Archive for the ‘Intercessory Prayer’ Category
John MacArthur recently made comments about E.M. Bounds at his Strange Fire Conference. His attack on Bounds is not defined as MacArthur merely states that he read a book by Bounds while in college that he says “was worse” than the mystics he had been reading on prayer. MacArthur never states the problems he has with Bounds.
I have wrestled with this and I cannot read into MacArthur’s mind as to why he opposes Bounds but I suppose it would be two fold. First, I suppose MacArthur would oppose Bounds because Bounds places much emphasis on prayer. Obviously, MacArthur would reply that we need to be balanced between prayer, evangelism, studying and teaching the Word, etc. Prayer, while important, would not be the most emphasized ministry I suppose that MacArthur would want to push. Again, I am just giving my thoughts here as I don’t know the man.
Secondly, I suppose Bounds’ Arminianism would be a problem for MacArthur. Though Bounds does not talk about Arminianism, we know that he was a Methodist chaplain for the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Bounds was captured by the Union and was held in prison in Tennessee until the end of the Civil War. He then returned to Georgia where he preached and prayed until his death. Many of his books today on prayer were not penned by him but came following his death. MacArthur, no doubt, would not appreciate Bounds’ Arminianism.
I for one have loved Bounds for many years. His books on prayer have taught me much about prayer. I have read nearly all of his works. I have also encouraged many other disciples to read and study the prayer books of E.M. Bounds. Bounds, contrary to what MacArthur seems to suggest, is not mystical. Bounds does not present an unbiblical notion about prayer. If Bounds fails, it is that he guilty of praying too much? Bounds was known to have prayed up to nine hours a day before his death. Yes Bounds preached and yes he taught the Word but in has later years, he spent his time in prayer. It was from his times of prayer that his books would be born.
I don’t see how one can downplay prayer. The disciples came to Jesus in Luke 11:1 and didn’t ask how to preach. They didn’t ask Him how to teach theology or how to do miracles. The disciples asked one question and one question only, “Teach us how to pray.” Jesus lived a life of prayer (Luke 5:16). Jesus said that His own disciples would be marked by praying (Matthew 6:5). He told His disciples to ask anything in His name (John 14:12-14). Jesus also taught His disciples to pray always and not lose heart (Luke 18:1). Jesus said that if we pray in true faith, we could move mountains (Mark 11:22-24). The Apostles continued this in the book of Acts (Acts 1:14; 2:42; 6:4) and in the Letters (Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6-7; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; James 4:2-3; 5:16; etc.). How then can we just place prayer among other duties? Prayer is what should be our focus and it should lead us toward doing greater works for the kingdom.
Ironically MacArthur penned a devotional book on prayer, Alone with God, in which he quotes from Bounds. Why quote from Bounds if he is so bad? To read the works of Bounds on prayer, I suggest this book.
No doubt true disciples of Jesus are becoming more and more a minority in this world. Sin abounds. Wickedness abounds. The liberal churches are celebrating as our culture turns more and more to embracing wickedness. The seeker church is going on without fear for they know that the world loves them. The emergent church (while slowly dying) is hoping that the wickedness in our culture will feed their causes.
Meanwhile, the disciple of Jesus weeps and they pray. And this is what will transform our culture. As the church prays, the gospel will go forth. Prayer will transform this sin infested, wicked culture and will bring the glory of God back to the Church. The Church will rise up and preach as she prays. Prayer is not for God to bless the work. Prayer is the work. Prayer will save the lost and the wicked as we pray for the lost to hear and be saved (1 Timothy 2:1-6). Prayer will break the chains that the devil has wrapped around our world through his wicked schemes. Prayer will open the heavens and we can see the Lord glorified again among His saints.
The last few days have brought me to my knees with a fresh desire to pray for the lost, for revival, for those trapped in sin, to pray against the enemy, to pray for the glory of God, to pray against the wicked plans of the governments and sinful people. The Holy Spirit can pray through us for a world of sin (Romans 8:26-27). I have no doubt that we are living in a Romans 1 society but the child of God should fall to their knees and cry out for the Lord to have mercy and save sinners. Just as Abraham interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18:22-33, so the child of God can pray for the wickedness in our culture. God can save the lost and He can transform our society through His grace (Titus 2:11-12). Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (Romans 5:20).
I urge you saints of God to do four things. First, pray for our culture to be saved by the grace of God (Romans 10:1). Secondly, get involved with evangelism through open air preaching, one-on-one witnessing, gospel tracts, etc. Paul makes it clear in Romans 10:14-17 that people will not be saved apart from us preaching the gospel to the lost. Third, read the book of Judges and see the hand of God involved with a wicked culture. Even in the midst of darkness, God always has His people and His righteousness will never be defeated. Jesus will win (Revelation 17:14; 19:11). Lastly, read the book of Acts and see the power of the Spirit helping the minority disciples in the midst of pagan cultures to preach the gospel. God’s grace enabled the early church to stand firm despite being heavily persecuted by the lost. The Holy Spirit can help us when the wicked come to persecute us for our faith and our holiness (1 Peter 4:12-19).
May God be exalted in this wicked world. May He save sinners by His grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).