The Factor of Prayer In Relation to the Lord's Purpose (continued)
I do not want to say a great deal more. I felt that the Lord wanted that emphasis this evening. You are concerned and I am concerned in a way. We recognize a need, a great need, and in relation to that need perhaps we come to wonder why this and why that. Then we begin to try and interpret it and explain it, and we give this interpretation and that interpretation, and all too often it again becomes a turning in on ourselves or on ourselves collectively.
Well, let us face this to begin with, that the Lord's people never did in all their history come through to His end for them without terrific conflict, a great withstanding. It was always so, and they have never come though only as the Lord has had a vessel which has taken up that issue in a most positive way. It was like that with Israel in their getting through to the land. Joshua and Caleb took up that issue and fought it through, and by them a generation came in. Daniel took up that issue when the people were in captivity and fought it through in the heavenlies. The coming back of the remnant was undoubtedly to be laid instrumentally at Daniel's door. And here is Paul in the same thing on the higher spiritual level; satan out to withstand this coming of the Church to God's end in fullness. Among others, here is Paul taking it up, fighting it out. It always has been, it always will be. In every city Paul had to meet it and fight it through. He is there himself on resurrection ground under the mighty anointing, but look at Philippi and the jail and the stripes, look at Corinth. There was evidently very real need for the Lord to say to Paul about Corinth, "Fear not, I have much people in this city" (Acts 18:10). It was very necessary for the Lord again and again to come alongside and fortify His servant because of what he was meeting in the city. See what he met in Ephesus: the sentence of death, he despaired even of life. Right in the conflict in every city, but fighting it through. The Lord needs that kind of instrument.
Again I say, while there may be various subsidiary causes for arrest or limitation, here is the big issue, that the enemy is out to prevent our going through, to prevent the Lord's people from knowing what His thoughts are about them, being brought into touch or led into touch with that which will be for their enlargement. It is all a mighty campaign of the enemy, blinding, nullifying, neutralizing, hindering, putting up blankets, clouds and smoke, everything and anything. It is all a part of this determination of his that the saints shall not be brought through to completeness in Christ.
Over against that, there have to be those who, together in the Lord, standing on the right and sufficient ground, take up this issue in the Name of the Lord and fight it out. "How greatly I strive" has to be true of a company of us.
The Lord give us grace for this and really work in us, and we shall see things breaking. No one will doubt, no one will dispute, that we are in a life or death issue. We are going to live and live triumphantly, or we are going to die, going to fade out. Perhaps in the Lord the issue rests with us along this line. The Lord add to the company of Ephaphras!