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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1097

A Call to Prevailing Prayer
Part One

October 13, 2013

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1097 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Praise God! It is hard to believe that we’re at the point we’re at here in this meeting. I guess we say that every time. It goes by so fast, but I believe the Lord has helped us. I believe He’s helped us sharpen our focus. And, I know if you’re like me, you’d love to see the Lord just swoop in, and we’d just feel exhilarated with His presence and every problem…every unsaved person get saved, every disease get healed…you know, just go through and wipe out everything. And you know, I believe the Lord would spoil us if He did something like that. I believe He has better for us. And I sense, I see that desire in me, and I know it’s in all of us to see something and feel something. I believe God is doing something that is marvelous.

( congregational amens ).

Several have talked about having a clearer and sharper vision, and I believe God wants us to get back to the vision that is so simple as what Jesus expressed, that the church is simply a group of people that are called together supernaturally by Jesus Christ for Him to live in and act through. Plus nothing, minus nothing, that’s it. And I believe that God desires us to maintain that view, if you will, of things, to let that become a guiding thought and principle, that our job is not to do this, do that, do the other, it’s to simply wait upon Him, hear His voice, just do our best to get out of the way and let Him guide us. Let Him live and act in us at His pace, do what He wants to do!

And I tell you, we will have all we need. We don’t need the fancy programs. We don’t need a whole lot of things that people think you need to be, quote, ‘the church.’ We just need Jesus in our midst.

( congregational amens ).

But I see something else, and I guess I’m…absolutely as much a part of this as all of us. We didn’t get here overnight. We’re a product of decades of church culture, thought, passing of generations. And I believe God wants to put us on a track that will lead us in a path that He desires for us.

I believe there’s things He wants to do, but you don’t take a ship that’s going in a certain direction and just pick it up and say, now we need to go this way. You begin to turn. You begin to work. There’s a time element involved in things that God longs to do. These things have been expressed by many that we need to turn and go in a direction. We need to change our culture, our thinking. We need God to change it! We don’t need to just go and say well, that was a great meeting and go right back to where we were. We need to have a different view of what church is and how it works. Not ‘church,’ but you understand what I’m saying. And I believe God would impart that to us.

I had a scripture come to me that illustrates some of this in a way. It’s in Zechariah 4, a pretty well-known scripture. And I don’t want to get into all of it, but there was a vision given at a particular time in the history of Israel. You know how they had, over centuries, they had fallen into idolatry and rebellion, and absolutely had resisted every attempt of God to send prophets who would turn them around.

They just wouldn’t hear it, and God finally sent Nebuchadnezzar in to judge them, and it took three different visits of Nebuchadnezzar to really do the whole job. I mean, God just kept saying turn around, turn around, turn around. And finally they wouldn’t. The temple that Solomon had built was utterly destroyed. The walls were torn down, and they went to Babylon for 70 years.

Well, this particular prophesy happened in the context of the small group, relatively speaking, that actually came back to Jerusalem. You know, under Nehemiah they built the walls, but here the thing that is in the forefront is building the temple. And God wanted them to understand some things about the process of building, rebuilding in this case, the temple for God.

And he gave them a vision, and the point of the vision was to show that they needed God’s help. And so without going through the details of that, there’s an angel that says, “Do you not know what these are?” (NIV). He says, “No, my lord.” In verse 6, “So he said to me, This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel.”

Now, Zerubbabel was the leader. He happened to be the natural heir to David’s throne, by the way. But, he was the leader when they went back in this particular time. The word of the Lord to Zerubbabel…He needed some instruction, in other words, at this time. And I believe we do.

He says, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty. What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of God bless it! God bless it!”

How often we quote this, and we give lip service to…oh, we can’t do anything without the Lord. We need the Lord. We need the Lord. And I believe that’s exactly what the Lord desires to bring us to. But I see in our thinking and in our culture, and I certainly include myself, a disproportionate emphasis on some things and not enough on the real source of our power.

Singing is wonderful, but God doesn’t build the church by singing. It has its wonderful place. And this will sound crazy, but God doesn’t build the church just by preaching. Preaching is important. He doesn’t build it without preaching, but you can have all the preaching in the world, and you won’t accomplish a thing if God’s power and effectiveness is not in it. There has got to be a source of power that will absolutely percolate what we do, so that it’s not just people doing it. It is absolutely Christ, resident by His Spirit, absolutely infusing His life and power.

Now you see the sense here that there’s a mountain, and I don’t think there was a literal mountain so much, but this was certainly a picture of something that seemed to stand in the way, and to Zerubbabel it would have looked like an insurmountable obstacle. How many of you know we’ve got a few mountains around here?

( congregational response ).

I’ll tell you where to find the first one. Go look in the mirror. We have got a lot of obstacles to what God desires to do, and it gets discouraging. And I’ll tell you, we can’t just come…I find myself coming in and thinking oh, if we could just have the right message, if we could just…and God bless it and there’s some life in it and oh, if we just explain it right. If we just have this, and we have that. I’ll tell you, we need God’s power.

( congregational amens ).

There is nothing that will bring down the mountains but simply the presence of God in the midst, and His Spirit going to work. As I said the other night, you can take five words that are uttered with His power and His effectiveness, and it will absolutely destroy a stronghold of the enemy where all the explanations in the world won’t do it. And I believe with all my heart we need to get back to the real foundation of how the church works.

This church was born a long time ago. In fact, we’re coming up, I guess, next year on the 60th anniversary. We didn’t get here over night. How many of you know that this church was born in prayer?

( congregational response ).

It was not an incidental thing. It was absolutely understood that that was the engine that gave the church its power and its effectiveness. And there was all kinds of prayer that I hear about. I wasn’t here. Some of you were here. Some of you can remember back that far. There’re still a few people around. But I’ll tell you, there were some all-night prayer meetings. There was real…and Brother Thomas was a man of prayer. He didn’t get his power just because he was chosen of God and just, you know…he went out and prayed.

( congregational amens ).

And God honored that. He had to go to a source of power to have power. And somehow, we have slipped into a culture where we think that as long as we preach the right things, and do the right things, and sing the right songs, and pray a little bit, that we have what we need. Do we?

( congregational response ).

No! We see mountains that don’t want to move! Do you think that they are unmovable?

( congregational response ).

No, they’re not! It’s just that what we’re doing ain’t getting it. I mean, I believe we’re seeing a…don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we’re ineffective. I believe God is working. We’re seeing an uplifting. We’re seeing an uptick, but I believe God has so much more.

And I’m talking more to me than I am to anybody else here. We need to get back to that engine of prayer, where we understand that it doesn’t matter what kind of a sermon you have. If it isn’t backed up with some real prayer that has already gone before, and won the battle, and prevailed against the forces of darkness, it isn’t gonna be effective. And this is part of…one thing we say often, and it’s been said in this meeting, that every member of the Body of Christ is a participant.

( congregational amens ).

Now, when you talk about the Body of Christ praying and prevailing in prayer, that does involve everybody. If you just come in here on Sunday morning and you expect a performance by the choir and by the preacher, and expect your kids to get that, to fix your kids, you’ve got the wrong idea. We need for everybody to come in and take responsibility for what happens here, and realize that there is a battle that is fought long before we get in to an assembly. Long before we do anything, the battle is often time, it’s won or lost.

I’ll tell you, the church is not built by singing. It’s not built by preaching. It’s built by praying. And once you get that in place, then the other things do find their rightful place, but then they become effective. Oh God, we have some mountains. And we need to have a different attitude toward them. Do you know how easy it is just to see a need and pray, and pray a little bit, and get exercised about it, and get stirred up about it, and then you don’t see anything. Well, it must not be God’s will. You know, it’s just the way it is.

Oh God, we are so easy, so prone to just accept where we’re at and not realize that we are so more Laodicean that we dare think. We’ve got too many of those elements going on where we think, hey, we’ve got this. We’ve got that. Oh my God, if we had Jesus Christ resident the way He was in the church after Pentecost, do you think it would be like it is now? Do you think that it would be…I tell you, devils would run out of here screaming. I tell you, there would be people who would fall on their face. They would know that Jesus Christ is real! You wouldn’t have to explain it to them. They’d know it!

God, we need Him. I don’t even know how to express it, but I sense that that’s what the Lord is wanting out of us, not just to come to a meeting and say, “That was a good meeting,” but to take a different way of looking at things out of this meeting, and then put legs under it.

( congregational amens ).

And then begin to realize if we are going to be what God wants us to be, we are going to have to go to God in prayer individually and collectively. And we’re gonna have to take an attitude that we will not be denied, that we have the right to put into practice and to lay hold of the things that Jesus Christ died for.

(congregational amens ).

We’re not dealing with a reluctant God who is just reluctant to act! We’re dealing with a God who longs to act! But there’s a way that His kingdom works! In His kingdom, He’s looking for people who will prevail in prayer, and call upon Him until He answers. You see it over and over again in the scriptures.

I was reminded of something I heard the other day about the occasion when…you know, Herod was a wicked ruler in the land of Palestine there, and he was a heathen man. He wanted to curry…he’s like a lot of politicians. He wanted to curry favor with the Jews, so he went out and arrested James, the apostle, and killed him with a sword.

And, of course, he looked to see how the Jews liked that. They liked it, so he went and tried to do the same thing with Peter. But in the course of events, there was a delay of something like a week. It wasn’t like an overnight thing. There was about a week where Peter was sitting in prison. What was the church doing that entire time?

( congregational response ).

They were praying. They didn’t have a little five minute prayer. They were praying. They were on their knees praying. They were gathered praying in different houses, and there was 24-hour-a -day prayer going up. Somebody was praying, and they were praying when Peter was out. I mean, they didn’t stop until he showed up at the door. There are battles that are being fought.

You look at Daniel and how many times that this has been pointed out, how Daniel prayed, and he longed for understanding of some things. And he wanted to know, what’s the future of my people? Finally, Gabriel arrives, 21 days later. Well, what’s Gabriel been doing?

( congregational response ).

He’s been in a war! The Prince of Persia withstood him! There were demonic forces at work there, and you think there was no connection whatsoever between Daniel’s prayer, and what was going on out there? No! Daniel’s prayer was crying out to God, and it was releasing power, and it was releasing strength. And this angel was fighting his way through, and when he got there, he said, you were heard as soon as you started praying. Your prayer was answered. I was dispatched immediately, but I just got here.

I tell you what, there’re a lot of things that God is longing to do, but He is looking for a people who will not give up the situations in your own heart and your own life. I’ve got mountains right in here. How about you?

( congregational response ).

There’s things where I need help. I appreciate what Ron said last night. That was exactly right. A lot of our praying…we can get so involved in just praying about ourselves that we forget the context in which we live. We are not islands. We are absolutely called to walk together and to pray one for another. But I believe as we battle for ourselves, but as we battle one for another, we’re gonna see God begin to move.

( congregational amens ).

We’re gonna see the ship just begin to turn. It’s turning now.

( congregational amens ).

We’re gonna see that ship begin to turn, and it’s gonna turn some more, and it’s gonna turn some more. And you know, we might come to one of those days when, all of the sudden, God comes in great power. But that’s not what we’re seeking. We’re not seeking experiences and just grand old times. We’re seeking a culture and a walk with the Lord, so that we can be the church of Jesus Christ whether the emotions are there or not.

( congregational amens ).

We can get in the secret closet, and we can do business with God that will absolutely prevail against the strongholds of the enemy. We need to take things to the Lord in prayer.

You know, I mentioned that we’d heard that message Saturday night. We went out to sing with the choir, and I believe the Lord gave a message that…maybe it was more for us than it was for them. I don’t know. But it focused on fasting and prayer, and the case where they brought the disciples this young boy who had been cast by a devil into the fire, and just basically possessed by a devil, and they couldn’t cast him out. And the Lord said at the end, this kind comes not out but by prayer, and in some of the manuscripts it does say, and fasting.

Now I’m not gonna get into the manuscript debate. The point is, this was not just some little five minute prayer. This was something where they had to take a battle, and they had to go to war against this thing in order to beat it. They couldn’t just beat it in five minutes.

You think about back where we started in Zechariah. You don’t build a temple in five minutes. Think about what he’s talking about. He’s talking about a long drawn-out process in which they were going to need an infusion of God’s life at every stage. They were gonna need to hear His voice. They were gonna need to know His wisdom and what to do, and they were gonna have to have strength to do it, and they were gonna have to have courage to do it. They needed a continual supply!

That’s what we need! And I tell you, we can get in such a relationship with God, if we will, where we are going to be seeing His Spirit move. And a lot of times, we’re gonna have to stand when we don’t have the feelings. We’re gonna have to stand against things that rise up in us and resist that. How many know what I’m talking about?

( congregational response ).

How many find it’s just easy to pray? No hands—no hands. That’s because…I’ll tell you, this is where we need so much of that battle. But I’ll tell you, we’re gonna have to choose to do what is right and what God says, and be willing to pay the price if we’re gonna be His church. I mean, we can play, and we can have good Bible teaching, and we can have good singing. And you know, I believe there’ll be saints that’ll be edified and blessed in a measure. Thank God for all of that.

But I’ll tell you, God wants more for His people in this hour. We are surrounded by enemies on every side. I’m talking about mainly the spiritual realm is getting darker and darker. The pull of the world is getting stronger and stronger, and if we’re going to have the power that we need, we’re gonna have to be willing to go to God.

( congregational amens ).

And we’re gonna have to be willing to persist. Why do you think Jesus gave us the parable in, I think it’s Luke 18, of the widow and the unjust judge? Was that just a story to fill space? No! Here’s a woman who had no earthly leverage to get justice. This judge didn’t care about God or man. And it’s not only that he didn’t care about man, he didn’t care about God. He said, I don’t care about doing right. I’ve got a position of power here. I can do as I please. So this lady comes and knocks on the door.

( knocking ).

Give me justice. I’ve been done wrong here. Get out of my life! She comes back the next day.

( knocking ).

Comes back the next day.

( knocking ).

Comes back the next day…and finally he gets it. He says, if I don’t do something about this, she’s gonna wear me out. She’s not gonna give up. And Jesus said, listen to what the unjust judge says.

Now you think God is going to treat His children worse than the unjust judge treats this woman? Oh my God. He’s not reluctant to act, He is longing to act! But there is a way that He acts. Somehow we have got it in our pea-brain that if, like I say, if we just do certain things, that God’s just gonna do it. And, if He doesn’t act then it must not be His will. Oh God. Does anybody see what I’m trying to say?

( congregational amens ).

Yeah. We’ve got to change our whole mentality about how the church works, and what it is, and get back to what God is wanting. You know, we had, I say ‘we.’ I came in on the heels of it. But there was a tremendous visitation, and it’s not that we’re seeking those kinds of things, but there was a tremendous visitation that happened to this church back in the 1960’s. And some of you were here.

But you think about it. The church was…this wasn’t like…next week after they started having all night prayer meetings. The church was somewhere between 13 and 15 years old when these things began to happen. There had been prayer going up for many, many years. There was a real foundation that was built, and it’s like…you know, I started to talk about the temple itself. That took years to build. They had to go and cut the materials, and bring them there, and shape them, and put them together.

Tony, you know about building. This was not some little light project. They had to have strength. They had to have courage. They had to work when they didn’t feel like it. They had to maintain a vision, and just keep doing, and keep doing, and keep getting wisdom from God. They’d get discouraged, and God would give them a word of wisdom and strength.

You kind of get a picture, here? We’re not building a building like that for God, but there is a building. There is another kind of temple that the Lord is building, and we are that temple. And I believe God is building us together so He can live in us.

But I’ll tell you, there’s a lot of shaping. There’s a lot of stuff that has to get out of the way. There has to be a focus and a soberness where that’s what our life is about. That’s what matters to us. Oh God, help me. God, who am I to be saying these things? I just feel my own need. Does anybody else have a need in these areas?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. But you know we have the right to just get up on our hind legs and say, wait a minute, Mr. Devil. We have a right. Jesus purchased these things at the Cross!

( congregational amens ).

He’s not looking at your qualifications. He qualified you. If you’ve put your faith in Christ, He qualified you to be an inheritor with the saints in light! We have the right, just like the songs that have been sung, to lay hold of what He’s given to us, and to absolutely say, Lord, give us a vision to walk together and to do battle.

We’ve got needs that we mention for prayer. Some of them go back years and years and years, and we need to get up on our hind legs and say, hey, enough is enough! We’re gonna pray, and we’re gonna pray until that mountain moves. We’re gonna pray expectantly.

You see a young person, and they don’t get it. Their life is just foolishness. God can open eyes! It isn’t a matter of explaining it. It’s a matter of God breaking down spiritual strongholds that are in lives! God can do that! God can do all kinds…there’s nothing He can’t do! I mean it’s silly to say, He can do this, and that, and the other. Nothing He can’t do!

( congregational amens ).

I’ll tell you what, I just pray that God will take us from this meeting, and change our culture to where we quit thinking that all we have to do is carry on the traditions we’ve been handed. As long as we get the doctrines right, as long we do our services right, and as long as we sing, and we’re sincere, and we pray a little, it’s okay. It’s good enough.

It’s not good enough. I’ll tell you, if we go down that road, sooner or later we’re gonna be…you just let enough time go by. It’s just like Jesus said to the Laodicean church. Either you go one way, or you go the other at some point. There’s a point where you kind of slide this way, or you say, wait a minute, let’s wake up. Let’s hear what God is saying to us.

We have the power, not because of us. We have the power of Christ in us. His power can come and break strongholds that every one of us knows about. But it won’t happen unless people get alone with God and pray, and say, God, we are not gonna let You go until You act, until you do something about this situation. And if it takes years, whatever it is we’re gonna keep on going, and keep on knocking.

( knocking ).

Jesus gave us this parable! He’s the one who told us to do it! That would be kind of silly for Him to tell us that and then say, oh, I really didn’t mean it. Lord, help us. God, help us, as I say, we don’t need just another good meeting. We need a change. We need a change of direction.

( congregation amens ).

We need a change in our thinking! We have inherited a culture that has just become embedded in our minds that this is what church is, and we’re doing it okay, and it’s okay! God, change us.

( congregational amens ).

Give us a different vision. I’ll tell you, if we keep doing the same things, we’re gonna…you know, that’s the definition of insanity. You keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. I’ll tell you, there’re things that God wants to do, and I believe He’s going to.

( congregational amens ).

I sense in so many…I know the degree of life we’ve had in this meeting is because there are people who are burdened. There are people who are praying. And don’t you stick your chest out. Who do you think put that burden in you?

( congregational amens ).

See this is God who is wanting to work. He’s longing to work.

( congregational amens ).

Don’t think He won’t do it because “I’m so bad.” That’s why He’s gonna do it, it’s because you are so bad, and so am I! He came to save sinners!

( congregational praise ).

Praise God!

( congregational praise ).

That’s not a barrier to Him. Now, if you go run after it and you cling to it, that’s another story. But I tell you what, if we’re wanting to be delivered, God has the means! And you know, as I think about all of this, I know I don’t have it in me. Anybody here? You’ve got the strength, you’ve got the inclination, you can just kind of ride on that. I don’t! I’ve got to God every day and say, Lord, there’s so much wrong with me I can’t even begin to fix it. I don’t even know what all’s wrong!