Greetings MOL Family!
Have you ever heard that we ought to pray silently, so that the devil can’t hear us pray? Now, I’ll tell you where that ideal comes from. It isn’t far fetched…
In Secret Prayer
You’ll find this statement in Selected Messages, Book 1:
The adversary of souls is not permitted to read the thoughts of men; but he is a keen observer, and he marks the words; he takes account of actions, and skillfully adapts his temptations to meet the cases of those who place themselves in his power. If we would labor to repress sinful thoughts and feelings, giving them no expression in words or actions, Satan would be defeated; for he could not prepare his specious temptations to meet the case. – Selected Messages, Book 1, pgs. 122-123
So we are given a specific warning about speaking words of doubt or discouragement, or any expression that tempts the devil to tempt us. But now on the other hand, we are not in any case under any situation warned to be careful not to cry to God for fear the devil would hear us… Take this statement:
At the sound of fervent prayer, Satan’s whole host trembles. – Messages to Young People, pg. 53
So, we don’t need to be afraid of making trouble for ourselves by that speaking out loud to God for fear the devil will hear us. He’s the one that is going to be in trouble over that:
At the sound of fervent prayer, Satan’s whole host trembles. – Ibid
So we can cry to God with perfect confidence. Well, somebody might say, “Wouldn’t the devil hear it?” Let him hear it. It’s when we talk words of doubt or discouragement, or foolish or sinful lusts, that’s the time that we need to be afraid of the devil hearing us. But when we talk to God in earnest prayer, we don’t need to worry about that at all. That throws the devil into trouble:
At the sound of fervent prayer, Satan’s whole host trembles. – Ibid
Another statement here is on the point of listening when we come to God in prayer. You remember from our previous lessons. We’re to talk while God listens, and listen while He talks. Now, here is another quotation on listening:
The Lord speaks; enter into your closet, and in silence commune with your own heart; listen to the voice of truth and conscience. Nothing will give such clear views of self as secret prayer. He who sees in secret and knows all things will enlighten your understanding and answer your petitions. Plain, simple duties that must not be neglected will open before you. – Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, pg. 163
Now, this is while you’re down on your knees praying. You have talked to God, now you’re doing what? You’re listening:
Plain, simple duties that must not be neglected will open before you. – Ibid
Now, this is a promise, friends. Very few people have this experience for two reasons: Few people take the time, and of those few who do, too many when they get to that point, back up and back out, because what the Spirit prompts us to do may be to lift a cross.
Now, if some human being suggests some change in our diet or dress, or reading or music, or conversation or association, or recreation, we can resent that and say, “I wish they wouldn’t talk to me.” Well, you can get away from them. And when Jesus speaks to you in the secret place of prayer about some changes He wants to make, usually He won’t hound you to death. He won’t pester you. Sometimes in mercy when He sees that deep down in our heart we want some help, He may do that. But ordinarily, these are experiences we have to seek for.
Plain simple duties that must not be neglected will open before you. – Ibid
Now, these experiences deal not merely with changes that need to be made in our lives. They may be messages from the King impressing us who to work for, or what to do for somebody that we are working for. This, to me, is one of the most precious experiences in life. It’s having God impress me with somebody He wants me to write to or call on the telephone, or visit or in some way contact. Sometimes when I’m getting ready for a meeting and praying about it, the Lord will impress me about somebody that ought to be there. And I can get on the phone and invite them to come.
There are many things involved in this simple experience of waiting for the Lord to impress us, as we linger there on our knees. But remember we must cherish those visits of the Holy Spirit. And when the Lord says something to us that cuts across the natural inclination, instead of closing the door and saying in effect “Don’t talk to me about that,” say, “Lord, I thank Thee that you love me enough to point out the things that need to be changed in my life.”
The Lord may impress us as we pray with something we need to make right with somebody, some member of the family that we have been unkind to or un-Christlike with.
I remember when I was a boy and I would go to God in prayer, and the Lord would impress me with something I needed to make right with father or mother. You know, that was hard. And you know, it ought to be hard, folks. There is nothing wrong with it being hard to confess sin. But are we looking just for the easy things? What kind of a cross was it Jesus bore? A heavy cross, wasn’t it? He fainted beneath the load. But He got up and picked it up again.
A Message of Faith
Now, I want you to turn to Luke 7 and Matthew 8. I want you to have both chapters open because these are two different records of the same experience, and there are some precious lessons here. In some ways, I’m more anxious for you to get this lesson today than any lesson we’ve had. If you can get hold of this, it is going to bring some joy into some hearts. And these are things you can use to help somebody else:
Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people [This is at the close of the Sermon on the Mount] he entered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. And when they [These elders of the Jews] came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loves our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. – Luke 7:1-5
Now get the picture. Here was a Roman centurion. He wanted Jesus to heal his servant. And the elders of the Jews came and said, “Now, Jesus, we wish you’d do this for this man because he’s worthy.” They recommended him. And why did they say he was worthy?
…he loves our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. – Luke 7:5
He was a good contributor, a good supporter. So, they said he was what? He was worthy.
Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou should enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. – Luke 7:6-7
Now, get the picture. Here was this man. He was a big man in the world. What was his job? Centurion, he was a Roman officer, had many soldiers under him. But he didn’t think himself even worthy to come to Jesus. But the Jewish elders came to Jesus and said he was what? — Worthy. Now, which was he worthy or not worthy?
Well, you remember that Jesus healed the servant. Now, I want you to notice what He said over in Matthew:
And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and [What?] as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. – Matthew 8:13
Now, the man said, “I’m not,” what? “I’m not worthy.” But did he believe Jesus could heal the servant? Yes. And, you remember concerning Abraham, the Bible says his faith was counted for righteousness.
Some may enjoy this study more if I tell you it is a study on righteousness by faith. Some of you will prick up your ears as soon as I give you the label for it. But it would be a study on that just the same whether I put a label on the can or not. There are a great many lessons on righteousness by faith that do not have that label on it. Any true message on how to do right is a message on righteousness by faith. If it isn’t righteousness by faith, it isn’t a true message.
Join us next week, as we dive deeper and continue our study on how to live righteous, by faith. Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
Jesus left us many examples on how to “do right”, how to “be right”; messages on how to live right, by faith. These are, for us, the greatest lessons of life! >> Learn More
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*This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.