By Charles H. Stalker
Message Delivered at Kettering, Evening Meeting, Jan. 15th, 1919
"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."
There is scarcely anything that can be said of what the prayer life is and what it can be. These words are spoken definitely in regard to praying in the Holy Ghost, and there is more in this than in anything else. It is one of the most wonderful things that God hears and answers prayer. When the sinner comes and confesses his Sins and prays, God answers his prayer and saves his soul. Just think of the result. Here is a lost man, and he knows he is lost. He cries to God for pardon, and God answers his prayer. Then he knows just as clearly that he is saved. The believer comes and prays for the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire. It may be a very simple prayer and very short, but think of all that it means, when that prayer is answered and the Holy Ghost comes.
People can speak about it and I have heard some of the best preachers, and I have heard testimonies, but no one has been able to express it. I have heard people expound the Bible, they have torn the text to pieces, and when they have finished and put on the climax, they could not tell it as good as it was in my soul. I have heard some Greek scholars, and my, how they did sweat. They dug up roots like we used to dig up roots in the clearing, and when they were through, the thing was not as big as God had made it in my soul. Praise the Lord.
People say we exaggerate, but it cannot be exaggerated. You would have to go in eternity to exaggerate it. With all the wonderful discoveries that have been made by man, they have never been able to do for a soul what the Holy Ghost has done. There is one striking thing about praying in the Holy Ghost. You cannot pray in the Holy Ghost until you have prayed the Holy Ghost in There are hundreds of people who have prayed a little, but you would be surprised at the small number who have prayed a prayer in the Holy Ghost. We have got to face the facts, and facts will live after feelings are dead. You begin to deal with facts and you will have something that will stick to you a long time after people have lost all they professed to have.
There are no limitations, there is no condition, and there is no power that can keep us from praying a prayer in the Holy Ghost. A person living in a sod house, if he knows the difference between salt and sugar, can pray a prayer in the Holy Ghost.
The devil cannot get an answer to prayer, neither can any of his followers. People can have money and prestige and place, but if they were left to get an answer to prayer, they would die in poverty and spend eternity in hell with the rich man. There is absolutely no end to the possibilities in the prayer life.
After this dark picture, this dismal picture held up by this man, he says "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost." You can live on answers to prayer, and no one can keep you from getting answers to prayer. I say, tonight, without any hesitation, that the greatest change in my life after the Holy Ghost came was the continuous answer to prayers. Prayers that nobody ever heard, prayers that were prayed in my heart by the Holy Ghost, and I am getting answers to prayer today that were prayed years ago. I have had answers to prayer during the last two or three years that were prayed with my hands on the plow handle. The Holy Ghost knows just what He is doing.
There is another very striking thing, this is a prayerless age. People read about prayer, but they do not pray. If they do it, it is a burden to them. They will take plenty of time to eat, but when it is time for prayer they will read the shortest Psalm and they call that prayer. They do not realize how much there is in prayer. We are living in an age when people do not see much in it, and they say it is foolish to pray. If we did what the people used to do in fasting and prayer we would be counted as fools. If a person said he was going to spend his life in pleasure, very little would be said about it, but if someone says they are going to spend their life in prayer, they are looked upon as a curiosity. But, believe me, there is more in prayer than there is in anything else.
These words were written at a time when everything was out of the ordinary, but he said, "You can pray in the Holy Ghost." I am glad, today, everyone of us can pray in the Holy Ghost. You can start in your home, and you will be surprised at the things that will be brought to your memory and to your door in answer to prayer. You may think of it now as a very small thing, but when you begin to pray it will increase. Get alone with the Lord in prayer, communion and fellowship.
All prayers prayed in the Holy Ghost are answered. You see how important it is. And no prayers out of the Holy Ghost are answered. You see how awful that is. Someone says, "Be careful, now." I am with the Bible. "If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me." Beloved, when God puts the light on your soul it pays to walk in every ray. When people speak lightly about these things, we can see that they know nothing about them. Just think what it means for your soul to be in communion with God. The Holy Ghost has come in and you do not have to be worrying about your own experience, you can be praying for others. When you get into this experience, and you begin to think what it means, you will find yourself saying, "How did I get along without the Holy Ghost?" The refinement and education that comes to a soul in communion with God cannot be found in any other place. If you would spend the rest of your life in prayer, you would come up to the judgment with such a character that would simply stagger the angels through all eternity.
People will do almost everything else but pray. You can get preachers, you can get people to do almost everything but pray. They think prayer is just a little thing, a prayer now and then, but it is a real life, and the Bible says: "Pray without ceasing." I do not mean that you will always be in the same place, but you can always be in communion with God.
Whenever a sinner confesses his sins and prays for pardon, he always gets the answer. There are thousands of people today who have desires in their hearts, but the carnal mind hinders them from getting answers to prayer. After God destroys the works of the devil, and the Holy Ghost comes in, He makes intercession for the saints. There is more in a groan after He comes than in all the beautiful words spoken before. Many times your prayer will end with a real cry of soul that finds no words to express it. You use the vocabulary, but that is limited. The words fail sometimes, they do not express your desire, and you just groan out a prayer that cannot be uttered, and God begins to answer. It will take something from you. You may have various kinds of burdens, but a burden of soul just seems that it would eat up your very life. I believe that the great need today is for more prayer.
It says: "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done." It does not say, if all your relatives agree, but if two of you agree. I was in a meeting two years ago, and the people were so stirred up that they went after others at midnight in automobiles. They wanted to see them saved. It was not fanaticism, it was nothing of the kind, but they had a burden for lost souls, and they were so in earnest about it, that it put conviction on the whole of that community, and I believe it will never be forgotten.
The people said, "What does this mean? " It was because a few people started to pray. I was surprised to see the number increased night after night. That country was just shocked by the divine currents that came in answer to prayer. People said, "You are a fool." They thought I was a fool when I started, and they thought it for two or three years, and then they shut their mouths. If we are fools, we are going in for the whole foolery. If this thing does not work there is nothing that will. I have given my life for it, and I am not ashamed of it. It seems to me that we never had a greater opportunity than we have tonight.
A person came to me a few months ago, and said: "When I sit up and talk I can keep awake, but when I go to prayer I go to sleep." Go to sleep praying, go to sleep with a burden of soul? No, keep awake. I do not see anything in praying like that, that is sleeping. Far better go to bed and go to sleep. When you receive the Holy Ghost He will give you a very different prayer from that. Beloved, you have got to step out to new ground and take new promises, and get answers to prayer as never before or you will dry up and die.
There is a very impressive feature about prayer, and that is the prayer cable reaches to everybody's heart. You do not have to go out of your room, you can close the door, in fact, the Bible says, "When thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." That is it, and that is just what He wants. I see the need and I see the supply; but, beloved, the supply must be taken to the need, and that is no child's play.
Why was the war won in victory? Because of the sacrifice. It was costly, but the victory was won. It will mean sacrifice to spread Holiness over this country, but there is no man in the universe who can stand before that spirit of surrender and sacrifice. I quite believe it is a trial to go away from home for a few weeks, for a few days, but some people went away from their homes for ever. Affections had to be clipped. Carload after carload left our country, and they went to the front. Thank God, there is victory. We do not have to fight for victory. We fight with victory. A great many people think of serving the Lord in order to be happy, but we serve Him because we are happy. That is the secret of the whole thing, and it is within the reach of everybody. We are not going in for feeling, we are going in with life and for life.
The Holy Ghost comes in as a reality, and He is sure to do something that none of your relatives think He can do. You are the odd one, they talk of you as an absentee, they point to your picture on the wall. "Yes, they used to be here at Christmas and at Thanksgiving, but they went to a meeting and got something, and they have never been like us since." You are looked upon as a curiosity, you had better go so far away that they cannot see you. Do not look on the same dates, because we cannot sit around and count our friends on our fingers when the world is dying for the message that brings life.
I was in a meeting, and a woman came to the altar. I found, after she came, that she was the wife of a drunkard. She had an awfully hard time, but she was hungry for God. She came to the penitent form and begun to pray a very touching prayer. It seemed that she was under such deep conviction that God answered her straightway. Then she said she knew she would have to receive the Holy Ghost. She prayed again for the Holy Ghost, and then she said, "Do you think God would answer my prayer now? " And I said, "Yes." She said there was one thing she wanted the Lord to do, and I said, "Ask Him quickly," Then she asked God to save her husband, she believed He would. I asked the Lord to answer her prayer. She went home, and was getting ready to retire, when a hand was placed on her shoulder. Her husband stood by her. He said, "What would you think if I said I was never going to drink again? "and she said, "I should be the happiest woman in the world." Then he told her how he was in the drinking saloon and started to take a drink when something seemed to say to him, "Don't take it." He put it down, told the bar tender, and left the place. What made him do it? It was that woman's prayer. That prayer in the Holy Ghost went right down to that saloon. There was a meeting the next night, and a big crowd was there. When the altar call was made, that man stood up. His wife stood up beside him and told how she was saved the night before, and how she had received the Holy Ghost. Her husband wanted to be saved. Of course he did. God hears and answers prayer. You can see that argument is not going to do it, but you can get away in a little corner and pray a little prayer and save some soul from hell.
Now this goes right beyond the intellectual, it cannot be explained. "Passeth all understanding." People have been trying to see into this for twenty centuries, but they have never seen it, and they cannot understand it.
God never sent the hundred and twenty out to explain it, He sent them to be witnesses. Stephen never explained it, Paul never explained it. You cannot get it by education, but by revelation. One person came to the altar and told me what a number of books he had read. A number of people want the filling without the killing. I have heard them sing, "Fill me now," they ought to sing "Kill me now. Killing is the first thing, you must be dead to everything, dead to friends, dead to foes, dead to the future, dead to your own plans, and then He will fill you. You can be filled with all the fulness of God. It is one of the most staggering things that Divinity ever offered to humanity. So many have been trying, but all they have to do is to get down and accept it just like a little child.
Jesus makes intercession for the sinners at the throne, but the Holy Ghost makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. That is the double prayer life, and you can see that it is a special life for the people that are sanctified wholly. I would not miss it for all that the world can offer.
A man was in a meeting one day, and I was telling just a few answers to prayer, and afterwards he said, "That is all right for you, but it is not practical in my life." But that was his fault. He could have it. It is within the reach of all. Just start where you are, give your whole life to God, and when the Holy Ghost comes He will lead you every step of the way.
From the time that I took my hands off the plow handle I have known nothing but following the Holy Ghost and having answers to prayer. He has done all that has been done. There is no way of magnifying this too much, it cannot be exaggerated. I want to encourage you because I know there are prayers in your heart, but, beloved, do not cut yourself off from this opportunity that is given to everyone who is abandoned to the Holy Ghost.
Do not think it is exhausted because it increases all the way and deepens every day and hour. Now and again people say: "I do not see how it is done." That is because it is supernatural. After you have used all your eyes, and all your good common sense, and all your powers, then God steps in, and you enter into this prayer life. Thank God for it. It is better and richer all the way through. Just now He is whispering secrets to my soul. I do not covet very much, but I covet for you the consciousness that you are in the will of God.
"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God." If this little nucleus gathered here tonight would begin a life of prayer in the Holy Ghost it would mean more to this country and to this world than we will ever know. Do not think of your limitations, do not think of the opposition, that is part of the "bill of fare." Do not grieve the Holy Ghost, but stay with your job. The Bible says: "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies." Some old carnal fellow will say: "I don't believe it." He does not have to believe it. That is the thing. Why, people have been so mad sometimes because I would not get mad, and they have said, "I think you ought to do this." So many people think and think and think and never get a thought out of the heart of God. They have been in cold storage so long.
God help us tonight, let us go in for the thing, let them pound us, let them sneer at us and turn the cold shoulder, but let us go on. It is our business to press on with this message of Holiness. I want someone to get this thing and live this life. May someone receive the Holy Ghost now.