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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Prayer Is ...

Prayer is the child's request, not to the winds, nor to the world, but to the Father.

Prayer is the outstretched arms of the child for the Father's help.

Prayer is the child's cry calling to the Father's ear, the Father's heart, and to the Father's ability, which the Father is to hear, the Father is to feel, and which the Father is to relieve.

Prayer is the seeking of God's great and greatest good, which will not come if we do not pray.

Prayer is an ardent and believing cry to God for some specific thing. God's rule is to answer prayer by giving the specific thing asked for. With it may come much of other gifts and graces.

Prayer lifts men and women out of the earthliness and links them with the heavenlies. Men and women are never nearer heaven, nearer God, never more God-like, never in deeper sympathy and truer partnership with Jesus Christ, than when praying. Love, philanthropy, holy affiances, all of them helpful and tender for men and women - are born and perfected by prayer.

Prayer is not merely a question of duty, but of salvation. Are men and women saved who are not men and women of prayer? Is not the gift, the inclination, the habit of prayer, one of the elements or characteristics of salvation? Can it be possible to be in affinity with Jesus Christ and not be prayerful? Is it possible to have the Holy Spirit and not have the spirit of prayer? Is it possible to have the new birth and not be born to prayer? Is not the life of the Spirit and the life of prayer coordinate and consistent? Can brotherly love be in the heart which is unschooled in prayer?

We have two kinds of prayer named in the New Testament - prayer and supplication.

Prayer denotes prayer in general. Supplication is a more intense and more special form of prayer. These two, supplication and prayer, ought to be combined. Then we would have devotion in its widest and sweetest form, and supplication with its most earnest and personal sense of need. "Prayer gives us eyes to see God. Prayer is seeing God." The prayer life is knowledge without and within. All vigilance without, all vigilance within. There can be no intelligent prayer without knowledge within. Our inner condition and our inner needs must be felt and known.

Let us get to the serious work, the chief business of men, that of prayer. Let us work at it skilfully.

Let us seek to be adept in this great work of praying. Let us be master-workmen in this high art of praying. Let us be so in the habit of prayer, so devoted to prayer, so filled with its rich spices, so ardent by its holy flame, that all heaven and earth will be perfumed by its aroma, and nations yet in the womb will be blessed by our prayers. Heaven will be fuller and brighter inglorious inhabitants, earth will be better  prepared for its bridal day, and hell robbed of many of its victims, because we have lived to pray.

~E. M. Bounds~

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