"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

Faith Unlocks The Treasures Of Heaven

  By D. L. Moody 

    We are not told that Jesus ever taught His disciples how to preach, but He taught them how to pray. He wanted them to have power with God; then He knew they would have power with man. 

    In James we read:  “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God...and it shall be given him; but let him ask in faith, nothing wavering…” (Jas. 1:5-6).  So faith is the golden key that unlocks the treasures of heaven.  It was the shield that David took when he met Goliath on the field; he believed that God was going to deliver the Philistine into his hands. 

    Some one has said that faith could lead Christ about anywhere; wherever He found it He honored it.  Unbelief sees something in God’s hand, and says, “I cannot get it.”  Faith sees it, and says, “I will have it.”

    The new life begins with faith; then we have only to go on building on that foundation.  “…I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24).  But bear in mind, we must be in earnest when we go to God.

Earnestness in Prayer

    Bishop Hall, in a well-known extract, thus puts the point of earnestness in its relation to the prayer of faith:

    “An arrow, if it be drawn up but a little way, goes not far; but, if it be pulled up to the head, flies swiftly and pierces deep.  Thus prayer, if it be only dribbled forth from careless lips, falls at our feet.  It is the strength of utterance and strong desire which sends it to heaven, and makes it pierce the clouds. 

    “It is not the arithmetic of our prayers, how many they are; nor the rhetoric of our prayers, how eloquent they be; nor the geometry of our prayers, how long they be; nor the music of our prayers, how sweet our voice may be; nor the logic of our prayers, how argumentative they may be; nor the method of our prayers, how orderly they may be; nor even the divinity of our prayers, how good the doctrine may be – which God cares for.  He looks not for the horny knees which James is said to have had through the assiduity of prayer.  We might be like Bartholomew, who is said to have had a hundred prayers for the morning, and as many for the evening, and all might be of no avail.  Fervency of spirit is that which availeth much.”

    Archbishop Leighton says:  “It is not the gilded paper and good writing of a petition that prevails with a king, but the moving sense of it.  And to that King who discerns the heart, heart-sense is the sense of all, and that which He only regards.  He listens to hear what that speaks, and takes all as nothing where that is silent.  All other excellence in prayer is but the outside and fashion of it.  This is the life of it.”

    Brooks says:  “As a painted fire is no fire; so a cold prayer is no prayer.  In a painted fire there is no heat; so in a cold prayer there is no heat, no warmth, no omnipotency, no devotion, no blessing.  Cold prayers are as arrows without heads, as swords without edges, as birds without wings; they pierce not, they cut not, they fly not up to heaven.  Cold prayers do always freeze before they get to heaven.  Oh that Christians would chide themselves out of their cold prayers, and chide themselves into a better and warmer frame of spirit, when they make their supplications to the Lord!”

Having Faith for Others

    Take the case of the Syrophenician woman (see Matthew 15:21-28).  When she called to the Master, it seemed for a time as if He were deaf to her request.  The disciples wanted her to be sent away.  Although they were with Christ for three years, and sat at His feet, yet they did not know how full of grace His heart was.  Think of Christ sending away a poor sinner who had come to Him for mercy!  Can you conceive such a thing?  Never once did it occur.  This poor woman put herself in the place of her child.  “Lord, help me!” she said.  I think when we get so far as that in the earnest desire to have our friends blessed – when we put ourselves in their place – God will soon hear our prayer.

    I remember, a number of years ago at a meeting, I asked all those who wished to be prayed for to come forward and kneel or take seats in front.  Among those who came was a woman.  I thought by her looks that she must be a Christian, but she knelt down with the others.  I said: “You are a Christian, are you not?”  She said she had been one for so many years.  “Did you understand the invitation?  I asked those only who wanted to become Christians.”  I shall never forget the look on her face as she replied, “I have a son who has gone far away; I thought I would take his place today, and see if God would not bless him.”  Thank God for such a mother as that!

    The Syrophenician woman did the same thing – “Lord, help me!”  It was a short prayer, but it went right to the heart of the Son of God.  He tried her faith, however.  He said:  “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and cast it to dogs.”   She replied:  “Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”  Jesus responded:  “O woman, great is thy faith!” 

    What a eulogy He paid to her!  Her story will never be forgotten as long as the church is on the earth.  He honored her faith, and gave her all she asked for.  Every one can say, “Lord, help me!”  We all need help.  As Christians, we need more grace, more love, more purity of life, more righteousness.  Then let us make this prayer today.  I want God to help me to preach better and to live better, to be more like the Son of God.  The golden chains of faith link us right to the throne of God, and the grace of heaven flows down into our souls.

A Cry from the Heart

    I do not know but what that woman was a great sinner; still, the Lord heard her cry.  It may be that up to this hour you have been living in sin; but if you will cry, “Lord, help me!” He will ­answer your prayer, if it is an honest one.  Very often when we cry to God we do not really mean anything. 

    You mothers understand that.  Your children have two voices.  When they ask you for anything, you can soon tell if the cry is a make believe one or not.  If it is, you do not give any heed to it; but if it is a real cry for help, how quickly you respond! 

    The cry of distress always brings relief.  Your child is playing around, and says, “Mamma, I want some bread”; but goes on playing.  You know that he is not very hungry; so you let him alone.  But, by and by, the child drops the toys, and comes tugging at your dress. “Mamma, I am so hungry!”  Then you know that the cry is a real one; you soon go to the pantry, and get some bread.

    When we are in earnest for the bread of heaven, we will get it.  This woman was terribly in earnest; therefore, her petition was answered.

    Sometimes, when your child talks, your friends cannot understand what he says; but the mother understands very well.  So if our prayer comes right from the heart, God understands our language.  It is a delusion of the devil to think we cannot pray; we can, if we really want anything.  It is not the most beautiful or the most eloquent language that brings down the answer; it is the cry that goes up from a burdened heart.  When this poor Gentile woman cried out, “Lord, help me!” the cry flashed over the divine wires and the blessing came. 

    So you can pray if you will; it is the desire, the wish of the heart, that God delights to hear and to answer.

Expect to Receive When You Pray  

    Then we must expect to receive a blessing.  When the centurion wanted Christ to heal his servant, he thought he was not worthy to go and ask the Lord himself, so he sent his friends to make the petition (see Luke 7:2-10).  He sent out messengers to meet the Master, and say, “Do not trouble Yourself to come; all You have to do is speak the word, and the disease will go.”  Jesus said to the Jews, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”  He marveled at the faith of this centurion; it pleased Him, so that He healed the servant then and there.  Faith brought the answer.

    In John 4:46-53 we read of a ­nobleman whose child was sick.  The father fell on his knees before the Master, and said, “Come down, ere my child die.”  Here you have both earnestness and faith; and the Lord answered the prayer at once.  The nobleman’s son began to amend that very hour.  Christ honored the man’s faith.

    In his case, there was nothing to rest upon but the bare word of Christ, but this was enough.  It is well to bear always in mind that the object of faith is not the creature, but the Creator; not the instrument, but the Hand that wields it.     

    “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea, it shall be done.  And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matt. 21:21-22).

    – Condensed from Prevailing Prayer by D. L. Moody.