As we draw closer to the end of the church age our greatest need is to have a majority of the Christians in every church and community devoting themselves to prayer. Jesus was devoted to prayer. And before He and our Heavenly Father would pour out the Holy Spirit on the Church there had to be a number of people who would go back into the city of Jerusalem and devote themselves to prayer.
There is a great difference in the spiritual lives of Christians who pray a casual prayer now and then and those who devote themselves to prayer. Only those believers who are devoted to prayer can be entrusted with the fullness of the Holy Spirit. It was not only that way in the beginning of the church; it is still that way as we come to the end of the church age.
After the disciples and others had prayed for ten days in one accord, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit came with an audible sign of wind and a visible sign of fire. Our Lord Jesus Christ insists that His church be a powerful force. He gave orders before ascending back to Heaven that His apostles were to wait until they were filled with the Spirit to begin preaching the Gospel. In Acts 1:8 (NRSV), His final words were, “. . . you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Those Christians who are filled with the Holy Spirit receive the power to devote themselves to prayer. But if they grieve the Spirit in prayerlessness, they soon lose power. Other things crowd in and take priority.
Let’s consider the Holy Spirit as symbolized by wind. Jesus explained this to Nicodemus, a Jewish spiritual leader who had come to Him secretly to find the answer to his mighty power in working miracles. In John’s Gospel, chapter 3, verse 8 (CSB), Jesus said, “The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear it’s sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going.” When a born-again Christian goes on to be filled with the Spirit, a life of prayer will develop that will be amazing. Those 120 believers in the Upper Room discovered this only a few hours after they went down onto the streets of Jerusalem and began sharing the Word of God with lost souls. The early church learned from its beginning the importance of the power of prayer.
And now let’s consider the Holy Spirit as symbolized by fire. Jesus said, “I came to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already set ablaze.” (Luke 12:49, CSB). And John the Baptist predicted that Jesus would “baptize His followers with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11, NKJV) So, let us not discount the importance of fire as a symbol of the nature and work of the Holy Spirit in the experience of praying. Moses’ relationship with God began with a burning bush. And throughout the wilderness pilgrimage the children of Israel were led by a pillar of fire. Jesus Himself was baptized and began His ministry with the fullness of the Holy Spirit. He burned with holy fire in His preaching, teaching, and working miracles.
The outpouring of the wind and fire at Pentecost marked a profound historical moment—the birth of the Church of Jesus Christ. And Jesus declared, “. . . I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” (Matthew 16:18, CSB). Spirit-filled men and women of God are promised refining fire. The fire of the Holy Spirit is cleansing, purifying fire. That was not only true for those in the early church, but it is also true for us today. When born-again Christians make up their mind to go all out for God and devote themselves to prayer and hungrily seek the fullness of the Holy Spirit, their hearts will be cleansed and sanctified holy through and through. Too many Christians today are like the Corinthians whom Paul sought to bring out of their carnal, selfish, worldly ways of living. He said to them in 1 Corinthians 3:1 (NKJV), “I could not speak to you as to spiritual people, but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.”
My dear readers, it is never too late to decide to revive our souls with a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit. But it doesn’t come about automatically. We must get serious and sincerely repent of our selfishness, worldliness, and carnality—not stopping until we hungrily, persistently, and faithfully prevail with God in prayer for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit.
The tendency of fire is to go out. One doesn’t have to throw water or sand on a fire to put it out. Just neglect it, and it will go out for lack of fuel.
I plead with my readers: Let’s search our hearts and fervently seek the fullness of the Spirit and then sacrifice time and energy in prayer to keep the fire burning. Millions of refilled believers will need to come forth and join the faithful in prevailing prayer for the greatest revival in the history of the Church. Otherwise, millions of professing Christians will not be ready for the Second Coming of Christ, and millions of souls will be lost as well.
Let us pray for the Revival of Prayer that will bring on what might be the final great spiritual awakening of the Church!
Prayer Partners, please keep our schedule as a reference in praying for our ministries.
Rev. Jim and Shirley Tharp’s Spring Schedule
Saturday Morning Prayer Group: From 10 am to 12 noon, Pastor Tharp leads a prayer meeting, interceding for revival and a great spiritual awakening. We are meeting upstairs at 724 Glider Lane, Belgrade, MT. If you are in the area, you are welcome to join with us for intercessory prayer. (The prayer meeting is rarely cancelled, but please call 406-579-4886 to be sure the meeting will be held the Saturday you wish to attend.)
Sunday from 9:00-9:30 AM Mountain Time: Every Sunday, Pastor Jim Tharp broadcasts a sermon over 99.1 FM on his program, A Call to Prayer, which is heard in several counties of Montana. The broadcasts are now being posted on our website, www.crmin.org, so that everyone worldwide can listen to them.
Facebook: You are invited to read the frequent posts on “Christian Renewal Ministries.” Thank you, Rich Sherlock (a member of the Christian Renewal Board), who volunteered to post excerpts from material written by Pastor Tharp. Your comments are welcome!
Change of E-mail Address
It was necessary for us to temporarily cancel the e-mail address for Christian Renewal Ministries and James W. Tharp: gro.nimrc@prahtwj. Until further notice, please send all e-mails to moc.liamg@prahtwsemaj.