Sorry for the delay on continuing this series of posts. The business of life had gotten the better of me I plan on being more consistent in updates. God help us as we continue.
Book One - The Necessity of Prayer
Chapter Two: Prayer and Faith cont.
Chapther two opens with this statement, "Genuine, authentic faith must be definite and free of doubt." Shortly after, Bounds states, "It is to be a definite, specific, asking for and expecting the things for which we ask." So why is it we see so little answers to prayer or that time spent in prayer is lacking? It is because we lack this true definite faith. The prayer giants of old and the unknown of today had and have this faith. When I say unknown, that is to be unknown to man as such but certainly known well to God in heaven. These pray as if they know their prayers are heard and answered! God help me, God help us to pray with such confidence!
He continues "If the order on God is made clear, specific and definite, God will fill it, exactly in accordance with the presented terms." Where does this statement come from? It is based on Mark 11:23. - For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. So he bases this on the Word of God. I would say that that is a good place to stand.
"Faith gives birth to prayer. The lack of it lies at the root of all poor praying, feeble praying, little praying, unanswered praying." So our prayer life comes out of our faith life. Bounds says, "The nature and meanin of faith is more demonstrable in what it does, than it is by reason of any definition given it." What does this mean? Simply put, it means that faith walks more than it talks. As James puts it, Faith without works is dead. The Word of God is full of stories of faith, faith in action and faith that transforms. This is great faith in a great God! Lest the skeptics say that we only find that in the Bible I turn to the example of those I have known personally. These drug addicts and "jail birds" have been radically transformed by their faith in the person of Jesus Christ. I note a personal change as well, seeing God change me and grow me as life progresses.
Bounds expresses strongly, "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." How often do we meet and know great men and women of faith and prayer. I would say rarely. Yet that is the great need of our churches and our generation are these men and women. Men and women who will take hold of the throne and ear of God and know He hears and answers. God help me to be one who is great in God's eyes in the realm of faith and prayer. I know I have a long way to go.
"Doubt and fear are the twin foes of faith. We need to guard against unbelief as we would against an enemy." How often we doubt and fear! I am reminded of Peter sinking into the sea when he began to doubt and fear. His doubt and fear came when he looked at circumstances and surroundings instead of keeping his eyes on Christ. God help me to keep my eyes on Jesus my Savior and not allow doubt and fear a place in my heart.
Bounds said of growing faith, "Faith is increased by exercise, by being put into use. It is nourished by sore trials. Faith grows by reading and meditating upon the Word of God. Most, and best of all, faith thrives in an atmosphere of prayer." God help us to grow in our faith. To put it to task in prayer and life. Help us to look at trials as oppurtunities to grow, and God helpf us to be in the Word on a consistent basis with a desire to grow in our faith and devotion!
Bounds challenges with a question. He challenges us to ask ourselves, "Have I real faith? Do I have faith that keeps me in perfect peace. Do I really pray to God so that he hears me and answers my prayers? And do I truly pray unto God so that I get direct from God the things I ask of him?" This is the faith that is real. Faith that accomplishes for the glory of God. He further challenges the pastor saying, "His main business is to turn his people from being forgetful of God, from being devoid of faith, from being prayerless, so that they become people who habitually pray, who believe in God, remember him and do his will. It is to get them to pray, to trust God, and to keep God ever before their eyes, that they may not sin against him. The work of the ministry is to change unbelieving sinners into praying and believing saints." This is quite a challenge from this man of God. Before the pastor can do this, he must live this. He must have real faith. He must have a real meaningful prayer life. Many pastors are guilty of having an empty faith and an empty prayer life. We cannot expect the body to rise above the head. God help us to be real men of faith and men of God and carry that reality into the ministry!
Some closing thoughts on faith in prayer. Faith is the essential in prayer. "Faith starts prayer to work - clears the way to the mercy seat. It accompanies prayer at every step she takes. Faith makes prayer strong, and gives it patience to wait on God." Finally, "Faith believes that God is a rewarder." God help us to remember these essentials of faith but especially the last that God rewards those that diligently seek Him. He does not obligate Himself to reward all who pray but those that diligently seek Him. God help us to be those that do.
Finally what is it that makes us pray. Bounds concludes the chapter thus, "The spirit of a pilgrim greatly facilitates praying. An earthbound, earth-satisfied spirit cannot pray. In such a heart, the flame of spiritual desire is either gone out or smoldering in faintest glow. The wings of its faith are clipped, its eyes are filmed, its tongue silenced. But they, who in unswerving faith and unceasing prayer, wait contunually upon the Lord, do renew their strength, do mount up with wings as eagles, do run, and are not weary, do walk, and not faint."
Thanks for reading, and God bless as you follow Him!