Derek finishes this series by speaking about the power of praise to silence the enemy and the avenger. God has given this ability to our mouths—to use words to praise Him and to proclaim His Word over all situations. As we continual to do this, victory is assured. We will see the defeat of our enemies.
Praying is not just thinking for anything we want and asking for it. Praying is discovering God’s revealed purpose in Scripture. And then praying for the outworking of that purpose. Summed up really beautifully in the words of the Virgin Mary. When the angel brought the promise she said, “Be it unto me according to thy word.” That’s the most powerful prayer you can ever pray. Paul said, “God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or think.” How? By fulfilling His Word. Because what God has promised in His Word is far above anything that we in our natural mind could ask or think.
So prayer... but as I say, it is not going to God with a shopping list. It is intelligently discovering God’s purpose and then aligning ourselves with it.
And it takes persistence. There are some things that Ruth and I have been praying for ten years. They have not come yet. When that happens, you know, you discover whether you are praying in faith or unbelief. Because if you are praying in unbelief you say, “I’m praying for ten years and nothing has happened.” But if you are praying in faith you say, “The answer is ten years nearer than when I started praying.”
Jesus said, “Men ought to persist in prayer and not to faint.” I think Ruth and I discovered that this is one of the great tests and shaping instruments of Christian character. It is persistence in prayer: discovering the will of God and asking God to do what He said He will do.
Then there is praise. In Psalm 102. This is again a prophecy of the restoration of Zion at the close of this age, it says in verse 18, after the prophecy of the restoration of Zion,
“This will be written for the generation to come: that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.”
I believe that refers to this time of the restoration of Zion. God is creating a people with one supreme commitment. To do what? To praise Him, that’s right. It is as though God says, “Well, My people have been so slack, for so many centuries to give Me the kind of praise that I desire, that I’m going to create a people especially to praise Me.” And I think the charismatic movement is the beginning of that. I think there are many weaknesses and failures in the charismatic movement, but there has come forth a new level of praise, at least a vision of what praise could be. And how important it is to praise God.
In Psalm 8 David said:
“Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou hast ordained strength because of thine enemies that thou mightest still [or silence] the enemy and the avenger.”
And when Jesus quoted that in Matthew 21, verse 9, He changed the words Thou hath ordained strength into Thou hath perfected praise. So what is the ordained strength of God’s people? Perfected praise. What does that do? It silences who? The enemy and the avenger. Why do we need to silence Satan? What is he doing all this time? Accusing us. You say, “Why does not God stop Satan from accusing us?” Because God said, “I have given you the means to stop Satan. If you learn to praise Me the way I want to be praised, it will silence Satan.”
I was preaching in Lausanne with a French interpreter some years back. I quoted this and it was quoted in French. And I understand French and I was gripped by the phrase, which says: “Praise imposes silence on the enemy and the avenger.” What a wonderful revelation that we can impose silence on Satan! We can say to him, “Shut up!” Isn’t that marvelous? How do we do that? By praise. If God’s people would take the time and learn to praise Him and spend hours in praising Him, with pure hearts and honest motives, not trying to twist God’s arm, but praising Him because He is worthy of praise, the whole atmosphere around would change. People’s hearts would be opened. The dark powers that have bound men and women would be shaken and driven out. I tell you we are just on the fringe of a mighty ocean which is the power of praise.
And then, going back to Jeremiah 37: Proclamation. This is something that God has begun to quicken for Ruth and me in the last few years in a new measure. You see, proclaiming is actually the activity of a herald. In the New Testament the word that is used for a preacher is the word for a herald. Paul said, that God had made him a teacher, an apostle and a herald, a proclaimer. And since I started my radio program I have got a more and ever-increasing vision of what can be achieved just by proclaiming the truth of the Word of God. One of the great strengths of Islam, as we’ve been speaking about Islam, is that for more than thirteen centuries, five times every day, out of that mosque has gone the proclamation about Allah and Mohammed and that has created a darkness over those nations, which if you have never experienced that, you have no idea of its intensity. What is that? That is the power of false proclamation. We need to overcome that power with the power of true proclamation. We need to proclaim the truth. As you saw, Ruth and I have got an armory of Scriptures that we use to proclaim. And we proclaim many of them several times a week.
Let’s do Deuteronomy 33:25, just to give you a little demonstration. Now when we proclaim them, we turn you in the Bible into us, you see.
“The bolts of our gates will be iron and bronze and our strength will equal our days. There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help us and on the clouds in his majesty. The eternal God is our refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out our enemy before us, saying destroy him.”
Wait a minute! We’ll do just one more. This is just one verse. 2 Corinthians 9:8, this is the basis of our faith for the financial supply of our ministry, and again we change you into us.
“God is able to make all grace abound toward us that we always, having all sufficiency in all things may abound to every good work.”
When you say that every day, how can you possibly fear any lack? And notice, it is grace. I want to tell you that. You don’t have to earn it; you have to believe it.
We come to the last point in requirements for the church to be victorious. Revelation 12:11. Many of you know this Scripture.
“They [the believers on earth] overcame him [who’s him? Satan. You realize that we are in direct conflict with Satan? Very clear. They overcame him; nothing in between. It is a person-to-person conflict.] They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. And they did not love their lives to the death.”
That’s really another example of proclamation. I teach, this means that we overcome Satan when we testify personally to what the Word of God says the blood of Jesus does for us. We proclaim it. I have a sevenfold proclamation, but we don’t have time for it. But when you do that, you overcome Satan. But you have got to be a certain kind of person. It says of these people, “They did not love their lives to the death.” What does that mean? It means this: that it was more important for them to do the will of God than to stay alive. What is that? That is commitment. Satan is not afraid of uncommitted Christians. In the last resort he can wear them down. But those who are prepared to lay down their lives rather than deny the Lord or withdraw their testimony, they are the overcomers. Amen.
Let’s pray, shall we, as we close. Let’s pray for the church, ourselves included.
“O God, we thank You that your Word has made so clear to us the conditions for victory and above all the glorious possibility of victory. And we want to confess, Lord, our sins and our shortcomings, that many times we have not believed You and not obeyed You. Lord, we are sorry and we ask your forgiveness. On behalf of ourselves and the whole church of Jesus Christ. And we pray, Lord, that by the power of your Holy Spirit you will enable us to meet the conditions to be overcomers for your glory. In Jesus name.”
And all God’s people said: AMEN.