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This article was orginally published in the May 1996 issue of Charisma.
In Manhattan, David Wilkerson has given the term ‘Broadway revival’ a whole new meaning.
Perhaps God had a better idea when the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar opened 25 years ago in Manhattan at the Mark Hellinger Theatre. Today the ornate Broadway landmark houses a flourishing Pentecostal ministry called Times Square Church (TSC), founded by David Wilkerson in 1987.
“We originally came here to find a holy remnant who would welcome repentance and set an example that people could live a righteous life in the midst of Babylon or Sodom,” Wilkerson says.
David Wilkerson first offered this timely message in the July 1991 issue of Charisma. In light of his tragic death, we're reposting it as a testament to his remarkably prophetic voice.
The great need of this hour is for Christians to learn to sing the song of deliverance on the testing side of trouble.
The children of Israel were in a hopeless predicament. The Red Sea was before them; the moutains were to the left and right; Pharaoh and his iron chariots were closing in from the rear. God's people seemed helplessly trapped, just waiting to be cut down. Yet God purposely had led them into this precarious spot.
It was panic time in the camp of Israel. Men shook with fear, and women and children wept as they huddled around relatives. Moses was mobbed by irate family leaders who cried: "Surely this is the end. Weren't there enough graves in Egypt to bury us there? You had to drag us out here to die. We told you in Egypt to let us alone. It was better to be slaves there than to die in this miserable wilderness" (see Ex. 14:11).
Charisma spoke with David Wilkerson in 2008 during Teen Challenge's 50th anniversary. Here are some never before published quotes that he shared with us.
“I carried with me all this time over the years a bit of self-condemnation if I only had more education. I only had one year of Bible school. My parents were poor and could not afford college. I had an inner nagging if only I had been more educated I would be much better in my exegesis of scripture. But my father taught me to pray. He said ‘God will always make a way for a praying man.’
"I was so busy in my 30s and did not have time to read enough. I was hungry for a deeper insight into scripture. I studied the Puritans and tried to improve my knowledge of scripture.
Let us understand this prophet, John the Baptist. According to the Scriptures, John was filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mothers womb (Luke 1:15).
I'm convinced that God's will for you is to talk with other people about Christ.
While witnessing to a guy on the streets of Denver once I explained how he could give his life to Jesus Christ. His response was, "That's too easy." I replied, "Do you want me to make it difficult?"
Ken Reynolds explains how multicultural praise gives us glimpses of heavenand how to foster it in your church (even if youre not a leader).
How Godthat all-consuming, living flame of loveshows His unrelenting desire for people.
God wants us to join Him in going after the thing He loves most: People.
What I call positive prayer affects us on a daily basis.
But what does "positive" really mean? Is it just "positive thinking"--the habit of putting the best face on all circumstances? Or is it, for a Christian, something much more?
I'm convinced it is. Some Christians you meet just radiate joy and hope, often in the face of circumstances or difficulties that many of us would find daunting. Are they overlooking their problems, deluding themselves about life's sometimes ugly realities?
No, they are not. I think what all of these Christians have found is something far more dynamic than merely thinking positively, fine though that is. It is what I would call "the power of positive prayer." The Christians you just love to be around when the flight is cancelled or the barbecue rained out are the people whose lives are soaked in the presence of God's promises and goodness. They are neither naive nor self-delusive about life.
They simply have decided to spend more time focusing their minds on God's promises than on life's problems. And it is that determination that turns their whole lives into ones of positive prayer--a prayer based not on feeling, but on a decision of the mind.
In the past I wrote about the impact upon my own life of the "praise" books by Merlin Carothers. A decorated former U.S. Army chaplain, Carothers showed how the shock of serious setbacks can be deflected immediately--and sometimes the setbacks actually reversed--by choosing to praise God amid them. Praise unleashes God's power on our behalf.
But what I call positive prayer affects us on a daily basis even more deeply than this. Over a period of time it reshapes our entire thinking, and we find ourselves praying the way God almost certainly would want us to pray if we had the faith that He was truly going to act in our circumstances.
Does this mean that we should expect God to answer every prayer we make, instantly? Of course not. It does mean we don't simply believe in the reality of God's love for us and His ability to alter the entire universe, but we come to know the reality of that power as if God had actually allowed us to be the residence, in a way, of the kingdom of God itself.
Of course, that's exactly what Jesus Himself said: "'The kingdom of God is within you'" (Luke 17:21, NIV). We don't "know" this in the same way that we know that it's raining outside (because we see it), but because we have come to experience this love over and over again.
Few people have written about this principle more excitingly than the Australian clergyman Canon Jim Glennon, from Sydney. In his book How Can I Find Healing? Guidelines for Sick and Worried People (Bridge-Logos), Glennon tells the story of his own recovery from a paralyzing fear that would at times almost incapacitate him.
The fear forced him to see what God's promises were in the Bible. He found, for example, 2 Timothy 1:7: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (NKJV), and he began to repeat this verse to himself hundreds of times a day until the reality of God's Word--of God's love and power toward Jim Glennon--took root in his mind and pushed out the fear altogether.
Of course, God allows difficulties to come our way, and Glennon wryly refers to them as part of "a theology of permitted difficulties." But he also shows us that if we take care always to be right with God, especially by repenting of any bitterness or unforgiveness, we can draw in a daily and growing way on God's great power and experience the joy and peace He wants us to have.
God knows that we cannot have a problem-free life, but He has given us provision to be victorious and joyful in the midst of it. The wonderful starting point is the power of positive prayer.
* David Aikman is a senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. A former foreign correspondent with Time magazine, he is the founder of a global fellowship of Christians in journalism. Based in Burke, Virginia, with his wife, Nonie.
If the prayer of one righteous man avails much, just think about what the prayers of two or more righteous people will accomplish.
It has been my privilege over my fifty-plus years as a Christian to always have a prayer partner. There are so many advantages in having a prayer partner. This passage in Matthew gives two very important reasons for us to pray with others. Jesus tells us, "Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:19-20, KJV).
Howand whyGod calls you to a forgiveness that overcomes evil, tragedy and anything else thrown your way.
Stumped on which Bible version is best for you or your family? Heres your guide to the latest Word(s) on the street.
The word Canon means measuring stick. Scripture is how we measure other claims to divine revelation.
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