The Power of Prevailing Prayer

We recently did a series entitled “Gethsemane” and it was such a blessing to me. The preparation process helped me to realize that I needed the messages just as much as those in whom I was presenting it to. In preparing for the meetings, I read and listened to the closing scenes of the life of Christ in all four gospels daily and the Lord did a work on my heart.

The “Gethsemane” series paralleled the closing scenes of the life of Christ with the closing scene of His people in the last days. The Bible says:

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” — 1 Peter 2:21

That means the example that Jesus left us is an example that we must follow even in suffering. Like the apostle Paul we must be willing to enter into “the fellowship of His sufferings.” — Philippians 3:10

Now we know that Jesus suffered on the cross and died an ignominious death, but what empowered Him to endure the cross and despise the shame? It was His experience in Gethsemane. Doubtless He was consistent in His prayer life leading up to Gethsemane, but it was in Gethsemane that He received the victory. It was there that the Bible says He prayed “more earnestly.” — Luke 22:44

How does this apply to us? Jesus says,

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” — Luke 9:23

If we will follow Jesus we will all have a cross to bear. The scriptures states,

“…all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” — 2 Timothy 3:12

What this is saying is all of God’s children must bear their cross. I want to quickly add that the cross of Calvary, the scene at Golgotha, is what sealed the salvation of mankind. However, were it not for the experience in Gethsemane, Christ would have failed at Calvary. What am I saying? If we are not having a Gethsemane experience in our daily life, we will never be able to bear our cross as Christ bore His. Paul understood this when he penned, “I die daily.” —1 Corinthians 15:31

We need to learn daily the lesson of prevailing prayer. Let’s dissect the experience of Gethsemane.

When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples. And Judas also, which betrayed Him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with His disciples.— John 18:1-2

The first thing I want you to notice is that Jesus was not entering this experience or place of prayer for the very first time. The scripture states Judas knew He would be there because He was often there praying. This tells me that Jesus had set places and set times for prayer. Thus, He came as God’s ambassador, to show us ‘how to live’ so as to secure life’s best results. {MH 365.3}

The example has been set for us that we should set aside a portion of each day for prayer and communion with God and this time should be guarded jealously.

Another major lesson that I learned is that we must pray until we get the victory. We often pray once or twice and if we do not see the results we move on with the impression that God did not answer that prayer. Let me illustrate by Jesus’ example in the garden of Gethsemane.

Note the progression in His prayer:

Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me. And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. — Matthew 26:38-39

Notice after the first prayer He was requesting that the cup should be taken away, but one prayer was not enough, He needed more power to gain the victory. So He went to look for help from His disciples and none was available to help Him.

The key is, He did not give up, He did not start feeling sorry for Himself, hence the words,

“He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, thy will be done. — Matthew 26:42

The point is if you do not get an answer or deliverance the first time, go back and pray the second time. Notice also that after the second prayer He was more strengthened in the midst of the battle. Unlike the first time, He did not request for the cup to be taken the second timeHe was now more willing to accept it. He still did not gain the full victory at that point. What then did He do?

And He came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. — Matthew 26:44

Again, He was one step closer to deliverance and victory after the second prayer but He knew He needed more power, more deliverance so He prayed the third time. The disciples were asleep and He received no earthly support, but an angel from heaven came to strengthen Him.

And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him. — Luke 22:43

It is a blessing to know that when all our earthly support is cut off that God will send an angel to strengthen us! Now let’s notice Jesus’ response to the crisis that He was facing after the third prayer.

…the cup which my Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it? — John 18:11

My friends, after Jesus prayed the third time, unlike the first and the second, He was fully ready to embrace the cup. Each prayer was a stepping-stone until He was able to drink the cup and endure the cross. We will have to go through the same intense experience daily during Jacob’s time of trouble.

God has shown me that He gave His people a bitter cup to drink, to purify and cleanse them. It is a bitter draught, and they can make it still more bitter by murmuring, complaining, and repining. But those who receive it thus must have another draught, for the first does not have its designed effect upon the heart. And if the second does not effect the work, then they must have another, and another, until it does have its designed effect, or they will be left filthy, impure in heart. {EW 47.1}

God has a cup for us and it is designed to test our patience and bring forth fruits of righteousness. The only way we can drink the cup is to do what Jesus has done, which is to find our place in Gethsemane. This will be the only thing that will empower us to say, “…the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it”. For Christ it took three earnest and intense prayer sessions… for us it may be one or it may be one hundred. The point is do not stop praying until you receive the victory. Please do not miss the point that the Father did not take away the cup, the cup was necessary. We too must understand that there are some bitter cups given us, which are necessary. The Father will not take it awaywe must drink it. The statement continues:

I saw that this bitter cup can be sweetened by patience, endurance, and prayer, and that it will have its designed effect upon the hearts of those who thus receive it, and God will be honored and glorified. It is no small thing to be a Christian and to be owned and approved of God. {EW 47.1}

If we will follow Jesus through celestial glory we must first follow Him here. Let us be one of those that “follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth” — Revelation 14:4

The Saviour’s life on earth was a life of communion with nature and with God. In this communion He revealed for us the secret of a life of power. {MH 51.1}

May we find our place in Gethsemane now so that we will naturally retreat there during our time of persecution.

We must be partakers of Christ’s sufferings here if we would share in His glory hereafter. {EW 47.2}

It a blessing to know that whatever we are going through will work together for good if we love the Lord. We must learn to view trying circumstances in the right light. No temptation can take us that God does not have full confidence that we can bear and that will not be for our good. Only in celestial glory will we see why God allowed some of these things to come upon us.

The Father’s presence encircled Christ, and nothing befell Him but that which infinite love permitted for the blessing of the world. Here was His source of comfort, and it is for us. He who is imbued with the Spirit of Christ abides in Christ. Whatever comes to him comes from the Saviour, who surrounds him with His presence. Nothing can touch him except by the Lord’s permission. All our sufferings and sorrows, all our temptations and trials, all our sadness and griefs, all our persecutions and privations, in short, all things work together for our good. All experiences and circumstances are God’s workmen whereby good is brought to us. MH 488.4

Let us learn to glory in tribulation knowing that it will give us the patience to be one of the patient saints in Revelation 14:12.

This kind of experience can only be obtained on our knees.

 

— Narlon Edwards

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