Dear Christian Brothers:
For some strange reason most preachers and evangelical Christians of this nation seem to have forgotten that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against rulers and authorities and the rulers of this world’s darkness, against spiritual powers of wickedness in the air” (Ephesians 6:12). We are in mortal combat against the spiritual beings who have conquered, enslaved, and blinded mankind. War is being fought and the leaders of the church have given up freely and completely the control and effectiveness of the church to the devil, and act as if we are in peace, constantly saying, “peace, peace when there is no peace.”
The reason I do say this is evident, the soldiers have laid down their armor and weapons, and gathered to play and entertain each other. “Fiction, films, fun, frolic, religious entertainment, Hollywood ideals, big business techniques, and cheap, worldly philosophies now overrun the Sanctuary.”* The devil laughs at this futile effort and activity as much as the Russian Communists would at such efforts on our part to stop them if they were invading our nation.
The watchmen are asleep, the swords are dull, and the fire of devotion to God and love for hell-bound souls is quenched. The fiery darts have penetrated and stopped the saints. The overcomers are overcome. The only thing left is to have banquets, do good deeds, sing a lot of dead songs which are not heartfelt, and demand a nice warm sermon to tickle our ears and impress our intellects until next week – same time, same station.
It is time we read the Bible with more serious hearts. If you do, you will be shocked! Brothers we are backslidden! The only way to fight a war is to follow the instructions of the general, better known as the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings!
“This charge I commit to you,my son Timothy, according to the prophecies going before you, IN ORDER THAT YOU MIGHT WAR A GOOD WARFARE BY THEM… FIRST OF ALL, then, I advise you that petitions, prayers, holy requests and thanksgivings be made for all men…”
It seems we trust everything but God! John R. Sampey forwards this book which I am quoting from, titled The Answer by Fire by Enos K. Cox. D.D.
Many Rather Than Mighty
There is no question about our numbers, more people belong to Christian churches than ever before. So-called Christian nations are the mightiest in the world. The great ones of the earth are numbered among Christian peoples. The rulers of nations, the kings of finance are in the churches. Men and women who have masters in every form of art have their names upon our rolls.
The money of the world is largely in the coffers of people who call themselves Christians. Our wealth has built countless temples, cathedrals, churches and chapels, all reared in the name of the Christ and dedicated to His worship. The skill of the architect, and the touch of the painter, the chisel of the sculptor have been laid under tribute to make them beautiful and imposing.
The story is told that a monk of one of the mendicant orders visited one of the popes of the middle ages, and as the pope showed him the treasures of the Vatican, he said to the monk: “The time is passed when Peter can say, ‘silver and gold have I none,’” and the monk is said to have replied: “And the time is also past when he can say, ‘In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’” Something like this might be said of the hosts of Christendom today. They have more people, more wealth, and more extensive organizations that any time in the Christian era, Great universities, colleges, and wonderful institutions for the alleviation of human need dot the earth. All the world must testify to the energy and unselfish service of the people called Christians. Yet we are forced to confess that the power that came at Pentecost is not being greatly manifested. The real work of the church is to bring sinners to repentance and produce saints who are mighty witnesses for righteousness.
Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit should give power for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. For two centuries the promise was fulfilled in rapidly succeeding triumphs. Those early Christians were neither numerous nor wealthy; they lacked social prestige; they were wanting in training from the schools, but they had power. The Jerusalem Church did not own a place of meeting, and its greatest preacher had no money when confronted with an object of charity, but it was strong enough to rise victorious over stoning, the prison, and the sword. Today with our culture and the prestige of wealth we are weak and hesitating. By all the standards men have for greatness we ought to be a thousand times stronger than that early church, but we are not. With our hosts of missionaries, heathen are being born faster than they are being converted, and the number of lost in our land is appalling.
The power remains but our self-indulgence and our love of ease will not let us pay the price which its possession demands. We count big on the muster rolls of our churches, but not so much on the battle lines of the Kingdom. We are broad in the scope of our enterprises, but lacking in the intensity that means power. We have lost much of the spirit of sacrifice and have forgotten how to pray without ceasing. (pages 23-25)
The praying that turns a wayward church back to Bethel, and makes this sinful old world God-conscious is manful work. Such praying takes time, it searches our inmost souls with God’s candle for our sins, and inquires into our deepest motives. It relentlessly casts out every selfish aim, and crucifies the desires of the flesh. Intercession of this sort will have a kinship with the agony under the olive trees and catch the spirit and love of Calvary. There is burden and pain in the prayer that overcomes and finds an arena of victory before the mercy seat.
This praying will mean hours of agony, sleepless nights when prayers rise with ceaseless importunity to the ear of God. We have eloquent preachers, masters of homiletics, skillful rhetoricians, wizards in the magic use of words; we need tireless intercessors, men and women whose tears and groans make them mighty pleaders in the courts of mercy. WE HAVE BEEN TRYING ALMOST EVERYTHING ELSE, LET US PRAY. (my emphasis) If the forces that war against our cause are beaten back, it will be by the men of God who love and preach the old Book, and have surrendered their lives to the will of the risen Christ.
Then let us, O children of God, whom He calls, ‘My people’ set ourselves to this sacred undertaking! The exigencies of this hour will not be met by any mediocre measures. Away with our dependence upon any arm of flesh. Let us enthrone in His rightful place the Holy Spirit who came to give power to His church. We need the full strength of that which God has provided, for all the allied might of the powers of darkness confronts us. No period of the Christian era has seen such a league of the forces that war against our Lord and His cause. In every department of life and society the onset is being made. The citadels of our faith have traitors within; subtle, shrewd, astute, and defiant unbelief sits in many of the councils of Christian leaders, and its voice is heard in the halls of our schools, and from pulpits of wide influence. Worldliness weakens the word from our churches and compromising lives dull the edge of our protest against the sins of the day.
Some of our Christian seats of learning have been captured by the foe, and rationalistic skepticism rears its head in the places that our Christian fathers founded with sacrifice and prayer. The press teams with publications that not only belittle all that we believe, and strike at the heart of every really Christian truth, but with many that are unspeakably vile and reek with the effluvium of the pit. Loose theories of morals beat against the sanctity of the home and make sport of all concepts of personal purity. Conditions in the state as well as in the social and religious world reveal the need of some regenerating and stabilizing force. The lack is moral and spiritual, and not economic and political. We have become sodden and sensual and have ceased to to think in terms worthy of immortal beings. God must intervene, and He has promised to do so when He can find men and women through whom He can work. It is time for solemn dedication, for consecration that cries: ‘This one thing I do’. The crisis calls for repentance that cries for forgiveness in the spirit of the 51st Psalm, for contrition that rends our ‘hearts and not our garments’, for prayer that puts every power of body, and soul into continuous, vehement passionate appeal. These are the real weapons of our warfare and they are not carnal. (pages 132-134)
Let me conclude with a statement by E. M. Bounds, written in the book, Power Through Prayer.
We are constantly straining to devise new methods, new plans, new organizations to advance the Church and secure enlargement and efficiency for the gospel… The Church is looking for better methods, God is looking for better men. (page 7)
What the church needs today is not more machinery or better, not more organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use – men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men – men of prayer. (page 8)
The pulpit of this day is weak in praying. The pride of learning is against the dependent humility of prayer. Prayer is with the pulpit too often only official – a performance for the routine of service. Prayer is not to the modern pulpit the mighty force it was in Paul’s life or Paul’s ministry. Every preacher who does not make prayer a mighty factor in his own life and ministry is weak as a factor in God’s work and is powerless to advance God’s cause in this world. (page 12, emphasis mine)
We have been majoring in ease and comfort while the enemy has overcome our nation, rise up and fight – there still might be time!
Your servant in Christ Jesus,
(11th Hour Ministries: Originally mailed to pastors in 1975)