Quotes by Bill Thrasher
Sometimes when we pour out our desires to God, He appears to be indifferent. When the apostle Paul earnestly petitioned God for the removal of his thorn in the flesh, the request was not granted. However, in not giving this desire of Paul’s heart, God gave him his deeper desire. Certainly Paul’s greatest desire was to know God’s grace and power in order to be the most useful servant he could possibly be. God withheld the request in order to give Paul his deepest desire and thus glorify Himself (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
Satan so hates the genuine praise of Christ that his fiery darts of discouragement are not effective against us when we respond in praise.
Temptations are an appeal to meet righteous needs in an unrighteous way.
Perseverance in prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance but rather laying hold of God’s willingness. Our sovereign God has purposed to sometimes require persevering prayer as the means to accomplish His will.
Meditation is simply talking to God about His Word with a desire that your life and those you pray for come into agreement with it.
Why has God chosen to work through persevering prayer? 1. To purify our desires. Sometimes we may want the right thing for the wrong reasons. 2. To prepare us for His answer. A premature answer might cause us to glory more in the gift than in the Giver. 3. To develop our life and character. We have already stated that one of God’s greatest priorities in prayer is the work He desires to do in us. 4. To be used of God in spiritual warfare. Although we are not told a great bit of detail about the exact nature of the angelic conflict in the heavenlies, we are told enough to be assured of the reality of it. 5. To bless us with a more intimate relationship with God. An aspect of delighting in a person is delighting in conversing with them. The joy of fellowship with a prized person is the greatest treasure.
Without prayer the study of Scripture can turn into a merely intellectual exercise. Prayer without Scripture will lack needed motivation and guidance.
There is a difference between a fleshly stubbornness and a godly perseverance. The former insists on getting one’s will done in heaven, and the latter determines to get God’s will done on earth.
I have found it helpful to begin my day by systematically reading the Bible and giving God the opportunity to direct my attention to certain truths. These truths become the springboard to begin speaking to the Lord.
Aids to persevering intercession: appeal to God’s attributes (Psalms 51:1), appeal to God’s promises (Genesis 32:9-12), appeal to God’s honor or reputation (Exodus 32:12; Psalm 25;11; Psalm 115:1), appeal to the need of God’s people (Exodus 14:10; Psalm 86:1), appeal to God’s past action (Psalm 4:1), appeal to our union with Christ (Romans 15:30), appeal to the truth that God may be known (Exodus 33:13).
The benefits of waiting [on God] are quite numerous:
1. Freedom from shame (Psm. 25:3).
2. Courage (Psm. 27:14).
3. Strength (Isa. 40:31).
4. God’s promises (Psm. 37:9).
5. Deliverance from the bitter fruit of self-effort (Psm. 106:13-15; Isa. 30:15-18).
6. Vindication (Pro. 20:22).
7. God’s favor (Psm. 147:11)
8. God’s salvation (Lam. 3:26).
9. God’s support (Isa. 64:4).
The abstinence is not to be an end in itself but rather for the purpose of being separated to the Lord and to concentrate on godliness. This kind of fasting reduces the influence of our self-will and invites the Holy Spirit to do a more intense work in us.
In the first years of George Mueller’s Christian life, he spent more time reading the works of men than the Scriptures. Up until the day of his conversion he could not even recall reading one chapter of the Book of books. However, in the ninety-second year of his life he told his biographer that for every page he had read in any other book he was sure that he had proportionately read ten pages of the Bible. During the last twenty years of his life he read through the Scripture four or five times annually. In studying Mueller’s life I have discovered that his devotion and delight in God’s Word was the secret to his faith and life of prayer.
Types of [fasting]…limited to the Bible: 1. Normal fast – Abstain from all food but not water (Mat. 4:2). 2. Absolute fast – Abstain from all food and drink (Ez. 10:6; Est. 4:16; Ac. 9:9). 3. Supernatural fast – [Absolute fast beyond physical abilities] (Dt. 9:9). 4. Partial fast – Restriction of diet rather than a total abstinence from all food (Dan. 10:3).
Many times great difficulties precede special works of God. You can even say that God wins His greatest victories in the midst of apparent defeat. This can be clearly demonstrated in the life of our Lord on earth. When Jesus was crucified and placed in the tomb, it looked like the forces of unrighteousness had triumphed. However, it was in this time of apparent defeat that our victory for our salvation was won. This time of apparent defeat was followed by the resurrection of Christ.
It is accurate to say that Jesus does not command His followers to fast, but He certainly did expect fasting to be a part of their lives. Matthew 6 records His instructions about…fasting. The references to…“when you fast” clearly show His expectation that [this discipline] would be practiced by His people. In fact He plainly stated that after His departure from earth His followers “will fast” (Matthew 9:15).
The simplest way to define worship is that it is to attribute worth to God’s revealed character. The command to “ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name” in Psalm 29:2 does not mean we add anything to God. It simply means that we acknowledge Him for who He is and in this way glorify or honor Him. This is precisely what is being done in heaven (Revelation 4:11, 5:12).
Abuses of fasting:
1. Any attempt to earn God’s blessing through fasting is clearly in contradiction to the scriptural teaching that Jesus’ death and resurrection is the ground for every spiritual blessing. Fasting is the humble response that puts us in a place to receive the life and victory Jesus has won for us.
2. One should never view fasting as a substitute for repentance and obedience. To do so turns fasting into a form of penance (cf. Isaiah 59:1-22).
3. To use [fasting as a means] to impress others. This is clearly what Jesus forbids in Matthew 6:18. The question is not so much whether others know about our fast but rather why we want them to know about it. The Scriptures make reference to corporate fasts, and thus fasting is not always a private matter.
4. [When we use fasting] to belittle the kind gifts of God. While on the one hand we can fall in love with the gift of food and not the Giver, on the other hand we can fail to enjoy the food with the taste buds that He provided and glory in our will power.
True peace does not demand a denial of our emotions and concerns. What is the difference between godly concern and sinful anxiety? Actually the same Greek word is used for both, and it is only the context that reveals the difference. The difference can be seen in these mathematical formulas: Concern + unbelief = anxiety; Concern + faith = a biblical virtue (1 Corinthians 7:32, 33, 12:25; 2 Corinthians 11:28).
Dependence on the Spirit does not mean inactivity, but it does mean activating our faith before we activate our wills.
It was a great breakthrough to realize that God was not necessarily leading me to pray for everything with equal intensity. To try to do so will kill a prayer life. To learn to let God set the agenda of our prayer life will resurrect it.
[Wisdom is:] 1. Seeing life from God’s point of view. 2. Ability to select the best goals for one’s life and the best means to achieve them. 3. Skill of living life before God.
Prayer is helplessness plus faith.
To pray in the Holy Spirit simply means to lean upon His divine help as we pray.
Prayer is not attempting to get our will done in heaven but His will done on earth.
As we seek to obey the Spirit’s guidance in prayer, let me tell you what will often happen – nothing! But sometimes “nothing” means that the Spirit desires to slow us down and lead us into silence. Our society is addicted to noise, and for that reason we are often insensitive to the Spirit of God.
You do not “spend” time with God. You “invest” it. Time alone with Him can be one of the greatest time savers of your life. It is in your time alone with the Lord that you can surrender the burden and the anxiety of the load to Him (Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7). You can also find the perspective to be delivered from the truly nonessential things that often seem important. You can find new energy and ideas as you “commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established (Proverbs 16:3).
Jesus’ burden for the lost multitude resulted in His instruction to pray that the Lord would send laborers into the harvest field (Matthew 9:38). In His deep burden for the unsaved He commanded prayer for the saints instead of the sinner. Likewise, the apostle Paul requested prayer for both the opportunity to witness (Colossians 4:3) and the courage to present the gospel (Ephesians 6:19-20). To pray for our lost friends is a naturally loving instinct, but it is God’s Word that guides us how to do so. It instructs us to pray that the Lord would send someone into their lives who would have the opportunity and the freedom to clearly present the gospel.
The discipline of time alone with God should not be looked at as another thing to put on your “to do” list. This attitude will only lead to resentment from the added pressure that it produces. It should be viewed as a gift from a gracious and kind God. He cares so much for you and me that He is not just interested in our accomplishments but also in shepherding our hearts.
We might not be able to speak in any pulpit we choose, but we certainly can pray for any pulpit. People may not be willing to listen to us, but they cannot stop us from praying for them. We can only be in one place at one time, but our prayers can cover more than one continent. What an awesome opportunity to realize that you can cooperate with God and lift the spirit of an individual half a world away from you.