Satan dreads nothing but prayer. . . . The Church that lost its Christ was full of good works. Activities are multiplied that meditation may be ousted, and organizations are increased that prayer may have no chance. Souls may be lost in good works, as surely as in evil ways. The one concern of the devil is to keep the saints from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.
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I owe everything to the gift of Pentecost. For fifty days the facts of the Gospel were complete, but no conversions were recorded. Pentecost registered three thousand souls. It is by fire that a holy passion is kindled in the soul whereby we live the life of God. The soul's safety is in its heat. Truth without enthusiasm, morality without emotion, ritual without soul, make for a Church without power.
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Nothing would turn the nation back to God so surely and so quickly as a Church that prayed and prevailed. The world will never believe in a religion in which there is no supernatural power. A rationalized faith, a socialized Church and a moralized gospel may gain applause, but they awaken no conviction and win no converts.
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Men ablaze are invincible. Hell trembles when men kindle. The stronghold of Satan is proof against everything but fire. The Church is powerless without the flame of the Holy Ghost. Destitute of fire, nothing else really counts; possessed of fire, nothing else really matters. The one vital need is fire. Without the flame and fervour of the Holy Ghost the Church will never accomplish its mission.
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The Church is the Body of Christ, and the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. He fills the Body, directs its movements, controls its members, inspires its wisdom, supplies it's strength. He guides into truth, sanctifies its agents, and empowers for witnessing. The Spirit has never abdicated His authority nor relegated His power.
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We give ourselves to prayer. We preach a Gospel that saves to the uttermost, and witness to its power. We do not argue about worldliness; we witness. We do not discuss philosophy; we preach the Gospel. We do not speculate about the destiny of sinners; we pluck them as brands from the burning. We ask no man's patronage. We beg no man's money. We fear no man's frownLet no man join us who is afraid, and we want none but those who are saved, sanctified and aflame with the fire of the Holy Ghost.
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The Holy Ghost does not come upon methods, but upon men. He does not anoint machinery, but men. He does not work through organizations, but through men. He does not dwell in buildings, but men. He indwells the Body of Christ, directs its activities, distributes its forces, empowers its members.
There is no way of learning to pray but by praying. No reasoned philosophy of prayer ever taught a soul to pray. We know not what we should pray for as we ought, and if prayer waits for understanding it will never begin. We discover by using. We learn by practice. Though a man should have all knowledge about prayer, and though he should understand all mysteries about prayer, unless he prays he will never learn to pray.
Great grief prays with great earnestness. Prayer is not a collection of balanced phrases; it is the pouring out of the soul. What is love if it be not fiery? What are prayers if the heart be not ablaze? They are the battles of the soul. In them men wrestle with principalities and powers... "The prayer that prevails is not the work of lips and fingertips. It is the cry of a broken heart and the travail of a stricken soul.
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