A Sanctuary for Saints and Sinners in Need of a Saviour. Luke 18:9-14
Prayer Meeting – July 28th, 2019
In today's teaching on prayer, let’s start out by reading James 5:13-17; “13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 [a]Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, [b]fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
Are you suffering today? Pray. Are you cheerful today? Sing psalms. Are you sick today? You need to call for your elders in your church to pray for you. Elders need to be accountable to what the Bible says here, as it’s their duty to pray for you and anoint you with oil. Even if you have committed sins which have led to the sickness in your body, you will be forgiven as you confess them. Confession of your trespasses (sins) is required to receive your healing. A word to the elder, the righteous man, when you’re called upon to pray for the sick, make sure they repent of their sins and confess their trespasses so that when the prayer is offered, the person will be forgiven and healed.
Why is it today that the elders are not being called upon anymore in some churches? Why? Why don’t they believe in praying for the sick any more, or for operating in the gifts of the Holy Ghost? Did the word of God change? Has it? Or could it be that they’ve changed? Maybe their forefathers used to believe this scripture, but somewhere along the line, someone has convinced them that it doesn’t apply for today. If so, that would be a lying spirit in the church. Probably because someone was not willing to confess their trespasses. Probably somebody in the pulpit.
Let’s read what Jesus says in Luke 18:1-8 about prayer in the parable of the persistent widow; “18 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor [a]regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, [b]‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will [c]avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ” 6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Verse 8 is the key scripture. When Jesus returns, which could be at any moment, will He find faith in you? Do you call for the elders of the Church to pray for you when your sick or have you lost faith in Jesus to heal? And if you were to call, would they show up to pray or have they lost faith in Jesus to heal? If we don’t believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are in operation today, how can we expect to be healed.
I’d like to share what Matthew Henry’s Commentarysays about this verse; “ (4.) It is foretold that, when Christ comes to plead his people’s cause, he will find but little faith in comparison with what one might expect. That is, [1.] In general, he will find but few good people, few that are really and truly good. Many that have the form and fashion of godliness, but few that have faith, that are sincere and honest: nay, he will find little fidelity among men; the faithful fail, Ps. 12:1, 2. Even to the end of time there will still be occasion for the same complaint. The world will grow no better, no, not when it is drawing towards its period. Bad it is, and bad it will be, and worst of all just before Christ’s coming; the last times will be the most perilous. [2.] In particular, he will find few that have faith concerning his coming. When he comes to avenge his own elect he looks if there be any faith to help and to uphold, and wonders that there is none, Isa. 59:16; 63:5. It intimates that Christ, both in his particular comings for the relief of his people, and in his general coming at the end of time, may, and will, delay his coming so long as that, First, Wicked people will begin to defy it, and to say, Where is the promise of his coming? 2 Pet. 3:4. They will challenge him to come (Isa. 5:10; Amos 5:19); and his delay will harden them in their wickedness, Matt. 24:48. Secondly, Even his own people will begin to despair of it, and to conclude he will never come, because he has passed their reckoning. God’s time to appear for his people is when things are brought to the last extremity, and when Zion begins to say, The Lord has forsaken me. See Isa. 49:14; Isa. 40:27. But this is our comfort, that, when the time appointed comes, it will appear that the unbelief of man has not made the promise of God of no effect.”
Regardless of how much you may be walking in unbelief, or no faith, it will not change the coming of Jesus again.
Jesus gives another parable about prayer in Luke 11:5-8 and it has to do with two friends. It says; “5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.”
It’s interesting that when the man got up to give him the bread, it had nothing to do with his friendship with him, but with his friends’ persistence. When praying for the needs of others above your own needs is the priority, you’re guaranteed to hear from God. This man didn’t ask bread for his own needs, but for the needs of others. So when you pray, don’t do it for your benefit but for the benefit of others. In your persistence in prayer, God will hear you.
Jesus continues talking about prayer in Luke 11:9-13; “9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for [a]bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
I’m convinced that the #1 hindrance to unanswered prayer is the rejection of the gift of the Holy Spirit. I’m not talking about being born again of the Holy Spirit, but rather Baptized in the Holy Spirit as found in Acts 2:1-4 where it says; “2 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all [a]with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them [b]divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
If you have no faith to receive the promised Gift of the Holy Spirit now, will Jesus find faith in you if he were to return today?
If your prayers are not being answered, could it be that having rejected the baptism of the Holy Spirit has been a hindrance?
It would be like you inviting me to your house for Christian fellowship and requesting that I leave my wife at home, because she’s to radical as a Christian; that wouldn’t work would it? A husband and wife are one flesh. The Holy Spirit, Jesus the Son and the Father…are one. You take them ALL, or nothing. You can’t split them up, or take one and leave the other two or take two and leave one out, can you? It’s the same in rejecting the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
I believe that God is offended with Christians who have been born again, but have requested that the Gift of the Holy Spirit stay at home. They are willing to be born again and have fellowship in Jesus name, but as for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, they have made it very clear that it is not welcome in their lives or in their Church, and yet they can’t figure out why their prayers are not being answered, why they’re not overcoming sin, why they’re continuing in sin, why they’re not seeing healing. It’s simple, if you reject the healer, how are you going to get healed?
James 4:6 in the Amplified Bible says this; “6 But He gives us more and more grace [through the power of the Holy Spirit to defy sin and live an obedient life that reflects both our faith and our gratitude for our salvation]. Therefore, it says, “God is opposed to the proud and haughty, but [continually] gives [the gift of] grace to the humble [who turn away from self-righteousness].”
James is talking to Christians here referencing their proud and haughty heart. Those who reject the work of the Holy Spirit and His baptism, those who reject the gift of tongues. To make it clear, God resists you when in your pride and self-righteousness, when you tell the Holy Spirit to stay at home, and that you don’t need Him.
When you humble yourself, that’s when you experience grace to live an upright life. That’s when the ‘grace card’ can be used. There are many Christians who throw up the ‘grace card’, but are not living out their Christianity, because they continue to walk in pride and self-righteousness by resisting the work of the Holy Spirit who empowers them to overcome sin in their life and live an obedient life according to the Bible. So, self-righteousness is the root at resisting the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
In closing, let’s read Jude 20-21 in the Amplified Bible; “20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up on [the foundation of] your most holy faith [continually progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], pray in the Holy Spirit, 21 and keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously and looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ [which will bring you] to eternal life.”
You can’t pray in the Holy Spirit unless you’re baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Praying in the Holy Spirit IS praying in tongues.
If you know you’ve been living in pride and haughtiness towards God and man, it’s time to repent and ask for forgiveness. It’s time humble yourself and repent of self-righteousness. Remember that God opposes self-righteousness.
Here are some scriptures and insights that Pastor Richard had in today’s prayer meeting. We start out by reading a parable that Jesus gave of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC); “9 He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves and were confident that they were righteous [that they were upright and in right standing with God] and scorned and made nothing of all the rest of men: 10 Two men went up into the temple [[a]enclosure] to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.11 The Pharisee [b]took his stand ostentatiously and began to pray thus before and with himself: God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men—extortioners (robbers), swindlers [unrighteous in heart and life], adulterers—or even like this tax collector here. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I gain. 13 But the tax collector, [merely] standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, O God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the [c]especially wicked sinner that I am! 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified (forgiven and made upright and in right standing with God), rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The contrast that Jesus gives between these two men ought to put spiritual sobriety into our hearts as Christians. Matthew Henry’s Commentarycomments on this text here; “The scope of this parable likewise is prefixed to it, and we are told (Luke 18:9) who they were whom it was levelled at, and for whom it was calculated. He designed it for the conviction of some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others. They were such as had, 1. A great conceit of themselves, and of their own goodness; they thought themselves as holy as they needed to be, and holier than all their neighbours, and such as might serve for examples to them all. But that was not all; 2. They had a confidence in themselves before God, and not only had a high opinion of their own righteousness, but depended upon the merit of it, whenever they addressed God, as their plea: They trusted in themselves as being righteous; they thought they had made God their debtor, and might demand any thing from him; and, 3. They despised others, and looked upon them with contempt, as not worthy to be compared with them. Now Christ by this parable would show such their folly, and that thereby they shut themselves out from acceptance with God. This is called a parable, though there be nothing of similitude in it; but it is rather a description of the different temper and language of those that proudly justify themselves, and those that humbly condemn themselves; and their different standing before God.”
Where do you stand today when you pray? What is your spiritual posture before God? Do you pray like the pharisee or like the sinner? You know that when you’re were born again you’ve changed from sinner to saint; the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, old things have passed away and all things have become new. But does that mean that you change your spiritual posture in prayer as a result of that? You come into the throne room of God boldly, but do you change your posture because of it? Do you do it proudly now or remain humble? Do you snub your neighbours and walk around in self righteousness? Do you walk humbly before God and man? There’s a pretty good chance that God will hear your prayer when you pray humbly like the sinner, even though you’re saved; more so than if you’re walking in pride, behaving like a scribe, pharisee and self-loving, self-righteous person. A lover of self is like the church of me, myself and I.
A pharisaical person wants those around them to hear their long prayers, so they can hear themselves, so they can worship themselves, they walk in overweening spiritual pride. Probably wherever you’re reading this at, you can identify that there are the self-righteous religious people in your community who despise anyone that is not like them.
Self-righteous praying will not win though in spiritual warfare. Yes, there is warfare with the devil. But you’re defeated in prayer right from the start by having a pharisaical attitude, because you’re no threat to the kingdom of darkness. You’re only a threat to the kingdom of the devil when you humble yourself before almighty God by stepping out in the authority that He’s given you in Jesus’ name.
The Apostle Paul says this in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC); “3 For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, 5 [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), 6 Being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete.”
When there is order in the church, there is spiritual authority over the kingdom of darkness. Insubordinates in the church need to be brought in line with the word of God. Read the beginning of that chapter and you’ll see that there were insubordinate, defiant and rebellious people in that congregation, but Paul wasn’t fighting against them physically because he knew the demonic force that was working in and through them. It was a spiritual warfare being fought.
In the Old Testament we read this powerful story of Daniel who also knew what spiritual warfare was. It’s in Daniel 10:11-13 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC); “11 And [the angel] said to me, O Daniel, you greatly beloved man, understand the words that I speak to you and stand upright, for to you I am now sent. And while he was saying this word to me, I stood up trembling. 12 Then he said to me, Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your mind and heart to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come as a consequence of [and in response to] your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief [of the celestial] princes, came to help me, for I remained there with the kings of Persia.”
Very sobering to see that the demonic fought with this angel for 21 days, not allowing him to get to Daniel with the answer to his prayers! Daniel was an Old Testament saint, he wasn’t born again or a spirit filled as a New Testament saint.
As a New Testament saint then, look at what the Apostle Paul says about spiritual warfare, because if there was no spiritual warfare, he would not have said this; Ephesians 6:11-13Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC); “11 Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. 13 Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].” 14 Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, 15 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the [a]firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness [b]produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. 16 Lift up over all the [covering] shield of [c]saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit [d]wields, which is the Word of God. 18 Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).”
Pray in the Spirit, in the Holy Ghost, in tongues all the time! Pray with all prayers and entreaties, all the time! Have a disposition of prayer. When you pray in tongues you’re not going to understand, but it’s obvious you don’t need to because the Spirit and the Father knows and understands what is being prayed about. It’s the most amazing thing ever!
The Apostle Peter also says this in 1 Peter 5:6-10 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC); “6 Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, 7 Casting the [a]whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, [b]once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you [c]watchfully. 8 Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [[d]in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. 9 Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset—rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same ([e]identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.”
This posture that Peter is talking about sounds like that of the sinner tax collector that we read about at the beginning doesn’t it? Our spiritual posture in prayer has to be in humility. Peter also knew the reality of spiritual warfare with the devil. You don’t run from the devil, you use the sword of the Spirit the word of God and speak it out in Jesus authority and you’ll see him flee. We need to reiterate that Daniel did not have what you and I have as Christians today. He had the Spirit of God on him but not in him, he wasn’t born again. It was the same spiritual warfare as you and I face today, but we now have the authority in Jesus name to bind the demonic and see it cast out.
Jesus says these empowering words in Matthew 18:18-20 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC); “ 18 Truly I tell you, whatever you forbid and declare to be improper and unlawful on earth must be [a]what is already forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit and declare proper and lawful on earth must be [b]what is already permitted in heaven. 19 Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and [c]everything] they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For wherever two or three are gathered (drawn together as My followers) in (into) My name, there I Am in the midst of them.”
In essence whatever your forbidding in the spirit on earth, must already be forbidden in heaven because it must line up with what the Word of God says. The same with permitting. It has to line up with the Word of God, His truth and His law. This is the authority of the born again Christian. Wherever two or three are gathered in His name, if they’re walking and praying humbly before Him, they have the assurance that He will hear them.
This Sunday we had a prayer meeting and Pastor Richard shared these insights and scriptures. We start out by reading from 2 Chronicles 7:12-22 where God appears to King Solomon for the 2nd time when he was dedicating the temple he had just completed. We know that God does not dwell in temples built by man’s hands any more as He did with the Israelites, but he dwells in the human heart to all that receive Him to be Lord of their lives. These are always parallels or types and shadows though to us as New Testament born again Christians. This a good example as to how we dedicate our bodies to Christ for His work in us.
It says this; “12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and [d]sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and [e]My eyes and [f]My heart will be there perpetually.”
Do you know that the Lord also appeared to you the first time under the anointing of the Holy Spirit when you were born again? He revealed Himself to you which brought conviction that you were a sinner who needed to be saved. But to many who receive Him, there is also a second powerful appearance of the Holy Spirit when you are baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues or languages. Just as King Solomon had two clear visitations from the Lord under the old covenant, now, as a born again Christian, the Lord appeared to you once in your salvation experience, and if you’re baptized in the Holy Spirit, that’s the second time. It may not have been something visible, but very authentic just the same.
Can the Lord say that you too have been chosen as a temple or house of sacrifice unto Him? Is He pleased with you to be able to dwell in you? When there is repentance of sin, the Holy Spirit has been sent to us under the new covenant to heal us individually and the land. As we pray in the Holy Spirit, in tongues, and as we humble ourselves before God in a generation and time where the Holy Spirit is not being reverenced, respected and allowed to move in the church as He should; then we too can see the healing of the land. That healing will come by the power of the Holy Spirit.
What Solomon experienced is not even as powerful as what you and I have under the new covenant by being born again and filled with the Holy Spirit. If the glory and power was so strong and tangible in the temple then, how much greater should it be on us? Jesus says in both Matthew 13:17 and Luke 10:24 that the saints of old longed to see and hear what we have now. Those in the Old Testament experienced and had it in part, now we have the full manifestation of God’s presence with us in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Christians, as we humble ourselves and pray and receive the Holy Spirit into our temples, we too will see the healing of the land, the community and He will be poured out on all flesh. A sanctification in our lives takes place and His Holy Spirit will come and live in us also, forever, perpetually, flowing out into the lives of those around us to bring health and healing to them.
So, what King Solomon experienced in the dedication of the temple, the New Testament believers, you and me, experience when we’re born again and then receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. What Solomon experienced was a type and shadow for us. Even as Solomon had wisdom, we too have wisdom because of the Holy Spirit in us.
Jesus says this in John 14:12-13; “12 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
What a powerful and awesome inheritance we have in Jesus to be able to do what He did! Why? So the Father would be glorified. All that we do is to glorify our heavenly Father.
The Apostle John says this profound statement in 1 John 5:14-15; “14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
When we know what the Father’s will is, we pray it and He answers us. When we’re not sure what His will is, we pray in tongues and the Holy Spirit who is praying through us and who knows what the perfect will of the Father is, prays through us that perfect will. That’s awesome!
Jesus also says this in Mark 11:24-26; “24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. 25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 [a]But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Answers to prayers then are conditional. If you don’t forgive, God won’t hear your prayers. How many struggle with unanswered prayer because of being unforgiving? Jesus gives the clear answer right here. Forgive and your prayers will be answered.
The Apostle Paul says this in Philippians 4:5-7; “5 Let your [a]gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Anxiety, which is rooted in fear, hinders prayer. Why? Because it quenches faith. When you pray then, repent of anxiety and fear and allow faith to arise. Perfect love casts out all fear!
Finally, in Jude 20-21 it says this; “20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
This scripture is so powerful on prayer. Pray in the Holy Spirit, in tongues. It is perfect prayer as Romans 8:26-27 say; “26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession [a]for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
You have the advantage when you’re filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues. Those tongues pray down God’s perfect will for you when you’re in prayer. You pray with authority in Jesus name.