Sunday, August 02, 2009

An Hour of Prayer Versus Satan's Year of Work

I should count the days, not by what I have of new instances of usefulness, but by the times I have been enabled to pray in faith, and to take hold upon God. Prayer should make room for itself; it should interweave itself into all work for Christ. In the incessant occupations, the bustle of even right things, Satan may find his opportunity to hinder prayer. The devil is aware that one hour of close fellowship, of hearty converse with God in prayer, is able to pull down what he hath been contriving and building many a year; Satan, like the lapwing, drew me away from the real object (prayer and fellowship with God) by suggesting every now and then something about some other part of my work…and so the best hours of yesterday were in a great measure lost, so far as ‘prayer and transfiguration’ might have been.

Andrew Bonar “The Hidden Life of Prayer”


Kevin said...

This is an awesome post.

Christiane said...

From the Eastern Christian prayers comes this:

"Our Lord cries to us in the depths of our hearts,
"Awake 0 sleeper, rise up from among the dead, and Christ will illumine you".

"And you shall be as I fashioned you, a child of light capable of great compassion and love. And then I will awaken within you my Holy Spirit. You will know the profound love without limits I have for you.

And your flow of tears will witness to the melting of frozen places within you. The softening of your tear stained face will be an invitation for me to take up my abode in your heart."

greg.w.h said...

Thanks for this post, Wade. We have so much opportunity as believers to commune with the Father about what is on OUR hearts and what is on HIS heart. And when we can share each others concerns, we can act for the sake of each other.

Our action for the sake of God is to return the love that he had first for us by demonstrating it towards others while, they, too, are yet sinners as we were when he first loved us. And our love towards believers expresses our Bridegroom's desire for our unity with each other.

I also think this quote expressed the appropriate priority for prayer: we do not pray just so God will provide power to our lives, but we pray first and foremost to know him and to share life--from the mundane to the eternal--with him. I confess that I usually put the priority in my prayers on what God can do for me. Yet I am confident he appreciates every moment I spend with him in prayer even when I put more emphasis on what he can do than on the time I spend with him.

I truly believe it is the same as when one of my children just hangs out with me of his or her own accord. I appreciate those moments with them the most because it is their choice. I wonder if God appreciates our choice to spend time with him for the very same reason? And I wonder how much he is motivated to hear our prayers and to answer them by our willingness to spend time with him and to simply be honest with him? I know that sounds almost narcissistic, but we are taught to call him Father!

Rev. said...

Thanks for that fantastic quote from Bonar.

Ardy said...

Amen! Indeed one way of communicating to our God is by fervent prayer. I remember Daniel an old man that prays 3 times a day. If he can do that definitely we can as well. It's great that we have a personal and intimate relation with our ever faithful God not to mention a great way to escape Satan's snare.=)

Ramesh said...

My Utmost For His Highest - Feb 10 - Is Your Imagination Of God Starved?.

"Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things." Isaiah 40:26

The people of God in Isaiah's day had starved their imagination by looking on the face of idols, and Isaiah made them look up at the heavens, that is, he made them begin to use their imagination aright. Nature to a saint is sacramental. If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in Nature. In every wind that blows, in every night and day of the year, in every sign of the sky, in every blossoming and in every withering of the earth, there is a real coming of God to us if we will simply use our starved imagination to realize it.

The test of spiritual concentration is bringing the imagination into captivity. Is your imagination looking on the face of an idol? Is the idol yourself? Your work? Your conception of what a worker should be? Your experience of salvation and sanctification? Then your imagination of God is starved, and when you are up against difficulties you have no power, you can only endure in darkness. If your imagination is starved, do not look back to your own experience; it is God Whom you need. Go right out of yourself, away from the face of your idols, away from everything that has been starving your imagination. Rouse yourself, take the gibe that Isaiah gave the people, and deliberately turn your imagination to God.

One of the reasons of stultification in prayer is that there is no imagination, no power of putting ourselves deliberately before God. We have to learn how to be broken bread and poured out wine on the line of intercession more than on the line of personal contact. Imagination is the power God gives a saint to posit himself out of himself into relationships he never was in

Lydia said...

JC Ryle wrote in Practical Religion that one is most likely not saved without a serious prayer life.

Chris Ryan said...

From "The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence:

"That he was very well pleased with the post he was now in; but that he was as ready to quit that as the former, since he was always pleasing to himself in every condition by doing little things for the love of God.

"That with him the set times of prayer were not different from other times; that he retired to pray according to the directions of his superior, but that he did not want such retirement, nor ask for it, because his greatest business did not divert him from God.

"That as he knew his obligation to love God in all things, and as he endeavored so to do, he had no need of a director to advise him, but that he needed much a confessor to absolve him. That he was very sensible in his faults, but not discouraged by them; that he confessed them to God, but did not plead against Him to excuse them. When he had so done, he peaceably resumed his usual practice of love and adoration."

Rex Ray said...

My father was a chaplain in Patten’s Third Army. They landed three days after ‘D-day’ and he was on the front lines till the war ended.

As often as he could he paid a German newspaper shop to print Chapel Chimes that soldiers loved to read. It was full of pictures, Shakespeare, and the Bible.

Because of jealously the head Chaplain (always fifty miles behind the front) demanded it to be stopped.

The commander investigated by skimming one. My father complained: “Sir, you’re not reading it all.”

“You don’t have to eat the whole hog to know if it’s good or not! – Keep printing it.”

One copy said, “A soldier is at his best when on his knees with his Lord.”

The first casualty died in my father’s arms while saying:

“Yesterday I thought I’d be killed and asked Jesus to save me. He came into my heart and I was so happy I’d thought I’d live forever. Don’t know why I was hit today…tell my mother I’ll meet her in heaven.”

“You’ll never know how much your letter means to us.”

Anonymous said...

The devil is aware that one hour of close fellowship, of hearty converse with God in prayer.

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