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GOOD THINGS COME THROUGH PRAYER

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, June 5, 2016

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11).


In this wonderful passage Jesus encourages us to pray. Verses 7 and 8 are in the present tense in Greek. That means to keep on asking, to keep on knocking. When the Holy Spirit brings a need again and again to your heart, it is a burden from the Lord. Then you will be reminded to pray for that thing again and again, until the answer comes from our Father in Heaven.

When my family and I came back from a short vacation in Mexico, I was immediately confronted with eight huge problems in our church. There seemed no possible way to deal with these problems. I laid each one of them before God in prayer, not knowing what to do about them. They were huge problems. Of course the Devil plagued my mind with doubts and fears. Of course, my old nature did not believe that God would take care of these things. But I prayed on, like the man who said to Jesus, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24). That is a good prayer to pray when your faith is weak, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” – to overcome my unbelief, to strengthen my faith. And so I prayed for these eight big problems.

And one by one God answered my prayers. One by one, those problems that seemed impossible, were overcome in answer to prayer. One problem I had prayed about for over fifteen years was answered last Sunday! What a miracle! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Also, one by one, the eight problems I spoke of were overcome. The last one was answered just before I sat down to write this sermon! It was a really big problem. It burdened my heart for months! But when God answered it, it seemed so easy! The burden was lifted, and God gave the answer with such ease that it now seemed foolish that I had been so concerned over it!

Come, my soul, thy suit prepare,
   Jesus loves to answer prayer;
He Himself has bid thee pray,
   Therefore will not say thee nay,
Therefore will not say thee nay.

Thou art coming to a King;
   Large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such,
   None can ever ask too much,
None can ever ask too much!
    (“Come, My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare” by John Newton, 1725-1807).

It makes my heart sing when I remember how God answered my prayers! My heart sings when I give thanks to God for answered prayer! When God answers a prayer, you should be quick to thank Him!

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11).

For His grace and power are such,
   None can ever ask too much,
None can ever ask too much!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Give God the glory! Give God the glory! He answers prayer! (applause).

We have seen remarkable answers to prayer this year. We saw two ladies in their eighties converted. We saw twelve new young people hopefully converted in a few days. Then Robert Wang was hopefully converted when Dr. Rasmussen preached on Easter Sunday morning. Then Woody was delivered from demonic oppression – a real miracle of grace! Then Jesse Zacamitzin! He looked at me with angry eyes when he found that I liked Trump. But not long after that he had tears running down his cheeks in the inquiry room, as Dr. Cagan led him to trust the Saviour! Remarkable! Only God could do that in his life! Valentine Herrera didn’t look at all like a good prospect at all! But God seemed to tell me he would be saved. And he was soon hopefully converted! Remarkable! Only God could do that! Then I preached a sermon largely to Christians. I just mentioned the Gospel briefly. What a surprise when they told me that Tom Xia was hopefully saved afterwards! I forgot to mention the hopeful conversion of Mrs. Zabalaga after John Cagan simply asked her to trust Jesus – and she did – after over 35 years of doubt and confusion! Remarkable! Only God could do that! About 17 people have already been hopefully converted this year – and the year is only half over! (applause)

My dear friends, God is a God of miracles! He answers prayer! He gives good things to them that ask Him! Dear brothers and sisters, let us focus on prayer for God’s presence in our services. I want you to pray for the presence of God every time you pray. My pastor at the Chinese church was Dr. Timothy Lin (1911-2009). He often spoke of the need to pray for God’s presence in the church. Dr. Lin said,

      The general goal of prayer is asking God’s consent to bless us with His grace, to heal the sick, to comfort the downtrodden, to provide for the needy, to deliver those in trial, to help unbelievers believe and believers to grow, and so on... In fact, all these requests are cures for the symptoms rather than for the root of the problem. Our Lord has… given us the cure for the root of the problem – His presence with us!
      With His presence, all these problems will be resolved, darkness will turn to light, and calamity will become riches... Praise the Lord! He has promised to be with us through prayer...The goal of prayer is to have God’s presence (Timothy Lin, Ph.D., The Secret of Church Growth, FCBC, 1992, pp. 108, 109).

Therefore, I am asking you to pray for God’s presence in our church every time you pray. When you pray in the morning, be sure to pray for God’s presence among us. When you thank God for the food before you eat, pray at least a few words asking Him to be present in our church. When you pray for me, pray for God’s presence through my preaching. Also pray for God’s presence as I write the sermons in my home office. When you pray for the Fall Harvest, pray for God’s presence among us. Without His presence, all our evangelism will produce no fruit. When you pray for our Internet mission to the world, pray for God’s presence among those who read the sermons, or preach them, or watch them on the videos. When you pray for our evangelism, pray for God’s presence to go with us as we evangelize. When you pray for Mr. Griffith’s solos, and for our congregational singing, pray for God’s presence to be with the songs. Pray for God’s presence in our prayer meetings. Pray for God’s presence to break down the hearts of lost “church kids.” But don’t stop there – pray for God’s presence to convert the new people as they come in. Learn the names of the new people – and pray for God’s presence to show them their need for Christ – and to draw them to the Saviour. Pray for God’s presence to bind the Devil and his demons. Pray for God’s presence in the inquiry room after the services. Pray for God’s presence to heal the sick, like Mrs. Roop and myself. Pray for God’s presence in every activity of our church. Pray for God’s presence when Noah Song and John Cagan preach during the Fall Harvest. Pray for God’s presence every time I speak. Pray for God’s presence every time Dr. Chan speaks. In the Parable of the Importunate Friend, 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).

We must continually ask for the presence of God the Holy Spirit to be with us. And that should lead us to also pray for God to glorify Himself among us in revival. I hope that you will pray for God to send a revival to us every time you pray! Yes – every time! Revival is a more intense pouring out of His presence among us. We should also pray the prayer of Habakkuk,

“O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).

“O Lord, revive thy work.” An old-fashioned hymn that I have always loved says it well.

Showers of blessing,
   Showers of blessing we need;
Mercy drops round us are falling,
   But for the showers we plead.
(“There Shall Be Showers of Blessing” by Daniel W. Whittle, 1840-1901).

The “mercy drops” are the 17 or 18 souls that have been hopefully saved this year. But the “showers of blessing” come when God sends down revival power in the full force of His blessing.

When revival comes it is God who sends it. The church can go on and be good. We can see souls saved. We can have God’s presence. But in revival everything is intensified. The prayers suddenly become more powerful. The sermons become overwhelmingly powerful. Conviction of sin becomes very great. Every service becomes a powerful inquiry room. Tears flow as people confess their sins. Even those who are already saved will confess their sins – often openly before everyone. The Gospel that the lost have heard for years comes to them as though it were a new message, one that they have never really grasped.

Revival usually comes when a few people in the church begin to feel there is something more that is needed. They are no longer satisfied by the routine of the church. They begin to pray for God to move in a miraculous way among them. Christians become aware that they are far colder than they thought they were. They confess their worldliness. They confess the sins in their hearts. They often confess their sins publicly. They cry out for God to pardon and restore them. God Himself stirs up the church, and it becomes like the church in the Book of Acts.

A great prayer for revival power was given by the prophet Isaiah. He prayed,

“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence” (Isaiah 64:1).

I hope some of you will memorize that prayer, and actually use those words when you pray for revival.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones called Isaiah 64:1, “the ultimate prayer for revival.” He said,

“‘Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down’ – and I do not hesitate to [say] that that is the ultimate prayer in connection with a revival. It is right, of course, always to pray for God to bless us...and to be gracious unto us, that should be our constant prayer. But this goes beyond that, and it is here that we see the differences between what the church should always be praying for, and the special, peculiar, urgent prayer for a visitation of God’s Spirit in revival... ‘Oh’ he says, ‘that thou wouldest rend the heavens.’ There is a tearing process. God erupts into [our] midst” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Revival, Crossway Books, 1992, pages 305-307).

Isaiah's prayer is suggested in the little chorus we often sing,

Spirit of the living God,
   Come down, we pray.
Spirit of the living God,
   Come down, we pray.
Melt us, mold us, break us, bend us.
vSpirit of the living God,
Come down, we pray.
    (“Spirit of the Living God” by Daniel Iverson, 1899-1977;
       altered by Dr. Hymers).

When you pray for revival sing that chorus, then pray the words of Isaiah 64:1,

“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence” (Isaiah 64:1).

The mountains of pride, the mountains of sin and rebellion, the mountains of unbelief – will all flow down when God rends the heavens and comes down among us.

So, we must pray for God’s presence in everything we do in the church. But we must also pray for an even greater outpouring of God’s Spirit among us in revival. When revival comes it nearly always comes suddenly. I have seen revival three times in my life. The first and third time I saw revival the Holy Spirit came down so suddenly that we were surprised and overcome with the power of God! If God should send a revival here you will never forget it as long as you live. There will be more work done in our church in a month than we see now in twenty years! I know. I have seen with my own eyes what God can do when He rends the heavens and comes down in greater power than we have ever seen before. Take this sermon home and read it when you pray. First, pray for God’s presence in all we do. Then pray also for a greater outpouring of God’s Spirit in revival.

Always pray for God’s presence in everything we do. But also pray for an even greater outpouring among us in revival. Jesus said,

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11).

“Lord, Send a Revival.” Sing it!

Lord send a revival,
   Lord, send a revival,
Lord, send a revival,
   And let it come down from Thee.
(“Lord, Send a Revival” by Dr. B. B. McKinney, 1886-1952;
       altered by Dr. Hymers).

Everyone pray for a conversion tonight (all pray).

Come, my soul, thy suit prepare,
   Jesus loves to answer prayer;
He Himself has bid thee pray,
   Therefore will not say thee nay,
Therefore will not say thee nay.

Thou art coming to a King;
   Large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such,
   None can ever ask too much,
None can ever ask too much!

You could be saved from sin this evening. The Holy Spirit could awaken you to your sin. The Holy Spirit could draw you to Christ for cleansing from sin by His precious Blood. If you would like to speak with us about being saved, please follow Dr. Cagan and John Cagan to the back of the auditorium now. They will take you to a quiet room where we can talk and pray. Amen.

If this sermon blessed you Dr. Hymers would like to hear from you. WHEN YOU WRITE TO DR. HYMERS YOU MUST TELL HIM WHAT COUNTRY YOU ARE WRITING FROM OR HE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR E-MAIL. If these sermons bless you send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and tell him, but always include what country you are writing from. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net (click here). You can write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can. If you want to write to Dr. Hymers by postal mail, his address is P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. You may telephone him at (818)352-0452.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Matthew 7:7-11.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Come, My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare” (by John Newton, 1725-1807).