Incidents in Travel and Soul Winning – By Elmer & Julia Shelhamer

Chapter 26

How to Save Your Child

“This kind goeth not out, but by prayer and fasting.”

I am wondering if we could not adopt a new plan for praying for our unsaved children.

Heretofore parents have been bearing this burden alone. In union there is strength. How would it be for us as Christian parents to band together as one strong force in agreeing to fast and pray not only for our own, but for each other’s children on a certain day of each week?

This plan would have a number of advantages:

1. It would encourage unselfish praying, which appeals to God. “The Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends.” — Job 42:10. It was the giving of the last morsel of bread that she had that brought plenty of oil and meal to the widow.

2. A covenant to thus help each other pray would have a tendency to inspire faith. There are some people who have the gift of prayer and of faith in a greater degree than others. This would overlap the feeble petitions of some whose faith is weak and who are more or less discouraged.

3. Such a covenant would of necessity help to eliminate differences and hard feelings; for when one begins to fast and pray for another, God answers that prayer by first drawing the one who prays nearer to Himself. For instance, if a sister fasts and prays for the children of an enemy or of a rival, she has taken sides against herself to the extent that God Almighty cannot withhold blessings from her and her family. There are many things besides prayer to consider in regard to the salvation of our children, and united, unselfish fasting and prayer will reveal these things. But do not let this mar your faith. There is a way through all hindrances. It is the persistent holding on and waiting before God that brings such hindrances to the light.

Later it may be seen that little apologies are to be made to members of the family or to others. If made properly such apologies will do more to bring your children to Christ than anything else.

4. An agreement to help each other fast and pray would be of such importance that it would attract all heaven. God always comes promptly to the place of prayer when a certain date has been set for supplication.

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A Few Suggestions

1. May we suggest that except to friends who may wish ,to join you in this prayer, you do not announce the fact that you are fasting, for this would be unscriptural and hinder the answer. There are both psychological and spiritual reasons for the advice Jesus gave in Matt. 6:17, 18, “But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret:, and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”

To let others know that we are fasting or giving alms or spending much time in prayer does not appeal to God or man. A certain minister said, “So much of my work is public, and receives commendation of man, that I like once in a while to slip some good deeds into my life that no one knows anything about so that God Himself will reward me.”

2. When God helps you to pray through and gives you the glorious witness or assurance of an answer, you will find that your answer will be more certain if you do not broadcast it. In other words, do not tell anyone of your assurance. It will, we believe, hinder the answer from coming. If God tells you that your child will be saved, do not under any consideration tell him so. I have in mind an aged man who is near the grave but who will not seek God because his father once told him that he had a witness that all his children would be saved. That son is now depending on that assurance.

Sometimes we tell things that God has told us, believing that it glorifies Him, not realizing that it glorifies self also. It feeds spiritual pride. We shall be more truly humble if we do not tell all we hear from heaven. St. Paul advised “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God.” Jesus said, “See thou tell no man.” Another reason why it is best not to tell our heavenly secrets is that sometimes the outcome may not be just as we had predicted, and if our vision has been told, it leaves us in an embarrassing situation. God does not always explain everything to us. He drops down an assurance of something good he has for us and we may attach to that assurance more than He had in His mind. We are human and cannot always fully understand. It is enough that He has spoken; so humbly and quietly wait for the answer without tooting a horn over it. To hold such an assurance in the heart without telling it would be a death to self that some have never experienced. “A fool uttereth all his mind, but a wise man keepeth it in till afterward.” — Proverbs of Solomon.

3. Do not get under a strain about fasting. Do not fast every time the thought comes to mind, as the devil troubles conscientious souls along that line,

4. Arrange your work for the week so that you can have time for special prayer when you are fasting. If you feel that you are too busy to wait upon God for the salvation, of your children, arise an hour or two earlier in the morning, for your child’s soul is worth it and you will be greatly benefited physically, mentally, spiritually and financially for the effort. For years we have had a covenant to thus fast and pray for our own children, and it has resulted in their salvation and call to the work of soul-winning.

Shall we agree on Friday of each week for our day of fasting, skipping one or more meals as the Lord leads?

If you care to help hundreds of parents prevail in prayer and thereby have them help you pray for your own precious children, simply begin to fast and pray next Friday.