We climb the mountain by stepping from rock to rock; but the soul makes its way in faith by stepping from one word of the Lord to another. Some think that Peter walked on the water, but if you will read the passage you will find Peter really stepped on the little word, “Come,” and was safer on that little word “come” than any man is in an ocean liner. Peter would have been foolish to have stepped on the water without this little word of Jesus, “Come,” beneath his feet. Faith cannot plant its feet in certainty except the eternal word of God is underneath. Other things may pass away, but His Word cannot pass away.
One of the dangers of earnest prayer,—if we may dare say there is any danger,—is that it is not continued. A delightful season of prayer should only open up channels for a deeper life of prayer, for a more earnest session later. Whenever there has been an especially good meeting, and one has been blessed, it is time to go home and pray that God will indelibly fix the impressions upon hearts, and drive home even deeper the convictions of the hour. Instead of this, many saints feel that the task is done and thus the full work which the Spirit could do has not been believed for. Do we set limits to our prayer?
Somebody has said, “We have lost the eternal youthfulness of Christianity and have aged into calculating manhood. We seldom pray in earnest for the extraordinary, the limitless, the glorious; we seldom pray with real confidence for any good to the realization of which we cannot imagine a way, and yet we suppose ourselves to believe in an infinite Father.”
Faith Holds On
Whenever there has been an outpouring of blessing and a spiritual awakening the devil starts a counter-attack. The spiritually wise will remember this and not let down in their prayer after a season of blessing. I have never yet seen a night of prayer in a revival meeting that was not followed by a service of dearth. It seems that the Lord allows this to find out what can be shaken that has been put up the night before as faith. But even when the dearth comes, the soul that has believed God holds steady and cries, “It shall be done,” and the blessing always breaks forth a little later. Learn the meaning of prevailing prayer. You may thank God now, and will thank Him through all eternity, if you have matriculated in the school of prayer, and go on to take the various courses under the direction of the Holy Ghost.
Many enter into prayer in fear and trembling because they have looked at their faith. There is a measurement of faith, but there are no earthly instruments that estimate it,—these instruments are all in the hands of God. We have no right to look at our faith; it will not grow by being examined. There is only one way to increase it, and that is to read what God has done. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
Many a time I have gone into my room alone with a problem that would take a great deal of faith. I have pulled my Bible before me reading over and over again Daniel’s test, Elijah’s test, the tests of the mighty men of faith and before I knew it I was trusting God, believing that He was able to do anything. I would be compelled to witness to anyone afterward that faith had truly come by hearing.
The Prayer Teacher
There are souls that are discouraged in prayer because they do not see that the Holy Ghost is given us to teach us to pray. They not only try to look at their faith, but they look at their very prayer; they pick out words and try to arrange them; they try to pick out emotions in their hearts and suit those emotions to the words; but we must be sure as we come to God that we are dealing with One before whom all things are open. He knows us altogether, and it is better to come with an open mind and a yielded heart, and remember that since “He ever liveth to make intercession for” us, and “the Spirit is making intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” If we wait in His presence we will be aided by the Holy Ghost in praising and in believing.
A great diplomat rushed into the presence of a man of God and blurted out his edict. The missionary took this with great calmness, and in a moment or two changed the subject. Several times the diplomat again brought up the subject, but the Christian did not entertain it. He had not said a word to show the man of the world that he had committed the whole affair to God; but in a little while the diplomat said, “You have dismissed this affair from your mind, and yet I feel it pressing on mine, and cannot understand your calmness unless it is that you have information that you are going to receive help from another source.” “Oh, excuse me,” he added. “I forgot that you are a man of prayer. You have God on your side; you are trusting Him.”
Now all this came through just looking into the missionary’s face,—the words of the diplomat were silenced by what he saw. You will find that your spirit, as it meets the Spirit of God will talk in this same way, and the Holy Ghost will bring you to conclusions about Christ, about His greatness, about His sweetness, about His love, about His actions that you had not dreamed of before. Truly He will enable you to pray, and by showing you Jesus He will show you what things to pray for, and how to pray.
Jesus is trying to call you forth today. He says, “My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me.” Peter on that storm-tossed ship, cried, “Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come to Thee on the water,” and Jesus answered, “Come.”
Some folks have thought Peter walked on the water. He did not. He got out of that boat into another little boat made of four letters—C O M E. Jesus said to him, “Come,” and Peter stepped out of that old boat into the Lord’s boat, into that little word “Come.” That was safer than any armored cruiser that ever plowed the deep; safer than any ocean liner that men ever built, with its air chambers beneath, with its comfortable berths and silken coverlets, with the lookout in the crow’s nest answering the bells to the officer of the watch, “All’s well”; for the man who steps on the promise of God hears the Holy Ghost say, “All things work together for good to them that love God, who are the called (into the little word ‘Come’) according to His purpose.”
He is calling to this Church to abandon the old boats, the old flesh, the old ships, and dare to step into this new boat that is swung up alongside of this old world, the Holy Ghost of God, who has made His way into the port of this world and is calling for passengers. Dare to take the gangplank and enter into the fullness of the Holy Spirit and let Him be your life, your peace, your joy, your all. Dare to take the little word “Come!”
“I will send you a Comforter whom the world cannot receive,” He says. He sends Him in His fullness to Christians. Have you received Him in His fullness, have you entered into the fullness of the Holy Ghost? All the resources of God are wrapped up in the Holy Ghost. O, dare to take Him in His fullness, dare to step out, leaving your own resources, saying, “I trust Thee, Lord.”