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    177
    FIVE KEYS TO EFFECTIVE PRAYER

    Communing with the Most High

      1. Be specific;
      2. Find a scripture to cover the matter at hand;
      3. Have a burning desire for the fulfillment of the prayer;
      4. Picture yourself possessing your request NOW;
      5. Thank God for what you pray for -- praise the Lord!

    One of the most frequently asked questions of a pastor is how to hold effective prayer. In the many years of my ministry I have spoken to many frustrated people for whom prayer has born few fruits. This has left them discontented, confused and (alas) discouraged. In my experience this lack of effective prayer is caused by an unclear vision of what prayer actually is.

    The Scriptures are replete with instructions on how we should pray, why we should pray, what we whould pray for, and what results we should expect. Today I would like to give the saints a very simple recipe that gets to the very heart of prayer, a recipe which I obtained from a preacher from India which I propose to look at very closely today.

    1. Be Specific

    The first council I would give Christians is to be specific. Don't go and pray for "peace in the world" but identify specific situations and people who themselves can be prayed for to influence the cause of peace. Pray for specific leaders of nations so that God can turn their hearts. Praying must always be personal, and to be personal it must come out of the heart. When you pray for individuals, pray for specific problems and for practical means whereby they can be helped. Remember that God does not do what we can do for ourselves. He will not levitate me out of bed in the morning nor brush my teeth for me. These I am expected to do myself. If a person is lonely, pray for the time and means to visit and assist them, or for others who may be in a better position. If a person is ill, pray for the doctors ministering to them, for the illness itself to be destroyed by the patient's natural resources. Discern if the illness has its origin in sin and pray for a ministry of reconcilliation. Focus in on needs and deal with them at root. Sometimes prayer demands that we call on God's supernatural intervention because human hands cannot do anything more, but we should not pray for this as an excuse to do nothing concrete and practical ourselves.

    When praying to solve problems, get to the roots. This means in addition to praying, alot of other things have to be done. Praying should really be the final assessment, and the a plan of action. Thus specific prayer should be the culmination of much other work beforehand and be followed by much work afterwards.

    2. Find a Scripture to Cover the Matter at Hand

    It is no use praying for something that is wrong. To know what is right means we must be saturated in the Word of God. We must know what God wants to give us and of his promises. The Scriptures are a manual for life. Most of life's situations are encountered within them and most men and women of God have passed through the same kinds of situations as we have, and have discovered the solution. The Scriptures are therefore a manual of the experience of man's dealings with God, and vice versa.

    The Lord has said in the Bible that His Word never comes back to him empty (Isaiah 55:11). Put another way, He keeps His Word. Therefore His promises may be utterly relied upon for He will fulfill everything He says. If we are in doubt about a matter, then, go to the Scriptures and obtain God's Word, and then trust in it completely. A Christian should know his scriptures well, not just intellectually, but as living books in his heart. If we want to pray about healing, find scriptures on healing and God's promises. "Cover" your question or problem with the Word. Be armed with what the Lord has to say and confidently expect Him to fulfil every promise.

    3. Have a Burning Desire

    So many of the prayers we say are half-hearted because we don't really believe that they will be effective. We say them out of habit or maybe out of fear that God will be displeased if we do not. But this is entirely wrong. Prayers that do not issue from the core of a man's heart will never be fulfilled.

    Praying is not wishing. It is not a passive mental exercise, not just a forming together of words. Prayer is the expression of the whole soul of man.

    Try to think for a moment of a situation in life where your whole mind, heart and body has had to be employed. When we get desperate, we tend to pour our hearts out to God like a rushing torrent. It is then that our spirits are at their most alive. If a roaring lion is charging at you with the obvious intent of eating you for its next meal, you don't passively sit by and wait to become dinner. In such a moment of extreme danger, prayer may be animated in such a way as to involve the whole person. "Lord, save me!" will likely be your cry. You won't find such a person saying: "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that I can pray to you in a free land. Thank you for my blessings. I seem to be in a little bit of difficulty as a lion is charging me and I may be eaten up any minute...." Would you pray like that in such a situation? Of course not! But which of the two prayers do you think God is most likely to hear? The cry from the depths of the heart, of a literary discourse?

    Too much of our praying is just mumbo-jumbo, a ritual playing with words, a reflex action. How would you feel if someone came up to you and started talking to you as though you were a blank wall?

    Now desperate praying doesn't have to be negative. It doesn't have to be a cry for rescue from a life-threatening situation. The kind of desperate praying the Lord wants is a desperation for God's Word. We don't have to wait for everything to collapse around us before we can pray a prayer of desperation. The kind of active praying I am talking about is not prayer inspired by danger but prayer inspired by victory. This victory I am speaking of is the knowledge that God, through Christ, has conquered every foe, as the Scriptures testify. This victory is the certain reality that God is present in the Christian's life and is mighty to save and quick to bless. So much of praying is done out of a sense of defeat. We are defeated by life so we pray desperately for relief. But this is not the Christian way. The Christian is already victorious. We have problems, yes, but God has already solved them and is waiting to deliver the solution -- to you -- now! What is your part? To know the promises and to believe in them. Yours is simply to have an active faith.

    Now I didn't just say faith, but I used a qualifying word -- active faith. Do you have a problem that seems insoluble? Do you want it to be solved... right away? Then listen to this story which is perfect illustration of this active faith. Whatever you problem my be, understand that this story -- which was real --is also a parable about any situation in life.

    There were once four men and they had a friend who was desperately ill, a man who was permanently confined to his bed. When his friends heard that Jesus was in the neighbourhood they immediately took up their friends's stretcher and went to the house where Jesus was teaching. It was crowded -- so crowded that they couldn't get anywhere near Him. So what did they do? They couldn't get through the door because it was jammed full of people. They couldn't get in through a window. There were hundreds of people. Did they shout for help? Did they give up when they couldn't get past the crowd?

    No, they carried their friend up onto the roof of the house and started taking the roof apart. And it wasn't even their own house! What would you have felt if Jesus was visiting your home and whilst He was talking to a packed audience, four men started ripping your roof apart! Well, they did it, and Jesus commended them for their great faith. You see, they defied convention. They wanted so much for their friend to be healed that they were willing to do anything to get him to Jesus. They had the spirit of desperation, but it wasn't a negative one. They were willing to tear someone's house apart because they knew, by faith, that they would succeed in their quest.

    If your son or daughter was dying, wouldn't you do the same? If you were spiritully dying, would you do it then? How far are you willing to go to obtain the blessings of God's promises? Are you willing to take Him at His word? And are you willing to break through the roof of your unbelief for salvation?

    Faith is action -- always. If you can't get in through the door, go through the window! And if you can't get through the window, go through the roof! Just do it! Remember, if you don't, you might miss Jesus. You might miss that inner healing. You might miss the gathering to Zion. Sometimes He expects us to show forth this kind of faith in action, not because He wants to make our life in the Gospel difficult, but because He knows this is the only way to deliver us from bondage and to perfect our character. He has a reason for all things. Whether he calls us in through the door, window, or roof doesn't matter so long as He calls us and we obey -- instantly. Now those four could have waited until after the meeting in that house but they might have risked missing Him. Will you take that risk? Are you going to risk not being healed? Are you going to risk being left outside Zion? No, brothers and sisters, active faith is not faith in the future, it is faith NOW. Don't wait, don't procrastinate, act at once. Jesus is waiting for you NOW. Jesus wants to heal you NOW. Jesus is calling you to gather to Zion NOW!

    Faith is action -- always. Faith is doing what God has told you to do. It is first doing what to man is natural -- only then does God do the supernatural! Whether you speak or pray, do so out of the "ABUNDANCE OF YOUR HEART", out of a burning desire (Luke 6:45).

    4. Picture Yourself as Possessing it NOW!

    Which brings me to the fourth aspect of active prayer, and one that is easily overlooked. If you have asked the Lord for something, think of possessing it now. Receiving it may take time, but possession is now. Does that mean we should pretend we have something? No, God does not want us to live a delusion or a lie. But He does want us to live in His reality.

    Let me illustrate what I mean by looking at the father of faith, namely our Patriarch Abraham. God told Abraham that he had made him the "father of many nations" (Rom.4:17), and this before it had even happened -- before he had given birth to the promised seed, namely, Isaac. But how could Abraham have been the father of many nations before the actual event? Before Isaac was born?

    When God says something is going to hapen, then it is going to happen. There is no debate, no possibility that He might be wrong. So if God says: "You will have six sons," you may be absolutely sure that you will. So let us suppose that He comes to you when you are depressed, and says that He is going to bless you with all the things you have ever desired in righteousness. What will your reaction be? Of course, if you have a child-like faith, you will be overjoyed! In fact, you will react as though the blessings have already been received, even though they haven't come yet.

    That very promise was given to me by the Lord nearly 15 years ago, and I believe it. And I have seen it fulfilled as I have believed it, and enjoyed the fruits of that receiving even before the literal receiving has taken place! Priase the Lord!

    God told me by revelation about my three children even before they were conceived in their mothers' wombs. I rejoiced and praised Him as though I had already received them, for I knew they would come! Now I was a young man when I had these promises, but Abraham and Sarah were old. Yet he believed. Indeed, He never doubted.

    The faith Abraham was called to have is the same faith we have been called to have. Indeed, have we not all been told as Christians to do the works of Abraham? (John 8:39) Indeed, does it not say in the New Testament that as born-again Christians we are now the offspring of Abraham, his children? (Gal.3:7). We are the sons and daughters of Abraham by adoption. Abraham was given his name, which means "father of many nations", so that whenever God called him by name, he would be reminded of the Lord's promise to him... that even in old age he would father many nations! That's the reason God gives us spiritual or firstborn names, to remind us of the promises He has made to us, and to call us into active belief that they will be fulfilled.

    Well, it is not often that God personally manifests Himself before us, or sends an angel or a prophet to us, to tell us how He is going to bless us. In the majority of cases He doesn't need to, because He has already given us thousands of promises in the Scriptures, promises that should make our hearts glad and renew our faith. But how can we know the promises, and be renewed in them, if we don't read them? How can we then be empowered by them? Yet we must not read just for the sake of reading, but we must read with the intent of entering into God's own heart -- into a personal relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus. You can get the same joy and power through believing in God's promises in the written Word as you can in hearing it directly from Him, or from a preacher, or a prophet, BECAUSE THE WORD OF GOD IS NEVER VOID.

    To have faith is to touch the very heart of God. And to touch the heart of God is to open up the windows of Heaven for your blessing. The whole Gospel is predicated upon this faith. It is the heart of the Christian evangel.

    This faith is more than believing in words. It is no use believing the words, "God is love". You must have a picture in your mind of what love is. You must understand what it means. God has told us much about love in the past but it has not really been understood by the people.

    The Gospel is not abstract but intensely real. It is not something far away but something intimately close, something that everyone can experience and rejoice in. The American inventor, Thomas Eddison, when asked how he was able to invent, replied that he saw things in pictures. Words are limiting, but pictures -- or visions -- are of a higher order. No prophet has ever been able to adequately express in words a vision he has experienced. Often he does it clumsily and is misunderstood. What is real to him is not the words he writes but the overall picture which he perceives through the eyes of the Holy Spirit. And so it must be with every individual. It is no use talking about some abstract concept called the "Kingdom of Heaven" but we must have a clear picture in our minds as to what it is like when it manifests itself amongst people. It has been revealed in intimate detail in the Holy Order; but we must be able to see it and experience it as a people interacting in the love of Christ in real day to day circumstances. Thus is you are praying for something, you must have a vision, or picture, of what it is. Don't just pray for happiness -- search the scriptures until you have a clear picture of what happiness really is. Then ask the Lord for it and believe you have received it.

    Everything that God says will happen, will happen. The Lord told the prophet Habbakuk: "Write down the revelation and make it plain upon tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay" (Habb.2:2-3). But even though a revelation is not immediately fulfilled physically, like the coming of Abraham's son, we must spiritually behave as though it has already been fulfilled, FOR IN TRUTH IT ALREADY HAS.

    There is no time in the spiritual dimension. If you bless in the spirit, it is instant. The fact that it does not manifest itself on our physical plane instantly does not mean it has not occurred spiritually. The spiritual man will discern it instantly, because he will understand the spiriritual realm and know that God's Word is not void. But the carnal man will not, and he will doubt, and end up disbelieving. Even the saints disbelieve because they yield to the flesh and abandon the spirit. Such must seek for the spirit with all the energy of their souls at once in order to receive spiritual blessings.

    We must hold onto every vision we have, and every promise God has given us. Has He not promised that He will bring Zion to the earth? Has He not said that the New Jerusalem will descend upon this planet? Has He not said that He will raise a remnant in the last day and build up a holy city? Therefore, no matter how much more evil this world gets -- and it will get considerably worse -- no matter what difficulties the saints may encounter within themselves and from the world -- we must continue believing in the promises, because they will happen.

    Whatsoever is good is from God. Pray for what is good. Do you want your whole family to receive Christ? Pray for it and thank Him as though it had already happened. It may not happen at once or in the way you think, but hold on to that vision and never give it up. Is it God's will that all should be saved? We know it is, because He has said so in the scriptures. There is your scriptural covering. So don't doubt it. Treat the unbeliever as you would a believer. Believe as though it has already happened. Do you want your local fellowship to grow and blossom in the fullness of holy love? Is it not God's will that your fellowship should be the foundation of what is to come? Has God not raised up these fellowships to prepare a holy people for Zion? Then don't doubt it. Act as though God has already given these blessings for in truth He already has.

    The problem is one of believing that He has, and then acting as though He has. The Gospel is not about waiting for what is going to happen tomorrow. If you wait for tomorrow it will never come. The fruits of tomorrow are planted in the decisions, actions, and faith of today. Don't sit around waiting. If you do, you'll sit around forever and vegetate. Don't wait for others to set you on fire. Don't wait for others to take you by the hand into Zion. Learn to live in God now. Others may take your hand but there is a time when they must let go and you must be filled with the Spirit of God by your own faith, as that visionary dream Řyvind Larsen had several years ago showed. I want you, therefore, to act as though Zion were already here, and to thank God for it from the bottom of your heart.

    Now I know that some of you will still find it hard, this idea of acting as though something has already happened, and many may think I am preaching illusion. But I'm not, and I'm going to illustrate this principle with a true story, a story which you will see repeated thousands of times in everyday life.

    There was once a little boy on his way home from school. As he passed through the village, he saw a little toy car in a shop window. At once he fell in love with it and wanted it with all his heart. He ran home with all the energy he could find and told his mother about this wonderful little car. "Mummy! Mummy!" he said, "it's so lovely. And it's so cheap! Pease could I have the car!" (Aren't alot of things "cheap" when you really want them!). Now mother was busy in the kitchen so she says to her son: "Wait til your father comes home, and ask him." Well, Daddy gets home and the boy at once runs up to him, and hugs and kisses him. He is so excited that his wise father knows at once that his son wants something. "Calm down, calm down!" he says. The little boy is by now shy because he knows that his father has found out that he wants something. But he tells his father what he wants anyway. "O Daddy, O Daddy, I've found this wonderful car. And it's not expensive! Please can I have it?" he begs. Father's heart is, of course, all melting to butter by now! He figures the cost out and says to his son: "Well, it's not much, but I don't have that much money right now. But son, I love you, and I want you to have it, but I can't buy it now. Your birthday is soon coming so I promise you I'll buy it then."

    Well, you can imagine the boy's reaction. He desired that car so much that when his father said "yes" be burst with joy. At once he runs to the kitchen, saying: "Mummy! Mummy! I've got the car!" Then he runs down the road and tells all his neighbours and says to them -- "I've got the car! I've got the car!" Then the next day he runs to school he tells his friends: "I've got the car! I've got the car! Do you want to see it?" To which his friends reply: "Yes! Where is it?" "Oh," said the boy as he sudddenly realises that he hasn't actually got it yet, "I haven't got it with me now, but I'll get it on my birthday."

    Now, do you see what's happening here? The boy didn't physically have the car, but he believed the promise of his father. He believed it so much, in fact, that it was as though he actually had it there and then. He had utter confidence and faith in his father.

    Now if I came up to one of you and said: "Well, Mikael, if I can manage to get a computer next month, I'll let you have it, but we'll have to wait and see," what do you think Mikael's response would be? Would he say to himself in the joy of his heart: "I know I will get a computer -- thank you Lord!" Oh no, because I havn't absolutely promised it to him, because I'm not sure. But what if I said: "Mikael -- the Lord wants you to have a computer so that you can work for Him, and He has told me that you will have one in two months," what then ought Mikael's response to be? The same as that little Indian boy's, of course! What God has promised he will do!

    Now if this little boy can have such confidence in an earthly father, how much more confidence ought we to have in our Heavenly Father? God has told you in the scriptures that God will supply all your needs according to His wishes. You have the solemn assurance of God that if you believe in Him, and trust in Him, that you already have everything you need. Isn't that what Jesus tried to explain to His disciples when He said that the elder son in the Story of the Prodigal Son had everything he already needed? So what is Jesus saying about you? Is He saying that you have absolutely everything you need? Yes, absolutely everything. Even if I'm in debt? Even if my wife has just died? Even if my mother has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer? If you have received Jesus as your Saviour -- and I mean, really received Him -- then no matter what your outer circumstances, you have all you need to be happy and be at peace. You can be persecuted, tortured, humiliated....you could, like Job, loose everything of an outward nature, but if you have Jesus, then all your spiritual needs are met now and, if you are trusting, true and faithful, all your outer needs will be met in His own time and way. But it does, of course, depend on whether you look at things with a spiritual eye, as a born-again disciple should, or with carnal eyes, as the children of this world see.

    But that's not all. God isn't just saying you should be content with what you have -- your home, your family, your job, your circumstances in school. He's not saying we should limit our vision in that way. He's telling you: "Yes, be happy with what you have, BUT ALSO BE HAPPY -- A THOUSAND TIMES MORE HAPPY -- WITH WHAT I AM GOING TO GIVE YOU. AND BE HAPPY FOR IT NOW!!"

    How do imagine the Patriarchs of the Holy Order were empowered to bring forth what they did over the last four years? Was it because they sat on their backsides and hoped God would send Zion? Or was it because they had a vision of Zion and acted as though it was already here? They acted as though it was already here even though physically it wasn't -- even though it was not spiritually here in the people either. But it was here. Zion was here all the time. And it was here for those who believed in it, who were willing to be disciplined and taught by it, and who acted as though it was here. And it was when those who believed it, and received it, were rejected by those who did not believe it and did not receive it, that Zion departed. Therefore we are in our present situation.

    Do you know what it's like to fall in love? Well, you have to fall in love to build God's Kingdom. You have to fall in love with the King and the Kingdom. When boys and girls fall in love in the world they believe everything their heart tells them, no matter how ridiculous or absurd. Their whole vision becomes distorted. You've all seen it. Most of you have experienced it. Some of you are experiencing it even now and are lost in those dizzy mountain tops of your own desires. Everyone is in love with something or someone. If it's not romance it's usually something else. All of it, though, it rooted in the self -- in selfishness. Those who are in love think they own the universe.

    My children are very fond of an English TV series which we have on video called "Wind in the Willows" which is about the day-to-day life of some animals who live in a wood by a river. They are called Badger, who is the wisest of them all. Then there's Mole, who is a kind and gentle spirit, as harmless as a lamb. Then there's Ratty, who is practical and helpful. Then there are the Weasles, who are the crooks -- always stealing thinks, always cheating and lying. Then, last of all, there is the hero -- and everyone loves this character -- namely, Toad. There's no malice in him but he is vain, conceited, selfish and foolish...and he's very rich. In fact, he's the wealthy owner of a large Hall. He's always getting into trouble. He's easily flattered and even more easily conned. He is a perfect representation of the human ego, or our fallen, carnal nature.

    In one story Toad falls in love with a dancing hall girl in London. His whole world is suddenly changed. Out come the roses and the boxes of chocolates. Suddenly his hobbies and interests have no meaning any more. Not only does he forget himself but he forgets others too. He can only think of winning his sweetheart. She doesn't know he even exists but he acts as though he has already won her. He is in paradise, even if it is an illusiory one. Well, the dancing girl turns out to be married already with four children and his whole world is shattered and he soon returns to his normal selfish lifestyle. We are all able to identify with Toad, at least in some way, even if we may not necessarily be as extreem as he is. His experience of falling in love is an example of the counterfeit Gospel of fallen man.

    You see, Toad's dreams, like most people's, are changing from one day to the next. They're constantly "falling in love" with different things and constantly getting disappointed even though for a while their desires give them great personal satisfaction and happiness, at least, so they think. But the end is always emptiness, a sense of unfulfilment, a sense of being lost.

    The world makes us promises it cannot keep, because Satan is the master of the world and never keeps his promises. But our heart also make us promises which it cannot keep because the human heart is of the flesh. The only promises which we can rely on are the promises of God.

    And if we fall in love with God, and with Zion, and with Christ, what then? Will we be disappointed? No, never! Will that love pass away? No, never! For the love of God lives forever -- it is everlasting! Is that love more satisfying than the love people seek after in the world? Oh yes, infinitely more satisfying. The human heart always fails, but God's heart is true.

    Now I've spent quite alot of time on this fourth aspect of prayer because I feel it to be the most important for the saints here right now. We must believe in God's promises absolutely and act as though they were fulfilled now. BECAUSE THEY CAN ONLY BE FULFILLED NOW IF YOU BELIEVE THEY ARE FULFILLED NOW. You may have the spiritual reality of every promise right now -- this very second! even if any material or outward blessings do not become fulfilled until you are old like Abraham.

    5. Thank God

    These are four of the steps that lead to meaningful and fulfilling prayer -- there is still one more, and a vitally important one it is too. And that is thanking God for what we pray for. It is no good just believing as though the prayer were answered -- we must also praise Him with all our souls! We must respond, like the little boy did, when his father said "yes". If it's a righteous desire, if it's in harmony with God's will or we have a scripture to cover it, then God has already said "yes" and has given you what you have asked for spiritually. To praise Him is to receive that gift. To praise Him is to open your arms wide and take what God is giving you. And I want to stress that.

    Yes, there has to be a genuine thankfulness of heart for the vision we believe is going to be fulfilled, a thankfulness as though it has already happened. What if in answer to your prayer God gives you an answer you don't like -- can you still praise Him? To answer "yes" to this question is the testimony that you truly abide in Christ. To say "no" is to admit that you are living in your own carnal will and that you have not, as the Scriptures say, crucified your lower nature for the sake of Christ. If you, instead, crucified Christ over again.

    All of you have already had alot of "no's" in answer to your prayers, and some of you are going to get more "no's" until you really know and understand what the will of the Father is. Will you accept those "no's" or will you stubbornly cling on to your own desires and incorrect vision of the Kingdom? Therefore when God says "no", you mustn't say "no", but, "Lord, your will be done." Is that all? NO! NO! NO! You must next cry out with all the energy of your soul: "HALELUJAH! Praise the name of the Lord! Thank you for saving me from a wrong turning in my life! Thank you for preserving me on the path of righteousness! Thank you that you will never leave me alone as the world does! Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!"

    Perhaps now you will see that prayer is the great test of our discipleship. If you want to know how you are progressing in the Lord, look to your prayer life. Are you living victorious? Is there praise on your lips no matter whether the going is easy or tough? Do you really study the scriptures, as a lover would read a letter from his beloved? Do you really believe in God's promises -- 100% -- or do you doubt them? If your answer is in the negative to any of these questions, then there is a special need for a turning around in your life -- there is a need for the salvation of Christ. If your answer is "no!", then you desperately need help, because it means that you have not been born again.

    My brothers and sisters, if as a result of what I have been saying today you discover you have not been born again, what will you do? Will you just go on as you are or make a life-changing descision? You see, some of you may discover that you aren't really Christians at all. Oh, morally you may consider yourselves Christians. You may indeed be a kind of Christian. But are you a born-again Christian? Are you living in the victory of the everlasting life of Jesus Christ that can be as a raging fire in your breast? Are you able to leap to your feet and proclaim your life in Christ...to God!? I'm not talking about "bearing a testimony" as many of us have been brought up to do in our previous church traditions -- there's a time and place for these things -- but I'm talking of Christians publically pouring out their souls in the joy of the New Life that they have.

    Having identified these five principles for an active and fulfilling prayer life, I must say that the underpinning principle is FAITH. Everything hangs on faith. If we do not believe in the Word of God, then we are cut off from Him, because it means we lack confidence in our Heavenly Father. Cultivating faith is therefore one of the most important pursuits we can follow. To a great extent we should learn this from our parents as children, something not easily done nowadays where there is so little belief. But Jesus tells us there is a way to overcome this handicap, and that is quite simply to come to him like a little child. And the way to start is by letting your heart speak.

    I knew of one man, if he felt that his heart was not responding as it ought, who used to turn on a taperecorder and speak whatever was on his heart, and forget that the recorder was recording. Then he would listen to it afterwards and start praying from the core of his heart. To reach the Lord -- to make contact with the spiritual -- we must get to the core of our heart, because that's the seat of love. It's the heart that moves God, it's the heart that moves men, not eloquent speeches. And please note that I used the word "heart" in the Hebrew sense where "heart" means "heart, mind and moral will" -- the whole spirit of man.

    So, if you're desperate, cry out: "Lord, save me!" but don't give an eloquent speech. Don't pray as though you were giving a talk or preaching a sermon. Once you begin to speak out of your heart, the Lord will open doors and you will be able to walk though. He will open the door of faith, of praise, of a desire to know and love the Word, of love for all people, and the door to a vision of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Your prayers, when they come from the heart, will cease being vague and non-specific but get to core issues. You will have entered near the inner Kingdom of Light.

    I testify to all of these principles for I have discovered their truthfulness over the years. Jesus lives, and He lives now. He is here -- now -- and can enter any heart that will open itself to Him. All our pride, the way we look at ourselves, our conceit and vanity -- all has to go out of the window. Every bitterness, all doubt and mistrust -- all must go out of that window. Are you alive or are you dead? That is the question you must first ask. If you are dead, then I invite you -- now -- to step forward and allow Christ into your heart. Let's pray this simple prayer:

      Dear Heavenly Father, I want to truly be your child, I want to be completely free. I want to be loving and kind to all people, to be a witness of your goodness in the world. I confess that Jesus is Lord, I believe you raised Him from the dead, and I confess my need for a new birth at this very moment, and my need for the freedom that you alone can give. I want this with all my heart. I want to stop fighting within myself. I thank you for the gift of eternal life. I know that I am a sinner and that my soul needs to repent. I renounce all my worldly and spiritual pride, my rebelliousness, my stubbornness, my foolishness, my disbelief, my addictions -- whatever they may be. I renounce everything wrong that is in my life, ask You to forgive me, and deliver me from the consequences of all that has been wrong in my life up to this time. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit, to baptize me in fire, that I may be born again. I ask you to show me the way I should go. I consider this done in faith, and praise you for it with all my soul, in the holy Name of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

    If you have really meant these words, God will fulfil every promise He makes to you in the Scriptures. Read the Bible often, bathe in its Word -- let Him lead you to what you should read. Pray with His Word on your lips. Meditate on His Word. Let the Holy Spirit take control of you and fill you with everlasting love. And, see, you will know a love greater than any human love in the world. You will never be the same again.

    Praise the Name of the Lord! In Jesus Name. Amen.

    From a sermon given to the Oslo local Colony in Moss, Sunday 2 August 1992

    This page was created on 22 May 1998
    Last updated on 22 May 1998

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