Exploring Prayer With
By Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
Chapter 30 — Prayer and Separation and Soul Winning
If the average Christian were to place in proper order the three Christian activities mentioned in our chapter title, the most popular order, no doubt, would be: (1) separation, (2) prayer, and (3) soul winning. Yet this is not so in God's order. For example, in the Word of God prayer comes after soul winning. John 15:16, "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you." Also notice John 14:12-14, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it." 1st John 3:22, "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight." James 5:16, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." Now, that is not to say that the Christian should not pray before going soul winning. It is to say that when a person is saved, he is to become a soul winner immediately. The woman at Sychar's well fled to the city immediately upon receiving Christ to tell the people about Jesus.
The statement concerning prayer coming after soul winning is not so much chronological as it is priority. It may be academic as to which comes first. It may be like the hen and the egg, but since soul winning is so often maligned, over looked and discouraged, someone needs to stress its importance and elevate its dignity. The point is not to advocate the Christian sitting down and listing what he is going to do first—go soul winning or pray. For that matter, they can be done at the same time, but in the heart of God, saving sinners has top priority. Jesus prayed while He was on earth. Luke 19:10 says, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Paul wrote Timothy and said, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." (I Timothy 1:15b) Entering one's closet to pray causes no person embarrassment, causes no one to hurl an accusation of fanaticism.
Bear in mind, this entire manuscript is sent forth to emphasize prayer. This writer is pleading with God's people to pray, but God gave His Son to save sinners. Christ left Heaven and came to earth to save sinners. Jesus died on the cross to save sinners. He rose after three days and three nights to save sinners. He ascended to the right hand of the Father to plead the sinner's case, and the point the author is making is that a person doesn't have to be a seasoned prayer warrior in order to go soul winning! He doesn't have to grow in grace for six months and go to Bible college before he begins to go soul winning! He is supposed to start telling others about Jesus as soon as he gets off his knees after having received the Saviour himself!
In the second place, soul winning also comes before separation. John 15:2,3, "Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Joh:15:3: Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you." Notice the bearing of fruit comes before the purging. No doubt the woman at the well in Sychar had a lot of changing to do in her life, but that was not her first thought. Her first thought was to get to the people and tell them she had found the Saviour. To be sure, a person who is separated will bring forth more fruit. In fact, that's God's order—fruit, purging, more fruit. I can remember my dad out in the back yard at 3936 Denley Drive in Dallas, Texas, cutting some branches off the tree. I asked him what he was doing. He said, "Son, I believe this tree would give more peaches if we would cut off some off the dead branches." He did cut off dead branches of a tree that was already bringing forth fruit, but then it brought forth more fruit.
How sad it is when sincere but misguided preachers and Bible teachers insinuate or even teach that soul winning is for the seasoned Christian, the one who has paid the price in separation! No, soul winning is for the new Christian as well as the old, and God will purge him if He sees he is bringing forth fruit. God looks down to a Christian who is winning souls and says, "Ah, I see fruit coming from that limb. I'm going to take away those cigarettes and hot temper, those movies, etc. and help him to bring forth even more fruit."
Now notice John 15:2,7,8,16, "Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you." A careful look at those verses will find God's divine order: (1) fruit, (2) purging, (3) more fruit, (4) abiding, (5) much fruit.
This is not meant in any way to minimize prayer and separation. You will not find a preacher anywhere that preaches more strongly on separation than this author, and remember, the purpose of this entire book is to encourage the Christian to pray, but there has to be some great purpose for it all! While Jesus was on earth, He healed the sick, but He came to seek and to save that which was lost. While He was on earth, He opened blind eyes and deaf ears, He caused the dumb to speak and the lame to leap like a hart, but He came to seek and to save that which was lost. While Jesus was on earth, He blessed little children, He stilled the waves and calmed the storm and spoke peace to the nervous and restless, but He came to seek and to save that which was lost. While Jesus was on earth He taught, preached, edified, encouraged and blessed, but He came to seek and to save that which was lost. While Jesus was on earth, He scolded, chastened, exhorted and rebuked, but He came to seek and to save that which was lost. While Jesus was on earth He comforted and cheered, and He read the holy Scriptures, but He came to seek and to save that which was lost.
There are many things involved in the birth of a child. There is the love of the parents, the discomfort of the mother, the gaining of weight, the changing of appetites, the discomfort in waiting, the preparation of the layette, the shower, the choosing of names, the visits to the doctors office, the eating of the right foods, the dieting, the weighing, the exercising, the choosing of a hospital, the laboring and many other things, but all of these are for one purpose—the birth of the baby!
There are many things involved in the Christian life. Included in these are prayer and separation, but all of the Christian life is wrapped up in one great heartbeat in the personality of the Godhead—the saving of sinners, the redeeming of a people to the praise and honor of our great God.
May we in no way minimize the importance of separation, but rather magnify it. May we in no way minimize the importance of prayer, but rather magnify it, but we may elevate that great central purpose of the plan of God—the reconciling of an estranged race to its God and the proclamation of the means of reconciliation through the finished work of our Saviour on Calvary.
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