Dr. Gary Mann
“0 Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.”
In this set of verses from Hosea, Israel had sinned, as they had done many times before, and God in His infinite mercy and grace wanted them to return to Him. The nation had committed spiritual adultery in serving other gods, and God Who is not only merciful but also is a God of just judgment had turned His back on them. Yet, He wanted them to turn back to Him, and He even told them what they needed to do. He told them to, “Take with you words…”
I feel that we are not only a people who do not pray, but we are also a people who go through the motions of prayer at times, and then still expect God to do something. I find it sad at times when I watch people during a church invitation. Folks go forward, kneel, and then almost like clockwork, everyone gets off their knees at the same time and makes their way back to their seat. It is like when that first person gets up it is a signal for everyone else to stand. The saddest thing about that is, and I have been guilty of it myself, we do not pray, we do not talk with God.
I remember the church I was saved in and the altar calls we had there. It was an old-fashioned Baptist church, and when the invitation was given or when the people gathered at the beginning of the service to pray, there was some real praying going on. Many people would pray out loud, and pretty soon some dear saint of God was weeping for her lost family member and another one would shout with joy. It was something to be a part of, and things got done there. Today, it is not so, and then we wonder why we do not see revival in America.
I have preached many messages on prayer and have taught on some of the hinderances to prayer. The Bible is very clear as to some reasons why we do not get our prayers answered. Sin in our lives will stop our prayers. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:”In James 4:3 we see another reason why we do not get our prayers answered, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” John 15:7 clearly states that our personal relationship with Him and His Word helps us in getting out prayers answered. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”And while there are times when we just do not know what to say because of the tremendous burden on our heart, thankfully the Holy Spirit will help us as we see in Romans 8:26 where it states, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” I would have to say that many times we do not get our prayers answered because we did not have that little talk with Jesus! We did not take words with us.
Words are very important. I have written many different pamphlets, booklets and other information, but they would be nothing without words. Instrumental music is great, but music with uplifting words, such as those found in our hymn books, lift the soul toward God. Can you imagine calling someone on your phone and when they answer you do not talk to them, you just sit there and say nothing! When we go soul winning, we use words to communicate the Gospel to the people. Words, and their correct use are vital to good communications.
God told the nation of Israel that He wanted them to come back to Him. He said, “Take with you words, and turn to the LORD:” Then, an amazing thing happened, He even told them what to say! One preacher in history wrote a very powerful book on prayer and in it said that, “Prayer was asking, and the answer to prayer is receiving!”
When Moses went to God on behalf of the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 9:26 it says, “I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said (he used words), 0 Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand.” In Matthew 26:39 when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane it says, “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying (He used words), 0 my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Again in Luke 11:1-2, when Jesus was asked to teach them to pray He said, “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say (You get the point now I trust), Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”
There are many reasons to pray, but when you do pray, use words and say something to God. At times when I am at the altar, I will pray and form the words with my mouth without using my vocal chords to help me concentrate on what I am talking about with the Lord. Take with you words!
I pastored a church that I started for 13 years in Ohio. One day a dear lady who was not able to get out of her house to come to church asked me a question. She had some people in her family who did not live with her who thought it was silly for her to pray out loud when no one was there. She asked me what I thought she should do. I told her just to keep praying to God for He loves to hear our voices. It is time that we take with us words!
Dr. Gary Mann
Longview Baptist Temple