Friday, March 28, 2014

HELPERS IN PRAYER

Paul was so conscious of his need for the prayers of the saints that he pleaded for “prayer helpers” everywhere. He begged the Romans, “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; that I may be delivered” (Romans 15:30-31). And he asked the Thessalonians, “Brethren, pray for us” (1 Thessalonians 5:25).

In Greek, the word for strive here means to “struggle with me as a partner in prayer; wrestle for me in prayer.” Paul was not asking for a quick mention to the throne. He was pleading, “Fight for me in prayer. Do spiritual battle, both for my sake and the sake of the gospel.”

When Paul was in prison, ready to lay down his life, he urged the Philippians to pray for him: “I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:19). Paul knew he was a marked man, that Satan’s hordes were bent on destroying him. And so it is with every true minister of the gospel. Every pastor, preacher and evangelist needs helpers in prayer who will intercede for him continually.

I can assure you, I would not be writing to you if not for the helpers in prayer who have stood with me over the years. I was reminded of this recently while I was in Europe to conduct ministers’ conferences and nightly crusades. The entire time, God’s Spirit made me aware I was being carried by the prayers of a multitude of people.

In Nice, France, Americans are not well-liked, particularly American evangelists. Everyone worried about that night’s crusade, wondering, “Can it be done?” France is rampant with skepticism, atheism, agnosticism, unbelief. And the kind of meeting we planned to hold had never been attempted.

When the time came, however, thousands gathered. Yet that is when I began to feel helpless. I didn’t know what to preach because no message I had outlined seemed to fit. My interpreter and I had reviewed some notes beforehand, but I wasn’t sure they were right for the meeting. I warned him, “I'm not sure what I’m going to say.”

When I stepped up to the podium, however, the Spirit fell on me powerfully. I sensed the prayers of thousands of saints supporting me and as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost filled my mouth. I preached for forty minutes, and the entire time you could hear a pin drop. When I finished, I simply said, “If you need Jesus, please come forward”—and hundreds of people leapt to their feet in response.