WHY PRAY—TO GET AND NOT TO GIVE
“Two men went up into the temple to pray…The Pharisee…prayed thus…God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publician” (Luke 18:10-11 KJV).
“boasting” before God of what we are and of what we have done, is abominable in his sight. This spoils everything, even if the life “should be” tolerably blameless, and if there should be real piety” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Luke 18:12]).
“When you come to the throne of grace, come to receive out of Christ’s fullness, and come not to bring grace with you to add to Christ’s store. He loves to give, and glories in giving; but He scorns to receive grace from you; and in truth you have none to give but what He gives you. Bring your wants to Him to supply, but bring not your fullness to brag about” Robert Traill (ref#225, Oct 6th).
“The publician…came to the throne of grace, like a man that would carry something away” Robert Traill (ref#225, Oct 6th).
“he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty” (Luke 1:53 ESV).
“…it is very much for our interest to be constantly supplicating him…although it is true that while we are listless or insensible to our wretchedness, he wakes and watches for us and sometimes even assists us unasked” John Calvin (ref#20, section 3).
“…he [GOD] does not answer, because of…pride…” (Job 35:12 ESV, brackets mine).
WHERE TO PRAY—AT THE THRONE ROOM
“…the throne of grace. It is a throne set up on purpose for the dispensation of grace…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p33).
“What a God our God must be, to thus appoint a meeting place….That God should have developed a throne of grace, a mercy-seat around which may gather the helpless, the burdened, the friendless, the vile, the guilty, and the needy, in clustering and welcome multitudes; that no poor one should meet with refusal or rejection, be his poverty never so great, his burden never so heavy, or his case never so desperate—this greatly develops and magnifies the riches of His grace, wisdom, and love to sinners.” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Apr 11th).
FATHER, You have given me access to Your throne room through the greatest of sacrifice and I neglect too often to stop in and see You!! Where is my head? If I deem life is going well, I don’t think of praying. But the throne room is not just for ‘hollering help.” I forget the SPIRIT is always ready to point out my sins. There is always reason to frequent the throne room. Therefore, overwhelm me with my sins.
“…come you that are reduced to a beggarly bankruptcy by Adam’s fall and by your own transgressions. This is not the throne of majesty which supports itself by the taxation of its subjects, but a throne which glorifies itself by streaming forth like a fountain with floods of good things” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p36).
WHEN TO PRAY
“…pray without ceasing,” (1 Thes 5:17 ESV).
“…God wills that men should pray everywhere, but the place of His glory is in the solitudes, where He hides us in the cleft of the rock, and talks with man face to face as a man talks with his friend” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p35).
“…watching and praying is always necessary…we can never…overcome our old nature on our own. The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is weak; therefore we must watch and pray” John Calvin (ref#164, July 10th).
“Come overwhelmed with life. Come with a wandering mind. Come messy. So, instead of being frozen by your self-preoccupation, talk with God about your worries. Tell him where you are weary…We are often so busy and overwhelmed that when we slow down to pray, we don’t know where our hearts are. We don’t know what troubles us. So, oddly enough, we might have to worry before we pray” Paul E. Miller (ref#62, p33).
“God has willed that the working of His Spirit shall follow the prayer of His people. He waits for their intercession because that is evidence of their preparation of heart—revealing to what extent they are ready to yield to His Spirit’s control.” Andrew Murray
“…the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Rom 8:26 ESV).
WHAT IS PRAYER?
“…prayer…The word that conquers God” Clarence Edward Noble Macartney (ref#212, p10).
“The Christian’s trade is praying…” Martin Luther (ref#54, p167).
“…prayer…is an agony and entreaty, a pleading and striving, a wrestling and persistence” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p73).
“Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honor of a Christian” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Jan 2nd, AM).
“Prayer is not a question of altering things externally, but of working wonders in a man’s disposition” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Aug 28th).
“True prayer uncovers the emptiness in the petitioner but the fullness in the Petitioned” Watchman Nee (ref#101, p52).
“…true prayer is the breathing of the life of God in the soul of man. It is the Spirit dwelling and breathing in him” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Apr 11th). “It is more than asking, it is communion, fellowship, co-operation, identification, with God the Father and the Son by the Holy Spirit. Prayer is more than words, for it is mightiest when wordless. It is more than asking, for it reaches its highest glory when it adores and asks nothing” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p61).
“Prayer is the means of unleashing God’s power on earth and the means of laying hold of God’s promises” Kay Arthur (ref#12).
“Prayer is the condition by which all foes are to be overcome and all the inheritance is to be possessed” E.M Bounds (ref#54, p27).
DISCLAIMER TO PRAYER
Prayer is such a broad subject because it represents all GOD’s creature’s communications with Him. Dawn starts another day for us creatures. As children of our Creator we look to Him in ways as individual as we are. When we write about a large subject as prayer we can only write snippets of what it really is and we write what it really is to us individually at that moment in time.
Thus there are a lot of words in writing that contradict each other. I have some in my blogs. They seemed right at the time but as I write these conclusions some concepts seem myopic, even biased.
After completion of all the blogs the SPIRIT reminded me of an exercise I did many years ago. I went through the Davidic Psalms and recorded David’s prayer requests. There were hundreds and hundreds. I’ve since thrown the list away but I still remember my conclusions.
David was a man—a child of GOD who looked to His FATHER for everything—EVERYTHING! All day long he was pleading with his FATHER to get him through all he encountered. All this praying confirmed that he rarely left the presence of his FATHER. And when he did lose sight of Him he knew he must direct his mind back to thoughts of Him.
The writers of the New Testament recorded their prayers mainly in light of their evangelistic assignment from GOD. Therefore New Testament prayers are mainly of the spiritual variety.
But, as Christian writers and readers of a prayer blog, my conclusion is to look to King David as our mentor on how to pray. Let us stay close to our FATHER as we can and ask Him for everything we need throughout each of our days. No prayer is too small; fathers love to hear from their children. And the more we pray the more we see answers and the more praise we’ll give our GOD.
AN EXPERIENCE OF HEAVEN
“If heaven is our country, what can the earth be but a place of exile? If departure from the world is entrance into life, what is the world but a sepulcher, and what is residence in it but immersion in death? If to be freed from the body is to gain full possession of freedom, what is the body but a prison? If it is the very summit of happiness to enjoy the presence of God, is it not miserable to want it? But ‘whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord’ (2 Cor 5:6)” John Calvin (ref#113, p467).
“And if the distant, sporadic glimpses of the glorified Christ are so ravishing, what will be the ecstatic and overpowering effect of the full unclouded vision, when we shall see Him face to face” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 24th).
“Thus when the earthly is compared with the heavenly life, it may undoubtedly be despised and trampled under foot. We ought never, indeed, to regard it with hatred, except insofar as it keeps us subject to sin; and even this hatred ought not to be directed against life itself. At all events, we must stand so affected toward it in regard to weariness or hatred as, while longing for its termination, to be ready at the Lord’s will to continue in it, keeping far from everything like murmuring and impatience. For it is as if the Lord had assigned us a post, which we must maintain till he recalls us” John Calvin (ref#113, p467).
John Burke, in his book, Imagine Heaven, quoted George Ritchie who encountered a near-death experience. See below:
“I have no idea what the next life will be like. Whatever I saw was only—from the doorway, so to speak. But it was enough to convince me totally of two things from that moment on. One, that our conscience does not cease with physical death—that it becomes in fact keener and more aware than ever. And two, that how we spend our time on earth, the kind of relationships we build is vastly, infinitely more important than we can know” George Ritchie (ref#297, p24).
THE JOURNEY TOWARD HEAVEN
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col 3:2 ESV).
“…there is not only an outward preparation of the place for the people, but also an inward preparation of the people for the place. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people….Jesus is…preparing the place for the people…at the same time prepares the people for the place” Charles Ross (ref#241, p71).
“This life ought so to be spent by us as to be only a journey toward heaven. We ought not to rest in the world and its enjoyments, but should desire heaven” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p72). “We ought to make use of worldly enjoyments and worldly business as shall best forward our journey heavenward, and no otherwise” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p73). “We ought to seek heaven by traveling in the way that leads there. The way is the way of holiness” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p72).
“God rests in the unchangeableness of His love towards His saints. Nothing can move Him from it…He foresaw and foreknew all that was in them….In this day of easy and abounding nominal Christianity; this day when human authority is exalted above the Word of God; this day of error, rebuke, and blasphemy; this day of rapid and excited action; this last solemn dispensation of the world, the events of which are rapidly ushering in the coming of the Son of Man; let us, under the influence of more simple faith, more fervent love, and brightening hope, “ go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach (Heb 13:13). Let us rest from our conflict and toil where the Father rests, where the sinner rests, where we may rest—in Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Apr 23rd).
“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Phil 3:14 NLT).
CONTINUAL ENJOYMENT OF GOD
“It is the enjoyment of God that makes heaven…” Thomas Watson (ref#225, p18).
“One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple” (Ps 27:4 ESV).
FATHER, my longing is for heaven. Settle me now and allow me to dream…
“…the former troubles are forgotten and are hidden from my eyes. ‘For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind” (Isa 65:16-17 ESV).
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:1-4 ESV).
“The sun shall be no more your light by day, not for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory” (Isa 60:19 ESV).
“…The Throne of God and of the Lamb is at the center. His servants will offer God service—worshiping, they’ll look on his face…” (Rev 22:1-5 MSG).
“…What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him.…” (1 John 3:2-3 MSG).
FATHER, with the utmost praise I thank You for my inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading kept in heaven for me. (1 Pet 1:4)