July 2, 2021 Brethren Letter

Dear Brethren,

As I’ve written in previous letters, when it comes to prayer, it’s not only important for each of us to be praying to God, it is imperative that our hearts be fully immersed in those prayers. “…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). The original Greek word for effectual and fervent (energēs), means to be mighty in.

Biblically, we are shown that Christians are to be strong and powerful in their prayers, not weak and inefficient. Skipping days (or possibly even weeks), of prayer will never build any real bond with our Father in heaven. There’s no effortless shortcut available if we’re seeking to have a right relationship with God. As Proverbs 15:8 shows us, the prayer of the upright is God’s desire, pleasure and delight. “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight” (Proverbs 15:8).

In looking at history, we see very positive examples of prayer that we can apply in our own lives. I’ll start with the example of Moses in the book of Exodus. When the Eternal was instructing Moses on Mount Sinai, the people of Israel were becoming immoral and rebellious against the very God who led them out of slavery in Egypt.

[1] Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

[2] And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”

[3] So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron.

[4] And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”

[5] So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron

made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD.”

[6] Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

[7] And the LORD said to Moses, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves.

[8] They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’ “(Exodus 32:1-8).

Israel’s actions of worshipping a false god, along with their rebellious and sinful revelry, prompted the Eternal to conclude that the nation of Israel should be totally destroyed.

[9] And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!

[10] Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation” (Exodus 32:9-10).

However, the story doesn’t end there. Moses (the human leader chosen by God to lead Israel), pleaded with the Eternal in prayer on Israel’s behalf.

[11] Then Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, and said: “LORD, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?

[12] Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people.

[13] Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ “

[14] So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people (Exodus 32:11-14).

This is an example of what just one prayer, can do. Moses’ prayer actually changed the course of events from impending death to their lives actually being spared.

I’ll give one more example for tonight, that of King Hezekiah. We can see that King Hezekiah was 25 years old when he became king, and reigned for a total of 29 years. “Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah” (II Chronicles 29:1).

At age 39, Hezekiah was ill, even to the point of death (II Kings 20:1). We can pinpoint Hezekiah’s age by taking the starting age of his reign (25 years old), and then add the total number of years he reigned as king (29 years). That would make Hezekiah 54, when he died. Since God extended Hezekiah’s number of years by “fifteen” prior to his actual death, “And I will add to your days fifteen years… ” (2 Kings 20:6), we can subtract 15 years from 54 (the age his reign ended), and find that Hezekiah was 39 years old when he became sick and near death as the scriptures tell us. Let’s look closer at the story:

[1] In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’ “

[2] Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying,

[3] “Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly (II Kings 20:1-3)

Hezekiah cried out to God with a heartfelt prayer. In verses 4-6 we see the results.

[4] Then it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying,

[5] “Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard

your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD.

[6] And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David.” ‘ ” (II Kings 20:4-6)

God actually extended Hezekiah’s life, or he would have died just like he was told by God at age 39.

God’s end-time apostle, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong also gave examples from his own personal life. When he prayed in earnest, God heard him. Here’s an excerpt taken from the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, lesson 45, showing that fact.

One time I was in immediate and desperate need of a very small amount of money — 10 cents. The need was so URGENT, I had to ask this invisible God whom I could not see, to send this dime to my home immediately. The need was so immediate I had no time for a long prayer — only some twenty to thirty seconds. But as I rose from that prayer, a man was even then in front of my home, on the way in with that EXACT AMOUNT of money! It was brought to me IN LESS THAN A MINUTE’S TIME!

I have had such petitions to that great invisible God answered HUNDREDS UPON HUNDREDS OF TIMES! And so CAN YOU — if you can ever get to REALLY KNOW this great universe-ruling Creator — if you will UNCONDITIONALLY OBEY Him as He commands in the Bible — and if you will implicitly and unswervingly BELIEVE what He has promised there!

Brethren, I hope that the Biblical examples I’ve shown about prayer have been helpful. Our Bibles describe some very marvelous examples of God saying “YES” to a given prayer.

Please have a wonderful Sabbath!

Your Brother in Christ,

Gary Liebold

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