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STRENGTH FOR THE WORK THROUGH PRAYER

by Dr. Robert Hymers

A Communion Service Message at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, December 11, 2005

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31).


Dr. R. A. Torrey said of this verse,

There is mighty power in prayer. It has much to do with our obtaining fulness of power in Christian life and service. The one who will not take time for prayer may as well resign all hope of obtaining the fulness of power God has for him. It is “they that wait upon the Lord” who shall “renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31). Waiting upon the Lord means something more than spending a few minutes at the beginning and close of each day running through a stereotyped form of request. “Wait upon the Lord.” True prayer takes time and thought, but it is a great time-saver. At all events if we are to know fulness of power we must be men and women of prayer (R. A. Torrey, D.D., How to Obtain Fulness of Power in Christian Life and Service, Fleming H. Revell, 1897, p. 95).

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength”
      (Isaiah 40:31).

I will give you a few abbreviated thoughts on this text from Dr. Torrey, a man who knew how to wait upon God in prayer.

I. First, prayer has power to bring us wisdom.

The Bible speaks plainly on this point,

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not [without finding fault with us]; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).

God will not upbraid you, or reproach you, or find fault with you, if you ask Him for wisdom. Oh, no! “It shall be given him.” No promise could be clearer than that! We can have wisdom, the wisdom of God Himself, at every point of life. God does not want us to grope in darkness. He wants to give us His infinite wisdom. All we have to do is ask for it in faith. Many people are stumbling in their own foolishness, instead of receiving the wisdom of God, simply because they do not ask for wisdom. How do I raise my children? That requires wisdom. How do I get good grades in school? That requires wisdom. How do I overcome these obstacles in my life? That, also, requires wisdom. And the Word of God says,

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God…and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).

How do I speak to this person I meet on the street and want to invite to church? How do I get the wisdom to do that effectively? How do I speak to that new person after he comes to church? How do I lead him to want Christ?

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God…and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).

But this “asking” is not to be a ritual form of prayer. It must be deep, serious prayer that comes from “waiting upon the Lord” in prayer (Isaiah 40:31).

II. Second, prayer has the power to bring the Holy Spirit
in all His blessed power into our lives and ministry.

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).

It was after the first disciples had continued “in prayer and supplication” (Acts 1:14) that “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:4).

It is prayer that brings the Holy Spirit’s power into our lives and the work we do for God. Do you get very few names when you go to evangelism? Could that be a result of lack of prayer, earnest, waiting-upon-God prayer? I think you would agree that you have not waited on God enough in prayer to be truly effective in evangelism. As we go out to evangelize, others get many names for us to follow up on, but you get few. Some of you get hardly any. Could this be a result of not praying for the power of the Holy Spirit in your soul-winning? Jesus gave a clear promise when He said,

“How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13).

Ask God for the power of the Holy Spirit to help you get more names when you go out to evangelism. He will do it if you wait on Him in prayer. Many of you have little power in your service for God simply because you spend so little time in prayer for soul-winning power.

III. Third, prayer brings the power of God into our evangelistic work,
on our evangelism out on the streets, and in our telephone
evangelism when we call to get them into the church services.

When the Apostles were confronted with obstacles, “they lifted up their voice to God with one accord” (Acts 4:24). “And when they had prayed,” waiting on God in prayer, the power of God came and swept away all obstacles (Acts 4:31-33; 5:13). Do you want the power of God in your evangelism and telephoning, and bringing people to church on your own? Then pray for it. Wait on God in prayer for His power to come and help you.

A mother once came to Dr. Torrey who had an incorrigible son who would not listen to her pleadings. She asked Dr. Torrey what to do. He said, “pray.” The boy was converted a short time later and became a fine Christian. Why? Because his mother listened to Dr. Torrey and began waiting on God in serious prayer for her son each day - and God answered her prayers when she got serious about waiting on God in prayer for the boy.

There has never been a great and true revival without much waiting on God in prayer. Dr. Torrey said, “Many modern so-called revivals are brought about by man’s machinery. But there have been times in great revivals in the past without much preaching, and with almost no machinery. But there has never been a great and true revival without much prayer, without waiting on God in prayer. Many modern so-called revivals are gotten up by man’s machinery.” But genuine revivals are brought down by waiting on God in serious prayer.

Many Christians do not realize how much their prayers, or lack of them, have to do with the powerful or powerless preaching of their pastor. The neglect of waiting on God in serious prayer can make all the difference between whether we have conversions in the upcoming evangelistic meetings in January or not. I beg you to set extra time aside to wait upon God in prayer for these meetings, for the preaching to have power, for the lost to be converted. I ask you to begin waiting on God in serious prayers for these meetings, in your private prayers. I hope you will set aside some time every day to pray for God to help the pastor know what to preach, and to help him preach it powerfully to convert the lost. Also, spend much time in prayer for the lost, by name if possible, that God will open their hearts to receive Christ in these special meetings. I hope you will set aside some time every day from now until January to wait on God, and seriously pray for these important things in the life of our church. May God help you do it, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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THE OUTLINE OF

STRENGTH FOR THE WORK THROUGH PRAYER

by Dr. Robert Hymers


“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31).

I.   Prayer has power to bring us wisdom, James 1:5

II.  Prayer has the power to bring the Holy Spirit in all His blessed power into
our lives and ministry, Luke 11:13; Acts 1:14; 2:4.

III. Prayer brings the power of God into our evangelistic work, on our
evangelism out on the streets, and in our telephone evangelism when
we call to get them into the church services, Acts 4:24, 31-33; 5:13.