December 23, 2012 – December 29, 2012
“The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” I Peter 4:7.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 711–718; The Great Controversy, 613–634.
“We need to pray as we never have prayed before for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, for if there was ever a time when we needed this baptism, it is now.” The Upward Look, 346.
1 A SUBJECT OF PRAYER
- What is truly our most pressing need at the present hour? I Peter 4:7; Zechariah 10:1.
Note: “It is a part of God’s plan to grant us, in answer to the prayer of faith, that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask.” The Great Controversy, 525.
“A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work. There must be earnest effort to obtain the blessing of the Lord, not because God is not willing to bestow His blessing upon us, but because we are unprepared to receive it. Our heavenly Father is more willing to give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him, than are earthly parents to give good gifts to their children. But it is our work, by confession, humiliation, repentance, and earnest prayer, to fulfill the conditions upon which God has promised to grant us His blessing. A revival need be expected only in answer to prayer. While the people are so destitute of God’s Holy Spirit, they cannot appreciate the preaching of the Word; but when the Spirit’s power touches their hearts, then the discourses given will not be without effect. Guided by the teachings of God’s Word, with the manifestation of His Spirit, in the exercise of sound discretion, those who attend our meetings will gain a precious experience, and returning home, will be prepared to exert a healthful influence.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 121.
2 PERILS OF TODAY
- As we near the end, why must we pray for ourselves and others to be fortified against the deadly deceptions of spiritualism? Revelation 13:11–14; 18:21–23.
Note: “There are few who have any just conception of the deceptive power of Spiritualism and the danger of coming under its influence. Many tamper with it merely to gratify their curiosity. They have no real faith in it and would be filled with horror at the thought of yielding themselves to the spirits’ control. But they venture upon the forbidden ground, and the mighty destroyer exercises his power upon them against their will. Let them once be induced to submit their minds to his direction, and he holds them captive. It is impossible, in their own strength, to break away from the bewitching, alluring spell. Nothing but the power of God, granted in answer to the earnest prayer of faith, can deliver these ensnared souls.” The Great Controversy, 558.
- How are we to escape today’s intense dangers? II Corinthians 3:18; 11:3, 4.
Note: “We are in continual danger of getting above the simplicity of the gospel. There is an intense desire on the part of many to startle the world with something original, that shall lift the people into a state of spiritual ecstasy, and change the present order of experience. There is certainly great need of a change in the present order of experience; for the sacredness of present truth is not realized as it should be, but the change we need is a change of heart, and can only be obtained by seeking God individually for His blessing, by pleading with Him for His power, by fervently praying that His grace may come upon us, and that our characters may be transformed. This is the change we need today, and for the attainment of this experience we should exercise persevering energy and manifest heartfelt earnestness. We should ask with true sincerity, ‘What shall I do to be saved?’ We should know just what steps we are taking heavenward.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 187, 188.
- How does God illustrate His help to us? Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11, 12.
3 OPPRESSION SOON TO COME
- How are we to prepare for the coming crisis? Revelation 7:1–3; 13:11, 13–17.
Note: “We are not ready for the issue to which the enforcement of the Sunday law will bring us. It is our duty, as we see the signs of approaching peril, to arouse to action. Let none sit in calm expectation of the evil, comforting themselves with the belief that this work must go on because prophecy has foretold it, and that the Lord will shelter His people. We are not doing the will of God if we sit in quietude, doing nothing to preserve liberty of conscience. Fervent, effectual prayer should be ascending to heaven that this calamity may be deferred until we can accomplish the work which has so long been neglected. Let there be most earnest prayer, and then let us work in harmony with our prayers. It may appear that Satan is triumphant and that truth is overborne with falsehood and error; the people over whom God has spread His shield, and the country which has been an asylum for the conscience-oppressed servants of God and defenders of His truth, may be placed in jeopardy. But God would have us recall His dealings with His people in the past to save them from their enemies. He has always chosen extremities, when there seemed no possible chance for deliverance from Satan’s workings, for the manifestation of His power. Man’s necessity is God’s opportunity. It may be that a respite may yet be granted for God’s people to awake and let their light shine. If the presence of ten righteous persons would have saved the wicked cities of the plain, is it not possible that God will yet, in answer to the prayers of His people, hold in check the workings of those who are making void His law? Shall we not humble our hearts greatly before God, flee to the mercy seat, and plead with Him to reveal His mighty power?” Testimonies, vol. 5, 713, 714.
“Especially should we, with unwavering faith, seek God for grace and power to be given to His people now. We do not believe that the time has fully come when He would have our liberties restricted. … [Revelation 7:1, 3 quoted.] This points out the work we have now to do. A vast responsibility is devolving upon men and women of prayer throughout the land to petition that God will sweep back the cloud of evil and give a few more years of grace in which to work for the Master. Let us cry to God that the angels may hold the four winds until missionaries shall be sent to all parts of the world and shall proclaim the warning against disobeying the law of Jehovah.” Ibid., 717, 718.
4 THE TIME OF TROUBLE
- How will God’s people experience the time of trouble? Jeremiah 30:5–7.
Note: “The season of distress and anguish before us will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger—a faith that will not faint though severely tried. The period of probation is granted to all to prepare for that time. Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined. His victory is an evidence of the power of importunate prayer. All who will lay hold of God’s promises, as he did, and be as earnest and persevering as he was, will succeed as he succeeded. Those who are unwilling to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly for His blessing, will not obtain it. Wrestling with God—how few know what it is! How few have ever had their souls drawn out after God with intensity of desire until every power is on the stretch. When waves of despair which no language can express sweep over the suppliant, how few cling with unyielding faith to the promises of God.” The Great Controversy, 621.
“Though God’s people will be surrounded by enemies who are bent upon their destruction, yet the anguish which they suffer is not a dread of persecution for the truth’s sake; they fear that every sin has not been repented of, and that through some fault in themselves they will fail to realize the fulfillment of the Saviour’s promise: I ‘will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world.’ Revelation 3:10. If they could have the assurance of pardon they would not shrink from torture or death; but should they prove unworthy, and lose their lives because of their own defects of character, then God’s holy name would be reproached.
“On every hand they hear the plottings of treason and see the active working of rebellion; and there is aroused within them an intense desire, an earnest yearning of soul, that this great apostasy may be terminated and the wickedness of the wicked may come to an end. But while they plead with God to stay the work of rebellion, it is with a keen sense of self-reproach that they themselves have no more power to resist and urge back the mighty tide of evil. They feel that had they always employed all their ability in the service of Christ, going forward from strength to strength, Satan’s forces would have less power to prevail against them.
“They afflict their souls before God, pointing to their past repentance of their many sins, and pleading the Saviour’s promise: [Isaiah 27:5 quoted]. Their faith does not fail because their prayers are not immediately answered.” Ibid., 619, 620.
5 POINTS TO REMEMBER
- When will prayer no longer be needed? I Corinthians 13:12. Until then, what should we always keep in mind? John 15:14–16; II Thessalonians 3:1–5.
Note: “Those who, through faith in the merits of the blood of Christ, have clean hands and a pure heart, will receive the white robe, the crown of righteousness, and the life that will run parallel with the life of God. There is no limit to the blessings that we may receive in answer to sincere, fervent prayer. The love of God to fallen man is measureless, and if our Father sees that we will not be lifted up with the blessings He has power to bestow upon us, but will receive them with humble and grateful hearts, He will abundantly grant unto us our requests. He says: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened’ [Matthew 7:7, 8].” The Signs of the Times, December 23, 1889.
“We are sometimes tempted to think that the promise, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you,’ is not fulfilled unless the answer comes immediately when the request is made. It is our privilege to ask for special blessings, and to believe that they will be given us. But if the blessings asked for are not immediately granted, we are not to think that our prayers are not heard. We shall receive, even if the answer is delayed for a time. In carrying out the plan of redemption, Christ sees enough in humanity to discourage Him. But He does not become discouraged. In mercy and love He continues to offer us opportunities and privileges. So we are to rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” The Youth’s Instructor, April 6, 1899.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What is necessary in order to receive the promised Holy Spirit in fullness?
2 Why do we need to pray about some dangers intensifying in these last days?
3 How can prayer make a difference with regard to the inevitable Sunday crisis?
4 What do the remnant’s prayers in the time of trouble reveal about priorities?
5 Is there a time when prayer is not necessary?
© 2003 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.