G3: Paul Washer – The Priority of Prayer for Christian Life, Ministry, and Mission

This is a live blog of the G3 Conference. I will be updating along with the speakers. You can follow the line-up at: G3 Schedule. Some of what’s written are paraphrases of quotes that I am unable to catch.

Pastor, if you truly want you people to serve you then present Christ before them crucified. It is the mystery of all godliness. Truly converted people do not need a whip, but need to know the justice and mercy of God.

Every minister that preached at this conference could have preached on the same text, used the same manuscript and it would have not gotten old. The truly converted find it enjoyable.

In God’s providence, this is the first time in all of his life that he has listen to another man preaching talking about Christ being crushed under the providence of God and I learned something. I’ve read Spurgeon, but I can say that, today, hearing it expounded it had more power than reading it in a book. Therein lies the power, the mystery of true godliness.

Flattery is not only an offense to God, but to the man you’re flattering. Anytime I teach some seminary student comes up to me and asks if I know Don Whitney. I ask why and they say he taught me how to pray and do devotions.

Expository preaching only has benefit if it drives us to the Bible. Washer would like to see two things rise with expository preaching: Christ-centered, spirit empowered expository preaching. Other than that it’s moralism. And an elevation of prayer. It is easier to follow the intellect of the Puritans and early Baptists than it is to imitate their piety.

I want people to pray as I want to pray more. I don’t want to lay condemnation on others. We should all pray, but there are people specifically gifted in prayer. First, don’t go to someone else as your standard. Secondly, there are times and seasons of greater prayer though we need to pray everyday. Also, don’t compare different stages in your life.

There was a time in my life when prayer was as easy as breathing. I wondered why everyone else didn’t pray that way. God answered my question when I came to a time when I couldn’t pray like that. I’ve never been able to pray like that again as in those few years.

By God’s providence He wanted me to pray like that. He gave me the will and empowered me to pray at like that. It was not exceptional piety, but God’s sovereignty. I want to admonish you to pray and not condemn you based on what someone else does.

Matthew 5 to lay a foundation. This Scripture is often used to lay out some sort of motivated, militant type of Christianity. Salt has characteristics and if you take them away you no longer have salt, regardless of what you replace them with.

Do you want to know what will advance the Kingdom of God? It’s not your militant activity or a program that worked in another church. It is growing in Christ-likeness in which you will become like the beatitudes. Raven Hill – the world doesn’t need a new Christianity, but a new demonstration of Christianity.

Washer is concerned about this new Reformation. It is not just about soteriology and most certainly not about Calvinism. It is about a high view of God who doesn’t need all of your cleverness or relevancy, etc. The beauty of the church is that all of these different people who normally wouldn’t get along are together.

Don’t talk to me about a high view of God if you are going to trust in the arm of the flesh. So many people are experts in so many things that they don’t even understand a simple Bible story.

References Gideon and his too large army. We don’t need a big army because if you win you will write a book and it will come out at LifeWay. And you’ll write about how you did it. We need men who are dependent on God’s word.

See your weakness. Over the years and years of growth your weakness becomes greater so we rely on God more. So we will cling to God as a person and His word for direction and life a live of prayer.

What I’ve noticed is when weakness is revealed the devils enters in and says that weakness should drive us from Christ. But when we sin that should be the catalyst that drives you straight to Christ.

If God answers your prayer you come to the school of Calvary for the rest of your life. We must be constantly made aware of our weakness so we constantly look to God.

All of you young church planters, etc. I hope that God crushes everything you do. Not because I am angry or old school. I want you to rely on God and raise your hand at the end of the day saying – salvation is of the Lord.

Mark 1. If you read Mark correctly, you will be breathing heavy. The transition word is “immediately”. Mark 1:29 shows Jesus healing people and goes from one place to another.

Verse 32 – Washer tells the story about ministering with mountain men. They found out one of Washer’s companions and they stood in-line for days. These people had a chance to see a doctor for the first time in years. This is similar to what Jesus is going through as the city gathers around Him. It is exhausting.

Verse 35 – Jesus went away to pray. “Power without Measure” book recommendation. Jesus was tired and needed rest. Jesus gets up while it is still dark and went to pray in a secluded place.

Verse 36 – Everyone is looking for Jesus. It’s almost like Simon is chastising Jesus. There was so much to do – so many hurting people. When pastors decide they need to separate themselves Satan will use that time to cast guilt on you. If you want biblical counseling to come out of the pastors mouth then the congregation needs to let him be alone with God.

Two types of prayer.

Prayer with my boots on: prayer that is work. To learn this is very helpful. Some say they don’t have the gift of intercession because it’s hard. Yes, because it’s work. You get on your needs and pray. You will wrestle with deity. Yes, it’s hard. It will exhaust you. Personally, I don’t like to do it that much.

Prayer with my boots off: Just sitting there communing with God. I love to take walks just to be alone with God. Walk out in the woods; just walk. Talk to Him about everything. Commune with Him. Fellowship with Him. You are practicing the presence of God. You become conscience of God more than anyone else. There is a sense, an awareness of God.

We have more than a book. We have a living God. With the heresy of so many heretics we have thrown out our heritage. Jehovah’s Witness example: A Jehovah’s Witness comes to my door. I’m a Jehovah’s witness too – come on in. We sit down. And I say, “You lied to me. I’m a witness of Jehovah. Sit down and let me share.”

There is so much more that what we’re going for. I want more than propositional truth. Knowing Christ is something you experience.

John 15. Don’t presume upon Jesus, but ask. If we spend more time believing this instead of explaining it away we would see more of the glory of God. All throughout this text is aligned with abiding in Christ and with prayer.

Sometimes when I’m teaching on prayer someone will ask: What about the decrees of God? -I love the Westminster. Do you believe the God decreed everything, etc.? – Yes, but I just want to believe what God says and not trying to argue every aspect of it. Pray and trust in God.

It’s more than expository preaching. I’ve heard some expository preaching that was deader than a doornail because it wasn’t bathed in prayer. Don’t presume upon God, but pray.

Believe your God. He is faithful.

Some of you who are planting churches need to stop and take off Saul’s armor and go out with smooth stones. Whatever happened to just going out and preaching the gospel? Knocking on doors? Visiting people? What happened is it’s not slick.

Book recommendation, “The Autobiography of George Muller.” Muller has been the greatest influence of Washer’s life apart from the Apostle Paul.

Luke. The Apostles never ask to be taught to walk on water or raise the dead. But they do ask to be taught to pray.

Has anyone ever come up to us and asked, “Pastor, teach me to pray as you pray?” It’s something to think about. Ravenhill used to talk about a man that was so given to prayer. He once walked in on the man praying. He walked out of the room backing out. When asked he said he backed out because you don’t turn your back on royalty.

Washer names a person in Iowa who discipled him for many years. He’s a Wesleyan. When he prayed from the pulpit once he glowed. He began to weep while praying. He was a man who spent much time in the presence of Jesus. Washer wanted to get close to him. Some things are more caught than taught. You can fake many things, but you can’t fake that.

Are you familiar with this phrase – wrestling with God? To rest in the sovereign decrees is beautiful. Those same men who wrote about God’s sovereignty wrestled with Him.

Share a story of how a man said a certain kind of theology just writes off everything to the sovereignty of God. But he prayed for people in sickness and such. He sovereignty of God does hinder prayer and evangelism for some of the sovereign grace folks.

Just because you say it with your mouth doesn’t mean it is a reality. There is a sense in which a man of God is kind of wild, kind of crazy. They will wrestle with God. There are times when we question where God is and complain and complain wrestling with God.

I don’t want to die not having believed the promises not wrestling for them. There is so much more than all of your church planting gizmos.

Two book recommendation by Iain Murray – “Revival and Revivalism” which exposes some of what we do today. “Pentecost Today?” About times in history where there are been an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and a high intellect.

Washer reads the great commission. Then, he explains the Apostles mindset and actions before the resurrection. After Pentecost we no longer see waiver, but witnessing that Jesus promised. He explains the power Jesus said the Apostles will receive and the reasons for that power.

What happened on Pentecost? Acts 1:8 – they were clothed with power from on high. Washer does not want to explain what that text does not mean, but what it does mean. He fears we will become like churches in Europe that have so little power we are ignored.

Pastor, believer, would you personally describe your life as endued with power? Does your church look like this? (As described by Jesus with power?) Power for ministry and power to live.

Correct doctrine is absolutely essential to the missionary endeavor. Missionaries are about sending God’s word through them not about sending them. It is not enough.

We have to be careful that our theology by reacting against heresies of our day (or those who oppose us).

Don’t let heretics rob you of God’s word. Washer reads about the power of the Spirit at Pentecost.

Pentecost was a unique event. It was a fulfillment of Scripture. An initial moment when the Spirit was poured out. It was accompanied by unique circumstances. It marked the beginning of an extraordinary work of the Spirit that was to last throughout the entirety of the church age.

This promise in Joel is for us today. Pentecost initiated the promise not terminated it. It is wrong to think that the promise is only for the apostolic error, but that it would be poured out among the least of God’s people. Jeremiah 31 – least among the greatest.

If the outpouring of the Spirit to mark the entire church age then so should the results of the Spirit mark the results of the church age. The error I Washer believes most believers make is that they fix their attention on one minute aspect of how the gift is communicated instead of how it is carried out.

What was Joel communicating? The point is that tongues, visions, etc. in Joel is that we are talking about what Jeremiah wrote – revelation among all of God’s people. All of God’s people are going to know and understand Him and their lives will be infused with power. Joel is saying the same thing Jeremiah is saying.

At the moment at conversion a person is regenerated and indwelt with the Holy Spirit. There is no such thing of two-level kind of Christianity. No second blessing Christianity. However, our completeness in Christ is not grounds for passivity. Nor does it indicate what we have in Christ does not need to be appropriated.

Am I a dude with power? Is there a sense of God’s help? God’s presence? Yes, there are struggles and darkness. But do you have a sense of a power greater than yourself within so you can live the Christian life?

Many people praise Spurgeon’s abilities, but Spurgeon would not take the praise we give him today. Calvin was just a man. There was a unique anointing on his life. It was not his intellect that made him who he was. These men of God’s abilities were due to God’s power not their own.

Smart can’t cast out a demon. Smart can’t stop a storm. You can take all your smart, put it in a bag and walk away. Smart is nothing in the Kingdom of God.

Run away from second blessing theology. The argument is that we believers are part of the New Covenant, we are complete in Christ, we have the Holy Spirit, we are regenerate, we are indwelt. There is no first and second class Christians. We who have grown a little in sanctification – do we not want more sanctification? We who have faith – do we not want more faith? Do we not want deeper repentance? Of all the virtues, gifts – do we not want them to excel? Do we not want more? Will not the Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask?

Before you think I’m stepping out of line here, what I am saying is – sometimes it helps to be simple. Jesus says that you will receive power. I look at me and I see the lack of power of which He speaks. So I ask Him – Lord, give me greater power. Unction. Out pouring of the Spirit for my church and on me.

I remember when I first started street preaching. I was scared though I knew I was supposed to be there. I had no power. I asked some old school saints. They weren’t afraid to say that I need the power of the Holy Spirit. You need to ask God for the unction until you are an old man. Cry out to God for the Holy Spirit. Too often today we look to the intellect.

How did Spurgeon go to the pulpit? He would throw up on Saturday night. He would repeat “I believe in the Holy Spirit” as he walked to the pulpit.

Washer closes with some wonderful quotes on the power of the Holy Spirit by certain preachers.

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