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PRAYING FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT TO
PREPARE YOUR HEART FOR CONVERSION
(Lectures on Conversion #1)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Saturday Evening, June 19, 2004
at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near" (Isaiah 55:6).


Unconverted people should seek God in prayer. I do not mean a "sinner's prayer" - which is a modern invention and promotes Finneyite "decisionism." Praying a "sinner's prayer" nearly always short circuits the true work of the Holy Spirit in converting a human soul.

And  yet  unconverted  people  should  pray.   Isaiah  55:6  and  many  other  verses  teach  this.

I. What should the unconverted person pray for?

You should pray for the Holy Spirit to come to you. Jesus said,

"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 11:13).

But you must not pray for peace, or power, or deliverance. Often lost people pray for these things and are tricked by their own flesh, by the Devil, or a combination of the two. The unconverted person should therefore know what he wants the Holy Spirit to do for him.

II. Why should the unconverted person pray for the
Holy Spirit to come to him?

You should pray for the Holy Spirit to come to you to convince you of sin. The "decisionist" believes that a "faint desire" for salvation is all that is necessary to prepare the heart for conversion (Shedd, see info. below, p. 773). But true preparation of the heart includes being convicted of sin, guilt and helplessness. W. G. T. Shedd said,

Man gains spiritual life in an instant, though he may have had days and months of a foregoing experience of conviction and sense of spiritual death. This is the ordinary divine method (W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, Presbyterian and Reformed, 2003, ibid.).

Thus, unconverted people should know why they need the Holy Spirit. They need the Holy Spirit to convince them of sin, guilt, and helplessness. This is why they need the Holy Spirit.

"And when he is come, he will reprove [convince] the world of sin…" (John 16:8).

That is the first work of the Holy Spirit. That is what you should pray for if you are unconverted. And, then, you must be very careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit as He begins to convince you of your sinfulness.

Dr. Shedd said,

The unregenerate man should be extremely careful…If he suppresses conviction of sin…then God may withdraw all grace…Yet observation shows that the Holy Spirit [often] suffers long and is very patient…with convicted [people]…he does not [quickly] leave them, even when they disobey [His convicting work], but continues to strive with them to bring them to faith and repentance (Shedd, ibid., p. 781).

III. How the Holy Spirit prepares an unconverted person for conversion.

He may answer the prayer for conviction directly and immediately. Or He may answer in ways that are not expected. He may leave you dry and emotionless. Why? To teach you that you have no natural love for God. Dr. Shedd said,

The [person] is displeased, is perhaps made more bitter and rebellious. By this experience, the Holy Spirit [shows] to the [unconverted person] more and more of the enmity of [his] carnal mind and his [inability] and enslaved will. This [helps to prepare] him for the instantaneous act of [conversion] (Shedd, ibid.).

"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near" (Isaiah 55:6).

But don't tell Him how to do His work of convincing you. He will select the way you should be dealt with. Be careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit by resisting Him, as He shows you your cold, dead heart, your guilt, and your helplessness. Do not resist the Holy Spirit. Your heart must be prepared or you, as a mere natural man, will not trust Christ savingly, since,

"The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Corinthians 2:14).

(END OF SERMON)

THE OUTLINE OF

PRAYING FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT TO
PREPARE YOUR HEART FOR CONVERSION
(Lectures on Conversion #1)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near" (Isaiah 55:6).

I.   What should the unconverted person pray for? Luke 11:13.

II.  Why should the unconverted person pray for the Holy Spirit
to come to him? John 16:8.

III. How the Holy Spirit prepares an unconverted person for
conversion, I Corinthians 2:14.

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