The Present Need
All these are statements with which I imagine you will agree, both as to the significance and as to the issue. But we need an anticipation of the day of His coming, in the Church today - now. We need something of the meaning of that final impact now - His presence in majesty and in power. What about it? One of the writers who recorded this event tells us that Jesus went up into the mountain to pray: "and as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was changed" (Luke 9:29). And when He came down, the key which He used for that desperate situation was the key of prayer: "This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" (Mark 9:29). What are we to pray for? What is to be the burden of our prayer in relation to this matter of impact, recovered power? If you have any sense of this poor world's distracted condition, and desperate need, you will not control your praying; you will not regulate your praying; you will not make prayer a legal system of "you must," "thou shalt", and so on. If you are touched, as the Lord was touched, with this situation and this need, be it in an individual, or in a company, or in the world, or in the whole Church, the only thing that you will do - but you will do it - is pray.
And what will you pray for? What is it that will answer the need, the situation: what will touch it?
Now here is the point of departure. We feel the need; we are aware of the situation here and there, in this one and that, in this place and that; and of course, we do pray to the Lord and ask Him to do something about it; we do that. I trust I am not saying a wrong thing when I say that too often it is like of the effort of the nine - nothing happens! The thing goes on, persists and defies you. You see, the need is not for that kind of prayer. What is needed is the kind of prayer that brings in the majesty and the power of Jesus Christ; that is born out of a mighty apprehension of His glory, of Who He is, what He has done, where He is, and what He is doing now. That is what we need to recover.
About that we have much more to say. But - let us recognize it, and acknowledge it - what is needed is this: the secret of bringing the majesty of the Lord into a situation; putting that power upon it. It is executive; it is dynamic; it is something which registers, and the thing is done. Do you not agree with me that that secret is what we need? And for that, I repeat, we need a new, mighty mastery, in our inner being, of the greatness of the Lord Jesus. We all agree that He is great; we will sing "How great Thou art!"; we will not reserve or trim our words about the Lord Jesus in glory; but there is a gap between that and this situation. That is the tragedy and that is the problem and the perplexity of it. He is like that, and yet this is like this, and the two things are not brought together.
Why did He take those three disciples up? Not simply because He had a heart that longed for human fellowship. No! He knew who they were; He knew their future; He knew the position that Peter was going to take, and He knew the ministry that John was going to fulfill, right on beyond the lifetime of all the others. He took them there with him with this one object, I believe, in view: that, in those coming days, when they would meet these situations on this earth, in this world, they should be in possession of the secret of His majesty, and that they should be a link between Him in glory, and this situation of shame and evil.
Is not that the vocation of the Church? - to be His link between Heaven and earth; to be the instrument of the registration of His Kingdom upon the kingdom of satan? Is not that what we are called for? If that is not it, I do not know what we are for. And if we fail in that, we can do ten thousand things, and still the enemy will laugh at us. With all our efforts and expenditure, he still holds the ground so terribly. Oh, for men whose eyes have seen the King! To have done so means a tremendous thing in the life of such men. That we shall see. But here is the preparation of the way.
Before we begin to pray over situations, let us pray for a new vision of the majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus, and then nothing will be impossible. I believe that is what was in the thought of the Lord when He said: "If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed ..." It is not merely psychological make-believe. If only you have grasped the smallest meaning of His majesty, anything is possible; it is so great!
(continued with # 8 - "The Power and Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ")