Length: 123 pp
Author: David McIntyre
Who needs prayer, we have programs?
My prayer is that you would be leaping to read a good, Biblical book on prayer, so let me simply commend this book to you with a prayer:
Oh dear YHWH, forgive us our self-reliance. We fail even cry out like the disciples to learn how to pray? We instead say trite little prayers asking you to bless our human wisdom and power. Father, teach us to want to be taught to pray. May we desire prayer because we desire You, and not because we desire to be masters of another spiritual discipline. Bless this small book recommendation toward this end.
It [prayer] is in one aspect glory and blessedness; in another, it is toil and travail, battle and agony. Uplifted hands grow tremulous long before the field is won; straining sinews and panting breath proclaim the exhaustion of the ‘heavenly footman.’ The weight that falls upon an aching heart fills the brow with anguish, even when the midnight air is chill. Prayer is the uplift of the earth-bound soul into the heaven, the entrance of the purified spirit into the holiest; the rending of the luminous veil that shuts in, as behind curtains, the glory of God. It is the vision of things unseen; the recognition of the mind of the Spirit; the effort to frame words which man may not utter.
Now, do not let any one say that such a life [waiting in prayer] is visionary and unprofitable. The real world is not this covering veil of sense; reality belongs to those heavenly things of which the earthly are mere ‘patterns’ and correspondences. Who is so practical as God? Who among men so wisely directed His efforts to the circumstances and the occasions which He was called to face, as ‘the Son of Man who is in heaven? ‘Those who pray well, work well. Those who pray most, achieve the grandest results.10 To use the striking phrase of Tauler, ‘In God nothing is hindered.’
The equipment for the inner life of prayer is simple, if not always easily secured. It consists particularly of a quiet place, a quiet hour, and a quiet heart.
The prayer of faith, like some plant rooted in a fruitful soil, draws its virtue from a disposition which has been brought into conformity with the mind of Christ.
- It is subject to the Divine will: ’This is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us’ (1 John 5:14).
- It is restrained within the interest of Christ: ’Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son’ (John 14:13).
- It is instructed in the truth: ’If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you’ (John 15:7).
- It is energized by the Spirit: ’Able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us’ (Eph. 3:20).
- It is interwoven with love and mercy: ’And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses’ (Mark 11:25).
- It is accompanied with obedience: ’Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight’ (1 John 3:22).
- It is so earnest that it will not accept denial: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you’ (Luke 11:9).
- It goes out to look for, and to hasten its answer: ‘The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working’ (James 5:16, RV).