PRAYER

PLAYING AT PRAYING

“…beware of playing at praying…If I am called upon to pray in public, I must not dare to use words that are intended to please the ears of my fellow-worshippers, but I must realize that I am speaking to God Himself and that I have business to transact with the great Lord….my very soul speaks unto the Most High.  Do you think that the King of heaven is delighted to hear you pronounce words with a frivolous tongue and a thoughtless mind” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p32)?

“…as only in so far as God permits….For not only do many without modesty, without reverence, presume to invoke God concerning their frivolities, but impudently bring forward their dreams, whatever they may be, before the tribunal of God” John Calvin (ref#20, section 5).

“…We hurl our own petitions at God’s throne and dictate to Him as to what we wish Him to do.  We do not worship God, nor do we seek to form the mind of Christ….” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, March 30th).

“…if prayer is a coming before the throne of God, it ought always to be conducted with deepest sincerity…If anywhere you dare repeat holy words without heart let it not be in Jehovah’s palace…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p32).

“Prayer is…not…a means to some…end as a delightful and practical end in itself” Steve Brown (ref#228, p21).

PRAYER

NO PERSONAL AGENDAS

“You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:3 ESV).

“…petitions asked in ignorance may be most truly answered when they are not granted” Charles John Ellicott (ref#304).

“They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds…”(Hos 7:14 ESV).  “…when the pressure of sore trial comes upon us, we are concerned only with deliverance from it, and not that God may be glorified or that the trial may be sanctified to our souls.  Left for himself, man asks God for what would be curses rather than blessings, for what would prove to be snares rather than helps to him spiritually” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p146).

“…how often we attempt to make God the Servant of our carnal desires.  Shall we ask our heavenly Father for worldly success!  Shall we come to Him who was born in a stable and ask Him for temporal luxuries or even comforts” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p147)!

“It is quite useless knocking at the door of heaven for earthly comfort; it’s not the sort of comfort they supply there” C.S. Lewis (ref#31, p62).

“The desire that He writes on our hearts will move His heart and bring down a blessing; but the desires of the flesh have no power with Him….The true suppliant gathers force as he proceeds, and grows more fervent when God delays to answer….The longer…the more resolved he is that he will not let…go without receiving the blessing” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Oct 8th PM).

“’Ask’ means beg.  Some people are poor enough to be interested in their poverty, and some of us are like that spiritually.  We will never receive if we ask with an end in view; if we ask, not out of our poverty but out of our lust.  A pauper does not ask from any other reason than the abject panging condition of his poverty, he is not ashamed to beg.— Blessed are the paupers in spirit” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, June 9th).

FATHER, if my prayer requests are within Your will, I’ll have to beg, for I can obtain them no other way but by Your grace.  Everything spiritual comes from You.  And spiritual welfare is Your will and what I want for the people I pray for.

PRAYER

UNSTAGGERING CONFIDENCE

“…if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him” (1 John 5:15 ESV).

“…the burden is lightened by the sense of companionship.  Never disassociate yourself from the burden” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Apr 13th).

“…the believer requires constant exhortation to the sweet and precious privilege of communion with his heavenly Father….Christians…without the exercise of prayer…cannot live…this is the breathing of the divine life…the spiritual nature requires constant supplies of spiritual nourishment; and…the only evidence of its healthy existence is its constant rising toward God….if they cease to pray, their grace withers, their vigor decays, and their comfort dies” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 8th).

“He provides in everything for the life of His redeemed ones by giving His own life in them: He cares for their life of prayer, by taking them up into His heavenly prayer-life, by giving and maintaining His prayer-life within them.  Let us each find out what the work is, and who the souls are entrusted to our special prayers; let us make our intercession for them our life of fellowship with God, and we shall not only find the promises of power in prayer made true to us, but we shall then first begin to realize how our abiding in Christ and His abiding in us makes us share in His own joy of blessing and saving men” Andrew Murray (ref#19, TWENTY-SIXTH LESSON).

“…the right spirit in which to approach the throne of grace is that of unstaggering confidence…With our God before us in all His glory sitting on the throne of grace, will our hearts dare to say we mistrust Him” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p31).

PRAYER

IMPORTUNITY IN PRAYER

“I tell you, although he will not get up and supply him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his shameless persistence…he will get up and give him as much as he needs.  So I say to you, Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you.  For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened” (Luke 11:8-10 AMP).

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:16 ESV).  “…pray…day and night, continually.  Take no rest, all you who pray to the LORD” (Isa 62:6 NLT).

The definition of importunity in prayer is: “…the condition of being troublesome or persistent because of a deep sense of urgency” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Nov 13th).  “…the earnest, persistent, believing prayer that will not take no for an answer…” Ruben Archer Torrey (ref#212, p89).  “…an importunity that persists and insists in spite of discouragement…with strong cries and tears” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p107).

“…it is very much for our interest to be constantly supplicating him; first, that our heart may always be inflamed with a serious and ardent desire of seeking, loving, and serving him…secondly, that no desires, no longing whatever, of which we are ashamed to make him the witness, may enter our minds, while we learn to place all our wishes in his sight, and thus pour out our heart before him…” John Calvin (ref#113, p564-565).

“Of all the mysteries of the prayer world, the need of persevering prayer is one of the greatest.  That the Lord, who is so loving and longing to bless, should have to be supplicated time after time, sometimes year after year, before the answer comes, we cannot easily understand.  When after persevering supplication, our prayer remains unanswered, it is often easiest for our slothful flesh…to think that we must now cease praying, because God may have His secret reason for withholding His answer to our request. It is by faith alone that the difficulty is overcome….When…faith has taken its stand upon God’s word, and the Name of Jesus…it need not be discouraged by delay” Andrew Murray (ref#19, SIXTEENTH LESSON).

“The things we ask for are precious, but we do not realize their preciousness until we have sought for them earnestly” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Feb 19th AM).

PRAYER

INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD

“The wonder is not that God hears prayer, but that He is our Father” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p63).

“Though we have God’s promises in the Bible and full liberty to take them, the spiritual power is lacking unless God himself speaks them to us” Andrew Murray (ref#11, p72).

“Prayer that comes as holy fire from God, and that rises as holy incense to God; prayer that takes me, with every want and infirmity, with every sin and sorrow, to the arms of the Father through the smitten hands of the Son; prayer that sweetens my solitude, calms my agitated spirit, weakens the power of sin, nourishes the desire for holiness, and transports the soul through anticipation beyond the region of winds and storms and tempests into the presence of God, where all is sunshine and peace—oh, what a wondrous privilege is this” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 3rd)!

“…when we are in His immediate presence and behold Him in all the glory of His throne of grace.  There, surely is the place for the child to trust its Father…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p32).

“There is nothing secret about communion with God.  If we live a holy life before God, broken of our pride and self-will, crying out for grace, then we will be in communion with God.  It is really that simple” Paul E. Miller (ref#62, p247).

FATHER, I think of being in communion with You only when I pray.  But, of course we are together every moment that I am working out my salvation by making the effort to allow You to work Yourself into my actions which takes broken pride, self-will and crying out for grace.  Thank You for initiating constant communion.

“Hearts must be pure and hands clean that dare shut the door and be alone with God” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p29).

PRAYER

SHORT PRAYERS ARE LONG ENOUGH

“…God is in heaven and you are on earth.  Therefore let your words be few” (Eccl 5:2 ESV).

“When you pray, rather let your heart be without words, than your words be without heart.” John Bunyan

“…prayer is fundamentally counterintuitive, we need grace to rescue us from our self-oriented religious meanderings so that, with humble hearts we may acknowledge God as the Redeemer-King and cast ourselves on his gracious care” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Mar 3rd).

“Begin in silence.  Speak with simplicity.  Listen in meekness.  Never leave without a conscious season of real communion” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p74).  “…silence is the best speech and listening is the best part of praying” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p38).

“Short prayers are long enough….Not length but strength is desirable.  A sense of need is a mighty teacher of brevity.  If our prayers had less of the tail feathers of pride and more wing, they would be all the better.  Verbiage is to devotion as chaff is to wheat” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Jan 14th PM).

“…the prayer of the upright that delights God comes from a heart that at first feels precarious in the presence of God.  It trembles at the hearing of God’s Word, because it feels so far from God’s ideal and so vulnerable to his judgment and so helpless and so sorry for its failings….The first thing that makes a prayer acceptable to God is the brokenness and humility of the one who prays…what makes prayers pleasing to God is a felt awareness of our tremendous need for mercy….The other thing that marks the upright heart is trust in the willingness and power of God to give the mercy we need” John Piper (ref#220, p214).

PRAYER

FAITH  I

“…whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith’” (Matt 21:22 ESV).

“’He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also.’ Faith, the simple act of loving trust in Jesus Christ, opens the door of our hearts and natures for the entrance of all His solemn Omnipotence, and makes us possessors of it” MacLaren Expositions on Holy Scripture (ref#242, [John 14:12-14]).

“…truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say…’Move from here to there,’ and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you” (Matt 17:20 NASB).

“Faith asks no signal from the skies,

To show that prayers accepted rise,

Our Priest is in His holy place,

And answers from the throne of grace”

Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 3rd AM).

“It is by faith alone that the difficulty is overcome.  When once faith has taken its stand upon God’s word, and the Name of Jesus, and has yielded itself to the leading of the Spirit to seek God’s will and honour alone in its prayer, it need not be discouraged by delay” Andrew Murray (ref#19, SIXTEENTH LESSON).

“…our faith will assure us of that which cannot be perceived by sense, i.e., that we have obtained what was fit for us, the Lord having so often and so surely engaged to take an interest in all our troubles from the moment they have been deposited in his bosom.  In this way we shall possess abundance in poverty, and comfort in affliction.  For though all things fail, God will never abandon us, and he cannot frustrate the expectation and patience of his people.  He alone will suffice for all, since in himself he comprehends all good, and will at last reveal it to us on the day of judgment, when his kingdom shall be plainly manifested.  We may add, that although God complies with our request, he does not always give an answer in the very terms of our prayers but while apparently holding us in suspense, yet in an unknown way, shows that our prayers have not been in vain” John Calvin (ref#113, p604).

PRAYER

THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK IN PRAYER  III

“…you shall call and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he wills say, ‘Here I am…’” (Isa 58:9 ESV).

“True prayer is an approach of the soul by the Spirit of God to the throne of God….it is spiritual communion with the Creator of heaven and earth.  God is a Spirit…to be perceived by the inner man…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p27).

“The Spirit, as an enlightening Spirit, teaches us what to pray for, as a sanctifying Spirit works and excites praying graces, as a comforting Spirit silences our fears, and helps us over all our discouragements.  The Holy Spirit is the spring of all our desires and breathings towards God.  It is not the rhetoric and eloquence, but the faith and fervency, of our prayers, that the Spirit works, as an intercessor, in us” Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (ref#18, [Rom 8:26-28]).

“…the Holy Spirit’s work of assuring  us of our redemption helps us to pray” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p71).

“God…sent His Spirit into the heart as the Author of prayer, indicting the petition, breathing in the soul, implanting the desire, convincing of existing needs, unfolding the character of God, working faith in the heart, and drawing it up to God through Jesus.  This seems the very perfection of His wisdom, benevolence, and grace….all true prayer is of the Spirit…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 11th).

“The High Priest intercedes for us in heaven, and the Holy Spirit intercedes within the temple of the consecrated soul….what is prayed by the intercessor on earth is prayed by the Intercessor in heaven….Intercession through the Spirit implies a Spirit-filled temple” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p112).

“…there is and can be no good in us except what God works.  We then see light on the divine mystery of prayer, and believe in the Holy Spirit as breathing within us desires which God will fulfill when we yield to them, and in faith present them in the name of Christ” Andrew Murray (ref#143, p117).

PRAYER

THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK IN PRAYER  I

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Ps 145:18 ESV).

“…’Be ye filled with the Spirit’ we have the measure of what God is ready to give, and what we may obtain.  As God’s children, we have already received the Spirit.  But we still need to ask and pray for His special gifts and operations as we require them.  And not only this, but for Himself to take complete and entire possession: for His unceasing momentary guidance” Andrew Murray (ref#19, SEVENTH LESSON).

“…the ever-blessed Spirit, from the throne of grace, will help us and teach us words and even write in our hearts the desires themselves.  The Spirit will direct your desires to the things for which you ought to seek; He will teach you your wants, though as yet you know them not; He will suggest to you His promises that you may be able to plead them; He will, in fact, be Alpha and Omega to your prayer, just as He is to your salvation” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p36).

“It is in prayer that we wait for the leading of the Spirit to show us whether we are asking the right thing and in the right spirit” Andrew Murray (ref#19, ELEVENTH LESSON).

“God has not only provided us with an Intercessor at His right hand…God has given His needy people a Divine Intercessor at their right hand, even the Holy Spirit….One to represent God to us, the Other to represent us before God” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p152).

PRAYER

WE ASK, GOD GIVES

“’You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer 29:13 ESV).

“…the faults of the petitioner himself shall not prevent the success of his prayer” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p35).

“…when you can do least yourselves, you may engage God, by prayer, to do most” John Collins (ref#225, Dec 13th).

“And if there should be grave defects in our spirit and failures in the fervency or in the humility of the prayer, though these should not be there and are much to be deplored, grace overlooks and forgives all this, and still its merciful hand is stretched out to enrich us according to our needs” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p37).

“Blessed be God, neither the faults of the prayer nor yet of the suppliant shall shut out our petitions from God who delights in broken and contrite hearts” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p35).

“He does withhold His aid when we forget our need of it and do not ask Him for it” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p145).

“…as the father likes the child to keep on coming because he likes the personal contact, so God desires us to come into His presence….we must know that God is much more ready to give than we are to receive” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#212, p83).

“If I cannot find words in which to utter my desires, God in His grace will read my desires without the words….God…will dive into the soul of our desires and will read there what we cannot speak with the tongue” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p35).