Why Prayer is Necessary: #8 – For Obtaining the Power of the Holy Spirit

We know that the person of the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of every believer (Romans 8:9); however, every believer does not seem to possess the power of the Spirit.  Some live every day just like pagans.  They don’t hear God speak to them; they don’t seem to have any spiritual strength; and they have very little power over temptation. 

The problem of course is that they have not allowed the Holy Spirit to be in complete control.  If we expect to live in the power of the Holy Spirit we must invite Him to dwell in every part of our life.  We must give Him the throne of our heart.  

There are a few terms in scripture that are descriptive of this concept of giving Him control.  In Galatians 5:16-25 there are three terms used: walk by the Spirit, led by the Spirit, and live by the Spirit.  From these verses Paul tells us, essentially, that if we live by the Spirit we must choose to walk by the spirit and be led by the Spirit.  Also in Ephesians 5:18 Paul states that we are to be filled with the Spirit.  Then in Romans 8:6 Paul indicates that we are to have our mind set on the Spirit

If we analyze these terms we may conclude that all of them mean basically the same thing—they are descriptive of our giving the Holy Spirit control, also of making Christ Lord.  And when we do that we will obtain the power of the Holy Spirit.  But the process of making Him our Lord can only be accomplished through prayer.

Our prayers should be not so much for getting power, but to ask Him to fill us and control us; then when He has control in us and is made Lord in us, the result will be that He will wield His power in us and through us.

How often do I have to pray for His filling?  I ask Him every day, and sometimes two or three times a day.  And the reason is that I continue to sin, and when I sin I exalt myself, and thus I continue throughout the day to have a need for humility and for His Lordship. 

And so it makes sense that we all must ask Him to refill us after every time we sin.    Ask as often as you sin.  When you sin, just say, Lord, I’ve sinned.  Will you please fill me again?

Now, when He fills us and gives us His power, what kind of power is it, and what should we expect will happen? 

According to Ephesians 1:19-20, it is a great and mighty power; it is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at the right hand in the heavenly places! 

In Ephesians 3:16-20 we see that it is a power that will strengthen us in our inner man.  Note in this prayer of Paul’s the threefold results of this power:

…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, [1] That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; [2] that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpassed knowledge, and [3] that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Paul concludes in verse 20 by saying that according to this power of the Holy Spirit that works within us, He will do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. 

Yes, He will give us more power than we can imagine.  He gives us a mighty power to witness (Acts 1:8).  He gives us an enduring power to work and to serve in His kingdom.  He also gives us the power in the inner man to rest and reflect, and to draw strength from Him as Christ dwells in us and fills us with love and the fullness of God.  And it all comes to us through prayer. Prayer is the key that unlocks the door to this great storehouse of power.

Why Prayer is Necessary: #7 – To Obtain Freedom from Anxiety

Anxiety is a terrible thing.  It is a state of uneasiness and worry, of fearfulness and dread.  But prayer can make it all go away; when you pray God will help you to see that He is in control and that He loves you and cares for you.

When we are anxious, we think only of ourselves and of all the things we think we need.  Prayer, however, will take us to God and draw us away from ourselves so that we are more concerned for His kingdom and His righteousness. The practice of prayer will help us to see that life is more than food and clothing, and that we have no need to worry about those things—since God cares for us just as he cares for little birds and flowers (Matt. 6:25-29).          

If you are prone to anxiety, try to develop the habit of praying about everything.  And when you pray, instead of lingering in your anxiety, focus instead on God, honoring Him with thanksgiving and praise (Rom. 1:21).  As you pray with thanksgiving, taking all of your concerns to God, He will fill you with an incredible peace.  Here is the promise from Philippians 4:6-7:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Three Warnings Against Deception

From Matthew 7:15-27, Jesus presents to His disciples three pictures with three warnings.

The first picture is of the false prophets who will come to them in sheep’s clothing (verses 15-20). This warning is addressed to Christians to be not deceived by these false prophets (teachers) who will look just like any other Christian teacher.

The second picture is of the judgment day when a professing Christian is surprised that Jesus has rejected him as a Christian and says to him, “I never knew you” (verses 21-23). This warning is addressed to the professing Christian—who is not a Christian at all. The warning is to be not self-deceived into thinking that you are a Christian.

These two (above) scenarios I have already posted, so I won’t write any more on them.

The third picture is of two men who build their houses. The houses look the same, but one is built with a good foundation and the other skips that part (verses 24-27). The warning is addressed again to the professing Christian who is seeking the benefits of salvation without the commitment of salvation. The warning is not to deceive yourself into thinking that salvation needs no commitment to Christ. Here is the teaching:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. 25 “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. 26 “And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. 27 “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.”

So, in this teaching we have the wise man and the foolish man. And “these words” are referring to Jesus’ entire sermon. And the one who acts upon them will become a Christian and a wise man, and the one who does not act upon them will remain a pagan and a foolish man.

But the thing that is so deceptive in this picture is the fact that the two houses look the same, except for the foundation—which you never see, because it is underground. So, one house will stand and the other will fall. And one man is proved to be wise and the other a fool.

In the illustration, the fool, who is not a Christian at all, is in a hurry to get all the benefits of his house (of salvation), without putting in the work of salvation. The other man is wise. He hears Jesus and responds to His words of truth.

Here are a few more implications about these two men:

  • The two men are both church goers and members.
  • The two men both desire forgiveness and peace; one of them has a genuine forgiveness and peace, the other has a false sense of forgiveness and a false peace—because he is not a true believer.
  • Both men desire to live a good life; but one has a selfish motive, the other desires to glorify God.
  • Both men are highly moral men, but one is not a Christian. He is living a pure life just for himself to put on a good front before others.

Why Prayer is Necessary: #6 – To Obtain Mercy and Grace

Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, is fully human and fully God.  The human side of Him makes Him able to be sympathetic and merciful toward us, and the God side of Him makes Him able to help us at any time with any of our needs.  What this means to us of course is that when we pray to Him we are assured of His sympathy for our needs and also of His ability to help us.  Thus we can pray with great confidence, even boldness.   Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

This mercy and grace is God’s gift to us—it is free for our taking!  But unless we choose to go to Him in prayer, and unless we confidently pray and ask for help, His mercy will not be obtained and His grace will not be found.

We all are aware of countless individuals (perhaps you) who are badly in need of help.  Some are in spiritual, mental, and sometimes physical misery.  Some grope around not knowing what to do or who to turn to.  Many go from doctor to doctor seeking help, all to no avail.  If they only knew Jesus and knew how to approach Him in prayer they would no longer be without peace.     

He is the Great Physician, the greatest one of all.  All we need to do is call out to Him in prayer and He will quickly come to our aid.  But if we fail to pray in our desperate hour of need then His mercy and His grace will remain on the shelves of heaven.  Pray, my friend, and God will hear you.  Yes, you who are in desperate need, need to pray.  It is the only way, God’s appointed way, that you will receive mercy and find grace.  

Unconscious Hypocrisy

Unconscious Hypocrisy is actually the title of a sermon by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, which was recoded in his book Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. The following is just a few notes I took on that sermon.

Lloyd-Jones began by saying that there are many people who are not aware of the fact that they are not really Christians when they are convinced that they are; and so, they have a kind of unconscious hypocrisy. They think they are good Christians but they are in fact reprobates.

  • They are of the “many” who have passed up the narrow gate and have instead gone down the broad path with most of the world.
  • They are like the five foolish virgins, and like the man who built his house on the sand.
  • They are of those whom Jesus spoke of (in Matthew 7:21-23) who did wonderful works, but yet didn’t know Him.
  • They are people who are praised by men.
  • They are considered as outstanding servants.
  • They are happy about themselves.
  • They are assured of their salvation.

God says of them, “I never knew you.” So, they have been deceived. And they will be surprised at the judgment. Here is the passage that we have been considering:

Matthew 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

I think the most important thing we can do is to list the causes of self-deception to make sure we don’t fall into the same trap that so many have fallen into. Here is the list of six, which I gathered from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ sermon.

  1. They have a false assurance of their salvation, which they have persuaded themselves to believe. This false assurance is based on a false belief system. A system that says that if I say I believe often enough and strongly enough, that it will take hold. But James says that the Devil also believes this way, and he certainly will not be saved from hell.
  2. They refuse to examine themselves periodically to see if their faith is true.
  3. They live on their activities of good works. They think this will save them.
  4. They balance their good works with the bad. This is a Muslim system, and a system of all false religions, but it doesn’t work.
  5. They fail to heed the plain teaching of Scripture. To take it as their guide.
  6. They fail to realize that the one thing that matters is a relationship with Christ. He wants our heart, our submission, our time; and He wants us.

Why Prayer is Necessary: #5 – To Obtain Fullness of Joy

Jesus said in John 16:24, “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.” 

The teaching here is that when we ask in His name and receive the things we ask for, the result, after receiving those things, will be a fullness of joy.  And I suppose you could say that our joy will come in degrees.  To the degree that we recognize that God has answered our prayers, to that degree we will receive joy. The person who doesn’t realize that God has answered his prayer may have a certain amount of joy just because he has received what he wanted.  But the real and full joy is a joy that comes from knowing absolutely that God has answered our prayers.

R. A. Torrey has said, “When we ask something definite of God, and He gives it, how real God becomes!  He is right there!  It is blessed to have a God who is real, and not merely an idea.”3  Yes, it is a joyful and real experience when God reaches down in love, and gives us what we ask for.  It is the joy of experiencing His presence.

In Psalm 16:11 David wrote, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; in thy right hand there are pleasures forever.”  Though David here is mainly speaking of the joy that comes after this life, we can know that same joy now whenever we experience His presence—which will surely come to us with the realization that He has answered our prayers.

This I think is the whole point of prayer—to have the joyful realization of His presence.  It is what God intended for us.  Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10b).  He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6).  It is God’s purpose for us to have this abundant life, which is found in Jesus, and can only be gained when we call out to Him in prayer.  Prayer then is the key to obtain this life—life that produces for us a fullness of joy.


3 R. A. Torrey, How to Pray (Chicago: Moody Press, n. d.), p. 16.

Those who say to Him, “Lord, Lord”

The narrow way and the broad way

The Bible says that on the judgment day it will be revealed that some who think they are Christians are really not. In the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus said,

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

This may seem to you to be a very strange thing, that some people will be so self-deceived, that they think they are Christians when they are not. How can this happen? How does someone not know that he is not a Christian? How does he or she live so much of a life thinking that they are Christians when they are not?

The only answer is that they haven’t really known what a Christian is. They evidently have allowed false prophets to influence them; and they, at the beginning, entered not at the narrow gate but at the broad gate and went down and lived in the broad way—the way of the world. And all along in their journey, they never at any point got to know the Lord and to be changed by Him. What a tragic deception.

But how is it that they are so deceived?  And also, how is it that true Christians are also deceived into thinking that some false Christians are true Christians? Here are a few reasons why:

  • Knowing Him does not mean saying the right words. It is possible for a person to say all the right words, to have a very holy and righteous speech, and yet not be a Christian. A changed language does not mean that there is a changed heart.
  • Some unbelievers may use Scripture and Scriptural teaching as a kind of philosophy, but they don’t really know Christ or are converted.
  • Some may speak and even preach the Scriptures fervently, but it may be entirely of the flesh and not for the sake of Christ.

The test of course is whether a person has the fruit of the Spirt, and also whether they know Him or not. Do they pray and read their bible regularly? Do they have a growing love relationship with Him?

 

Why Prayer is Necessary: #4 – To Obtain Good Things

God really wants us to have things—many things.  But He wants us to have only those things that are good for us. 

Sometimes we will desire something, and it really does seems to be a good thing; but then later, after we have prayed about it and sought God’s Word about it, He shows us that He isn’t pleased with what we desire.

Whatever we pray for we should ask ourselves these two questions:

1. Are these things going to bring me closer to the Lord or further away?

2. Will these things I desire help me to be a friend of the world, or a friend of God (James 4:3-4)?

There are many good things that God wants us to have, but if we don’t ask for them we will not receive them (James 4:2).  And when we do ask, perhaps we don’t ask correctly—with the right motives (v. 3).

It may be that when we do ask for things we don’t really believe that God will give them to us, so that’s why we aren’t persistent in our asking.  In other words, we may treat prayer as sort of a religious duty, or a ritualistic thing—something that we just do but we don’t really expect an answer.

My friend, God is real and personal.  He is your Father.  How do you ask your earthly father for things?  You ask and keep asking until you get it, don’t you?  And you ask that way because you know that sooner or later He will give it to you, because you know He loves you.  Will not God who loves you far more give to you as much?

Sometimes, instead of believing and asking God for the things we want, we sit and worry, and we lust and envy and fight and even wage war over those things (Ja. 4:2).  But if you want certain things, and if you know you need them, why not just ask God for them. He will give them to you as a gift.  Everything you desire in life, if it pleases God for you to have it, He will give it to you if you just ask.

Do you need a job?  Then ask.  Yes, make your rounds to employment agencies and apply at various places, but you must also ask God.  He will give you the job you really need, in quick time. 

Are you worried about your friend who is lost?   Then ask God for his or her soul.  Who else will save your friend?

In all the things we desire but aren’t receiving, take these words to heart: “You do not have because you do not ask” (Ja. 4:2).  Prayer is indeed necessary for obtaining things. 

Why Prayer is Necessary: #3 – To Help Us Stand Firm Against the Devil

Jesus said, “Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation; the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41).  Jesus knew that prayer was absolutely necessary to resist temptation, that without it we are weak and vulnerable to the attacks of Satan. 

Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that we are in a struggle, not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in heavenly places.  He therefore suggests that we put on the full armor of God so that we may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 

As we see in Ephesians 6:18, prayer is part of this full armor.  But we should not look at prayer as just one piece of the full armor, as if to have a little significance.  Prayer, in fact, is significant for the correct use of each piece of armor.  Moreover it energizes the armor and holds each piece of armor in place.  In the final analysis, it is our power for victory.1

Prayer, as it is used in verse 18, is not just of one kind; it is “all prayer.” All kinds of prayer, therefore, are to be used against the enemy.  And with “all prayer” we are to pray “at all times.”  That is, we must pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17).   What is meant here, according to Warren Wiersbe, is that we must “always be in communion with the Lord.”2  And this infers that we must always be drawing on His strength.  Yes, we must be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might (Eph. 6:10), which cannot be accomplished without unceasing prayer in the Spirit.

Also, when we pray, we must “be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all saints” (v.18), knowing that the devil is on the prowl, seeking to destroy God’s people. We must therefore, be watchful and pray, not just for ourselves, but also for all other believers who are subject to the same temptations as we are.  And when we are faithful to pray for others, God will be faithful to bless us and give us His strength.


1 Warren Wiersbe, Be Rich (Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books. A division of SP Publications, Inc., 1976),  p. 172.

2 Ibid., p. 172.

Setting Up a New Global Religion

After the Rapture of the Church and Leading up to the Tribulation, along with the frenzied effort made to set up a new global government, there will also be an urgent effort to establish a new global religion. In fact, from the start, the new government and the new religion will work together as one. Though the Antichrist and the new false religious system (called the harlot in Scripture) are constantly struggling against each other and using each other, they will find a way to work together.

And though we are saying that this new global religion is new, it is essentially quite ancient. In some respects, it will be new, being made up of all the false religions of the world, but its base will be the ancient mystery Babylon religion, which began with Nimrod (the grandson of Ham) at the tower of Babel.

This false, Satanic religion of idol worship began at Babylon but quickly spread over the earth. And even as Abraham was called by God to leave his pagan country in order to establish a new God-believing nation, they too were eventually overcome by this Babylonian religion—as was the cause of their captivity in 586 B. C.

In 539 B. C., Babylon was destroyed; but Satan found a way to keep the religion going. The cultic high-priest, with his followers, fled to Pergamos and then to Italy where the ancient cult was eventually established in Rome. Beginning with Julius Caesar, the Roman emperors shared their power with the Babylonian chief priests; and then, tragically, under Constantine the Great, the devil began working to corrupt the church, as many pagan idolatrous practices became part of the Catholic/Christian religion.

In my observation, some Catholic churches have managed to be somewhat Christian; but on the whole I think the Catholic church has remained the same—embedded in idolatry. Nonetheless, whatever you think, as soon as the Rapture occurs, we will see it as it really is. That is, we will see its ancient roots. And I believe we will see it as Revelation 17 describes it: BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS.

I think the Roman Catholic Church will probably be the center of influence and control; however, I think all other false religions will be attracted to it, and will unite together as one under the False Prophet and the Antichrist.

It will certainly be strange to see this false religion rise up and to present itself as a true and holy religion, with the Antichrist declaring himself as God (2 Thess. 2:4). The places of worship will no doubt be beautiful and appealing, and the religious leaders may put on a great show of spirituality and power. But to all who find true salvation in that day, if they are fill with His Spirit, they will be able to see the evil powers at work and to see the pride and arrogance of the false teachers and their murderous hatred toward Christians.

However, just after the Rapture, there won’t be any believers; and so, this will be the time when the doctrine of demons (1 Tim. 4:1-3) will take hold and when many are corrupted by evil teaching. This evil corruption will be the devil’s preparation for his new false religion.

The world’s leaders will be the first to go, and then with their insistence and example, they will cause the world to follow them into corruption and harlotry.

We don’t know how long it will take before this new false religion is fully developed and when it’s official beginning will be, but whenever that is, I think it will coincide with the signing of the peace covenant with Israel. And that will be the actual beginning of the Tribulation. Here are …

Five Factors That May Contribute to The Official Start Of the New Global Religion

1. I think it may start just after the Ezekiel 38 and 39 war. This makes perfect sense to me, because since that war will eliminate most of radical Islam, that will conveniently open the door to a peaceful start, as well as to open the way to begin building the third temple.

2. It will begin as soon as the harlot and the beast discover that they can work together. We know from Scripture that there will be conflict, but we also know that they will learn to work together and support each other for the good of the new evil kingdom.

3. It will begin as soon as its leaders and sits evil system are in place.

4. It will begin as soon as all nations and all religions are united and committed to the new global religion. We don’t know exactly how this commitment and willingness will occur, but we may conclude that it will be either by force or by allurement—or by a combination of the two.

5. It will start when all the world leaders and all the people are beginning to be absorbed into it. When this drawing of the people begins to happen, the official start will be imminent; and you will see a movement of the nation heads toward the peace table to witness the signing of the peace covenant with Israel.