Last week, we looked extensively at the fact that God is endeavoring to teach us, as the body of Christ, to move with His Spirit and pray with all manner of prayer--not just the prayer of faith. I want to share more with you along that line because on the morning of January 27th, 2021, the Lord talked to me about this and other issues for several hours regarding recent events in our nation, and He is now releasing me to share part of what He said.
Because people, many times, don’t yield fully to the Spirit and enter into the deeper realms of prayer--where moves of the Spirit are often prayed out--the will of God sometimes doesn’t come to pass more fully as it ought. And, we as the church experience a measure of defeat.
The prayer of faith is only one kind of prayer. It cannot be applied to every situation that arises, particularly concerning those things out beyond our own personal lives where other people’s wills are involved, or individuals have overridden the dealings of the Spirit.
The Flesh Profits Nothing
Concerning what has been happening in our nation, many in the body of Christ are going through all the motions of claiming God’s will to spare our nation in faith, praying the prayer of faith or exercising authority--with little or no results.
We believe in speaking the Word and believing that we receive in prayer. And, we believe in exercising our God-given authority so that God’s will can come to pass. But, there are situations where the prayer of faith, confessions of faith or exercising our authority won’t work. Don’t misunderstand me, faith and authority will work where they’re supposed to work. But, some circumstances call for a different kind of prayer. And, if we’re endeavoring to just pray the prayer of faith or exercise our authority out of our mind in those situations, we’ll be in the flesh—which profits nothing!
It is the spirit that quickeneth; THE FLESH PROFITETH NOTHING:
Doing something in the flesh would even include practicing the Word mentally out of our minds when the Spirit is directing us to other areas of the Word in a particular situation. And, what is done in the flesh, even if it is the Word, profits nothing—no results will be manifested. However, when something is done in the Spirit, there’s power released—something happens. Miracles are manifested and things change!
To get results in any situation, you and I are going to have to be led by the Spirit. In other words, we can’t apply one Bible truth to every situation. Nor can we operate in our authority out of our head—from our memory of the Word. This would explain why people are binding, rebuking, commanding, etc., and nothing is happening...or hasn’t been happening for a long time.
When the Lord began talking to me along this line, He brought up the story of Paul’s shipwreck in Acts 27. You know the story, but let’s remind ourselves about some of the details and apply the spiritual truths we find there to us today.
Paul was a Roman prisoner at the time and was being transported by ship to stand trial in Rome because he had appealed his case to Caesar. Before embarking on one particular leg of their journey, Paul picked up in his spirit that tragedy was ahead.
Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.
The term, “I perceive” refers to a leading of the Spirit Paul had received. Of course, as a prisoner, Paul couldn’t tell the soldiers and the rest of the crew to go on ahead, and he would catch up with them later. He was chained to a Roman soldier and had no choice in the matter.
But, no one heeded Paul’s warning. Everyone in charge advised, for one reason or another, that they go. You know the story—the storm they got into lasted for fourteen days until all hope that they get out of it alive was gone.
But after long abstinence (that statement is important because it refers to a time of prayer and fasting) Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.
Why Paul Didn’t Exercise Authority
Many Christians who know the Bible may read this story and remember that Jesus had been in a similar situation and how He rebuked the storm. They may think, “Doesn’t Paul know he has authority? Why didn’t he just rebuke the storm he got into on the very first day, and it all be over with?”
If you read the whole story, you’ll notice Paul NEVER did that! Why?
Isn’t authority scriptural? Yes, under certain situations, you can just exercise your authority. But, this was a different kind of situation where other people’s wills were involved, and someone disobeyed the direct leading of the Spirit. Authority won’t work against the leading of the Spirit, so to try to just exercise authority in those cases would be an exercise of the flesh, and the flesh profits nothing.
If you were to ask 100 people what Jesus would have done if He would have been the one on that ship rather than Paul, most would say, “Jesus would have just rebuked the storm.”
Are you sure? Didn’t He himself say, “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30)? And, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what He sees the Father do” (John 5:19)? If Jesus had been the one on that ship rather than Paul, would God have shown Jesus something different to do than He showed Paul? The answer is no!
In the particular situation Paul was in, he couldn’t exercise authority over the storm and stop it. And, there are times today your and my authority won’t work either--because the situation calls for a different kind of prayer. Some situations call for repentance. For what? Just like in this story of Paul on that ship, some have been disobedient to the Spirit in our day. I’m not just talking about people out there in the world needing to repent; I’m talking about the disobedient church.
The Storm in Our Nation
There are two main things that have brought about the circumstances the church is in right now in our nation—the disobedient church’s disregard for what the Spirit has been saying, and, secondly, the fact that the true church has been trying to apply the prayer of faith and the principle of making confessions of faith to a situation that calls for a different kind of prayer. God will hold the church responsible for what happens in our nation, so we need to get this.
Acts 27 is a parallel to the spiritual storm the body of Christ is experiencing in our nation right now. Listen to me carefully and hear what the Spirit is saying.
The three groups of men on that ship mentioned in Acts chapter 27 represent three groups of people today. First, Paul represents the true church warning others of what is coming by the Spirit and telling them not to go there. Second, the soldiers represent the government, and third, the sailors represent the disobedient church.
The sailors disobeyed the leading of the Spirit, and the voice of the one who was speaking by the Spirit. Just like those sailors in Acts 27, those in the disobedient church today are busy going about their natural lives, earning a paycheck, following what natural men around them are saying, rather than giving heed to those who are speaking by the Spirit.
The ship represents our nation. The water that the ship was riding upon represents the unstable masses of people that are yet in spiritual darkness—moved and swayed by demonic forces. The source of the storm that is rocking our nation right now is demonic forces who stir up the masses as they seek to break the nation apart and stop the mission of the true church in the nation.
Regarding Paul on that ship, if the folks making the decisions would have listened to him, their obedience to the Spirit would have brought them under the protection and anointing that the leading God gave Paul was making available to them. But, as it happened, they lost the blessing they would have had because they didn’t allow Paul to have a voice into what they did. And, because of disobedience, they lost their cargo and their ship because Paul couldn’t exercise his authority to save that.
That certainly wasn’t God’s best, but because of Paul’s supplication before God about the situation, they were spared from the worst that could have happened—an untimely and awful death.
Find the Handle to Hold onto in Prayer
In the final analysis, the only thing that saved Paul and the rest of the men on that ship was the fact that Paul got away and prayed the situation through in the Spirit. Paul could do that because there was one handle that he could still get ahold of in prayer to change his situation—the fact that their disobedience was trying to stop God’s plan for HIS OWN life, which was to go to Rome and witness to Caesar. That’s what gave Paul a handle to grab onto in the Spirit because that’s where Paul’s authority lay—carrying out the assignment of his own ministry.
As Paul pled his case to God in prayer, he also asked God to spare all the men’s lives--because who wants a bunch of men going to hell on your watch?! But, that’s as far as he could go.
Our authority concerning what is happening in our nation today lies in the fact that other men’s disobedience in our nation is trying to stop the commission of the church in our day. We have authority from heaven to carry out our mission. But, we still have to exercise that authority in prayer or the storm will hinder us from carrying out our assignment.
Just like the sailors in Acts 27, the disobedient church today has ignored what the Spirit of God is saying through the true church, and we’re experiencing things in our nation God never intended we have to deal with as a result. This is where the right kind of prayer comes in.
We need to know that when we get in the middle of the consequences of our own disobedience, we can’t just say, “I’m gonna bind this and shut this down.” It doesn’t work that way. Yes, these men’s lives in Acts 27 were spared, but only because Paul entered into Spirit-led prayer. However, they still missed God’s best because they lost the ship and all its cargo.
At times like we’re in today, even sincere people go through a lot of motions of faith, claiming the nation’s deliverance, but they’re doing it in the flesh, so it doesn’t work. As a result, people who don’t know better say, “See, there’s nothing to that faith and authority business.” Yes there is; some are just trying to operate it in the flesh. No matter how well meaning they are, they’re still in the flesh, and the flesh profits nothing. There’s no power in it, no life in it, even if someone goes through the motions of faith for many days.
Three Storms, Three Causes, Three Exits!
Friends, Paul couldn't just get up on the deck of that ship and rebuke the storm they got into, and he knew that by the Spirit of God within him. He didn’t even try because he knew he would’ve been in the flesh. He knew that none of them were even supposed to be there. They went when the Lord said don’t go, and that disobedience cost them.
God’s Spirit has been calling the church in our day to live, minister and pray in the Spirit. Yet, many in the disobedient church have turned to the flesh and have rejected what the Spirit is saying. That disobedience has made many powerless before the devil.
We have record of three men who got into storms in the Bible—Jesus, Jonah and Paul. Jesus got in a storm as He went about doing God’s will. Jonah got in a storm because he was out of the will of God, and Paul got in a storm because someone else wouldn’t listen to God.
Have you ever gotten into a situation because of someone else’s choices or actions? Sure you have. We’ll, that’s where we are in our nation due to the disobedient church and also wrong praying.
Well, what should we do? The way we got into any storm that arises in our lives determines how we’ll get out. Good news folks--there is always a way out!
Jesus rebuked the storm. Jonah had to acknowledge his disobedience and repent. Paul had to pray his way out of the storm he got into. But, he did so by praying in the Spirit--not by praying the prayer of faith. Nor could he just get up and rebuke the storm because it was someone else’s disobedience that got him into the situation he was in to begin with.
But, he kept praying about it and seeking the Lord because in order to do something in the Spirit, you’re gonna have to have a connection with the Spirit. You’ve got to hear what the Lord is saying about the situation. Oh friends, hear what I’m saying with the ears of your heart.
Things that Can’t be Changed in the Flesh
These situations in our nation can’t be changed in the flesh. It’s going to have to be done in the Spirit. The body of Christ has to get into that place in prayer where the Spirit comes to anoint them to get this thing turned around. If we don’t get into that place where the Spirit anoints us to deal with it, we’ll be powerless to do anything.
You can yell and scream and get loud in prayer, yet nothing happens. But, when you’re sufficiently in the Spirit, you may not even get loud. And, what needs to be done will be done with ease.
We, as the body of Christ, have so much to learn. The church has got to get this. We’ve got a lot of fleshly praying, fleshly ministering, fleshly prophesying, fleshly claiming, binding and confessing. The modern church doesn’t really know much about being in the Spirit.
Take the time to get with God. Hear from Him. Then, like Paul on that ship, you’ll be able to come out and say, “I got it!”
It may take some time to get quiet and hear from God. You may have to turn the news off and all the other voices out there. So often, the vast majority of the time that it takes us to accomplish these things is the time it takes for us to get out of the flesh or mind and enter into that place in the Spirit where we get ahold of our situation in prayer. That’s the longest part of the journey so often. Once you get into that place, these things can be turned easily and quickly.
In so many words, Paul came out of that time of prayer on that ship and said, “I got it! There will not be a loss of any man’s life, but, were gonna lose the ship and the cargo.” “Oh come on Paul, this cargo is worth a lot of money! Pray some more Paul, we can’t afford to lose millions of dollars.”
What was his answer? “You should’ve listened to the warnings of the Spirit.” In other words, they missed the best God had for them because they didn’t respond to the initial leadings of the Spirit. As a result, there was some loss. That’s where we are in our nation right now.
Applying the Word by the Spirit
Can you see how people try to use pat answers for everything, and that’s not how it works? You actually have to pray and seek the Lord. In other words, you have to get in the Spirit. That’s where the answers are.
Learn to commune with God in the Spirit until He shows you what to do. One thing He’ll do is lead you away from trying to pray mental prayers over everything that arises. Someone may say, “But, I’m praying the Word?” Yes, but the Bible is a big book—and what I’m sharing is the Word too! We have to apply the Word to each situation by the leading of the Spirit. Is the way you are praying the part of the Word that the Spirit is leading you to apply to that situation?
Folks, this will explain a lot of things—especially why some things aren’t working. People are in the flesh, and the flesh profits nothing. And dear friends, the truth is many, many Christians live almost completely in the flesh. They have gotten in a rut of living that way and haven’t been out of that rut sometimes for decades.
Acts 27:20 says Paul was in that storm for many days.
Have you ever been in a situation for many days? You’re in good company. And, you’re having a Bible experience! Paul was there a number of times. But, he knew not to just throw everything he had ever learned from the Word up to God to see which thing was going to work. He wasn’t grasping or trying, he was being led. He knew enough to spend time seeking God in prayer and get in the Spirit.
As a result, an angel showed up with a message from God (Acts 27:23). Don’t you know Paul was glad to see that angel! Whew! He had been through it for many days!
Why did that angel show up? Because, Paul stuck with it until he did what the old timers used to call praying through. When he did, an angel was dispatched from heaven to deliver a word to Paul, “Fear not, Paul, thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all of them that sail with thee.” NOW Paul had something to lay hold of in faith and make a good confession about.
Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
How’s it gonna be? Not just like you’ve decided off the top of your head. No, it’s going to be the way it was told you when you prayed through. How does faith come? By hearing God speak. You can’t have faith for just anything and everything that you think of off the top of your head. You can try to, but you’re going to be in the flesh, and it will profit nothing.
You see, in recent times, the revelation of God’s will concerning our nation came to many. But, because we didn’t do the right thing with it—enter far enough into the Spirit and yield long enough to the Holy Ghost in prayer—we still didn’t get the perfect will of God. We tried to use the prayer of faith when we should have entered into the Spirit and prayed under the anointing until we prayed it out. Because we didn’t do so, leaders failed, and we missed God’s best.
As the body of Christ, we must learn to not only seek the revelation of God’s plan, but seek to know His ways (Psalm 103:7). I mean, we must learn HOW He brings His plan to pass as He works through us.
Praying as the Spirit leads and anoints us is one way we cooperate with God in the earth to bring about His will for this hour.
Written By: Jay Eberly // October 5, 2021
© 2021 Jay Eberly Ministries. All rights reserved.
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