Assembled For Prayer
By Charles Finney
If you will read in the last chapters of Matthew and of Luke the commission that Christ gave to His disciples, and, in connection, read the first and second chapters of the book of Acts, you will be prepared to appreciate what I have to say at this time.
First of all, the disciples had already been converted to Christ, and their faith had been confirmed by His resurrection. But here let me say that conversion to Christ is not to be confused with a consecration to the great work of the world’s conversion. In conversion, the soul deals directly and personally with Christ. It yields up its prejudices and its selfishness, accepts Him, trusts Him, and supremely loves Him. All this the disciples had, more or less, distinctly done; but they had not received a definite commission yet, or a particular infusion of power to fulfill a commission.
However, when Christ had dispelled their great bewilderment resulting from His crucifixion and confirmed their faith by repeated interviews with them, He gave them their great commission to win all nations to Himself. But He admonished them to wait in Jerusalem until they were clothed with power from on high, which He said they would receive in a few days.
Let us fully consecrate ourselves to the saving of souls as our great and our only lifework. Now, observe what they did. They assembled, the men and women, for prayer. They accepted the commission. No doubt, they came to an understanding of the nature of the commission and the necessity of the spiritual outpouring that Christ had promised. As they continued day after day in prayer and self-examination, they undoubtedly came to appreciate more and more the difficulties that would beset them and to feel more and more their inadequacy to the task. One must conclude that they, one and all, consecrated themselves with all they had to the conversion of the world as their lifework. They must have renounced utterly the idea of living for themselves in any form. They must have devoted themselves with all their powers to the work set before them. They then continued, with one accord, in prayer for the promised baptism of the Spirit, which included all that was essential to their success.
They continued in prayer and persisted in their petitions until the answer came. They understood that it was to be a baptism of the Holy Spirit. They understood that it was to be received from Christ. They prayed in faith. They held on with the firmest expectation until the outpouring came. Now, let these facts instruct us as to the conditions of receiving this outpouring of power.
First, we, as Christians, have the same commission to fulfill. As truly as they did, we need an outpouring of power from on high.
Second, we have the same promise that they had. Let us, then, not grieve or resist Him, but accept the commission, and fully consecrate ourselves, with all we have, to the saving of souls as our great and our only lifework. Let us go to the altar with all we have and are, and lie there and persist in prayer until we receive the outpouring.