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REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 0 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.
The Prayer Of Faith

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 2 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

THE PRAYER OF FAITH

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 13 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

In my last Lecture I dwelt upon the subject of Prevailing Prayer; and you will recollect that I passed over the subject of faith in prayer very briefly, because I wished to reserve it for a separate discussion. The subject of the present Lecture, then, is The Prayer of Faith. I propose to show:

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 22 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

That this is so will not be seriously doubted. There is such a thing as offering benevolent desires, which are acceptable to God as such, that do not include the exercise of faith in regard to the actual reception of those blessings. But such desires are not prevailing prayer, the prayer of faith.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 38 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

3. Where there is any prophetic declaration that the thing prayed for is agreeable to the will of God. When it is plain from prophecy that the event is certainly to come, you are bound to believe it, and to make it the ground for your special faith in prayer. If the time is not specified in the Bible, and there is no evidence from other sources, you are not bound to believe that it shall take place now, or immediately. But if the time is specified, or if the time may be learned from the study of the prophecies, and it appears to have arrived, then Christians are under obligation to understand and apply it, by offering the prayer of faith. For instance, take the case of Daniel, in regard to the return of the Jews from captivity. What does he say? "I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem" (Daniel 9:2). Here he learned from books; that is, he studied his Bible, and in that way understood that the length of the captivity was to be seventy years.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 53 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

But admitting that Paul's prayer was not answered by the granting of the particular thing for which he prayed, in order to make out this case as an exception to the prayer of faith, they are obliged to assume the very thing to be proved; and that is, that the apostle prayed in faith. There is no reason to suppose that Paul would always pray in faith, any more than that any other Christian does. The very manner in which God answered him shows that it was not in faith. He virtually tells him: "That thorn is necessary for your sanctification, and to keep you from being exalted above measure, I sent it upon you in love, and in faithfulness, and you have no business to pray that I should take it away. LET IT ALONE."

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 56 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

This case of Paul, and that of Christ just adverted to, were both of them cited as instances to prove that the prayer of faith would not be answered in the particular thing for which they prayed. Now, to teach such sentiments as these, in or out of a Theological Seminary, is to trifle with the Word of God, and to break the power of the Christian ministry. Has it come to this, that our grave doctors in our seminaries are employed to instruct Zion's watchmen to believe and teach that it is not to be expected that the prayer of faith is to be answered in the granting of the object for which we pray? Oh, tell it not in Gath, nor let the sound reach Askelon!

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 58 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

5. It is evident that the prayer of faith will obtain the blessing, from the fact that our faith rests on evidence that to grant that thing is the will of God. Not evidence that something else will be granted, but that this particular thing will be. But how, then, can we have evidence that this thing will be granted, if another thing is to be granted? People often receive more than they pray for. Solomon prayed for wisdom, and God granted him riches and honor in addition. So, a wife sometimes prays for the conversion of her husband, and if she offers the prayer of faith, God may not only grant that blessing, but convert her child, and her whole family

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 62 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

1. You must first obtain evidence that God will bestow the blessing. How did Daniel make out to offer the prayer of faith? He searched the Scriptures. Now, you need not let your Bible lie on a shelf, and expect God to reveal His promises to you. "Search the Scriptures," and see where you can get either a general or special promise, or a prophecy, on which you can plant your feet. Go through your Bible, and you will find it full of such precious promises, which you may plead in faith.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 63 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

A curious case occurred in one of the towns in the western part of the State of New York. There was a revival there. A certain clergyman came to visit the place, and heard a great deal said about the Prayer of Faith. He was staggered at what they said, for he had never regarded the subject in the light in which they did. He inquired about it of the minister that was laboring there. The minister requested him, in a kind spirit, to go home and take his Testament, look out the passages that refer to prayer, and go round to his most praying people and ask them how they understood these passages. He did so, going to his praying men and women, reading the passages, without note or comment, and asking what they thought. He found that their plain common sense had led them to understand these passages and to believe that they meant just what they say. This affected him; then, the fact of his presenting the promises before their minds awakened the spirit of prayer in them, and a revival followed.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 66 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

3. Entire consecration to God is indispensable to the prayer of faith. You must live a holy life, and consecrate all to God--your time, talents, influence--all you have, and all you are, to be His entirely. Read the lives of pious men, and you will be struck with this fact, that they used to set apart times to renew their covenant, and dedicate themselves anew to God; and whenever they have done so, a blessing has always followed immediately. If I had President Edwards' works here, I could read passages showing how it was in his days.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 67 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

4. You must persevere. You are not to pray for a thing once and then cease, and call that the prayer of faith. Look at Daniel. He prayed twenty-one days, and did not cease till he had obtained the blessing. He set his heart and his face unto the Lord, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes; and he held on three weeks, and then the answer came. And why did not it come before? God sent an Archangel to bear the message, but the devil hindered him all this time. See what Christ says in the Parable of the Unjust Judge, and the Parable of the Loaves. What does He teach us by them? Why, that God will grant answers to prayer when it is importunate. "Shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him?" (Luke 18:7.)

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 71 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

1. "It leads to fanaticism and amounts to a new revelation." Why should this be a stumbling-block? They must have evidence to believe, before they can offer the prayer of faith. And if God should give other evidence besides the senses, where is the objection? True, there is a sense in which this is a new revelation; it is making known a thing by His Spirit. But it is the very revelation which God has promised to give. It is just the one we are to expect, if the Bible is true; that when we know not what we ought to pray for, according to the will of God, His Spirit helps our infirmities, and teaches us. Shall we deny the teaching of the Spirit?

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 72 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

2. It is often asked: "Is it our duty to offer the prayer of faith for the salvation of all men?" I answer: "No," for that is not a thing according to the will of God. It is directly contrary to His revealed will. We have no evidence that all will be saved. We should feel benevolently to all, and, in itself considered, desire their salvation. But God has revealed that many of the human race shall be damned, and it cannot be a duty to believe that all shall be saved, in the face of a revelation to the contrary. In Christ's prayer in John 17, He expressly said: "I pray not for the world, but for those Thou hast given me" (v. 9).

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 74 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

4. But you ask: "For whom are we to pray this prayer? We want to know in what cases, for what persons, and places, and at what times, we are to make the prayer of faith." I answer, as I have already answered: "When you have evidence--from promises, or prophecies, or providences, or the leadings of the Spirit--that God will do the things for which you pray."

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 75 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

5 "How is it that so many prayers of pious parents for their children are not answered? Did you not say there was a promise which pious parents may apply to their children? Why is it, then, that so many pious, praying parents have had impenitent children, who have died in their sins?" Grant that it is so, what does it prove? "Let God be true, but every man a liar" (Romans 3:4). Which shall we believe, that God's promise has failed, or that these parents did not do their duty? Perhaps they did not believe the promise, or did not believe there was any such thing as the prayer of faith.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 77 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

6. "Will not these views lead to fanaticism? Will not many people think they are offering the prayer of faith when they are not?" That is the same objection that Unitarians make against the doctrine of regeneration--that many people think they have been born again when they have not. It is an argument against all spiritual religion whatever. Some think they have it when they have not, and are fanatics. But there are those who know what the prayer of faith is, just as there are those who know what spiritual experience is, though it may stumble cold-hearted professors who know it not. Even ministers often lay themselves open to the rebuke which Christ gave to Nicodemus: "Art thou a master in Israel, and knowest not these things?" (John 3:10.)

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 79 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

1. Persons who have not known by experience what the prayer of faith is, have great reason to doubt their own piety. This is by no means uncharitable. Let them examine themselves. It is to be feared that they understand prayer as little as Nicodemus did the New Birth. They have not walked with God, and you cannot describe it to them, any more than you can describe a beautiful painting to a blind man.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 80 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

2. There is reason to believe that millions are in hell because professors have not offered the prayer of faith. When they had promises under their eye, they have not had faith enough to use them. The signs of the times, and the indications of Providence, were favorable, perhaps, and the Spirit of God prompted desires for their salvation. There was evidence enough that God was ready to grant a blessing, and if professors had only prayed in faith, God would have granted it; but He turned it away, because they could not discern the signs of the times.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 82 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

4. Many professors of religion live so far from God, that to talk to them about the prayer of faith, is all unintelligible. Very often the greatest offense possible to them, is to preach about this kind of prayer.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 83 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

5. I now want to ask professors a few questions. Do you know what it is to pray in faith? Did you ever pray in this way? Have you ever prayed till your mind was assured the blessing would come--till you felt that rest in God, that confidence, as if you saw God come down from heaven to give it to you? If not, you ought to examine your foundation. How can you live without praying in faith? How do you live in view of your children, while you have no assurance whatever that they will be converted? One would think you would go deranged. I knew a father who was a good man, but had erroneous views respecting the prayer of faith; and his whole family of children were grown up, without one of them being converted. At length his son sickened, and seemed about to die. The father prayed, but the son grew worse, and seemed sinking into the grave without hope. The father prayed, till his anguish was unutterable. He went at last and prayed (there seemed no prospect of his son surviving) so that he poured out his soul as if he would not be denied, till at length he got an assurance that his son would not only live but be converted; and that not only this one, but his whole family would be converted to God. He came into the house, and told his family his son would not die. They were astonished at him. "I tell you," said he, "he will not die. And no child of mine will ever die in his sins." That man's children were all converted, years ago.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VI. - THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER. paragraph 4 What Spirit is spoken of in the passage: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities" - What that Spirit does for us - Why He does what the text declares Him to do - How He accomplishes it - The degrees of His influences - How His influences are to be distinguished from the influences of evil spirits - Who have a right to expect His influences.

My last Lecture but one was on the subject of Effectual Prayer; in which I observed that one of the most important attributes of effectual or prevailing prayer is FAITH. This was so extensive a subject that I reserved it for a separate discussion. And accordingly my last Lecture was on the subject of Faith in Prayer, or, as it is termed, the Prayer of Faith. It was my intention to discuss the subject in a single Lecture. But as I was under the necessity of condensing so much on some points, it occurred to me, and was mentioned by others, that there might be some questions which people would ask, that ought to be answered more fully, especially as the subject is one on which there is so much darkness. One grand design in preaching is to exhibit the truth in such a way as to answer the questions which would naturally arise in the minds of those who read the Bible with attention, and who want to know what it means, so that they can put it in practice. In explaining the text, I propose to show:

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VI. - THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER. paragraph 65 What Spirit is spoken of in the passage: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities" - What that Spirit does for us - Why He does what the text declares Him to do - How He accomplishes it - The degrees of His influences - How His influences are to be distinguished from the influences of evil spirits - Who have a right to expect His influences.

2. This subject lays open the foundation of the difficulty felt by many persons on the subject of the Prayer of Faith. They object to the idea that faith in prayer is a belief that we shall receive the very things for which we ask, and insist that there can be no foundation or evidence upon which to rest such a belief.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VI. - THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER. paragraph 70 What Spirit is spoken of in the passage: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities" - What that Spirit does for us - Why He does what the text declares Him to do - How He accomplishes it - The degrees of His influences - How His influences are to be distinguished from the influences of evil spirits - Who have a right to expect His influences.

The whole force of this objection arises out of the fact that the Spirit's influences are entirely overlooked, which He exerts in leading an individual to the exercise of faith. It has been supposed that the passage in Mark 11:22-24, with other kindred promises on the subject of the Prayer of Faith, relate exclusively to miracles. But suppose this were true. I would ask: "What were the apostles to believe, when they prayed for a miracle?"

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VI. - THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER. paragraph 100 What Spirit is spoken of in the passage: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities" - What that Spirit does for us - Why He does what the text declares Him to do - How He accomplishes it - The degrees of His influences - How His influences are to be distinguished from the influences of evil spirits - Who have a right to expect His influences.

I hardly know where to end this subject. I should like to discuss it a month, indeed, till the whole Church could understand it, so as to pray the prayer of faith. Beloved, I want to ask you: Do you believe all this? Or do you wonder that I should talk so? Perhaps some of you have had some glimpses of these things. Now, will you give yourselves up to prayer, and live so as to have the spirit of prayer, and have the Spirit with you all the time? Oh, for a praying Church! I once knew a minister who had a revival fourteen winters in succession. I did not know how to account for it, till I saw one of his members get up in a prayer meeting and make a confession.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VII. - ON BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT. paragraph 4 Individuals may have the Spirit of God - It is their duty to be filled with the Spirit - Why the Spirit is not obtained - The guilt of those who have not the Spirit of God - The consequences of having the Spirit. - The consequences that will follow not having the Spirit.

Several of my Lectures have been on the subject of Prayer, and the importance of having the spirit of prayer--of the intercession of the Holy Ghost. Whenever the necessity and importance of the Spirit's influences are held forth, there can be no doubt that persons are in danger of abusing the doctrine, and perverting it to their own injury. For instance: when you tell sinners that without the Holy Spirit they never will repent, they are very liable to pervert the truth, and understand by it that they cannot repent, and therefore are under no obligation to do it until they feel the Spirit. It is often difficult to make them see that all the "cannot" consists in their unwillingness, and not in their inability. So again, when we tell Christians that they need the Spirit's aid in prayer, they are very apt to think they are under no obligation to pray the prayer of faith until they feel the influences of the Spirit. They overlook their obligation to be filled with the Spirit, and wait for the spirit of prayer to come upon them without asking, and thus they tempt God.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VII. - ON BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT. paragraph 76 Individuals may have the Spirit of God - It is their duty to be filled with the Spirit - Why the Spirit is not obtained - The guilt of those who have not the Spirit of God - The consequences of having the Spirit. - The consequences that will follow not having the Spirit.

Among other entries was this: "I am acquainted with about thirty ministers and Churches." He then went on to set apart certain hours in the day and week to pray for each of these ministers and Churches, and also certain seasons for praying for different missionary stations. Then followed, under different dates, such facts as these: "Today I have been enabled to offer what I call the prayer of faith for the outpouring of the Spirit on ----- Church, and I trust in God there will soon be a revival there."

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VII. - ON BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT. paragraph 77 Individuals may have the Spirit of God - It is their duty to be filled with the Spirit - Why the Spirit is not obtained - The guilt of those who have not the Spirit of God - The consequences of having the Spirit. - The consequences that will follow not having the Spirit.

Under another date he had written: "I have today been able to offer what I call the prayer of faith for ----- Church, and trust there will soon be a revival there." Thus he had gone over a great number of Churches, recording the fact that he had prayed for them in faith that a revival might soon prevail among them.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VII. - ON BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT. paragraph 78 Individuals may have the Spirit of God - It is their duty to be filled with the Spirit - Why the Spirit is not obtained - The guilt of those who have not the Spirit of God - The consequences of having the Spirit. - The consequences that will follow not having the Spirit.

Of the missionary stations, if I recollect right, he mentioned in particular one at Ceylon. I believe the last place mentioned in his diary, for which he offered the prayer of faith, was the place in which he lived. Not long after, the revival commenced, and went over the region of country, nearly, I believe, if not quite, in the order in which the places had been mentioned in his diary; and in due time news came from Ceylon that there was a revival of religion there. The revival in his own town did not commence till after his death. Its commencement was at the time when his widow put into my hands the document to which I have referred. She told me that he was so exercised in prayer during his sickness, that she often feared he would "pray himself to death." The revival was exceedingly great and powerful in all the region, and the fact that it was about to prevail had not been hidden from this servant of the Lord. According to His Word, "the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him" (Psalm 25:14). Thus, this man, too feeble in body to go out of his house, was yet more useful to the world and the Church of God than all the heartless professors in the country. Standing between God and the desolations of Zion, and pouring out his heart in believing prayer, "as a prince he had power with God and with men, and prevailed" (Genesis 32:28).

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VII. - ON BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT. paragraph 85 Individuals may have the Spirit of God - It is their duty to be filled with the Spirit - Why the Spirit is not obtained - The guilt of those who have not the Spirit of God - The consequences of having the Spirit. - The consequences that will follow not having the Spirit.

2. You will always be unsettled in your views about the prayer of faith.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VII. - ON BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT. paragraph 86 Individuals may have the Spirit of God - It is their duty to be filled with the Spirit - Why the Spirit is not obtained - The guilt of those who have not the Spirit of God - The consequences of having the Spirit. - The consequences that will follow not having the Spirit.

The prayer of faith is something so spiritual, so much a matter of experience and not of speculation, that unless you are spiritual yourselves you will not understand it fully. You may talk a great deal about the prayer of faith, and for the time get thoroughly convinced regarding it. But you will never feel so settled on it as to retain the same position of mind concerning it, and in a little while you will be all uncertainty again. I knew a curious instance in a brother minister. He told me: "When I have the Spirit of God and enjoy His presence, I believe firmly in the prayer of faith; but when I have Him not, I find myself doubting whether there is any such thing, and my mind is full of objections." I know, from my own experience, what this is, and when I hear persons raising objections to that view of prayer which I have presented in these Lectures, I understand very well what their difficulty is, and have often found it impossible to satisfy their minds, while they are so far from God; when, at the same time, they would understand it themselves without argument, whenever they experienced it.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE XVI. - THE NECESSITY AND EFFECT OF UNION. paragraph 43 We are to be agreed in prayer - We are likewise to be agreed in everything that is essential to the blessing we seek.

Suppose a Church gets the idea that sinners are poor unfortunate creatures, who come into the world with such a nature that they cannot help sinning, and that sinners are just as unable to repent and believe the Gospel as they are to fly to the moon, how can it be felt that the sinner is a rebel against God, and that he deserves to be sent to hell? How can they feel that the sinner is to blame? And how can they take God's part when they pray? If they do not take God's part against the sinner, they cannot expect God will regard their prayers, for they do not pray with right motives. No doubt one great reason why so many prayers are not answered, is, that those who pray do in fact take the sinner's part against God. They pray as if the sinner were a poor unfortunate being, to be pitied, rather than as if he were a guilty wretch, to be blamed. And the reason is, that they do not believe sinners are able to obey God. If a person does not believe that sinners are able to obey their Maker, and really believes that the Spirit's influences are necessary to make them able, it is impossible, with these views, to offer acceptable and prevailing prayer for the sinner; and it is not wonderful that persons with these views should not prevail with God, and should doubt about the efficacy of the prayer of faith.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 1112 1087 Lecture XIX. Legal and Gospel Experience ...

If it be objected that God answers none but the prayer of faith, it should be remembered that there is a sense in which he hears and answers other prayers than these. He hears the cry of the little ravens, and the young lions when they lack for food. And Christ, when on earth, heard and answered the prayer of devils when they pleaded that they might not be sent out of the country, but might be suffered to go into the herd of swine. God's ear is always open to the cry of distress, and where there is no good reason why he should not, he may and doubtless does often hear, and in some sense answer the prayer of those whose moral character he abhors. I do not believe that God has anywhere laid himself under an obligation to answer any but the prayer of faith. And yet I cannot doubt that he often hears the cry of souls in distress and brings deliverance to those in legal bondage.

III. Show what is implied in being brought up out o[ the horrible pit.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 296 269 Lectures VI. & VII.The Church Bound to Convert the World- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

11. There must be constant and prevailing prayer. Did God promise to enlarge His church and convert the world? He has annexed this condition; "Nevertheless for this will I yet be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them." There must be constant prayer. It must be the prayer of faith, of sympathy with God. It must be the effectual, fervent prayer--that wrestling agonizing travail of soul that has power with God. This must extend through the church. It must be universally diffused abroad, and prayer for the world's conversion instead of being confined almost entirely to the monthly concert, must be the labor and burden of every day. The church must take the world on her hands and upon her heart. The minister and the laymen and women, all classes and ages of Christians must really travail in birth for the world's conversion. It must absorb their whole attention; it must engross their thoughts, rouse up and set on fire their feelings, and pour itself out before God in a flood of agony before the world can be converted. Such prayer as is not commonly heard must be offered before this work can be done. We must have praying men and women, nay, the whole church must become a praying church, and be gathered around the mercy seat and lie on her face, and pour out her prayers with strong cryings and tears. This must be persevered in until they have come up to the full spirit and meaning of what God says, "Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give Him no rest until He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth." They must besiege the throne of grace with the promises in their hand. There must be a great lifting up of heart and soul and a thousand times ten thousand hearts must echo and echo, "Thy kingdom come, Thy kingdom come," until this comes to be the universal cry of the church, until the heart of the church militant heaves like a volcano, and the gospel is like a burning fire shut up in her bones, and the promises are to them stable as the everlasting mountains; until she can plant her feet on them and stand and never retreat a hand's-breadth till the work is done.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1846 paragraph 571 494 Lecture VIII. God Manifesting Himself to Moses ...

I once knew a Christian who had been eminently a man of prayer--who had lived for years so that he could pray daily with acceptance before God, and whose conversations and prayers had created quite an interest in the subject of the prayer of faith. Yet this man sadly declined from this state and the Lord at length recalled him in the following way. I had, said he in his diary, an intimate friend who was impenitent, and who in raising a building was suddenly crushed with a fatal blow. I rushed to him. The dying man begged me to pray for his soul. That is all, said he, that you can do for me; pray for my soul lest I sink at once into hell. But I could not pray if it had been to save my own life. I was away from God and I could not get near Him to pray a word. O my agony of soul was perfectly inexpressible. But that was the last hour of my quiet in such a state. I could not live so.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 68 - Sanctification (Part 12) paragraph 132 Objections answered

     Suppose it be objected, that many Christians have been led thus to pray, who have not received the blessing sought. I answer, that it remains to be proved that they were led by the Holy Spirit to plead any promise in faith, where they have not received, or will not receive an answer according to the true spirit and meaning of the promise which they plead and believed. Suppose they may have thought at some time, or that they have often thought, that they had become so established that they should sin no more, and that the event has proved that they were mistaken; this does not prove that it is irrational for them to expect that their prayers shall yet be fully answered. Suppose a parent is led by the Holy Spirit to pray in faith for the conversion of a child, and that this child appears, if you please, from time to time to be converted, but that the event shows that he was mistaken; that is, that he was not truly converted; this is no reason for his despairing of his conversion. He is still warranted to hope, and is bound, if he is conscious of having prayed in faith for his conversion, still to expect his conversion, and to use the appropriate means to secure this result. Just so, if a Christian has been led to plead the promises of deliverance from all sin: for example, such an one as 1 Thes. v. 23, 24.--"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." I say, if any saint on earth is conscious of being, or having been, led to pray in faith for the fulfilment of this promise, he is warranted to expect its fulfilment to him, according to its true spirit and meaning; and this he is bound to expect, although he may have supposed that he had entered upon this state, and found himself mistaken a hundred times. The fact, that he has not yet received the fulfilment of the promise in extenso, no more proves that he will not, than the delay in the case of the promise that Abraham should have a son, proved that it was irrational in him to expect the promise to be fulfilled to him. It has been objected, that it was irrational to expect to attain to a state in this life in which we should sin no more, because many have supposed they had made the attainment, and found at length that they were mistaken. But there is no force in this objection. Suppose this is granted, what then? Does this prove that the prayer of faith will not be answered? Suppose many such mistakes have been made; does this disprove the word of God? In no wise. God will still fulfil his promises, and "is not slack concerning them as some men count slackness." If such a promise has been pleaded in faith, heaven and earth shall pass away before the answer shall fail. But suppose it should be alleged, that evidence is wanting that any ever did or will plead those promises in faith. To this I answer, that the soul may be as conscious of exercising faith in these promises, as it is of its own existence; and although one might think he believed when he did not, still it would be true, that when one actually did believe he would know and be sure of it.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 70 - Sanctification (Part 14) paragraph 26 Objections--continued Part II

     This objection was once stated to me by a celebrated minister of New England, as applicable to the prayer of faith. It has probably occurred to many minds, and deserves a moment's attention. In further remarking upon it, I would say:--

 

 


CHARLES G. FINNEY TESTIMONIAL OF REVIVALS, CHAPTER XIII. - REVIVAL AT ROME. paragraph 36 Remarkable inquiry meeting - Great interest - Little H and her father - Death of a reviler - Conversion of Mr. H. - Visit of Sheriff B. - The spirit of prayer - Conversion of the officer's wife - Conversion of Mrs. C.

I should say a few words in regard to the spirit of prayer which prevailed at Rome at this time. I think it was on the Saturday that I came down from Western to exchange with Mr. Gillett, that I met the church in the afternoon in a prayer meeting, in their house of worship. I endeavored to make them understand that God would immediately answer prayer, provided they fulfilled the conditions upon which he had promised to answer prayer; and especially if they believed, in the sense of expecting Him to answer their requests. I observed that the church were greatly interested in my remarks, and their countenances manifested an intense desire to see an answer to their prayers. Near the close of the meeting I recollect making this remark: "I really believe, if you will unite this afternoon in the prayer of faith to God, for the immediate outpouring of His Spirit, that you will receive an answer from heaven, sooner than you would get a message from Albany, by the quickest post that could be sent."

 

 


CHARLES G. FINNEY TESTIMONIAL OF REVIVALS, CHAPTER XXXV. - LABORS IN ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND. paragraph 15 Preaching in Edinburgh - The E. U. Church - The ladies prayer meeting - Preaching in Aberdeen - Circumscribing prejudice - Going to Bolton, England - First evening at Bolton - The week of prayer - Cooperation of denominations - Canvassing the city - A more quiet manner - Work in Mr. B's mill - Cases of restitution - Conversion of the miserly mill-owner - Labors in Manchester - Want of cooperation - Return home.

Our first meeting was in the chapel occupied by Mr. Davison, who had sent for me to come to Bolton. He was an Independent, what we in this country call a Congregationalist. His chapel was filled the first night. The meeting was opened by a Methodist minister, who prayed with great fervency, and with a liberty that plainly indicated to me that the Spirit of God was upon the congregation, and that we should have a powerful meeting. I was invited to follow him with some remarks. I did so, and occupied a little space in speaking upon the subject of prayer. I tried to impress upon them as a fact, that prayer would be immediately answered, if they took the stumbling blocks out of the way, and offered the prayer of faith. The word seemed to thrill through the hearts of Christians. Indeed I have seldom addressed congregations upon any subject that seemed to produce a more powerful and salutary effect, than the subject of prayer. I find it so everywhere. Praying people are immediately stirred up by it, to lay hold of God for a blessing. They were in this place. That was a powerful meeting.