Praying Through For Revival
By F. F. Bosworth
Jesus taught “that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). Two things remember: “Always to pray,” and second, “Not to faint,” or, as Weymouth translates, “Never lose heart.” This means that Christians should never be without a definite petition before the throne of God, with their minds fully made up to get the answer. The chief ingredient in real prayer is the purpose to get the answer.
Jesus said, “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 18:19). The main thing that we are to agree on is that we will not stop praying until we know we have the answer. The mere asking without importunity, without a purpose to get the answer, is not what the Bible means by prayer.
Some people do not believe God will answer prayer at all; others think He will do so once in a great while, but let me say, friends, He always answers real prayer, for Jesus said, “Everyone that asketh receiveth...” (Matt. 7:8).
When men and women are yielded to God so that they can pray acceptably, they always receive the answer unless they “faint” or “lose heart.” There is only one thing that hinders anyone from praying acceptably to God, and that is his own stubborn will; so I repeat, everyone who really asks receives.
There are comparatively few in our day who have learned to “pray through.” Nearly everyone goes through a daily routine of prayer, but there is just one here and there who asks with his mind made up to prevail with God for the answer, and it is not real prayer until he is thus determined. We are to “ask in faith, nothing wavering” (Jas. 1:6).
If it is right to pray for a revival, then it is wrong to stop praying until we know we are heard. If we undertake to pray for a thing, then we ought either to follow it up until we get the answer or withdraw the petition.
There are thousands of God’s children who have had their sins forgiven, their hearts purified through the blood of Christ, and who would not do wrong for anything, but out of this multitude there is only one here and there that is definitely by prayer undertaking any project for God and the salvation of souls. They hope for it; they want it; they go through the form of asking for it in family prayer, but do not stir themselves up to take hold of God (Isa. 64:7) and see the thing brought to pass.
Elijah did, Jacob did, Daniel did, the one hundred and twenty did, some today do, and we all should. Among the one hundred and twenty there was not even one that was not of “one accord” in importunity. Without exception they prayed until they were perfectly adjusted and in tune with God, and when that is done the devil has to take a back seat. When God’s people unite in prayer with perfect hearts it matters not how strongly the devil may entrench himself, his strongholds can be pulled down. We are living in a day when to us the manifestations of God’s power seem wonderful, but the revivals and the power of God we see are small compared to what God wants them to be.
He wants us as a church to unite in prayer until He is able so to display His power as to make everyone know that He is with us. Even away back in Egypt, when God had men of faith, He revealed Himself and His power until there was not a boy or girl in all Egypt but knew that God was on hand.
I met a minister and his wife who said: “We prayed for a revival, but of course you know we never receive as much as we ask for.” I said to them: “I do not know any such thing, but I do know that the answer is always far beyond our petition, provided the power of God is sufficiently working in us while we pray.”
According to the Power that Worketh in Us
By reading Ephesians 3:20 we see that Paul had discovered this wonderful fact. He wrote: “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....” Because of the lack of this power working within most Christians today, they are not getting anywhere near as much as they ask for in their daily routine of prayer. But where the condition of this text is met, the very opposite of this will be true, and the answer will always exceed the petition, and will surprise the one who made it.
In the process of praying through for a revival, and praying down the atmosphere that makes a real revival possible, where there is a purpose of heart in the matter, the Holy Spirit will energize and empower us to prevail, and He Himself will make intercession with groanings we cannot utter in words; and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will be in exact proportion to the power of the Holy Spirit praying through us.
We know what will happen when God’s people really unite in asking for a revival. If before they received the Holy Spirit the one hundred and twenty could “all continue with one accord in prayer” (Acts 1:14) until they all prayed through, surely we can do the same after we have received the baptism in the Spirit. And if we do not or will not, what kind of a baptism have we?
Uniting in Prayer with Unbending Purpose
The early Christians prayed down an answer that has been an object lesson to all subsequent generations, and they were consecrated enough to undertake this before they received the Holy Spirit. The entire assembly uniting in prayer with unbending purpose of heart, was the secret of the wonderful power and success of the first church in Jerusalem. Even the three thousand added to the church on the day of Pentecost “continued steadfastly…in prayers” (Acts 2:42), and “great grace was upon them all” (4:33).
When God can find a church in these last days, that will return to the methods of the first church and all draw close enough to God to receive the Spirit of prayer, He will send an outpouring of the Spirit the like of which has not been seen in our day, and the report of which will inspire the faith of the saints the world over to prevail for a similar outpouring. What an opportunity any church has to be a blessing to the world by stepping out and taking the lead in this! Are you all willing to stir yourselves up to take hold of God?