What good do my prayers do for others and the Work of God? Won't God intervene whether I pray or not?
Perhaps YOU — like this reader — don't realize the real IMPORTANCE or NEED for your personal prayers — for others, for yourself, and for the Work of God. Perhaps you have been neglecting prayer as a result — not fully realizing how dangerous it is to do so. Perhaps you don't believe that one man's prayers — especially yours — will make any difference. But your Bible says they will! In Numbers 14:11-16 God gives us a living example of how effective one man's prayers can be. Notice: Israel had rebelled over and over again until God — a merciful and loving God — was RIGHTEOUSLY ANGRY. God was going to DESTROY Israel — the whole nation! He asked Moses "... HOW LONG will this people provoke me?... I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of THEE a greater nation and mightier than they." Realize — this was GOD speaking, not a mere man, God had the POWER to bring about what He said, and He said He was going to destroy Israel — all of it! But what happened? Moses — just one human being — prayed for Israel. He pleaded for them (Verses 15-19). He presented the whole situation before God and asked God to have mercy. Moses was ONE MAN. But notice what God did because of this one man's prayers: "And the Lord said, I HAVE PARDONED ACCORDING TO THY WORD" (Verse 20). God heard and answered Moses' prayer for Israel. Yet IF Moses HADN'T prayed, Israel would have been DESTROYED. That one prayer was IMPORTANT. For another example notice James 5:17, "Elias was A MAN subject to like passions AS WE ARE..." Elijah of the Old Testament was a weak human being — weak of himself as you and I are — but did he use that as an excuse for not praying? Did he say, "I'm just a weak human being. What good could my prayers do? I guess I'll just not pray!"? No! Notice, "... and he prayed EARNESTLY that it might not rain... AND IT RAINED NOT..." God heard and answered this one man's prayer. How important that prayer was to God! God acted upon it. He intervened BECAUSE of it. YOUR PRAYERS are just that important. God will hear and respect you prayer for your sick husband or wife or children. He will intervene ONLY IF we pray. He WILL answer when we pray for the financial standing of God's Work, for the opening of new Churches, for The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast, for the publishing of The PLAIN TRUTH magazine, and for the spreading of this vital endtime message to the world. YOUR PERSONAL PRAYERS ARE needed!
You have often mentioned I Thessalonians 5:21 over the radio, telling your listeners to "prove all things." How does one "prove all things"?
God has so written His Word, the Bible, that you can PROVE it to be true. There are two basic ways to "prove all things" — two ways to be sure your beliefs are based upon scriptural fact and not the vain ideas of men. The Bible includes many definite predictions about future events. These prophecies, and the historical records that accompany them, have been so written that you can see God is standing behind His Word, and that these prophecies have been and continue to be fulfilled. (If you don't already have our free booklet "The Proof of the Bible," write for it immediately!) But checking Bible prophecies in an academic way is only one method to "prove all things." You can "prove all things" in another way! The KEY lies in the word, "prove" used in I Thessalonians 5:21. Let's understand! In Luke 14:19, you will find the very same Greek word used and translated "prove." Luke is writing of a man making the excuse that he must "prove" five yoke of oxen, and cannot attend the "great supper" of the parable. The word "prove" is translated from the Greek word dokimazo and means, "to test by doing." This man was going out into the field, and put his new oxen to the test — to test them by putting them to work! I Thessalonians 5:21 challenges you to "prove" God's Word by putting it to the test! Notice in Malachi 3:10, the Hebrew counterpart of this Greek word is used. The Hebrew word for "prove" here is, bachan and means to "try or test by doing." This is God's challenge to the skeptic or doubter! Read it! "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and PROVE MI: now herewith, saith the Eternal of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." We prove this tithing law by putting it to the test This is the SECOND way to "PROVE ALL THINGS"! Acts 17:11 gives the concrete example of how the Berean converts proved all things. Let's receive the instruction we find in their attitude of study. What was it that the Bereans studied? They did not study the ideas of men about the Bible, or the tradition of their pagan ancestors — they studied the SCRIPTURES "DAILY"! They studied the Old Testament scriptures. No other scriptures were available at that time. How did the Bereans study? Their approach to the Bible was not negative — seeking to find fault with God's Word. They were open-minded, willing to put the Bible to an honest test. Read Luke's evaluation of them, "These were MORE NOBLE than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with ALL READINESS OF MIND, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things WERE SO" (Acts 17:11). The Bereans sought the plain truth with a positive attitude. They were willing to accept the Bible which was written for our instruction, correction and reproof (II Tim. 3:16). In I Thessalonians 5:21 God challenges you to test His Word as these Bereans did by putting it into ACTION in your life! The skeptic doesn't believe in answered prayer, because he has never had prayer answered for him. You can't understand the ECONOMY of tithing until you begin to tithe and SEE IT WORK! Some of God's Word must be tested by putting it into action, by taking it out to the "field" to see whether or not it will work in a down-to-earth situation. God challenges you to put His Bible to the TEST! If you have the courage and the faith to act as the Bereans did, then it can be written of you, "therefore MANY OF THEM BELIEVED" (Acts 17:12)!
My teen-age daughter has asked me, "If time is so short, why not live it up now? I won't be here to have a marriage and children. We'll all be slaves. What's the use of missing everything?" How should I answer her?
Many teen-agers have voiced the same question. They look about at world conditions, they may understand a few Bible prophecies, and they assume that everything is hopeless — we are all DOOMED! Calamity is coming and there is no escape! However, there is a fatal flaw in such reasoning. What such an individual does not understand is that God Almighty is bringing punishment upon our nation for a REASON — and, for those who act, God has provided a way of escape! God is going to punish this nation because of SIN! Jeremiah wrote, "All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the MULTITUDE of thine iniquity; because thy SINS were increased" (Jer. 30:14). Yes, it is this very attitude of "Let's get our kicks now!" which is bringing Divine retribution upon this nation. Many people, especially teen-agers, think that sin is fun. They think that if they don't get their "kicks," they are "missing out" on something! Yet God's Word shows that sin is EVIL, filthy, rotten and leads to empty, miserable, frustrated lives. This attitude of "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die" is rampant in the United States. And it was prophesied! Isaiah was inspired to write, "And in that day did the Lord God of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth: And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: LET US EAT AND DRINK; FOR TOMORROW WE SHALL DIE!" (Isa. 22:12-13). Instead of repenting at God's warning message, instead of fearing to continue living in SIN, people are eating, drinking, dancing, trying to have a "good time" and get their "kicks"! Instead of looking at the dire PERIL stalking the world, people turn away their eyes and seek their own fleshly pleasures. It was the same way before the Flood of Noah's time. Jesus Christ said, "For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; SO SHALL ALSO the coming of the Son of man be" (Matt. 24:38-39). And it was the same way in the days of Lot, when God rained fire and brimstone from heaven to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness (Luke 17:28-29). So it always has been when nations faced Divine judgment! "Why not live it up now?" The answer is very simple. Living it up now, plunging headlong, heedlessly on into sin, and refusing to REPENT is the vary thing which is BRINGING destruction and punishment upon this land! The only way to escape these punishments is to STOP living it up now, repent, and turn to GOD in utter humility (Luke 13:3, 5). God warns his people through the Prophet Ezekiel, "... turn ye, TURN YE from your evil ways; for why will ye DIE, O house of Israel?" (Ezek. 33:11). Only those who continue on in sin will have to face — and suffer — the coming calamities. But those who turn to God and REPENT of their sins will receive promised Divine protection from these fearsome days. Christ promises His people, "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth!" (Rev. 3:10).