Monday, 29 August 2011

Authentic mission will both originate and be sustained by prayer

One has only to read the gospels to see how much Jesus the Son of God prayed. After his baptism he was driven into the wilderness where he prayed and fasted. He spent whole nights in prayer and taught his disciples both how to and what to pray.

The Church before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost when 3000 were converted was at prayer.( Acts 1.14)

Acts 2.42 They devoted themselves to prayer.

Acts 3.1 They were on there way to prayer when they healed the cripple. This resulted in a massive evangelistic meeting which saw many come to faith.

Acts 4.23-31 After Peter and John’s release from prison they prayed for boldness to preach along with signs and wonders.

Acts 10.31 Cornelius prayers became instrumental for the gospel coming to the Gentiles.

Acts 26.29 Paul speaks of his prayers for those at his trial that they will come to the Lord.

Rom. 1.10 Paul prays that he will have at last an open door to come to them in order to minister.

Eph. 6.19 Paul asks for prayer that he will fearlessly preach the gospel.

Consider also Jesus’ prayers for his disciples and Paul’s prayers for the young Churches.

There is often a link between prayer and the Holy Spirit. If we don’t pray we are unlikely to be filled with the Holy Spirit, yet even in our weakness it is the Holy Spirit that helps us to pray. As we practise the presence of God and in each moment give our hearts to him asking him to help and guide us He will put prayers on our heart and make prayer a delight.

One of the most memorable 'revival' stories is told of a retired Presbyterian
minister in America who was known as 'Father' Nash and a contemporary of
the famous evangelist Charles Finney. Nash had a problem with his
sight which caused him to spend long pours away from the sunlight. However he was able to use this as a spur to seek other methods of serving God. It was through disability this he learned how to pray-really pray. He would groan, sigh, plead and cry to the Lord that Holy Spirit would
come down in order to save souls. He would like Paul travail in prayer for the lost.

When Finney was on a preaching tour he would send Nash ahead to the city that he was to preach at.So Nash would book himself into a hotel or boarding house three or four weeks before Finney was scheduled to preach there. He would also gather a few like minded people in the city to pray with him-often they would not even eat but instead continually pray down God's Spirit upon the city or town. Nash would rarely attend the actual meetings but continue to pray for revival.

It has been said that by the time Finney arrived in the town to preach, revival had sometimes already broken out!

Daniel 'Father' Nash


Andrew Kenny said...

Daniel Nash started as a preacher in upstate New York. His record there
is singularly unremarkable. At age 48 he decided to give himself
totally to prayer for Finney's meetings. Nash would come quietly into
towns three or four weeks in advance of a meeting, gather three or four
other like minded Christians with him and in a rented room start
praying and bringing heaven near. It is reported that in one town all
he could find was a dank, dark cellar, but that place was soon
illumined with holy light as he made in the place of intercession. In
another place as Finney relates:

When I got to town to start a revival a lady contacted me who ran a
boarding house. She said, "Brother Finney, do you know a Father Nash?
He and two other men have been at my boarding house for the last three
days, but they haven't eaten a bite of food. I opened the door and
peeped in at them because I could hear them groaning, and I saw them
down on their faces. They have been this way for three days, lying
prostrate on the floor and groaning. I thought something awful must
have happened to them. I was afraid to go in and I didn't know what to
do. Would you please come see about them?"

"No it isn't necessary," I replied. "They just have a spirit of travail
in prayer."

When the public meetings started Father Nash would not usually attend
but kept praying in his closet for the convicting power of the Holy
Spirit to fall on the crowd and melt their hearts. When opposition
arose Father Nash would pray all the harder.

Once a group of young men promised to break up the meetings. Nash was
praying nearby and came out of the shadows to announce: "Now mark me,
young men! God will break your ranks in less than one week, either by
converting some of you, or by sending some of you to hell. He will do
this certainly as the Lord is my God!"

Finney thought his friend had lost his sense. But by next Tuesday
morning the leader of the group suddenly showed up, confessed his
sinful attitude before Finney and accepted Christ. "What shall I do Mr.
Finney?" he asked. Finney told him to go back to his companions and
tell them how Christ had changed his life. Before that week was out
nearly all of the original group had come to Christ.

In 1826 both Finney and Nash were burnt in effigy. The enemy recognized
the threat of Father Nash's prayers to their ways of wickedness.

Shortly before Nash died in 1831 he wrote:

I am now convinced, it is my duty and privilege, and the duty of every
other Christian, to pray for as much of the Holy Spirit as came down on
the day of Pentecost, and a great deal more?.My body is in pain, but I
am happy in my God?..I have only just begun to understand what Jesus
meant when he said, "All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer,
believing, ye shall receive."

It is interesting to note that within four months of Father Nash's
death Finney left the evangelistic field to take a Church in New York
City. His prayer partner in taking the enemy by storm was gone. He
whose prayers had been the strength of the campaigns was now in his
eternal home and the loss of power was felt.

Father Nash's grave in a neglected cemetery almost on the border of
Canada in northern New York. The tombstone reads.

Daniel NASH

Laborer with Finney

Mighty in Prayer

Nov. 17, 1775 - Dec. 20, 1831

Friend of Nash said...

"Nash had remarkable power in prayer and was in the habit of making a 'praying list' of persons for whose conversion he daily prayed in secret. . . . The answers to his prayers sometimes seemed almost miraculous, for he did not confine his 'list' to those whom he thought might be reached by the revival, but the most obdurate and unlikely cases were made the subjects of prayer, with results that were truly astounding."

Finney said of Nash and his prayer list, "Praying with him and hearing him pray in meetings, I found that his gift of prayer was wonderful and his faith almost miraculous." Nash would pray for these not only daily, but for some many times a day.

Another issue of prayer lists is knowing the will of God as to who to put on the prayer list. To go by appearances is to walk by sight and not by faith. To be able to believe God for a person's salvation requires some leading of God as to who to put on the list. Nash seemed especially sensitive in this area, as he put names on as he felt led, even if it seemed that they were the most unlikely candidates for salvation. Finney in describing Nash and his list said:

"The plain truth of the matter is that the Spirit leads a man to pray; and if God leads a man to pray for an individual, the inference from the Bible is, that God designs to save that individual. If we find, by comparing our state of mind with the Bible, that we are led by the Spirit to pray for an individual, we have good evidence to believe that God is prepared to bless him."