Before giving a discourse, ministers should take time to seek God for wisdom and power. In earlier times the ministers would often go away and pray together, and they would not cease until the Spirit of God responded to their prayers. Then they would return from the place of prayer with their faces lighted up; and when they spoke to the congregation, their words were with power. They reached the hearts of the people because the Spirit that gave them the blessing prepared hearts to receive their message. There is far more being done by the heavenly universe than we realise in preparing the way that souls may be converted. We are to work in harmony with the messengers of heaven. We want more of God; we are not to feel that our talking and sermonising can do the work. Unless the people are reached through God, they will never be reached. We are to rely wholly upon God, pleading His promise: "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." Zechariah 4:6.
When those to whom God has entrusted responsibilities
as leaders fear and tremble before Him because of the responsibility of the work, when they feel their own unworthiness and seek the Lord in humility, when they purify themselves from all that is displeasing to Him, when they plead with Him until they know that they have forgiveness and peace, then God will manifest Himself through them. Then the work will go forward with power.
Fellow labourers, we must have Jesus, the precious Jesus, abiding in our own hearts much more fully if we are to meet with success in presenting Him to the people. We are in great need of the heavenly influence, God's Holy Spirit, to give power and efficiency to our work. We need to open the heart to Christ. We need much firmer faith and more fervent devotion. We need to die to self, and in mind and heart to cherish an adoring love for our Saviour. When we will seek the Lord with all the heart we shall find Him, and our hearts will be all aglow with His love. Self will sink into insignificance, and Jesus will be all and in all to the soul.
Christ presents to us who are athirst the water of life, that we may drink freely; when we do this we have Christ within us as a well of water springing up into everlasting life. Then our words are full of moisture. We are prepared to water others.
We must draw nigh to God. We must be labourers together with Him, else weakness and mistakes will be seen in all we undertake. If it were left to us to manage the interests of the cause of God in our own way, we would not have reason to expect much; but if self is hid in Christ, all our work will be wrought in God. Let us have faith in God at every step. While we realise our own weakness, let us not be faithless, but believing.
If we will take God at His word, we shall see of His salvation. The gospel that we present to save perishing
souls must be the very gospel that saves our own souls. We must receive the word of God. We must eat the word, live the word; it is the flesh and blood of the Son of God. We must eat His flesh and drink His blood--receive by faith His spiritual attributes.
We must receive light and blessing, that we may have
something to impart. It is the privilege of every worker
first to talk with God in the secret place of prayer and then
to talk with the people as God's mouthpiece. Men and
women who commune with God, who have an abiding
Christ, make the very atmosphere holy, because they are
co-operating with holy angels. Such witness is needed for
this time. We need the melting power of God, the power
to draw with Christ.