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THE NEED FOR PRAYER—PART ONE

“Praying always with all prayer…” Eph 6:18

 

Prayer is our greatest weapon of spiritual warfare, and engages us in the battle against evil. We are fighting a spiritual battle against spiritual enemies—not only for the sake of our own souls, but for those of the world around us, especially our loved ones, friends, and neighbors. We cannot hope to win this war without God’s help and without God’s power, which comes through prayer alone. Jesus Himself, who is the Son of God, but also the Son of Man, knew the importance of prayer in facing His enemies. He fasted and prayed for forty days when He began His public ministry; He spent long nights in prayer during those three and a half years; and He prayed all night before His crucifixion. If He needed to pray to be victorious against the evil forces that were against Him, how can we think that we will be able to win our battles without prayer also?

Psa 55:17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.
18
He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.

Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
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Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Matt 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

Matt 14:22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23 And when he had sent the multitudes away,
he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

Mark 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Luke 5:16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

Matt 26:36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Prayer lays hold upon the One who can give us victory over sin. As believers we are facing enemies that are much greater and more powerful than we can withstand in our own strength. The world, our own flesh, and the demons of darkness are united against us to destroy our lives, our faith, and our testimony. Through prayer we petition God to lead us away from those temptations that would overcome us, to help us stand against the attacks of devils, and to overcome the onslaught of the worldly influences that would drag us down. “Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom,” and to “watch and pray” is the price of freedom from the bondage of sin.

Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Matt 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Matt 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

1 Thess 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer brings cleansing from God when we do fall to sin. It is not a matter of if we sin as a believer, but when we sin. The illustration Jesus used to teach us this concept was in the washing of the disciples’ feet. We have already had “our bodies washed with pure water” when we were saved; but as we travel down the road of life we will often get our feet dirty. Jesus must therefore wash our feet on a daily basis if we are to keep our conscience clean and our hearts pure to serve Christ. When we are honest with God and ourselves about our sins, faults, and failures—instead of living in denial and self-justification—we will continue to have our lives cleansed “with the washing of water by the word.” When “we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

John 13:6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church,
not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Prayer to God brings the power of the Holy Spirit into our lives. We have already mentioned the importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit if we are to know and do the will of God. However, we must be filled with His power, wisdom, and the fruits of the Spirit if we are to live victoriously, and be a bold and powerful witness to others. The power of the Holy Spirit enables us to speak the “word of God with boldness,” and makes our witness “effectual” by its “working” in the hearts and lives of those we witness to. The power of the Holy Spirit gives us “joy and peace in believing,” causes us to “abound in hope,” and “to know the love of Christ.”  By His power we are “able to stand against the wiles of the devil,” to have “patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” in times of trials and persecutions, and to be free from the “spirit of fear.” We must continually ask for God’s power. We must be filled, and keep on being filled with His Spirit if we are to serve Him. It is foolish to think that we can accomplish anything for God in our own wisdom and strength. Those that do God’s work must have God’s power, and that power comes through prayer.

Luke 11:13 If ye 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?

Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him
, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

Luke 4:14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.

Luke 4:32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.

1 Cor 4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.
20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

2 Thess 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 4:31 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.

Rom 15:18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

1 Thess 1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

Eph 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

Rom 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Eph 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Col 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

2 Tim 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner:
but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

Prayer reveals our need of God and humbles us before Him. It is an affront to our sinful pride to have to ask for anything—especially if you are of the male gender. We all want to be self-sufficient—able to make it on our own, not needing anyone’s help. However, for the believer—who has already had his pride severely damaged by the work of the cross—prayer is a constant reminder to them of how much they truly need God. God’s chastening has brought us to see that “all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass,” and that without Him we “can do nothing.” God hears “the desire of the humble.” He will “revive the spirit of the humble, and… revive the heart of the contrite ones;” and He will give “grace unto the humble.” Therefore, let us “draw nigh to God (in prayer), and he will draw nigh to” us, and “shall lift” us up.

Psa 72:12 For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.

Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

1 Pet 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

2 Chr 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Prayer gives God all the glory

Psa 10:17 LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:

Isa 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Jam 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
9
Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Prayer gives all the glory to God for whatever is done. It is not in the nature of fallen man to be thankful, or to give unto God the glory that is due to Him. Most men tend to believe that whatever they have is due to their own efforts—and they glorify themselves. Even if they receive some special blessing or healing, most people will still not give the honor to God. However, to the believer, who has come to know his own unworthiness and inability, he now begins to understand that everything he has comes from God. When believers pray and God answers, they acknowledge Him who deserves the praise and glory for whatever was done.

Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger
.

1 Cor 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

Psa 115:1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.

Jer 9:23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:
24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me,
that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

1 Cor 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written,
He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

Psa 70:4 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.
5
But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying.

1 Chr 16:28 Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
29 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name
: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

When we pray the model prayer—or one that is patterned after its precepts—it would be hypocritical foolishness for us to say “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,” if we are not praying for the will of God to be done in our own lives. God uses prayer to bring us into alignment with His will. It is not in the capabilities of fallen man to be able to know God’s will by searching it out on his own. It is God’s will that all men repent and trust Jesus; but none could, or would unless God brings them to repentance and He draws them to Christ. There are countless millions of professing Christians, who have read through the Bible, memorized it, studied it, even taught and preached it—yet they do not know its message nor the will of God, and they will perish in their sins. God is a Spirit, and man is spiritually dead in sins, and thus is unable to discern God’s will. As believers we have been given the Spirit of God “that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God,” “for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” However, it is through prayer by which God reveals His will to us, and by which He works in us “both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” It is by asking that “it shall be given you;” it by seeking that “ye shall find;” it is by knocking that “it shall be opened unto you.”

Matt 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

Matt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

1 Cor 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God;
that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Phil 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
12
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Matt 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

God also uses prayer in bringing lost souls to Christ. He first uses prayer to call “forth labourers into his harvest”—for “how shall” the lost “hear without a preacher.” It is truly an amazing thought that God has entrusted the preaching of the Gospel of the Grace of God to men. What a privilege, and what a responsibility it is to witness and to preach the Gospel. However, those that do so must first be called forth and sent by God through the prayers of His people. Did you ever wonder why Jesus chose the men He did to be His disciples? Did He just keep asking anyone who would accept His offer to follow Him until He finally got twelve? Were there many who turned Him down before He found twelve? If these questions sound ridiculous—they are. He had spent forty days in the wilderness praying over every aspect of His coming ministry, especially for the Father to choose out those men who would be the foundation of the church —even Judas who betrayed Him. No one ever turned Him down or said ‘I’ll have to think about it’—for God had prepared their hearts already. Even so we are to pray for God to send forth laborers in this day of ours. No one will ever be willing, or able to endure the sacrifices and persecutions of those who preach the Gospel, unless they know in their hearts that God has sent them. We are not talking about just those who would be a pastor, or an evangelist, or a missionary, but those also who would be a witness where they live and work. All of God’s servants must have a sense, or an awareness, that they are called of God to do whatever He is asking them to do.

Matt 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

2 Cor 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

Matt 4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
22
And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

God uses the prayers of His servants, in bringing the lost to Christ, to open doors to the preaching of the Gospel; and to give strength and boldness to those who do preach and witness. God has a plan and a purpose in bringing the lost sheep to Christ, and we need to pray for His direction. We do not just go about doing whatever we think, wherever we think we should do it—and then ask God to bless what we have done. Too many of God’s children spend their lives trying to chop down the wrong tree with a dull axe. We need God’s direction and God’s power if we are to see any results—and both come through prayer. God is not glorified by His children who labor all their lives, but do not have any fruit to show for it. God’s servants must also have the boldness that comes through the power of the Holy Spirit; they also need physical strength, financial support, physical protection; and for God to intervene for them in countless ways to make their labors successful—this all comes through prayer. Furthermore, “There are many adversaries” to the preaching of the Gospel. Satan himself hinders God’s messengers, and it is only through prayer that the message of Christ will prevail.

Col 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds:
that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Acts 16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,

Acts 16:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia,
assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

1 Cor 16:9 For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.

1 Thess 2:18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.

God also uses the prayers of His people to intervene in the lives of those who are lost. Sinners are not seeking the Saviour out of any desire of their own hearts, but God must draw them—and again He works through prayer. He indeed has sovereignly elected those He will redeem—but He uses means to accomplish that end. Therefore, it is no accident that we cross the paths of certain people; or that His children are burdened for the souls of certain individuals, or groups of people that they pray for. However, our hearts should be as God’s, who “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth,” and has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” God has excluded no one from coming to Christ, for the Gospel call goes out to all men— “whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely,” and “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” We therefore should pray for each and every person we meet or that is brought to mind—whether we feel any great burden for them or not; even while we know that most men will not come to Christ. Paul had a great desire, and prayed constantly that his fellow countrymen, the people of Israel, would be saved; even though he knew that most of them had, and would continue to reject Christ; and that God was not, in this present dispensation, going to draw them. Even so, it is God’s will that we pray for the world of lost men. Let there be no one who stands before God in judgment and says, ‘No one ever prayed for me,’ or, ‘No one ever told me about Christ.’ However, we should not be discouraged when we see that most are unaffected by the Gospel call.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 5:40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

1 Tim 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Rom 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ
for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

Rom 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved

Rom 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

* * * * *

We must, at the inquiry of many minds, answer the following dilemma. The Scriptures teach that God is “not willing that any should perish,” and He “will have all men to be saved.” We also know that God certainly has the power to “draw” all men to Christ. So then, if we as believers are praying for all men to be saved, why then does God not save everybody? The answer lies in what God sovereignly wills to do, as opposed to what He is willing, or desirous to see happen. He elected, or wills that certain of Adam’s race are to be redeemed; and by His great power they are irresistibly brought to Christ. On the other hand, He is willing, desirous, that all men would come to Christ if they would; but He, for His own purposes, does not sovereignly draw them. He is “not willing that any should perish,” for He has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked”; but, for His eternal purposes, He is nevertheless “willing to shew his wrath” upon those who do not come to Christ.

Eze 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

Rom 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

To simplify what we are saying, we will use the following illustration. Suppose there is a Governor of a state in which there is the death penalty for capital crimes. Now this Governor is a kind-hearted man, who has feelings for the victims of these crimes as well as for the criminals and their families. He does not wish to see anyone suffer, and he does not desire to see anyone be put to death. However, as a deterrent to crime, and to properly recompense the criminal for his deeds, he believes in the death penalty. He is therefore, not willing to intervene in the due process of the law that will put such criminals to death. Now, he may decide—because of some extraordinary circumstances—to issue to some of these criminals an executive reprieve or pardon, allowing them to escape the deadly consequences of their crimes. However, if it was his practice to issue everyone such a pardon, we could not say that he truly believed in the proper penalty for such crimes; nor would his actions have any deterrent effect upon those who would contemplate committing similar deeds. Now, God is that Governor, who is the Sovereign Ruler over His entire creation. “His merciful kindness is great toward” His creatures, and it is not His desire to see any of them suffer. However, to maintain order, and a sense of justice and judgment against sin, He is willing that these creatures do suffer for their misdeeds; but, because He also wishes to show His true heart of mercy and compassion, He has provided a way to pardon some of those, who are truly guilty, through the sacrifice of Christ. He sovereignly chooses those He wills to redeem and pardon—by drawing them to Christ; and the others He allows to suffer the due process of His Law.

Psa 117:1 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.

Matt 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

* * * * *

God, last of all, uses the prayers of the lost to bring them to Christ. He uses their cries of suffering, their moanings of sorrow and guilt, and their seeking after relief. Then, as they are being brought to the knowledge of their sin and of Jesus, the substitutionary sacrifice, He uses their prayers of repentance and confessions of faith. However, their prayers of repentance and faith do not come about except by the working of God in their lives. Jesus said, “ye will not come to me, that ye might have life”; and, “no man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” Neither can lost sinners be brought to Jesus, by well-meaning Christians, who lead them in the so-called sinner’s prayer—as if it is some kind of religious mantra that they can recite in order to go to heaven. Sinners must be lead of God to cry out—“God be merciful to me a sinner”; and then they must have Christ divinely revealed to them.

Psa 107:13 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.

Isa 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.

Acts 16:13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

2 Cor 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

John 5:40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Luke 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

John 9:35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

Gal 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

 

 

 

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