It is time, O God, for Thee to work, for the enemy has entered into Thy pasture, and the sheep are torn and scattered. False shepherds abound who deny the danger and laugh at the perils, which surround Thy flock. Lord Jesus, I come to Thee for spiritual preparation. Lay Thy hand upon me; anoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet. Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity, or the amount of its yearly offering. Help me to remember that I am a prophet, not a promoter, not a religious manager. Let me never become a slave to crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity. Lay Thy terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer, where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. Teach me self-discipline, that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Everywhere around us we are experiencing a great new wave of humanity’s interest in spiritism and devil worship. I must take this as one of the signs that God’s age of grace and mercy is approaching the end point. It tells us that the time may be near when God proclaims, “I have seen enough of mankind’s sin and rebellion. It is time for the trumpets of judgment to sound!” If we are willing to add the appeals from the Book of Revelation to the weight of the other Scriptures, we discover God saying to us that the earth on which we live is not self-explanatory and certainly not self-sufficient. Although the earth on which we spin is largely populated by a rebel race, it had a divine origin. Now God is about to enforce His claim upon it and judge those who are usurpers. He is saying that there is another and better world, another Kingdom, that is always keeping an eye on the world we inhabit!
Prayer among evangelical Christians is always in danger of degenerating into a glorified “gold rush.” Almost every book on prayer deals with the “get” element mainly. How to get things we want from God occupies most of our space. Christians should never forget that the highest kind of prayer is never the making of requests. Prayer at its holiest moment is the entering into God to a place of such blessed union as makes miracles seem tame and remarkable answers to prayer appear something very far short of wonderful by comparison. We should be aware that there is a kind of school where the soul must go to learn its best eternal lessons. It is the school of silence. “Be still and know,” said the psalmist. It might well be a revelation to some Christians if they were to get completely quiet for a time—a time to listen in the silence for the deep voice of the Eternal God!
Is it possible to become so enamored of God’s good gifts that we fail to worship Him, the Giver? Invited to preach in a Bible conference in England, Dr. Albert B. Simpson, the founder of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, discovered on his arrival that he was to follow two other Bible teachers. All three had been given the same topic: “Sanctification.” From the pulpit, the first speaker made clear his position that sanctification means eradication—the old carnal nature is removed. The second, a suppressionist, advised: “Sit on the lid and keep the old nature down!” Dr. Simpson in his turn quietly told his audience that he could only present Jesus Christ Himself as God’s answer. “Jesus Christ is your Sanctifier, your all and in all! God wants you to get your eyes away from the gifts. He wants your gaze to be on the Giver—Christ Himself,” he said. This is a wonderful word for those who would worship rightly: Once it was the blessing; now it is the Lord!
I have often wished that there were some way to bring modern Christians into a deeper spiritual life painlessly by short easy lessons, but such wishes are vain. No shortcut exists! God has not bowed to our nervous haste nor embraced the methods of our machine age. It is well that we accept the hard truth now: the man who would know God must give time to Him! He must count no time wasted, which is spent in the cultivation of His acquaintance. He must give himself to meditation and prayer hours on end. So did the saints of old, the glorious company of the apostles, the goodly fellowship of the prophets and the believing members of the holy Church in all generations. And so must we if we would follow in their train! May not the inadequacy of much of our spiritual experience be traced back to our habit of skipping through the corridors of the Kingdom like little children through the marketplace, chattering about everything but pausing to learn the true value of nothing?