The Prayer of the Righteous

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Why is it that none of us pray as we should? We know that our burdens can all be lifted when we are shut in with him. The voice of the Holy Spirit keeps calling us to prayer, “Come!” Come to the water that satisfies our souls’ thirst. Come to the Father who pities his children. Come to the Lord of life who promises to forgive every sin we have committed. Come to the God who refuses to condemn you, forsake you or hide from you.

The Lord promises his people, “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring” (Isaiah 44:3, NKJV).

We may try to hide from God because of guilt and condemnation, but he never hides from us. Come boldly to his throne of grace, even when you have sinned and failed. He instantly forgives those who repent with godly sorrow. You don’t have to spend hours and days in remorse and guilt or earn your way back into his good graces.

We try everything except prayer. We read books, looking for formulas and guidelines. We go to friends, ministers and counselors, searching everywhere for a word of comfort or advice. We seek mediators and forget the one Mediator who has the answer to everything.

The New Testament urges believers, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:13-16).

Nothing dispels anxiety and emptiness more quickly than an hour or two shut in with God. Nothing can take the place of praying to the Father in that secluded secret closet. Go to the Father, bend your knees, open your heart and cry out your anguish. Tell him about your loneliness, fears and failures. That is the solution to all of the turmoil in our hearts.

Going through a Drought

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Even though I preach to thousands, there are times that I feel far away from the warm presence of God. When I’m dry and empty, I have no great yearning to read the Word and little compulsion to pray. I know that my faith is intact, that my love for Jesus is strong and that I have no desire to taste the things of this world. It’s just that I can’t seem to touch God for days, maybe even weeks.

Have you ever watched other Christians get blessed while you feel nothing? They testify of God’s answers to their prayers and shed tears of joy. They seem to live on a mountaintop of happy experiences while you plod along, loving Jesus but not setting the world on fire.

I believe all true believers experience dry spells at various times in their Christian lives. Even Jesus felt the isolation when he cried aloud, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” (see Matthew 27:45-47).

Without the nearness of God, there can be no peace. The dryness can be lifted only with the dew of his glory. The despair can be dispelled only by the assurance that God is answering. The fire of the Holy Spirit must heat the mind, body and soul. Scripture states, “For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the place of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; he encircled him, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye” (Deuteronomy 32:9-10, NKJV).

The Lord also says, “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen” (Isaiah 43:19-20).

There are times I feel unworthy like the worst kind of sinner; but in spite of all that, I know he is not far off. Somehow I hear a distinct, small voice calling, “Come, my child. I still love you, and I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I have a flame in me that will not be smothered, and I know he will bring me out of any dry spell.

The God of Deliverance

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

A number of ministers have written to me expressing their concern for parishioners who are simply giving up. “Good honest Christians are so overwhelmed by guilt and condemnation that it causes despair. When they can’t live up to their own expectations, when they fall back into sin, they decide to give up…”

Growing numbers of Christians are at the breaking point. Few Christians would even dare entertain thoughts of quitting on their love for Jesus, but in despair they consider giving up on themselves.

Some ministers today continually preach only a positive message. To hear them tell it, every Christian is receiving miracles; everybody is getting instant answers to prayer; everybody is feeling good and living well, and the whole world is bright and rosy. I love to hear that kind of preaching because I really desire all those good and healthy things for God’s people.

That’s not the way things are, though, for a great number of very honest, sincere Christians. No wonder our young people often give up in defeat. They can’t live up to the image created by religion of a carefree, rich, successful, always positive-thinking Christian. Their world is not that ideal; they live with heartbreaks, hour-by-hour crises and family problems.

Paul talked frankly about his troubles. “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8, NKJV).

Positive thinking won’t make these problems go away and “confessing” that these problems don’t really exist doesn’t change a thing. What is the cure? Paul speaks of it after describing his anguish. “Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that he will still deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:9-10).

This absolute has brought me great comfort and help. God loves me. He is a loving Father wanting only to lift us out of our weakness. It is my faith that pleases him most. He wants me to trust in his deliverance.

We Are Called to Be Holy

Gary Wilkerson

God is undivided. He’s not split in any way. He’s altogether lovely, pure and loving. There is only one God, and this God is one in fullness and perfection. He’s totally unified with all things that are holiness.

We were by God created to be holy, to be loving, to be one, as Peter writes in the New Testament. “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:13-16, ESV).

Ideally, you act loving, and you are loving; the actions show that you are whole and holy. However, there’s this really big problem called the flesh. The Bible says the spirit and the flesh are at war with one another.

We are all divided. There’s a psychological condition called schizophrenia, and I think all of us have a touch of that ailment in God’s understanding. There are many splits in our personality.

If you ask my wife, “Is Gary loving?” she would say, “Yes.” If you ask her, “All the time?”  she couldn’t say yes because she’d be lying. I’m not loving all the time, even though I wish I could be. The reason I feel that way is because God is one, and in his oneness he is holy. When I’m not being holy, I’m not being the way I was meant to be as a person made in God’s image, and I’m out of synchronization with God. That’s why people who don’t even know God feel bad when they do something wrong, because they weren’t created to act divided that way.

Fortunately, we have hope that our spiritual schizophrenia can be healed. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Galatians 5:16-17). The Spirit can start fixing those divisions in us and make us holy!

A Path through Adversity

Keith Holloway

In 1 Samuel 30, we read about how David was in deep distress and how he dealt with it. This man had a lot of reasons to be miserable. He was deeply distressed because the call on his life, the prophecy Samuel had spoken over him that he would be king, looked like it wasn’t coming to pass. He was probably also distressed because his great relationship with Jonathan had been broken by time and distance. He certainly was distressed because King Saul was coming after him, saying evil things against him and trying to kill him.

The chapter begins where David had just found out that his own family had been taken by the Amalekites, and he didn’t know where they were at or if they were even alive. Then this happened: “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6, NKJV).

Many of you can probably think of some things that are bringing you distress in your life. What is giving you anxiety right now? What kinds of things keep you awake at night?

There are sources of distress that come upon you that are just part of life, but then there are people who deliberately speak against you and undermine you. The challenges seem to come back-to-back, and your stress builds. At first, you may be able to talk yourself through it and keep steady. As time goes on — weeks, months, maybe even years for some of you — the situations become overwhelming. This is where David was at this point, so how did he strengthen himself in the Lord?

That might sound like a paradox. When you’re under a lot of stress, that seems like the time that you would not be able to strengthen yourself. David is an illustration for us in this; if he could do it, you can do it! He didn’t manage this out of his own ability. Scripture is clear; David strengthened himself in God.

You have a choice today. You can allow all of those negative natural elements to crash over you like a wave, or you can rise up and find strength in your Lord because God is right there with you.