I believe there were two great secrets to the apostle Paul's ministry that we need to pay close attention to. The first is his continual use of praying in tongues.
Praying in Tongues
Paul said it this way:
"I thank my God I speak in tongues more than you all" (1 Cor. 14:18)
The Amplified translation, Classic Edition, reads even stronger:
"I thank God that I speak in [strange] tongues (languages) more than any of you or all of you put together ..."
As the principle writer of the New Testament, the apostle Paul's private use of speaking in tongues was his key to revelation knowledge and to his understanding of the mysteries of God. How do you think he received revelation of the post resurrection truths and the new creation realities he lays out in the epistles? No other apostle received these revelations—not even the original apostles of the Lamb and those who walked with Jesus in his earthly ministry. How do you suppose Paul received the mysteries of Christ and the church? He understood them enough to write them on paper. I propose to you that one of his great secrets was how much he utilized his private prayer language and use of tongues. It is a key to revelation knowledge.
The late Lester Sumrall was asked how often he spoke in tongues. His response was rather terse but thought provoking: "When I'm not preaching." Let us take a lesson from him.
The second great secret to the apostle Paul's life and ministry was fasting. While rehearsing his many trials and tribulations that he suffered for the gospel he says this:
"in weariness and painfulness, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, and in cold and nakedness" (2 Cor. 11:27).
"But in all things we commend ourselves as servants of God: in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distress, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, and in hunger" (2 Cor. 6:4-5).
Paul encouraged the saints to imitate him as he imitated Christ (1 Cor. 11:1) and to follow his example (Phil. 3:17) and pattern and purpose of life. Fasting and prayer were a constant in his life.
He is not just giving these instructions to ministers but to the churches and to all believers. He even admonished husbands and wives to fast and pray:
"Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer. Then come together again, so that Satan does not tempt you for lack of self-control" (1 Cor. 7:5).
We have been too busy with religious activities and have fallen short of following Paul's example, which will lead us to the highest kind of power for the highest kind of service.
We have many Bible conferences, evangelistic campaigns, fellowship meetings, potluck suppers, dinner banquets and musical concerts, but why not have fasting and prayer times and consecration-fasting meetings and conferences? It will give birth to astounding fruit and results as it has throughout the ages when men have ventured into such consecrated times of fasting and prayer.
How will the whole creation ever stop groaning and travailing and the sons of God ever manifest without fasting and prayer (Rom. 8:19-22)? For it is fasting and prayer that will cause us to identify deeply with the whole creation and enter into the same groaning and travail to give birth to what God wants to do. You can be a believer and a child of God all your life and never manifest this way as a son. Even Jesus did not begin to manifest His Sonship until after He had fasted for 40 days and nights. Let us follow His example (not specifically in the sense of a 40-day fast unless the Lord leads you that way, but the lifestyle of fasting). Let us also follow the zeal and fervency of Paul and enter into a life of fasting and prayer.
Remember this is how Paul began his new life and ministry (Acts 9:9). Would to God that all new converts would follow this example of a three-day fast and pray and meditate on the Scriptures. There would be far less backsliding and more chosen vessels thrust into the Lord's service.
These two elements that were evident in Paul's life are keys to the increase of power and effectiveness in today's church.
Bert M. Farias, revivalist and founder of Holy Fire Ministries, has authored several books with an emphasis on helping to restore the true spirit of Christianity in the Church today, including his latest book, Passing on The Move of God to The Next Generation. Follow him at Bert Farias and Holy Fire Ministries on Facebook and @Bertfarias1 on Twitter.
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