Father in heaven O! God, we kneel before you and we pray that today we will not come before you in vain, as we pray in the name of Jesus; we shall receive answers to our prayers, amen!
We will be rounding up the month in prayer tower still considering the word “faith” but today we will be looking at having faith for others. There was a story about a woman, a number of years ago at a meeting, when the man of God anchoring that meeting asked all those who wished to be prayed for to come forward and kneel or take seats in front. Among those who came was a woman. He thought by her looks that she must be a Christian, but she knelt down with the others. He said:
“You are a Christian, are you not?” She said she had been one for so many years. “Did you understand the invitation? I asked those only who wanted to become Christians.” I shall never forget the look on her face as she replied, “I have a son who has gone far away; I thought I would take his place today, and see if God would not bless him.” Thank God for such a mother as that!
The Syrophenician woman did the same thing—”Lord, help me!” It was a short prayer, but it went right to the heart of the Son of God. He tried her faith, however. He said: “It is not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it to dogs.” She replied: “Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” “O woman, great is thy faith!” What a eulogy He paid to her! Her story will never be forgotten as long as the church is on the earth. He honored her faith, and gave her all she asked for. Every one can say, “Lord, help me!”
To stand in gap for others is not an ordinary desire but born out love of God, interceding for a soul that must not perish or die in “sin” – which might be any manner of setback or backsliding. Beloved, we need special oil for the light to be able to do that. Oil! Someone is asking? Come and discover it yourself:
“Oil for the light.” Exodus 25:6
My soul, how much thou needest this, for thy lamp will not long continue to burn without it. Thy snuff will smoke and become an offence if light be gone, and gone it will be if oil be absent. Thou hast no oil well springing up in thy human nature, and therefore thou must go to them that sell and buy for thyself, or like the foolish virgins, thou wilt have to cry, “My lamp is gone out.”
Even the consecrated lamps could not give light without oil; though they shone in the tabernacle they needed to be fed, though no rough winds blew upon them they required to be trimmed, and thy need is equally as great. Under the most happy circumstances thou canst not give light for another hour unless fresh oil of grace be given thee.
It was not every oil that might be used in the Lord’s service; neither the petroleum which exudes so plentifully from the earth, nor the produce of fishes, nor that extracted from nuts would be accepted; one oil only was selected, and that the best olive oil. Pretended grace from natural goodness, fancied grace from priestly hands, or imaginary grace from outward ceremonies will never serve the true saint of God; he knows that the Lord would not be pleased with rivers of such oil.
He goes to the olive-press of Gethsemane, and draws his supplies from Him who was crushed therein. The oil of gospel grace is pure and free from lees and dregs, and hence the light which is fed thereon is clear and bright. Our churches are the Saviour’s golden candelabra, and if they are to be lights in this dark world, they must have much holy oil.
Let us pray for ourselves, our ministers, and our churches, that they may never lack oil for the light; Truth, holiness, joy, knowledge, love, these are all beams of the sacred light, but we cannot give them forth unless in private we receive oil from God the Holy Ghost.
We all need help. As Christians, we need more grace, more love, more purity of life, more righteousness. Then let us make this prayer today. I want God to help me to preach better and to live better, pray better, to be more like the Son of God. The golden chains of faith link us right to the throne of God, and the grace of heaven flows down into our souls and those we believe God for. Are still there with me? Listen dear reader, despite all your good intentions and desire to pray and save a soul, there are times you feel empty, unsatisfied with things happening around you but hear what the bible is saying at such moments “Sing, O barren” more below:
“Sing, O barren.” Isaiah 54:1
Though we have brought forth some fruit unto Christ, and have a joyful hope that we are “plants of His own right hand planting,” yet there are times when we feel very barren. Prayer is lifeless, love is cold, faith is weak, each grace in the garden of our heart languishes and droops. We are like flowers in the hot sun, requiring the refreshing shower. In such a condition what are we to do? The text is addressed to us in just such a state. “Sing, O barren, break forth and cry aloud.”
But what can I sing about? I cannot talk about the present, and even the past looks full of barrenness. Ah! I can sing of Jesus Christ. I can talk of visits which the Redeemer has aforetimes paid to me; or if not of these, I can magnify the great love wherewith He loved His people when He came from the heights of heaven for their redemption. I will go to the cross again. Come, my soul, heavy laden thou wast once, and thou didst lose thy burden there. Go to Calvary again. Perhaps that very cross which gave thee life may give thee fruitfulness.
What is my barrenness? It is the platform for His fruit-creating power. What is my desolation? It is the black setting for the sapphire of His everlasting love. I will go in poverty, I will go in helplessness, I will go in all my shame and backsliding, I will tell Him that I am still His child, and in confidence in His faithful heart, even I, the barren one, will sing and cry aloud.
Sing, believer, for it will cheer thine own heart, and the hearts of other desolate ones. Sing on, for now that thou art really ashamed of being barren, thou wilt be fruitful soon; now that God makes thee loath to be without fruit He will soon cover thee with clusters. The experience of our barrenness is painful, but the Lord’s visitations are delightful. A sense of our own poverty drives us to Christ, and that is where we need to be, for in Him is our fruit found.
I will like to conclude with a story of a boy brought up in an English almshouse. He had never learned to read or write, except that he could read the letters of the alphabet. One day a man of God came there, and told the children that if they prayed to God in their trouble, He would send them help. After a time, this boy was apprenticed to a farmer. One day he was sent out into the fields to look after some sheep. He was having rather a hard time; so he remembered what the preacher had said, and he thought he would pray to God about it. Some one going by the field heard a voice behind the hedge. They looked to see whose it was, and saw the little fellow on his knees, saying, “A, B, C, D,” and so on. The man said, “My boy, what are you doing?” He looked up, and said he was praying. “Why, that is not praying; it is only saying the alphabet.” He said he did not know just how to pray, but a man once came to the poorhouse, who told them that if they called upon God, He would help them. So he thought that if he named over the letters of the alphabet, God would take them and put them together into a prayer, and give him what he wanted,
The little fellow was really praying. Sometimes, when your child talks, your friends cannot understand what he says; but the mother understands very well. So if our prayer comes right from the heart, God understands our language. It is a delusion of the devil to think we cannot pray; we can, if we really want anything. It is not the most beautiful or the most eloquent language that brings down the answer; it is the cry that goes up from a burdened heart. When this poor Gentile woman cried out, “Lord, help me!” the cry flashed over the divine wires and the blessing came.
So you can pray if you will; it is the desire, the wish of the heart that God delights to hear and to answer. Does that excite you? Now go to the mercy seat and obtain mercy for thy self and others.
Remain blessed in the Lord.
Evang Ifeoma Ohondu
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