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Prayer, Not A Substitute

Hosea 10:12

Numbers 25:5-8

I have learned over the years that I continue to grow by digesting the Word of God until it becomes a part of my daily life. I don’t just take the word of God at face value, that it's good and encouraging, but I endeavor to allow that word to become a part of my life. It’s the way I've had to live out my Christian walk. I've had to allow this word to get implanted in my heart, in the corners and seemingly little places, in those far away hidden places that like to rise up and make you look foolish at times. I need the Word of God to be planted deep in my heart and the way that happens is through the foolishness of preaching, by sitting with an ear of the Spirit to hear; not a carnal or worldly ear. That is why its so important to walk in the Spirit through the hours of the day. That’s why its so important to come to the House of God, being led by the Spirit throughout the day. You can't suddenly get it all together, come and pray, and get your mind on the things of God. That doesn’t work in this Kingdom apart from the mercy and the grace of God at times reaching out because He hears a cry of sincerity deep in a heart that has missed the mark, yet really loves the Lord.

This Kingdom is not of this world. You can't serve the Lord like you served Satan in the world. You can't do it in your own ability, your strength, your commitments. You've got to allow someone else to take over your life. He's a written Word and a living Word, and He's got to be alive in your heart. When you eat this word as its preached or when you study your Bible, you've got to allow the Holy Ghost to break that word up in your life just like eating natural food with all the things that God created; the mouth, the teeth, the swallowing, all the digestive system that takes food and breaks it up and every nutrient is divided into the body to make sure that you can grow and mature. The same is true when you hear the Word of God. You must to come hungry and thirsty for the Word of God. You ought to come humble and broke, desiring for God to minister to your heart once again by the Spirit. The only way that Christ can be Lord, the only way we can hearken to the true Word of God and the only way you can truly be a Christian is by the Spirit. Not by might, nor power, but by the Spirit. You'll hear a message, you'll hear a sermon, you'll hear some points, you'll hear some doctrinal teachings that might encourage or bring insight to certain areas, but you won't hear the heart of God. Only the Spirit of God can come with ease and unearth anything in your life that's not like Christ, move it aside, and plant that seed right there in its place. It's not a problem to the Holy Ghost, none whatsoever. A child of God comes desiring to grow, mature, and move on with God and to advance the Kingdom of God. No matter what the cost may be to him or those around him, he desires to be decreased that Christ might increase. When he sits hungry for the Christ in this word, desiring to hear from heaven, there is no limit to what God the Holy Ghost can do in that life. There's no limit to how quick a work He can do, but it requires realizing you have a need for Christ to be formed in you, to grow, to mature, to come into His fullness. That you have a need to allow God to unearth some things in your life that the Holy Ghost through prayer this week has shown you is not like the Lord.

Now, when the world looks at the children of God they call us failures because they live by their own standards, but in the standard of the Kingdom there is no such thing as a failure. At your worst, if you are humble and broke before God, even when it seems like God has forsaken you, you're not a failure. If you're reaching to the Lord and submissive to God, walking in His purpose and His will in all that you know to do; not hiding any sin, not flirting with the world, not playing with any of those things. When you're an exposed book before God and man, not two faced, unmasked before man, giving no appearance of something different to man than whats true when you're by yourself, being what you are and God knowing what you are. If you are like that there is nothing impossible to God in your life, nothing.

Prayer is one of the most important things in our lives for this work to be accomplished by the Spirit. I've said before that you are as you pray. In Hosea the word of the Lord came and said,

(Hosea 10:12) “ sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you.”

Break up your fallow ground, its time to truly seek the Lord until He comes. God was speaking to a people here about breaking up the hardness of the heart, their fallow ground, so that the seed of God could be planted in the hearts. They would pray and the praying would not fall short with just a few blessings or a few answered prayers. Prayer this time would not fall short of the Lord coming, of them seeing the Lord, of having a revelation of the person of Christ, of having a true revelation of God the Father. Let's read it again. He says its time to break up the fallow ground, its time to seek the Lord till He comes, and rains righteousness upon you. Until He comes.

Prayer is not for us to simply come to God (this sounds so elementary) and get Him to prepare us for certain blessings, certain answers to prayer that He's about to bring upon us. Jesus is not the preparation for the blessing. For the most part in the church today, Christ is used as a preparation for us to get to the blessing. Christ isn't the preparation, Christ is the blessing. Prayer is to get you to Him. Now, along the way if He chooses to bless us, praise God, but what about all those that have gone before us. What about the martyrs, the lives that furnish the volumes that we read behind and what about the ones that love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and body but remain unheard of? They don’t have a list of “blessings” that God bestowed upon them, or lists of all the "answered prayers", but I can tell you what they do have. They found Jesus, they knew the man. The ultimate in prayer is not for God to move in certain areas, but it is that we seek the Lord till He comes; till we know that by the Spirit of God He has come and given us a revelation of this man Jesus Christ. Any prayer that falls short of that has fallen short of what God desires prayer to be. That which God has stirred us from the initial outset to pray about is for us to be yielded until there is a hunger in our hearts and a thirst in our souls for this man Jesus Christ.

In Numbers 25 Israel is about to be judged of God. They committed idolatry, all the sins were there and a plague was about to be brought upon Israel. This was a type of the judgment of God coming to the House of God first. A group of people had been "praying". I believe they had these prayer meetings, as it were, many times before where they gathered together and “ sought God", but this time it was different. This time there was brokenness, a crying out, there was a breaking up of the fallow ground until the Lord came. Until He came and the plague was stayed. You see, they saw the result of their sin; their hearts were weighed down because of their sin. They had sinned against a Holy God. They didn’t deserve any mercy. They didn’t deserve any second chance, but something ached in their heart that in spite of themselves, just maybe they could glorify God again. Not just get restitution, not just get restoration, not just get forgiven, but maybe just maybe when they looked around the heathenistic world that had cursed God, they opened their eyes and said, "My God, who will stand up for God the Father" and they saw a glimmer of hope that God would have mercy on their wretched soul, that they could stand up and glorify this man again. Not just miss hell, not just be a good father or mother, but in the midst of a perverse world somebody could stand up and glorify GOD! That stirred them to pray, that stirred a cry that they never had before, that stirred an abandonment of self, an abandonment of commitments, abandonment of their own strength, abandonment of their woes and pity parties. They abandoned all of that to cry out to God. They were broke and they were bent. They were breaking up fallow ground, wanting the Lord to come because there was a plague on the nation that only the Lord could break. So they cried out till the plague was stayed. They had prayed before many times. Some things had happened, but sin still abounded and there was really no change. The bitter and sweet water was still able to run out of the same fountain. In this hour, we are able to talk in tongues and still the bitter water runs. That is not the prayer that God has ordained for us to walk in. When you can talk in tongues on one side and bitterness on the other, let me tell you that is not the praying that is Bible talks about. Is not!

Prayer comes from a broken, sincere heart, and it is the only thing that God regards in the human heart. Listen to what I'm about to tell you. God won't even regard our prayers unless they are sincere. If we regard iniquity in our heart God will not hear us. And a sincere heart does not regard iniquity or hide iniquity. A sincere heart does not have a mask of two faces; one in public and one in the secret place. They remain who they are and there is a cry in their heart to glorify God. True prayer knows nothing but sincerity. It knows nothing but its need for God. It's got to have Him! It is not here to follow up on its commitments to church and to do what everyone else is doing. There is an ache in their heart and a cry that heaven hears in the midst of the congregation and in their prayer closet when no body on the face of the earth has heard one word. It changes NOT! It has no mask.

In Numbers 25 there was a problem and they recognized the problem this time they had not seen before. They had prayed before, they had been to church, they had prayer meetings, but very few eyes had been opened, very few hearts had been broken, humbled before God, and sin was still able to abound. Sin was still in the House of God and Israel abode in Shittim. What that simply means is they sat down quietly. Oh, they were still praying, possibly still loud, reminding me of that church in Revelation chapter 3. They still had a lot of good things going for them, but spiritually speaking they had sat down. Heaven saw them sitting down in the spirit and settling down again this time in full view of the promise land. They could see it from where they were sitting; they could see it from where they were praying. They could see it when they made that circle in the wilderness year after year and when they came to Shittim it was close enough to the promise land to see it. They refused to go beyond in the Spirit where they could take the steps necessary to embrace the promised inheritance God had given them. They never saw it. They talked about it, they sang about it, they shouted about it, they would have prayed in tongues about it if they had been in this dispensation, but not a one of them ever walked into it besides Joshua and Caleb. They chose to talk about it, to pray about it, to pray around it, to cry over it, but they would not walk into it. We have a whole generation of people sitting in church today, and out of that whole generation a remnant will stand up to see the promises. The rest will refuse to take the necessary steps in the Spirit to walk in the fullness of God.

“What's the problem preacher, they've been praying here?” But prayer can never be a substitute. Prayer for the most part in a lot of lives has become a sacrifice. Prayer has become a substitute, and what has prayer become a substitute in many lives for? Obedience. Prayer does not take the place of obedience. It makes a way for obedience. Break up your fallow ground; seek the Lord till He comes. There are too many people in the house of God in this last hour that are praying, but prayer to them has become a substitute for obedience. Prayer is no substitute for obedience. Every single time in your life, if you are truly seeking God according to this word, God is making a way for you to obey Him through true prayer. It is breaking up the fallow ground so you can seek the Lord till He comes, but prayer too many times for people has become a substitute in place of dealing with those little foxes that spoil the vine. It's become a substitute for dealing with those besetting sins. God is still endeavoring to deal with you about issues in your life. Prayer, true prayer, would have broken up the ground if you had walked in obedience and been set free, every single time. When things surface in the heart, its possible to cover it over with prayer, making prayer a substitute, but if you had truly broke out in prayer and would have said, “God we are ready for obedience now” the bitter and sweet water would not have been coming out of the same cistern.

Prayer prepares the heart for obedience and you ache to obey God when you truly pray. You ache for things to be moved out of your life that aren't like Christ. There will be a cry in your heart if you're truly praying. If there is slothfulness or indifference or the preacher has zeroed in on something through the word it wont be some little two minute trip to the altar. There will be an ache in your heart if you are truly praying like a man of God until the heavens rend and God touches you! You'll prove God! God will cry out from heaven, "They are going to prove Me, they refuse to be quiet, they refuse to allow Me to sit quiet, they are demanding of Me to touch their lives like Jacob did when he wrestled with the angel!" Any other prayer runs to the altar and does its duty. Any other prayer is able to put on its mask, but not the prayer God has called the Church to pray. God will accept no sacrifice from humanity that is not coupled with obedience. Why do you think Saul was so bewildered when Samuel looked at him? He said, "My God man, do you see all I've done, do you see how many oxen we've killed, how many sheep we have slain, whats wrong with you Samuel?" Samuel cried out in reply, "obedience is better than sacrifice Saul." God won't accept your half hearted sacrifice; He doesn’t even acknowledge it. That’s harsh isn’t it? Not at all. Not at all when God the Father looked down and saw how hopeless I was, and held nothing back in order to save my wretched soul. And we are going to offer God some half-baked cake like Ephraim did and call it commitment and sacrifice. God says, “I don’t even hear or receive it if that sacrifice is not coupled with obedience.”

Now I'm going to step out on a theological limb, but I personally believe it is an absolute impossibility for a man, woman, boy or girl to be saved and Holy Ghost filled and be shown something in their life by God and not have God Almighty come quickly and set that soul free if they render their heart in prayer like this Bible says. You say, “What does that make me?”... I'll leave that with you and the Lord. Anything that God the Holy Ghost has unveiled and exposed in your life, if you are truly seeking God with all your heart, soul, mind and body, rendering your heart and not your garment, laying it all out before God as a read book, if you are a broken vessel and have unbosomed yourself before God, the Heavenly Father I serve will come running and He'll bring the Holy Ghost. He'll bring every hound of heaven, He'll bring all He has! Prayer has got to be more than a substitute. It can't be a substitute for obedience. Every time I've ever really sought God over the years it was always a prelude to obedience in something God had for me to do. You say, “you said prayer was to get to Christ”. Oh, that's exactly what I said and when you get in his presence you'll be like Isaiah, “Here am I Lord, send me”. And it won't matter what it is. It might be to shut some things down and not necessarily do something else. Your doing might be shutting something down.

Here in Numbers 25, the children of Israel sat in Shittim too long. They had prayed prayers too long with the evil tendencies still sitting there, lurking in the shadows while their attitude was no hunger or thirst for the word of God and sitting indifferent in spirit. This is not about what its looks like on the outside, but when God from heaven looks down and says “We can't bare witness that there's a cry in that heart”. If there is no hunger and thirst He won’t even regard our prayers because they are just words, but the men we read about here got stirred up. I'm convinced that what they saw this time had been in the house all along. I'm convinced that the traffic I'm going to read about had been in the house all along and Zimri didn’t just all of a sudden walk in with the Midianitish harlot. He'd been there many times. He was used to them praying. He was accustomed to the prayer meeting and had always felt at ease before. He could always come to the house with that lust before. Zimri could always bring that harlot in the House of God before with no problem. He had seen them pray. As I said before, in this dispensation he would have heard them talking in tongues. He'd been in the house of God before, he'd seen the jealousy. He knew they were back biting while they talked in tongues. He knew they would talk in tongues in the prayer meeting and walk through the fellowship hall and not speak to someone they had a problem with, he was used to that. He knew they wore two masks. He knew what he saw in that prayer meeting and how it sounded.

(Numbers 25:6) “And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel”

I'm convinced in my own heart that this man walked in the midst of the congregation like he always had. In this case it was with a harlot. He was full of lust and they were there gathered in prayer like they always had. He thought, “What's the difference tonight, we'll come in and join them to look the part,” but something was different and prayer wasn’t a substitute this night for obedience. There was an ache in these men's hearts. A hatred for sin had rose up. A disgust in their own hearts and lives of how they turned their back on God, looking the part to man, but heaven having cried out of their failure. Heaven bore witness their hearts were far removed from God. They were two faced at best. They could talk to God in tongues, but couldn't talk to a brother in love. That’s a Pharisee. That not a Christian, period. I'll say it again, that is not a Christian. That’s someone sitting in church playing the part. It’s a hypocrite. They were used to this. Here comes Zimri again bringing this woman in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the entire congregation, but this time the Bible says, “who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.” They were weeping. Possibly like Hannah, she had opened not her mouth and man didn’t hear her pray, but God heard her. If you truly pray and seek God there's going to come times when the Spirit of God is going to stir you and there is going to be a bursting out. Heaven bore witness that here is a people that aren't substituting prayer for obedience. They're not going to come to the house of God tonight and pray for and hour or two, step outside of those doors and do the very same thing tomorrow that they know God has been dealing with them about! What they’ve done is made prayer a substitute for obedience.

Prayer was never intended to be a substitute for obedience. If you have a hard heart, but will truly seek God, then God through his mercy and the Spirit will pray through you and break up that ground, and birth inside of you a desire to get rid of those sins, little foxes and ungodly appetites. Without obedience we're able to justify those secret habits in our lives. We're able to justify those secret lusts in our lives and we say we're trying, and we're praying, and we're believing God. You know, most of the church has made the New Testament into one of two things. Its either doctrine or exhortation. If its doctrine then all we have to do is believe it. If its exhortation, then its nothing more than good advise that we can take. But doctrine and exhortation is always given to lead us to obey commandments. It is not good advice that we take or leave, but commandments that the Holy Ghost gives us the desire and ability to obey! You don’t take and leave the word of God.

Sin ran into something this night. Little foxes ran headlong into something that was real this night. Besetting sins, ungodly appetites, jealousy, lust, religion, Pharisee spirit, whatever it is, ran headlong into something that was real. It hadn’t seen this before. Zimri didn’t recognize what it was, but before he could understand what was going on it was too late. Listen to what I'm about to tell you. When you bring your life, your heart, your failures, your flaws, your indifferences, your slothfulness, your sin, whatever it may be, when you bring all that in the presence of God, there is no hiding place! Your flesh can hide behind your prayers. Your lust can hide behind you talking in tongues. You can be the most committed where you look down your nose at those that are less committed, and your jealousy still rule your life, because there's a kind of prayer that is not leading you to obedience in every area of your life. Listen to me... You may have a habit or a besetting sin that has been so much a part of your life you couldn't even exist without it. I mean where it has become so much a part of your make up and folks say my God you wouldn’t even recognize that person if they didn’t have that flaw. True prayer will bring that sin into the presence of Almighty God! Where there is no hiding place. Your sin can confront something its never seen before. Your sin will say “Hold on, I liked it when you just walked the floor and talked in tongues. (Laughing) I felt comfortable there. I came with you every night and walked the floor with you. I'll walk the floor with you, but when you let your prayer start to be something more than substitute, but from a broken heart that’s crying out that you got to have God in your life, I don’t want no part of this.”

They walked into something this night. Listen to what I'm about to say. Zimri knew he had messed up and there was no getting away. He was a little bit late acknowledging it, but he had to acknowledge that he had messed up. There was no hiding place, he couldn’t run far enough or fast enough to get away from the judgment of God. He ran into folks that were broken, who were seeking God in sincerity. Sincere Christians have to have God. Not on their ground, but His. They'll take more of God any way He wants to give Himself. They're not picky and choosy. They don’t care about being recognized, they don’t care about being acknowledged. They have finally opened their eyes and seen that heaven acknowledges that they are backslidden, lukewarm, indifferent, religious and churchy at best. It grieves their heart that they have been such a poor witness in the sight of God and man that they cry out! “When Phinehas, the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest saw it…” He saw it. That traffic had been in the house of God for weeks and months. It was a part of the scenery and it just blended in like wallpaper. We have so accepted the status quo in our lives that it just blends in. That’s why there's so much accepted in the house of God now. That’s why preachers like me are told that Country Music is alright. “Its ok because you know that artist got born again somewhere down there and he's trying to win the world with his country. He still sings gospel mind you.” “The little bit of drink is alright and all this stuff is acceptable now because God has a new plan for winning the world to Jesus.” It is a new plan, but its not God's, and it is winning the world to another Jesus. When our prayer becomes a substitute we just join the crowd. And sin still is able to walk in the door of most prayer meetings and feel accepted and feel satisfied and not feel too uncomfortable, but not this night. And that’s the way it'll be in your life.

If my child comes to me all broken down, bleeding and dying and I hear a cry in their heart, "Daddy help me!" my God, everything on the inside of me is going to run to my child. There aren't enough demons in hell to keep me from that cry. Well, I'm an earthly father, and we're telling God the Father that we're crying out to Him and sin still runs rampant in our life. We are lying to the Holy Ghost! There's no such thing as prayer having broke through in our lives and that sin feels at ease to walk into the House of God. What I'm saying seems hard, but it’s the greatest hope you've ever had. Its because you've not let prayer become a cry in your heart. Its become a substitute, but that doesn't condemn me. It tells me there's hope, that my prayer can become a cry.

When Phinehas saw it he rose up from among the congregation, took a javelin in his hand and went after the man of Israel into the tent. There was no more sitting back on his integrity, his reputation, his commitment, on his loyalty, my God, there was a cry in his heart. There was something wrong and all of a sudden he saw what he had never seen in the spirit before! He was praying. Prayer is pouring out your heart in sincerity. Pouring out your soul, unbosoming yourself where there's nothing left, where man can see and you don’t care, you've got it all laid out before God, you've rendered your heart. You're saying “God, I'm a mess and it's all out before you God!” Where you've laid it out because you won't make it if God doesn't move tonight! Until you've prayed like that, that little fox will sit back, "ha ha ha, glad you're here, we will just hang around till you finish shedding your tears, running to your alter, talking in tongues... its fine, but we'll be right back at your seat when you get back to walk you back home." I've seen it for 21 years, but not tonight. True prayer lets you see it through the eyes of God. And it's no longer Moses seeing it, you're seeing it. Its no longer about the preacher having to cry out. You see the sin and have to acknowledge, “My God that thing has been here every prayer meeting. Zimri has been sitting here in my heart and I've never seen it before. Look at this harlot in here.” My God, Phinehas saw it before the breath left his nostrils and at the moment his eyes were opened the Bible says he rose up and went after it. Saw, rose, and went.

Want to sing about victory? True prayer, when it opens your eyes one time, when you see sin through the eyes of God, you will rise up, take that javelin which is a type of our cross and you will run that sin down and thrust it in the belly! Are you still praying with that old attitude toward a brother that you haven't talked to in weeks or months, that you continually walk right by. You've got a mask on in the congregation, but the remnant is going to pray without a mask. The restored church will have to come to the end of themselves and then they'll prepare the way for the Lord to come, because they have decreased that He might increase. They'll have the spirit of John the Baptist, preparing the way of the Lord in this last hour and it'll ring in the spirit when you hear them pray. Heaven is not looking for you to be a super saint, but hears the prayer from those of a humble heart and broken spirit. Those that truly know the Lord have a cry in their heart and they know that its just a matter of time before Gods power is going to break through.

Numbers 25:8 says, “He went after the man of Israel into the tent, thrust both of them through.” Not one of them, but both. There is something there saints. I've seen this for 21 years. “Well it was the man that brought her in. We'll just kill him, but we'll have pity on the harlot because she didn't really know any better. Zimri is the one that should have known better. We'll deal with him, but we'll leave the harlot alone. We'll take care of that big thing that embarrasses us and everybody sees, like Saul, but we'll leave that little harlot sitting around. After all, six months from now if God don’t move I might need to have that little tingle of the flesh.” True men of God that are in true prayer, when they see it through the eyes of God, when that man rises up, I wish I had the vocabulary to describe what it looked like when Phinehas rose up. I believe the cloud of witnesses and every witness around him stood at attention. I believe all of heaven stood up. Do you see that man of God? Did you see him stand up in the strength of Almighty God? For they knew when he rose up from that prayer it wasn't just to shout and talk in tongues as it were today, but that man would move forth and he wouldn’t stop until that sin was eradicated out of the congregation. And that’s just what he did. He rose up and he went after both of them, and the plague was stayed.

When the Bible talks about David's prayers, you hear it explained in terms like David roared, David cried, David wept, David fainted at heart, his eyes failed him, he lost his moisture. When Hezekiah cried out it said he mourned like a dove. Ephraim bemoaned himself. Peter wept bitterly and Christ had strong cries and tears until the blood came forth. Prayer wasn’t a substitute, but an opening of the doors for obedience, because true prayer seeks God. True prayer seeks the Person of Christ. When a Zimri walks in that is totally adverse to the righteousness of Christ, there is something inside of you called the righteousness and indignation of God that will rise up and go after that sin. It will keep us from the place where we feel good enough about ourselves that we can still pray and justify the sin in our lives by the fact that we are committed to God in certain areas. True prayer is our only hope. Because it's our access to the one, the only one that knows us, yet still loves us enough to set us free. I'm telling you boldly, all this other prayer will become a curse to the house of God, because through it we learn how to live and coexist with our besetting sins. True prayer never coexists with anything that’s not like God. It bursts asunder everything that’s not like Christ, every time.

I believe this message is a cry from the heart of the Father desiring a remnant to stand up and truly seek Him until He comes and stays the plague that’s in the church today. God's got a remedy. My wife has preached as hard as anybody could pour out in the hope that God would use one little phrase to stir another soul to rise up and see it like Phinehas saw it and grab onto the cross like that javelin. Someone who says, “No sir, I will rise up and by the power of God invested in me I will put off the old and put on the new so that preacher will never be able to look my way ever again when he talks about that sin!” Sin would have to run out of the house with you right behind it not stopping until it is buried just like Sapphira and Ananias. Peter acknowledged one thing, “I know how I got here and my dependence is on the power of the Holy Ghost. I know what I was before this power filled my life and I will not coexist with sin and allow mixture in this house!” Sin stifles and suppresses and hinders the only power I've ever known that can make me a man of God. Peter said, “The lie has got to go or you got to go and God dropped them dead and the purity of the church continued.” It wasn't until years later that man opened the door to mixture and that’s the problem of the church today. We're satisfied in our sin, we justify our flesh, we justify our carnality, and there is very few preachers left that will preach it hard enough because they're too much after your money and after the prestige and numbers. Not many will just lay it out and take the persecution.

I don’t know if you will be a part of that remnant, but I've got good news for you that really want to be men and women of God, that really want to honor God. There's a thing called prayer that’s not a substitute for obedience, that is an opening of the heart to God, our loving Father who knows you. It’s a total rendering of the heart and not the garment, where everything is exposed. And when God comes in the house with your sin, let me tell you who is going to win. God will, every time. And you will go home an absolute different human being and a testimony of being set free by the power of God. You might have had to travail in prayer, having wept and cried sorely, but God came, and if He hadn’t come He would have dishonored His Name and promises. Everything else is just church, but sin is afraid of the prayer that God enters into. Revivals fall short where a preacher gets stirred up and says we need to pray and the people say yeah, and prayer blossoms out for a few months or however long and then it fizzles out because nobody got really serious about prayer because they were just praying for a revival. They forgot that the revival starts in the heart. That judgment came to the house of God first and you had to open up your heart before God and be exposed for what you were and you're sick and tired of yourself. Not your brothers sin, your sin, not your preachers faults, your faults. If you're looking this way to see faults you don’t have to look too hard, but if your going to look this way for an excuse not to get to God you better look somewhere else. Don’t look this way for an out or an excuse to not get serious about God. I'll not give you the opportunity, and neither will God. He'll set you free. He'll make you a part of the remnant. He'll change your life and make you men and women of God. He'll make you a Phinehas that sees, rises and goes after the sin, under the unction of the Holy Ghost. Prayer a substitute? No. Prayer leading a Phinehas to obedience every time.