A Return to Pentecostal Power Print E-mail

by: Bishop Samuel Smith

We are living in an era of incredible power. In the heavens huge jets soar overhead, traveling hundreds of miles per hour. Daily, automobiles take us to our destination in mere minutes. The news if filled with the exploits of space travel made possible by powerful rockets. Modern man has placed a great premium upon developing sources of power that will propel the inventions of this age of unparalleled progress . And so it is with the child of God. He needs the power of God in this complex world to make him useful in doing the work of the Master. Without power, he is helpless and useless.

As we look to the Old Testament, we find men who had discovered the power of God.  Let us examine their lives to see what they did to tap the source of divine power.

No one will deny that David was a powerful man of God.  In fact, he found so much favor in the eyes of God that the Lord told Samuel that David was a man after His own heart.  Why?  Perhaps David answered this himself; he wrote in Psalm 55:17, "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud..."  David had touched the source of God's power through prayer.  When a man kneels to God in prayer, he will gain power to stand up against anything.  

Another example of a character in the Old Testament who had power in his life was Daniel.  This young Hebrew captive in a foreign land realized that he needed the power of God in order to cope with the everyday problems that confronted him.  He knew that within himself he was powerless.  What did Daniel learn was his source of power?  The  Holy Scriptures  record that Daniel, as David, went to prayer three times a day.  Later in his life, even though he was threatened with death for praying, Daniel would not quit praying.  He knew that death would be better than to try to go through life without tapping the source of God’s power.  Man prays because he was made for prayer, and God draws us out by breathing Himself into us.  The end result is that man becomes  the  possessor of the power of God.

There are numerous examples of good, righteous men in the Bible.  But there were none who were perfect.  None were able to set the precedent of a flawless life that could serve as a supreme example for humanity to follow.  However, God Almighty, not willing that any should perish for the lack of knowledge, Himself was manifested in the flesh, that He might set before humanity a perfect example that all men  would  follow.  This manifestation of God in the flesh was named Jesus, and Emmanuel, which means  " God with us. " 

Although Jesus was very much God, He was also very much man; a man who needed power to overcome the same problems that face all humanity.  How did this supreme example conquer the problems of life?  How did He obtain power for the flesh to overcome the tempter?  The answer is that Christ led a life of prayer.  He prayed at His baptism, and He prayed in the busy streets of Galilee.  For 40 days, He fasted and prayed in the wilderness.  He prayed before choosing the Twelve.  He prayed before He broke the bread for the multitude.  The night before the terrible day of His crucifixion, He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.  And, hanging on the cross, He prayed, “ Father  forgive them for they know not what they do.”  Those who were closest to Him observed the pattern of life that He lived before them.  They recognized how He gained power over the flesh.  Thus, they besought Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.”             

I believe that the disciples were already men of prayer, but they saw in Christ a deeper consecration and greater power to overcome, and they coveted it.  They wanted real power.  Jesus promised His disciples that He would send them power from on high.  Before He ascended into the heavens He left the final instructions on how to receive this power.  Luke 24:49 reads, “And, behold, I sent the promise of my Father upon you:  But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with the power from on high.”           

After His ascension, the disciples went to Jerusalem to tarry for this power.  They had learned their lesson well, because during their period of waiting they prayed.  And they prayed in one mind and one accord.  They had learned that it is prayer that activates the power of God.  Let us note that only after the disciples had lost themselves in prayer and supplication for ten days did the Holy Ghost and power fall upon them.  This was the power that later motivated the disciples to journey to the uttermost parts of the world with the gospel, making them overcomers of all opposition.  Nothing stopped the truth from spreading because the disciples had the power of God upon their lives.         

The Apostle Paul was a man who certainly had problems to contend with.  He met the opposition of all men:  The paganistic Roman government, his self righteous Jewish brethren, the haughty, educated Greeks, and the superstitious barbarians.  He was hated, beaten and stoned.  Surely Paul was a man who depended upon more that mere human endurance during those dark days of trials.  Paul made these statements:  Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:  for it is the power of God unto salvation …” Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Yes, Paul was filled with the Holy Ghost and power.  I Corinthians 14:18 states, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all.”  But what avenue did Paul travel to reach this inexhaustible source of power that so typified his life?  The answer may be found in the fact that he practiced the admonishment that he gave to the Thessalonians:  “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17).      

We are living in a world today that is worse than the world in which Paul lived.  We are living at a time when people have forgotten how to blush.  Sin is openly flaunted before our eyes.  Without criticism, sin has become a way of life.  Satan is the prince and power of the air (Ephesians 2:2).  He has humanity in his grasp.  But the children of God have access to a power that is far superior to the power of Satan.  It is that same power that cast Lucifer from heaven when iniquity was found in him.  It is a portion of that power that someday will cast Satan into the bottomless pit and eventually into the lake of fire.  This is a victorious power sent from the Father above.  It is the power of God, the promise made unto us.  We can have all we want of it, if we tap its source through prayer.       

We are living at a time when we should flex our spiritual muscles in the face of Satan.  We need a power to lift us off the launching pad of carnality and mediocrity into the orbit of God’s program.  This power will make us useful for Jesus’ sake.  Not only this, but Romans 8:11 tells us “But if the Spirit (or power) of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit (or power) that dwelleth in you.”  This means to me that just the same as the power lifts the gigantic rockets off their launching pads at Cape  Canaveral  and send them soaring into the heavens, so will this power that is within us, at the sounding of the trump of God, send us soaring away from this world into immortality; up through the heavens into the waiting arms of our loving Savior who will take us to our  eternal home, that   consists  of the mansions and  the  regal courts of  the Holy City.           

What great power we have access to!  What a marvelous promise we are made the heirs of.  All this is ours if we pray, pray, pray.  Martin Luther once said, “None can believe how powerful prayer is and what it is able to effect, but those who have learned it by experience.”  How we need a real experience of prayer today.  Let our cry in the night be, “Lord, teach us  twenty-first century Pentecostals to pray.”          

It is my firm conviction that if we sincerely and wholeheartedly seek a revival of prayer within our own ranks, God will, in turn, send a revival of power that will stir this  sinful  nation of ours , and even the whole world.

 
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