Thursday, July 15, 2010

Prayer and Faith

“It is not the intellectually great that the church needs; nor is it men of wealth that the times demand. It is not people of great social influence that this day requires. Above everybody and everything else it is men of faith, men of mighty prayer, men and women after the fashion of the saints and heroes enumerated in Hebrews, who “obtained a good report through faith,” that the church and the whole wide world of humanity needs.
Many men, of this day, obtain a good report because of their money-giving, their great mental gifts and talents, but few there be who obtain a “good report” because of their great faith in God, or because of the wonderful things which are being wrought through their great praying. Today, as much as at any time, we need men of great faith and men who are great in prayer. These are the two cardinal virtues which make men great in the eyes of God, the two things which create conditions of real spiritual success in the life and work of the church.”

Source: E. M. Bounds. The Complete Works of E. M. Bounds (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 20. [Chapter 2, “Prayer and Faith (Continued)” of “The Necessity of Prayer.”]

Defeat Awaits a Non-Praying Church

“The church more than ever needs profound convictions of the vast importance of prayer in prosecuting the work committed to it. More praying must be done and better praying if the church shall be able to perform the difficult, delicate, and responsible task given to it by her Lord and master. Defeat awaits a nonpraying church. Success is sure to follow a church given to much prayer. The supernatural element in the church, without which it must fail, comes only through praying. More time, in this busy bustling age, must be given to prayer by a God-called church. More thought must be given to prayer in this thoughtless, silly age of superficial religion. More heart and soul must be in the praying that is done if the church would go forth in the strength of her Lord and perform the wonders which is her heritage by divine promise.”

Source: E. M. Bounds. The Complete Works of E. M. Bounds (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 211. [Chapter 14, “Wonders of God through Prayer” of "The Possibilities of Prayer."]

What Christianity, the Church, and the World Needs Today

“Christianity needs today, above all things else, men and women who can in prayer put God to the test and who can prove his promises. . . . These are the sort of men and women needed in this modern day in the church. It is not educated men who are needed for the times. It is not more money that is required. It is not more machinery, more organization, more ecclesiastical laws, but it is men and women who know how to pray, who can in prayer lay hold upon God and bring him down to earth, and move him to take hold of earth’s affairs mightily and put life and power into the church and into all of its machinery.
The church and the world greatly need saints who can bridge this wide gap between the praying done and the small number of answers received. Saints are needed whose faith is bold enough and sufficiently far-reaching to put God to the test. . . . Never was the church more in need of those who can and will test Almighty God. Never did the church need more than now these who can raise up everywhere memorials of God’s supernatural power, memorials of answers to prayer, memorials of promises fulfilled. These would do more to silence the enemy of souls, the foe of God and the adversary of the church than any modern scheme or present day plan for the success of the gospel. Such memorials reared by praying people would dumbfound God’s foes, strengthen weak saints, and would fill strong saints with triumphant rapture.
The most prolific source of infidelity and that which maligns and hinders praying, and that which obscures the being and glory of God most effectually, is unanswered prayer. Better not to pray at all than to go through dead form, which secures no answer, brings no glory to God, and supplies no good to man. Nothing so hardens the heart and nothing so blinds us to the unseen and the eternal, as this kind of prayerless praying.”

Source: E. M. Bounds, The Complete Works of E. M. Bounds (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 197-198. [Chapter 12, “Answered Prayer (Continued)" of "The Possibilities of Prayer.”]

Prayer and Purity

"A prayerless spirit has no affinity for a clean heart. Prayer and a pure heart go hand in hand. Purity of heart follows praying, while prayer is the natural, spontaneous outflowing of a heart made clean by the blood of Jesus Christ."

Source: E. M. Bounds, The Complete Works of E. M. Bounds (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 158. [Chapter 3 "Prayer and the Promises (Continued)" of "The Possibilities of Prayer."]

"Heavenly Father, may prayer and purity permeate my life so that You are pleased. Amen."

Can You Believe?

"Perhaps you will say that you cannot believe. Even such a statement is a symptom of your lost condition. If you do not believe, it is because you will not believe. . . . Your hard heart says that you cannot believe but the core of that hard heart is a will that is determined not to believe." (Donald G. Barnhouse, Romans, 2.1.59)

Upon reading this statement, I was reminded of an intellecutally stimulating, apologetic-type conversation I once had with a self-professed agnostic. He was thoroughly familiar with the Bible and had even taught it during his career days, yet he commented to me that he "could not believe." I replied, "You could not or would not?" He said, "I can't believe." I quipped, "You can't or you won't?"

"Lord, thank you for the privilege and opportunity of being used by You to share Your wonderful truth with others. Thank You that Your word goes forth and accomplishes what pleases You and it does not return void. Holy Spirit, change the heart of the atheists and agnostics into Christian theists. Amen."