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-- © GodSpeak International 2003 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Teresa Seputis <ts@godspeak.net>
Editor: Elvi Glass

Prayer-School Course #22

Creating A Culture For Answered Prayer

Lesson 12

The Power Of Testimony
(part 2 of 2)

By Teresa Seputis

We spent the last lesson looking at how testimonies create an expectation in those who hear the testimony that God might "do it again for me!" That expectation causes their faith to be engaged, and then there is a good chance that God will indeed do it again!

Testimony contains two important elements. First, unveils the nature of God. It shows people that God is willing to do this. Second, testimony renews God's covenant with us to hear and answer our prayers. God said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened" (Matt 7:7-8 NIV). He also said, "And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it" John 14:13-14, NIV). Testimony makes it real to us that God is a God who hears and answers prayer.

The problem with the church today is that many of us don't really believe that God hears and answers our prayers. We need to correct that by working to create a culture that is conducive to seeing God move in power. Testimony is a big part of that because it raises people's consciousness of God's ability and willingness to answer prayer. Testimony makes people aware that God is still a miracle working God.

The bible shows us that testimony is very important to God. Do you remember what happened in Acts, chapter 2? Jesus had given the great commission, instructing His followers to go into all the world and spread the gospel. But he instructed them to WAIT until they had been empowered by the Holy Spirit before going (Acts 1:4-5). So they gathered together, 120 of them, to pray for God to fill them with His Holy Spirit. Finally the big day came where God did indeed send His Spirit and fill and empower each one there. This was a very important day to God because He was releasing His church to go fulfill their commission. This was the whole reason that Jesus came and died and rose from the dead -- that man could be saved. And these 120 where the first witnesses that Jesus was sending out, baptized in His Spirit and power to plant and establish His church. This was a very important day to God.

When God baptized them in His Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues -- these were real languages that international travelers in Jerusalem spoke on a daily basis -- Acts 2:8-11 says, "Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs-- we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" (NIV)

So they spoke in real human languages that they'd never learned (as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance). What did God say through them? The NKJV puts verse 11 this way: Acts 2:11, "We hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God."

They were telling testimonies of God's works! When God met and filled and empowered His disciples and spoke through them, He had them testify of the things He had done for His people over the centuries. Testimony is very important to God.

In fact, testimonies help bring victories into situations. Look at Revelation 12:11 -- "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." In other words, there is so much power in testimony that it overcomes the devil!

Testimony is powerful because it evokes and fosters faith. And God intends for testimony of His works to be a part of our Christian life style. He wants us to testify of His works to each other and to our children and to future generations. This is not something new, it is something that He has established all along. Why? Because testimony builds faith in those who haven't seen God's mighty works first hand. Look at Ps 22:27-31:

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and He rules over the nations.

All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before Him- those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve Him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn- for He has done it.

In fact, Psalm 119:111 tells us that testimony is part of our inheritance. It says, "Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, For they are the rejoicing of my heart."

God expects one generation to teach the next about His works. He makes this clear in Joel 1:2-3 where He says, "Hear this, you elders, and give ear, all you inhabitants of the land! Has anything like this happened in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? Tell your children about it, Let your children tell their children, and their children another generation."

God intends for us to share the testimony of what He has done in our lives with future generations. This is what will keep their faith alive. Let me give you an example from the second generation of the wilderness wanderers -- those who God was leading into the promised land to take their inheritance. Joshua 4 contains the story of God parting the Jordan River when the priests stepped into the water, and the people were able to cross this wide and dangerous river walking on dry land! This was roughly the same miracle as the parting of the Red Sea. But many of those who were marching across the Jordan on dry ground had not been born when God parted the Red Sea -- they had never seen the miracle for themselves. So God repeated the miracle for this next generation. But He decided He was not going to do this for each and every generation that was to follow. Instead He was going to have one generation tell the next of what He had done. He seemed to feel that the testimony of what He had done would carry as much faith-producing weight as actually seeing God do the miracle with their own eyes. God felt that testimony of His deeds carried great weight and power.

Look at verses 4 to 7, God has Joshua do something very interesting here:

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, "Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you.

In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord . When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever."

God's instructions to the children of Israel were to build a memorial for their children and for future generations after that. He wanted the testimony of what He had done to stand and be told down the generations.

The psalmist, present tense, invites people to see the works God did hundreds of years before in Ps 66:5-6. He says, "Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men. He turned the sea into dry land; they went through the river on foot. There we will rejoice in Him." How could people who had not been born until hundreds of years after God did something "come and see" it? Obviously they could not build a time machine and go back through time to go observe God's mighty works. So how do they "come and see" it? They "see" through testimony. Testimony brings to life what God has already done and creates an atmosphere for God to "do it again."

If we want a culture where we see God answer prayer on a regular basis, we need to make sure that testimony is a part of it. We need to constantly share testimonies of great things and answered prayers that God has done in our own life. The testimonies must focus on God and what He as done, not on ourselves or our prayers, but they must glorify and lift up our wonder working God. This will build faith in others and it will foster our faith as we remind ourselves of what God has already done for us. Testimonies of answered prayer will create an atmosphere and expectation for God to do it again. And He will!

-- © GodSpeak International 2003 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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