Study 5 THE PRAYER FOR DIVINE QUICKENING
GREAT PRAYERS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
by Francis Dixon
Scripture Reference: Psalm 80: 18
The word we shall consider in this study is the word ”quicken” (or “quickening”). It means ”to give life and to preserve life” and ”to be made alive”. This covers our basic needs, because we need to receive life and to be preserved by life; we need to receive life initially, which takes place at the time of conversion, but we also need to be preserved by life continually, which refers to God’s work of sanctification. From the scriptures we learn two things:-
- (1) The HOLY SPIRIT is the one who GIVES LIFE (quickens) - look up and compare John 6:63 and 2 Peter 3:18.
- (2) The WORD OF GOD is the INSTRUMENT the Holy Spirit uses to accomplish this work - we learn this from many references in the Scriptures and Romans 4:17 and Romans 8:11 illustrate this.
1. It is through God’s Word that the Holy Spirit quickens us with new life, so that we become partakers of the Divine nature.
Ephesians 2:1 tells us that we are by nature spiritually dead, and that when the miracle of the New Birth takes place we are born again by the quickening work of the Holy Spirit. We also learn from 1 Peter 1:23 and 2 Peter 1:4 that the Word of God is the instrument used by the Holy Spirit “so that through them you may participate in the divine nature…” ; it is the “seed” of the new life which is dropped into our souls and which makes us “alive to God” (Romans 6:11). A Christian is one who is born again (John 3:3,6,8), and who receives the new life of the Risen Lord (John 1:12-13).
2. It is through God’s Word that the Holy Spirit quickens us in our desires to pray and guides our praying.
It is the indwelling Holy Spirit who prompts us to pray, and for an illustration of this turn to Acts 9:9-11. Immediately after his conversion, and as an evidence that he really had been converted, Saul of Tarsus prayed (verse 11)! This is the first exercise of the new life - look up Luke 18:13. As Christians we are frequently conscious of the Holy Spirit within us urging us to pray. He leads us to the place of prayer and then He shows us how to pray (Romans 8:26-27). Think how the disciples needed this quickening when they were in Gethsemane – look up Matthew 26:36-44.
3. It is through God’s Word that the Holy Spirit quickens us when we are in danger of getting slack, dull and careless.
See what Psalm 71:20 says, where the operative word is “again”. The psalmist had fallen and he needed to be lifted up and revived. It is easy for us to get spiritually out of touch with the Lord and to become disobedient (Jonah 1:1-3); to deny the Lord (Luke 22:54-62); to turn away from Him (John 6:66); to become carnal (1 Corinthians 3:1-4); to walk in the flesh (Galatians 5:16,25); to allow wrong attitudes (Philippians 4:2); and to become lukewarm (Revelation 3:15-16). At such times we need the quickening work of the Holy Spirit to renew our love for the Lord and our determination to please Him.
4. It is through God’s Word that the Holy Spirit quickens us when we are in bondage and sets us free.
How easy it is to get into bondage to sin (Romans 6:12); to self (Romans 6:16); and to Satan (Luke 22:31)! In Psalm 119:153 the Psalmist prayed, ”Look upon my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law.” The Lord Jesus Himself, from the Throne, is the great Liberator, as we learn from John 8:36; but He liberates us by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, as we learn from Romans 8:2, and the medium through which He works is the Word of God.
5. It is through God’s Word that the Holy Spirit instructs us in the way of righteousness and enables us to please God.
Many times in Psalm 119 the psalmist prays that God would show him the right way and enable him to walk in that way. This is exactly what the Holy Spirit does as we turn to God’s Word with the desire to hear Him speaking to us (Psalm 119:18); as we meditate upon what we read (verse 15); as we compare scripture with scripture (Acts 17:11). This is the only way to discover the kind of life God wants us to live and to receive His enabling to live it.
6. It is through God’s Word that the Holy Spirit draws us away from worldly living and sets our minds and affections on things above.
How can we be weaned away from worldly living and become absorbed with those things which are glorifying to the Lord? Colossians 3:1-2 will help us. How easy it is for us to live only for this world, and what a tragedy it is when this happens! See 1 John 2:15-17.
7. It is through God’s Word that the Holy Spirit comforts and sustains us in times of trial and affliction.
Turn to Psalm 119:92-93, where the writer is saying in effect, ‘If God hadn’t quickened me when I was in trouble I would have perished. But God did quicken me, and He did it through His Holy Word.’ At such times we should always turn to the Word of God.
In conclusion, notice again that the Holy Spirit is the one who quickens, but we must do two things: (1) “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18); (2) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Colossians 3:16).