do not want to chew the food either. You're going to have to put it in my mouth. Father God, could you feed us intravenous? I do not want to lift my arms to heaven. I just want to lay in this bed and let You put the food in me." Do you know what is going to happen you? Your body is going to deteriorate, you're going to be like a jellyfish. Have you ever seen a jellyfish? They flop around all over the place with no control. They have no muscles or no backbone. There are some things we have to do. You cannot just lay around and say, "Oh poor me." You have to put some muscle into it. Faith comes from the word of God.
Any believer in Christ who is constantly reading the word of God cannot help but be filled with THE FAITH OF GOD. How much faith does it take? Faith as the size of a mustard seed. How big was that seed? It is so small that when you put it in your hand you can barely see it. Jesus said that if you have the faith of a mustard seed ,you can move mountains. Why don't we move mountains? Because we do not read the word. We do not think we're worthy. We are intimidated. We say, "Someone else will do it." Faith is something that you cannot see. It is there, nevertheless. God will give us the faith. Without faith it is impossible to please Him. For he that comes to God must believe that he is and he is the rewarder of those that diligently seek him.
Some of you here are full-time Christians. Some of you are part-time Christians. Some of you are in limbo someplace or in between. To have a ministry, someone has to be faithful. You understand that? We had music here today. How does that come about? These people practiced and prayed. The Sunday school teachers have been praying and studying at home, so that they can give your children something from God. This building was cleaned this week by someone. A lot of preparation goes into having a place of worship and the ministry. Most people do not want to be bothered, but they like to come in and have a good time. Then they wave goodbye and say, "See you next week." If this happened with everyone, there would not be a place here. I want to challenge you today. What did you do this week to further the kingdom of God? How much prayer, how much did you read the Bible, how much will you put of your body into the kingdom of God and pull your weight? How much are you willing to do in the future? It takes faith. It takes elbow grease. Someone has to bring the gospel out to the people. We do not need spectators. We need people in the arena. People that are willing to fight, pray and the seek the Lord.
Use that FAITH OF GOD to pray THE PRAYER OF FAITH from this day on!
Let us pray to our Father.
May the Lord richly bless you is my prayer.