In the past few months, I have been blessed immensely by slowly working through two books that I purchased at the NCFIC Worship of God Conference: Taking Hold of God, and Seasons of the Heart.
As the Lord continues to work in my heart and life regarding prayer, several insights from these two volumes have stood out to me as being particularly helpful and uplifting. Taken from men and woman both past and present, the following thoughts, I believe, spring from hearts to whom the Lord has given true wisdom regarding this necessary spiritual discipline.
“Given the rich blessings accessible to us through prayer, those who refuse to pray neglect a treasure, buried and hidden in the earth, after it had been pointed out to them… Prayerlessness is a blatant denial that God is the author of every good thing.” John Calvin
“Ceasing to pray when God does not answer us quickly is the surest mark that we have never become a believer.” Joel R. Beeke
“Christ said, ‘All power is mine, heaven and on earth.’ Oh, the mighty power of payer with God our Father in the name of His beloved Son! We must get to heaven before we know what that power has been in its fullest sense. Oh, the luxury of prayer! We have communion truly, familiar communion with God – to talk with God. To go and shut the door and tell God all – all – that is in our heart! To feel that He is listening to hear what we have to say to Him, and then to wait and see what He will say to us!
Dear friend, such, as you know, is the privilege of all the saints. It may be long before you see your prayers answered, for faith must be brought into exercise. Often, when we are ready to give all up, then the Lord comes, and, although in a very different manner to what we expected, He answers our prayers and puts our unbelief to shame.
Oh, to have such a God to deal with, and to know that He is always dealing with us in His providence and by His Spirit! Glorious is our high calling in Christ Jesus. It is He who says, ‘Ask anything in my name, and I will do it. Is anything too hard for me?’ Such is the power of the Most High, and such the fullness of Christ, and such the boundless love of God in Jesus, that I am greatly encouraged to make large demands upon Him, the dear and all-prevailing name of His Son and of my Savior. So, you see, I would try to encourage you, too, to pray on, and to expect an answer when your faith is fully tried.” Mary Winslow
“In prayer we both communicate and commune with our Father in heaven, feeling our transparency in His presence. Like Christ in Gethsemane, we cast our desires, sighs, anxieties, fears, hopes, and joys into the lap of God… We are permitted to pour into God’s bosom the difficulties which torment us, in order that He may loosen the knots which we cannot untie. Prayer is the outpouring of the soul, the deepest root of piety, the bedrock of assurance. Prayer is the most important part of the Christian life; it is the lifeblood of every true believer.” Joel R. Beeke (John Calvin)
“God, in the wonderful things He hath predestined or promised for His people, hath appointed means for the performance of them. Hence, as He converts by the Word, so He bestoweth His mercy upon a praying people.” Anthony Burgess
“Hear [God] speaking to you, and have an eye to that in everything you say to Him; as when you write an answer to a letter of business, you lay it before you. God’s Word must be the guide of your desires and the ground of your expectations in prayer.” Matthew Henry
“Let not self, carnal self, be the spring and center of your prayers, but God; let the eye of the soul be fixed upon Him as your highest end in all your applications to Him; let this be the habitual disposition of your souls, to be to your God for a name and a praise; and let this be your design in all your desires, that God may be glorified, and by this let them all be directed, determined, sanctified, and, when need is, overruled.” Matthew Henry
“O you trembling souls, let not the subtle serpent drive you from this stronghold; your God will hear and help you. He has taught you to pray; He will answer your prayers. If He long delay, He is worth waiting for. If He shut His door against you, it is only to make you knock louder. It is better to wait on God for His salvation in sackcloth and ashes than to wait on the world and the flesh clothed in scarlet, ‘for the end of those things is death.’” Ruth Bryan