Prayer in the Holy Ghost comes spontaneously out of the work and
power of the cross.
Luke 3:21: "...having been baptised and praying the heaven was
opened and the Holy Spirit descended." Here is the cross because the
baptism was significant of death and resurrection. The Lord having
in the Spirit in faith established at the commencement of everything
His death, burial and resurrection, His first recorded action is
praying, prayer arising out of the cross in all its meaning. It was
out of that fellowship with God that He went out to battle in the
wilderness, meeting and vanquishing the prince of this world.
(Abbreviated Notes of an address.)
1 Pet. 2:9: "Ye are a royal priesthood." This is mediation linked
with sovereignty, a sovereign intercession. Priesthood applies to
all who are members of the body of Christ, all who are in Christ in
this age, a priesthood of all born again believers.
Priesthood is representative (1) before God for man, (2) before man
for God. Your business in Christ is to stand before man in behalf of
God to make known the mind and will of God to man, and to lay before
God the needs of man. The classic illustration of this in all
scripture is John 17, which is full of "Father, these, these,
these," revealing the thoughts and intentions of God concerning
them. "Royal priesthood" suggests the cross and mediation, and links
with John 17.
The effectiveness of the cross is in a threefold realm.
(1) It deals with the world, Gal. 6:14, which has to be
ruled out before you can pray in that way or dominate world
(2) It deals with the
flesh, which is the life principle of the entire nature of man
as he is joined to his first parent Adam. When God said, "He has
become flesh" it was to say that he was no longer pre-eminently
spirit. God being spirit, only spirit can get in to worship
God, "in me - my natural life - dwelleth no good
thing." The cross deals with all that natural life. There is no
effective prayer until we get clear through and operate in the
(3) It deals with the devil. Prayer that is based on the
cross has its application there.
All this was anticipated in the Old Testament. God's principles are
the same in all ages, e.g., the truth of the body of Christ
underlies the whole Word of God. Paul only gives full illumination
and explanation of what lies in the earlier scriptures - the
tabernacle, the temple building, the truth set forth in John 6 and
15 - Paul brings these types and parables with their hidden
meaning, before us as now spiritual realities.
Job sets the drama of the ages for the rest of the dispensations,
and gives the spiritual background of what is going on through all
the ages. It is up to date with the prison epistles and at home in
Romans. Its scene is the sphere of the principalities and powers.
The instrument through which God is to meet Satan's challenge is a
Man here on earth. The earth is the centre of the universe in the
battle of God with the hierarchy of Satan. "Through the church,"
Eph. 3:10, is to be found there in Job. It is the story of the
transition of a man from natural fulness to all things out from God,
through death - which is a sphere the devil cannot touch. He
is put beyond Satan's power or reach through death. His
natural faith gives out. "Though He slay me yet will I trust
Him," was not Job's saying. It was the cry of victory of
the faith of God wrought in Job, a spiritual faith, not natural. So
he becomes the instrument by which God deals with the forces of the
devil and breaks his lie. We in our praying are in so small a circle
of things, personal interests, blessings, good things, deliverances.
But here we get back behind into super-cosmic conditions.
But this has to be practical, so see Daniel. Why the lions'
den, and all the rest? Because he threw up his windows three times a
day and prayed. Through prayer he was given to see all down the
ages. When a man like Daniel prays, he sets the principalities and
powers in motion. The cross was in his life working, as in Job's.
The three Hebrew friends of Daniel held a prayer meeting in Babylon
effective far beyond Babylon. As a result they go down into hell, so
to speak. Because these have prayed, because they are joined to the
God of heaven to bring about His purposes, the devil does his worst.
This was reality to them, but for us historical illustration of what
prayer on the ground of the cross does and where it reaches.
Abraham in Gen. 15 was so in touch with the cross in the presence of
God in the spirit that Satan became exceedingly active to try to
frustrate the divine purpose of the coming up out of Egypt as there
revealed. Note that Satan seeks to frustrate revelation to keep you
from lighting on the truth. "Ye shall know the truth and the
truth shall set you free." If you get the key to the situation,
Satan has no chance further. By keeping you uncertain he has you in
his power. He is out to stop revelation as well as transaction. This
"horror of great darkness" was to keep Abraham from knowing the
Jacob, at Peniel ceased to be, and Israel began, the flesh had an
end and the spirit had birth. Israel is always the spiritual type of
the people of God, Jacob the carnal type. The central factor was a
scar upon his frame, the flesh put out of action, forever crippled
by God. If he was to be a prince with God, his flesh must be slain
forever. In Gethsemane the disciples did not find through the flesh
the triumph of their spirit.
You know how the world, the flesh and the devil continue to prevent
prayer in the Holy Spirit, and the fight we have to put up. Does the
word, "Shall not God avenge His own elect who cry unto Him day and
night?" enunciate a law of God? It means either spiritual ascendency
and triumph or going under.
We are fulfilling the greatest ministry when we get together in
prayer in the Holy Spirit. How are our brethren on the field going
to deal with the appalling situations they find if they can't deal
with them behind first? Then the other will come spontaneously. It
has got to be ruled from the throne before it can be ruled on the
The principle is - victorious prayer that reaches out and touches
God is the prayer which on the ground of His cross and our union
with Him has settled the matters of the world, the flesh and the
devil, and ruled them out.
First published in "A Witness and A Testimony" magazine, Mar-Apr 1929, Vol. 7-2.