PRAYING FOR ENDURANCE
(For The Trials That Are To Come Upon The Earth)
by W. G. Guy
The majority of Christians are looking for the rapture to remove them from the dark and foreboding times to come. Yes, there will be a rapture, or catching away of the true believers, but not before the church has been conformed to the image of Christ where we resemble Him and His ways; showing forth the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) which is His character and nature that is to be seen in His people.
Many will reject this, but His Word tells us that when He comes, and we finally get to see Him, that we shall be like Him. Most Christians are not like Him now!
1 John 3:2-3 – Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
This means that there is something that WE need to be doing – purifying ourselves, this means putting off the things of the flesh and the world that hinder our relationship with Him. This is not being taught in churches today!
This is about how we are to appear outwardly, not inwardly, because the world must recognize us as being His. This will potentially be a time of even more compromise with the world than exists in many churches now. Why – because many who call themselves Christians refuse to pay the price of discipleship to be true followers of
Luke 9:23 – And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Matthew 10:38-39 – And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Galatians 5:24 – And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Romans 13:14 – But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Denying self, or death to self (fleshly lusts and desires), is not being taught in most churches today. Instead they teach self-fulfillment, self-satisfaction, success and prosperity, and how to have good things in this life: which is more about accommodation with the world than it is about reverence and obedience to God, Christ and His Word.
Now regarding the fearful end-time events that Jesus described that will occur prior to His return, Jesus said:
Luke 21:25-26, 31 – And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
These verses refer to the time of shaking that is also described in Hebrews:
Hebrews 12:25-27 – See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Jesus then gave instructions on how we are to escape or endure these events – it is through prayer.
Luke 21:34-36 – And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Notice how Jesus’ instructions line up with what he said would be the means of surviving the last day’s events through prayer. Pray to escape does not necessarily refer to pray for the rapture as so many like to believe. Christians have experienced horrible tribulations since the first century. Escape means having a way through and out of the trials and tribulations, and refers to enduring in and through them; thus this article is about “praying to endure”.
Following His instructions about His return Jesus observes the Feast of Unleavened Bread with His disciples, and then goes with them out to the Garden on the Mount of Olives to pray. Here He instructs His disciples two times to pray “lest they enter into temptation”. Note that the word “temptation” means testing through adversity.
Luke 22:40 & 46 – There he told the apostles, “Keep praying for strength to be spared from the severe test of your faith that is about to come.” ….. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “You need to be alert and pray for the strength to endure the great temptation.” (The Passion Translation is used which emphasizes the point.)
The church is now about to begin to experience a move of God that will bring the needed transformation and purification in being prepared to meet Christ.
Ephesians 5:27 – that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
The above verse is prefaced with the need for real caring love to be demonstrated, not only in the marriage relationship, but in our relationship with others to fulfill the great commandment. Obviously there will be issues that we will experience that will put love to the test. By issues I mean tests and trials (tribulation), which are for our benefit, because the church is not ready to be presented to our Lord in its current form.
What will these testing conditions be like? Read 2 Timothy 3:1-5 to see examples of conditions that need to be addressed. How will they be addressed?
Malachi 3:2-3 – But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
What can we expect as we press into the more intimate relationship with Christ? The purifying listed in the above verse refers to fiery trials. We will likely experience opposition from the world, from the enemy (Satan), and from sinful godless men in leadership positions, (hostile governments). Jesus told us these things:
Matthew 10:24-28 – The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
At the same time renewed knowledge or revelation of the love and power of God in our lives will protect, provide and deliver us, and will be experienced to those who are obedient to Him and His Word.
Ephesians 3:14-21 – For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
There will be stronger family bonds to all those who embrace Christ because the family is the basic unit of the church. However, those family members who reject Christ will become enemies within some families.
Matthew 10:21 – And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
Matthew 10:36 – And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
We will see healings and deliverances by His power which will further inflame the enemy and his godless followers. It will be a time as referred to in the novel TALE OF TWO CITIES; “it will be the best of times and the worst of times”; it depends on which side of Christ and His Word you hold to.
Jesus said a great shaking will occur, and this will apply to every institution of man as well as the enemy’s kingdom of darkness.
Matthew 10:22 – And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
To endure – Pray, and use His Word in your prayers.
Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.