Chapter 11 - The Possibility of the Impossible
It was Jesus who said, "For men this is impossible; but everything is possible for God." (Matthew 19:26) It was Jesus who said, "Everything is possible to one who has faith." (Mark 9:23) Again Jesus stated: (Matthew 14:36) "All things are possible to Thee, Lord."
Further, "What is impossible for men, is possible for God." (Luke l:27) These four — verses form a backdrop for our reading. Isaac Newton's testimony was, "I can take my telescope arid look millions and millions of miles into space; but I can lay my telescope aside, go into my room and shut the door, get down on my knees in earnest prayer, arid I can see more of heaven and get closer to God than I can when assisted by all the telescopes and material agencies in earth." The power of the closed closet door!
Jesus used parables very effectively in his sermons. The parables would illustrate. This visual aid helped people in the understanding of what he had to say. Jesus was God. In the context of humanity, he used human experiences. He used human terms to get his point across. There are many theological definitions of the word parable. The one that comes to your mind is best, that is, "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning." Let us look at the possibility of the impossible in the realm of others and for ourself, but instead of worlds how about pictures as Jesus used parables.
I Samuel 12:23, "God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you." We commit additional sin when we do not Pray for one another.The weary ones had rest, the sad had joy
That day and wondered how?
A plowman singing at his work had prayed,
"Lord, help them now."
Away in foreign lands, they wondered how
Their simple word had power.
At home, the gleaners, two or three had met
To pray an hour.
Yes, we are always wondering how
Because we do not see
Someone, unknown perhaps, and far away
On bended knee.
Praying for other people we should arid we do.. However many feel one should never pray for himself. I disagree, and to this end, devote most of this chapter.
This praying which we do so little, is the greatest unused power in the world today; and we have it within our soul ready to be unleashed into the world, but the practice must come with our praying. We pray sometimes for people and we do nothing to aid them -- this is Practicing our Prayers? The bride came down from upstairs after the honeymoon trip. She patted the silver, she rang the bell for the maid. When the maid approached, she said, "Fran, Mr. Thomason is going to be down in a few moments, and when he comes, we want you to join with us in our morning prayer.." The colored lady replied, "i don't pray.." She added, "I am not a Christian. I'm not even religious," "That is all right", said the mistress of the house, "we want you to join us in our praying." Mr. Thomason came down and prayed. At first he read from God's Word. He was a very fluent reader of God's Word, a beautiful reader. After he had finished the reading, he prayed. His was a "phonograph prayer." He went to work.
Later in the day, the colored lady came to the mistress and said, "I enjoyed praying with you this morning." This happened every day. One afternoon the maid said, "This is my day off. I want to take some jelly to the people who are sick." "What do you mean?" asked the woman of the house • "Who is sick?" This morning Mr • Thomason said, 'Bless the sick,' so I have this jar of jelly I want to take to the sick."
When Mr. Thomason came home that evening, he was met by this question from his wife: "Who is sick? This morning in your prayer you said, 'God bless the sick." (His were phonograph prayers.) "Well, come to think about it, there is someone sick that I know, the — carpenter at work. I think I'll go see him later this evening."
Does this not show to you in this parable form, how we pray? God bless the sick; and it was Jesus who said, "I was sick and you visited me not." Along these same lines, Jesus prayed that they may be one. I believe that we, as church members, have to commence living — up to that prayer or discredit the name of the Church of God.
A good man was not only sick, but his absence from work had depleted his pocketbook. He was in dire need of food and the last log had been placed on the fire.. The church members knew this, arid so the Diaconate Board went over to pray for him. They were clustered about — the man praying for him, when they were interrupted by a knock at the door. When it was opened everyone felt the cold breath of the icy, winter month. A little boy was at the door, the son of a deacon who was not present. He said, "My daddy could not come to the prayer meeting so he sent his prayers and they are in the wagon." They all rushed to the wagon where there wore two bags of groceries and fuel for the. fire.
While these people of the Church were praying to God to supply the needs of their sick friend, someone was sending his prayers. This is why we say our prayers need "feet."
On the other hand, prayers have helped as we pray for the safety of others. Picture yourself in a Midwestern city on the outskirts of town. A locomotive is getting up steam and just about ready to rush through the night. An hour later it is speeding along, when the engineer realizes that something is the matter. He leaves his comfortable, safe position and goes out to correct the trouble with his engine. He loses his footing, falls, but in his fall he grasps for something and something seems to be there. He was saved by some thing, and he doesn't know what even to this day.
When he reached home he went upstairs where his little girl was still awake. She rushed out to him and said, "Daddy, Daddy, you are safe. I dreamed you were about to be killed on the locomotive this evening, so I got down by the side of my bed and I prayed that God would save you." Now this father believes that his life was saved by the prayer of his little child, and so does this author.
We pray for others, we pray for their safety. In our praying for other people, I wander if we recognize the power that is involved. Perhaps you don't know some people who are in dire need, people who are sick, people who need the salvation of God. These things all come to pass when we pray for other people, but then I also say we must pray for ourselves. Jesus said that we must be able to pray in the right spirit for ourselves. We need guidance within this week because we will have to make decisions. As a housewife must make decisions, so must a young person in school, There comes a still, small voice from within, originating from God that says, "Consult Me first," Hake the decision only after all aspects have been prayerfully considered.
There is doctor, who believes this idea of prayer, in one of our metropolitan cities. He is a great surgeon. He believes in the guiding hand of God, and each time, before he enters the operating room, he steps inside a closet, the hallway or into any room that might be available, and prays. Some of the young interns, knowing what a tremendous fellow and great surgeon this was, who even in his young life had made a name for himself, got to thinking — one day that perhaps there was a partial connection between his going into the room, or wherever he went, before the operations. They asked, "Is there any relation between your few minutes alone and your success?'7 "Yes," he said, and continued, "I would never in my life go into an operating room to operate on someone without first asking the guidance of God." He said, "There have been times when I didn't know which way to go, and God always — leads my hand appropriately. I would never perform an operation without asking God's help." It was a parable of how God guides us today. He presents Himself to us as we pray to Him, and He meets our needs. He guides us.
We may pray for ourselves in a financial need. A young man desperately needed ten dollars — to buy an automobile license..so that he could go to his preaching engagement on the next Sunday. He was upstairs praying that God would supply his need, while his wife was down stairs, unaware that he was praying for this need, She was cleaning the carpet. Suddenly she turned off the carpet sweeper and cried out to her husband, "Are you praying for ten dollars?'7 "Yes," was the reply. "Stop praying, someone just slipped ten dollars through the mail slot." Now this happens. It can happen and it does happen if we have faith in God as we pray.
A young fellow was preparing for Christian service when his funds gave out. He was not at the crucial point of dropping out of school, but his funds were gone. He needed money and earnestly asked the Lord to supply him with his needs. The next morning, when going to the post office box, he received a letter, In the letter - just out of a clear, blue sky, through the postal system - was the money to supply his needs. Walking back to his dormitory room the devil tempted him and said, Neal Carlson, look at the post mark. It was post marked before you prayed, As Jesus rebuked the devil with scripture, there was a scripture verse for this time, too. "Before you ask I will give it unto you." He gives to us our needs.
Jesus the Christ said, "We have not because we ask not." Now these are sober words. There are things we don't have and this is because we have not prayed for them in the spiritual context and in the physical aspect. We miss a lot because we have not prayed a lot about it. Listen to Jesus: "Ask and it shall be given you." These are not my words. These are the words of the Son of God. "Ask, and it shall be given you. Seek and you will find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. For he that asks, receives; he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks, it shall be opened unto him."
Paul writes, "Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your request be made known unto God." The brother of Jesus said, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." Listen to our blessed Lord who said, "Again, I say unto you, that if two of you would just agree upon one thing in prayer and believe that you will receive it then you will have it."
Mr. Truett of years gone by, quoted this statement to his congregation, in the early years of his ministry. He was for more than fifty years the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. He said to the congregation; Jesus said, "That if two of your-agree as touching anything and believing, then it shall be done." Do you believe it? He did not expect anyone to answer. But a lady, whom everyone knew as a very poor wash woman, sitting way in the back of the sanctuary said, "I'll claim that promise." Mr. Truett was somewhat petrified for a moment; not expecting this interruption. Before he knew it the lady was coming down the aisle. She had only gone a few pews when the town's blacksmith jumped up, saying, "I'll claim it with you." The two of them came to the front of the sanctuary, and they prayed one common thing — that of the salvation of her husband.
Jesus said, "Therefore I say unto you, whatsoever things you desire when you pray, believing that you will receive them--you shall have them." Jesus said, "If you ask anything in my name, I will do it." He said, "If you abide in me and I in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you." I would hasten to say, before we take the wrong connotation of his words, we must pray in the proper spirit, we must make our prayers make sense in the spirit of Jesus. He said, "If you ask anything IN MY NAME, I will give it unto you."
Have you ever noticed that so many prayers are ended with the phrase, "it is in the name of Jesus, that we pray," or "for Christ's sake." It is not a very magical "very truly yours;" it is not a magical signature that we hope will do the trick. But in "thy name,t' in the Spirit of the Christ according to His will and we cannot escape it. Prayer is seeking the will of God.
Our prayer is always the prayer that says,"Have Thine Own way, Lord,
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will
While I am waiting, yielded and still."
Look up another Note