PRAYER, REPENTANCE, AND SALVATION


"What the Lord Spoke to me, Evangelist James Brand, in the Philippines in 1982."





     God called me as an evangelist in 1962 and I have been walking in that calling ever since. I have witnessed and ministered the gospel in America, Asia, and particularly Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and the Philippines. This includes pastoring and radio ministry. During all this time the Lord has given me a vision and revealed to me that there is a serious problem worldwide in evangelism regarding the manner of leading the lost to pray.

     The Lord spoke to me in 1982 while in Manila seeking Him earnestly regarding why people, during an altar-call, would often try to repeat my words in prayer as tho they were their own and then they seemed to expect me to lead them in reciting or repeating "personal prayer for salvation." It was then that the Holy Ghost spoke to me so very clearly, "TEACH THESE PEOPLE TO PRAY, NOT TO REPEAT AFTER ANY MAN A FORM OF PRAYER OR SIMPLY RECITE THEIR WORDS!" This came as a great revelation regarding a serious error in the church and most especially in the area of evangelism. Prayer and crying out to God for forgiveness and salvation is to be spontaneous and completely FROM THE HEART, not a matter of a minister or an evangelist putting words in the mouth of the one seeking the Lord for mercy and salvation. This is very, very crucial. One seeking to repent and be saved should not be taught to parrot the words of another, THEY MUST CRY OUT TO GOD FOR THEMSELVES FROM THE HEART, LEST THEIR PRAYING BE A MERE PRETENSE, A RITUAL, A SORT OF CASUAL REPEATING OF "A SINNER'S PRAYER" THAT IS THE FORM AND PRAYER OF ANOTHER AND NOT TRULY THEIR OWN. This is a revelation from the Lord and it is in complete agreement with His Word.

     At this point, let us consider carefully what the Holy Bible teaches and illustrates regarding prayer and repentance unto salvation.

     We have four prime examples from the Bible that illustrate very clearly how a repentant sinner prayed and was justified in the sight of God. The first is found in Luke 18:9-14. In this parable from our Lord, the Pharisee stood and prayed a kind of casual, self-righteous prayer that did nothing to touch the heart of God. But the publican we read in verse 13, "standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner." In the very next verse our Lord tells us that it is this man who went down to his house justified before God and not the other. The reason? One humbled himself and confessed and prayed FROM THE HEART, while the other did not.

     Let us consider next the two thieves on the cross who made their confession before Christ on Calvary. We find in Luke, chapter 23, beginning with verse 39, that one of the thieves railed at Jesus and challenged Him, saying, "If thou be Christ save thyself and us." But immediately the other thief rebuked this railing accusation against our Lord and boldly declared, "Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? For we indeed are justly condemned; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing wrong." Then he turned and said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."

     Did you notice that in both of these instances it was a completely spontaneous confession: no one was putting words in their mouth. No one TOLD THEM what to say. They sought God from their heart and He heard them in their own words and in their own way. There was no rote or ritual or repeating, only a heartfelt cry unto the Lord for mercy and forgiveness. -- This is what God responds to.

     A very clear instruction is found from God in Jeremiah 29:12-14a. In this passage the Lord exhorts those who would seek Him, "Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, WHEN YE SHALL SEARCH FOR ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART. And I will be found of you saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity." Please understand that this DOES NOT SAY, "I shall be found of you if you just repeat this sinner's prayer after the minister or evangelist!" No! He said WHEN YOU SEEK ME WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART! GOD WANTS TO HEAR OUR OWN HEARTFELT PRAYER AND CONFESSION, not something someone else puts in our mouth to help us out or make it easier. THERE MUST BE REAL CONVICTION BEFORE CONVERSION, AND OUR CONFESSION MUST BE WITH REAL HUMILITY AND WITH A SPONTANEOUS AND HEARTFELT PRAYER.

     What does the Bible say about conviction and godly sorrow that brings repentance unto salvation? Paul, in 2 Corinthians 7:10-11, spoke of a "godly sorrow that worketh repentance unto salvation that is not to be repented of." That is, unless there is a godly sorrow and conviction over sin, there is no real repentance leading to forgiveness and salvation. It's that simple. A mere rote repeating of words or ritual will not do it. ONE MUST SEEK GOD WITH ALL OF THEIR HEART, ONE MUST HAVE GODLY SORROW OVER SIN LEADING TO REPENTANCE, AND MUST CRY OUT TO GOD IN RIGHT EARNEST FROM THE HEART TO RECEIVE SALVATION, OTHERWISE IT'S JUST A RELIGIOUS FORM OR A PRETENSE THAT GOD WILL NOT HONOR. "The LORD looketh upon the heart." Therefore, your prayer to Him must be from the heart, not words put in your mouth from another.

     Let us read through a few more important scriptures that touch on this vital area of prayer and seeking God acceptably:

     "We then, as workers together with Christ, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation) [2 Cor. 6:1-2].

     "Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon" [Isaiah 55:6-7].

     "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit" [Psalm 34:18].

     "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving- kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. FOR I ACKNOWLEDGE MY TRANSGRESSIONS: AND MY SIN IS EVER BEFORE ME. AGAINST THEE AND THEE ONLY HAVE I SINNED, AND DONE THIS EVIL IN THY SIGHT...

     CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART, O GOD, AND RENEW A RIGHT SPIRIT WITHIN ME.

     THE SACRIFICES OF GOD ARE A BROKEN SPIRIT: A BROKEN AND A CONTRITE HEART, OF GOD, THOU WILT NOT DESPISE" [Psalm 51:1-4a, 10, 17].

     "Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and THAT SEEK HIM WITH THE WHOLE HEART" [Psalm 119:2].

     Many other scriptures could be given because the Word of God is full of this truth: WE MUST SEEK THE LORD FOR OURSELF AND FROM THE HEART, NOTHING LESS WILL DO; NOTHING LESS WILL HONOR GOD AND BRING THE PEACE OF GOD AND THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.

     In our third illustration from the Bible we find that David was confronted with his sin by the Prophet Nathan, not only publically but even in the King's own court. In 2 Samuel 12:13, we see that David openly acknowledged his sin and repented before the Lord and the people. No one TOLD him what to say; it is clear he prayed and sought the Lord in his own words and with a humble and broken heart. The prayer quoted above from Psalm 51 is well known throughout the world as David's prayer of repentance. It is a beautiful prayer and a model prayer of the repentant heart, but God does not want us simply reading or reciting this prayer either as tho it were our own confession and prayer before the Lord. Again I must emphasize THE LORD WANTS EACH PERSON TO CONFESS AND PRAY BEFORE HIM IN THEIR OWN WORDS AND FROM THEIR OWN HEART WITHOUT TRYING TO TAKE SOMEONE ELSE'S WORDS OR PRAYER AS THEIR OWN. This is absolutely essential and crucial. One of the main reasons so many of our churches are full of unconverted, unsanctified, and uncommitted "Christians" is that many of these people may have recited "a sinner's prayer" once or twice or even many, many times over and over again, BUT THEY HAVE NOT PRAYED THRU FROM THE HEART AND IN THEIR OWN WORDS THAT THEY MIGHT TRULY REPENT AND TRULY BE SAVED. What could be more tragic than that?

     Am I exaggerating? No sir, I am not exaggerating at all. There's an old proverb and I think we've all heard it: "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." Well, let me say "You can lead a sinner to the Living Waters, but you're way out of line if you dunk his head in the river and try to make him drink!" As ministers and evangelists we can preach the gospel and plead with the lost and allow the Holy Ghost to convict of sin and righteousness and of coming judgment, BUT WE CAN ONLY LEAD THEM TO THE FOOT OF CALVARY. THEY MUST PLEAD AND SEEK AND PRAY AND REPENT BEFORE GOD IN THEIR OWN WORDS AND FROM THEIR OWN HEART...IT IS WRONG, WRONG, WRONG FOR US TO TRY TO PUT THE WORDS IN THEIR MOUTH AND MAKE IT ALMOST A ROTE PARROTING OF PRAYER RATHER THAN URGE AND EXHORT THEM TO SEEK GOD OF THEIR OWN UNTIL THEY BREAKTHROUGH INTO A PLACE OF MERCY, GRACE, AND PEACE. LET PEOPLE GET DOWN ON THEIR FACE BEFORE GOD AND STAY THERE UNTIL THEY'VE STRUGGLED THROUGH WITH SIN AND REPENTANCE AND MAKING IT RIGHT WITH CHRIST AS THEIR PERSONAL SAVIOR AND LORD. ANY THING LESS THAN THIS AND PEOPLE GO AWAY EMPTY AND UNCHANGED. People must prove they mean business with GOD before He'll do business with them. No more religious games or any of this casual, pretense of prayer. Let's get real before God and do it the way the Bible clearly teaches by precept and example.

     Finally, our last illustration from scripture is that of the Prodigal who returned to the Father when he came to the end of himself and saw his true spiritual condition. At this realization he makes a confession and the ACTS UPON that confession. In Luke 15, verses 18 & 19 we read: "I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and I am no more worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants." -- There was the confession. In the very next verse we read, "AND HE AROSE, AND CAME TO HIS FATHER..." --There was the act of repentance and returning to SERVE God our Heavenly Father. You search the Bible from Genesis to Revelation: THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE INSTANCE OF A SINNER REPEATING A PRAYER LED WORD-BY-WORD BY ANOTHER. NOT ONE. IN EVERY INSTANCE YOU WILL FIND SPONTANEOUS, INDIVIDUAL, HEARTFELT PRAYER THAT SEEKS OUT AND SEARCHES OUT GOD'S MERCY AND FORGIVENESS. Think about that. And if you need to : change your ways.

     Please pray about what I have shared with you here. I know the Lord has spoken to me about this problem. I pray that He speaks to you by His Spirit and thru His Word. God bless you.

     "But what saith it? the word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

     That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

     For WITH THE HEART man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" [Romans 10:8-10].

ADDENDUM TO TEACHING ON PRAYER & REPENTANCE

     Because this booklet will be distributed in many countries, I feel it is important to add a few words regarding false practices and teachings.

     (1) WE ARE TO LOOK AND PRAY TO NO ONE ELSE ASIDE FROM JESUS CHRIST TO BE THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MAN FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF OUR SINS. ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE WE DO NOT CONFESS OUR SINS AND SEEK FORGIVENESS FROM OR THRU A PRIEST, A PROPHET, A POPE, A SAINT, OR MARY, OR ANYONE ELSE OTHER THAN GOD THE FATHER THRU OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. WE ARE TO GO DIRECTLY TO GOD. IT IS HE WHO HAS BEEN OFFENDED, AND IT IS HE TO WHOM WE MUST BE RECONCILED.

     (2) JESUS SAID, "WHEN YOU PRAY, USE NOT VAIN REPETITIONS, AS THE HEATHEN DO..." [Matt. 6:7a]. HE MEANT JUST EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID. DO NOT REPEAT THE SAME PRAYER OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. PRAY FROM YOUR HEART AND IN YOUR OWN WORDS. THIS IS WHAT GOD LOOKS FOR AND WHAT HE HONORS. RELIGIONS THAT CHANT THEIR MEMORIZED PRAYERS OVER & OVER & OVER AGAIN, JESUS SAYS, "BE YE NOT THEREFORE LIKE UNTO THEM" [Matt. 6:8a].

     (3) PRAYING BEFORE GRAVEN MAN-MADE RELIGIOUS IMAGES IS ABSOLUTELY, STRICTLY FORBIDDEN BY THE COMMANDMENTS OF ALMIGHTY GOD. IF YOU THINK I'M MAKING THAT UP, PLEASE READ FOR YOURSELF THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURES AND COMMANDMENTS FROM THE HOLY BIBLE: Deut. 4:9-16, 23 & 24; Deut. 5:8; Exodus 20:4; Lev. 26:1; Deut. 7:26; Deut. 8:6; Deut. 12:30-32; Deut. 16:22; Jer. 16:10-21; Hosea 4:1-12; Deut. 27:15; Acts 15:29; Acts 17:24; Acts 17:29-30; 1 Jn. 5:21; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Cor. 10:14; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:7,8. THIS MEANS THAT WE ARE ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN BY GOD TO KNEEL, TO PRAY BEFORE, TO BURN INCENSE, TO LIGHT CANDLES, TO DANCE BEFORE, TO LAY GARLAND OF FLOWERS OR OTHER OFFERINGS BEFORE ANY CARVED OR GRAVEN MAN-MADE IMAGE THAT WOULD BE USED IN RELIGIOUS RITUAL OR DEVOTIONS OR WORSHIP OR PRAYER. IT IS ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN AND IF YOU HAVE BEEN TAUGHT OTHERWISE YOU HAVE BEEN LIED TO AND DECEIVED. FORGET ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMS AND RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS IF THEY CONTRADICT THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD. OBEY GOD. OBEY HIS COMMANDMENTS.

     Let us be wise as Peter and the other apostles when they boldly declared, "WE OUGHT TO OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN" [Acts 5:29b]. Amen and Amen.

     If you need to know more about the LORD and salvation, please read the gospel of John. Be sure also to read what the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, and what the Apostle Peter preached in Acts 2:32-42.

     This booklet is for worldwide distribution. *Permission is granted by the author for anyone to duplicate, reprint or publish this material for distribution free of charge. "Freely have you received, freely ought we to give," Jesus said.



EVANGELIST JAMES BRAND

873 Old Norcross Tucker Rd.

Tucker, Ga. 30084


IN ASIA:

Evang. James Brand

c/o Clearlight Ministries

PO Box 88, Cebu City 6000

Philippines


     *This is with the provison that no alteration be made in the text and wording of this message in any way whatsoever. It must be duplicated and reprinted word-for-word without alteration or deletion.




E-mail:WJoKrow@aol.com

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