If your heart takes more pleasure in reading novels, or watching TV, or going to the movies, or talking to friends, rather than just sitting alone with God and embracing Him, sharing His cares and His burdens, weeping and rejoicing with Him, then how are you going to handle forever and ever in His presence...? You'd be bored to tears in heaven, if you're not ecstatic about God now.
Prayer is the desire to possess God Himself, the Source of all life. The true spirit of prayer does not consist in asking for blessings, but in receiving Him who is the giver of all blessings, and in living a life of fellowship with Him.
Sadhu Sundar Singh
Luke tells us in his gospel that, when Jesus was teaching every day in the temple, He went off to spend every night on the Mount of Olives. The words He had for the people came out of prolonged silence on that quiet hillside, away from the city, under the silent stars.
The neglect of prayer proves to my mind, that there is a large amount of practical infidelity. If the people believed that there was a real, existing, personal God, they would ask Him for what they wanted, and they would get what they asked. But they do not ask, because they do not believe or expect to receive.
It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray; but we must patiently, believingly, continue in prayer until we obtain an answer; and further we have not only to continue in prayer unto the end, but we have also to believe that God does hear us, and will answer our prayers. Most frequently we fail in not continuing in prayer until the blessing is obtained, and in not expecting the blessing.
This statement by the Lord in Revelation is not to the unsaved, it's to the Church in Laodicea (see 3:14). The picture is truly pathetic. Jesus is standing outside of His own church, knocking for them to let Him in! (Sound familiar?) And if there's any doubt left as to who He's talking to, look at verse 22: He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
To be much for God, we must be much with God. Jesus, that lone figure fasting in the wilderness, knew strong crying, along with tears. Can one be moved with compassion and not know tears? Jeremiah was a sobbing saint. Jesus wept! So did Paul. So did John ... Though there are some tearful intercessors behind the scenes, I grant you that to our modern Christianity, praying is foreign.
There are two ways of praying. One asks and hopes; the other craves and waits until he has obtained. It is just this 'until' that characterises the latter. One seeks God and finds Him; the other strives with God and triumphs. The first observes scruiously his daily devotions; the second stays on his knees hours a day, through the night. The first fits in with the ordinary course of life; the second watches, fasts, cries, weeps, sweats blood. The first we have known since we learned to know the Lord; the second . . . Lord, teach us to pray!
We must feel toward our people as a father toward his children; yea, the most tender love of a mother must not surpass ours. We must even travail in birth, till Christ be formed in them. They should see that we care for no outward thing, neither liberty, nor honor, nor life, in comparison to their salvation... When the people see that you truly love them, they will hear anything from you...Oh therefore, see that you feel a tender love for your people in your hearts, and let them perceive it in your speech and conduct. Let them see that you spend and are spent for their sakes.
Look, as it were, through a telescope that will bring it up near to you; look into hell, and hear them groan; then turn the glass upwards and look into heaven, and see the saints there, in their white robes, with their harps in their hands, and hear them sing the song of redeeming love; and ask yourself: Is it possible that I should prevail with God to elevate the sinner there? Do this, and if you are not a wicked man, and a stranger to God, you will soon have as much of the spirit of prayer as your body can sustain.
God only comes to those who ask Him to come; and He cannot refuse to come to those who implore Him long, often, and ardently.
It is a solemn thing to find oneself drawn out in prayer which knows no relief till the soul it is burdened with is born. It is no less solemn afterwards, until Christ is formed in them.
Our prayers lay the track down which Gods power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, his power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails.
I urge you a nearer communion with Christ, and a growing communion. There are curtains to be opened in Christ that we have never seen before, and new layers of love in Him. I despair that I will ever make it to the far end of that love, there are so many layers in it. Therefore dig deep, and sweat, and labor. Take pains for Him, and set aside as much time as you can in each day for Him. Christ will be won with labor.
God's program for reviving His people is definite and clear. First Elijah "repaired the altar of Jehovah that was thrown down." That is the place to begin. All the ruin that sin has wrought must be cleared away by confession. Things must be made right with God; restitution must be made where it is due. Unless this is done definitely and thoroughly, prayer for reviving is vain Too many are praying today without repairing the altar by confession of sin, without digging a trench of separation from the world and without a surrender that is even unto death. No wonder such prayer is fruitless.
If you mean to pray effectually, you must pray a great deal. It was said of the Apostle James that after he was dead it was found that his knees were callous, like a camel's knees, by praying so much. Ah, here was the secret of the success of those primitive ministers! They had callous knees!
Charles G. Finney
I believe there is one thing for which God is very angry with our land, and for which His Holy Spirit is so little among us, and that is the neglect of united prayer; the appointed means of bringing down the Holy Spirit.
Do the Pentecostals look back with shame as they remember when they dwelt across the theological tracks, but with the glory of the Lord in their midst? When they had a normal church life, which meant nights of prayers, followed by signs and wonders, and diverse miracles, and genuine gifts of the Holy Ghost? When they were not clock watchers, and their meetings lasted for hours, saturated with holy power? Have we no tears for these memories, or shame that our children know nothing of such power?
The office of a minister of Christ is weighty; and they, who go forth as watchmen, have need to be steadily on their guard against the snares of prosperity and an outside friendship.
If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.
Robert Murray MCheyne
Am I robbing God of time? How easy to do, and how impossible to repay! We have lost the sacred art of spending time with God, and nothing else can ever take its place. No repentance however deep, no restitution however costly, no sorrow however complete, can do away with the necessity for a daily time of sacred quiet, alone with God.
Gordon M. Guinness
Paul begs the saints in Rome to strive together with him in their prayers. The word translated strive means primarily to contend as in athletic games or in a fight. In other words, the prayer which prevails with God is the prayer into which we put our whole soul, stretching out toward God in intense and agonizing desire. Much of our modern prayer lacks power because it lacks heart. We rush into God's presence, run through a string of petitions, jump up, and go out. If someone asks us an hour later what we prayed for, often we cannot remember. If we put so little heart into our prayers, we cannot expect God to put much heart into answering them.
I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.
J. H. Jowett
In prayer... I must wrestle like Jacob, and pant like David, and hope like Elijah, and be persistent like Bartimeus, and cry with tears like my blessed Lord.
There is nothing that makes us love a man so much as praying for him.
One night alone in prayer might make us new men, changed from poverty of soul to spiritual wealth, from trembling to triumphing.
If sinners be dammed, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one GO there UNWARNED and UNPRAYED for.
O brother, pray; in spite of Satan, pray; spend hours in prayer; rather neglect friends than not pray; rather fast, and lose breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper (and sleep to) than not pray. And we must not talk about prayer, we must pray in right earnest. The Lord is near. He comes softly while the virgin slumbers.
Andrew A. Bonar
At Waterloo, the English troops obeying orders fell on their faces for a time and let the hot fire of the French artillery pass over them. Then they sprang to their feet and rushed to the thickest of the fight and beat back their foes. The Lord wants His people flat on their faces, before they attempt to meet the great crises of life.
A. T. Pierson
There is no power like that of prevailing prayer - of Abraham pleading for Sodom, Jacob wrestling in the stillness of the night, Moses standing in the breach, Hannah intoxicated with sorrow, David heart-broken with remorse and grief, Jesus in sweat and blood. Add to this list from the records of the church your personal observation and experience, and always there is cost of passion unto blood. Such prayer prevails. It turns ordinary mortals into men of power. It brings power. It brings fire. It brings rain. It brings life. It brings God.
Prayer is self-discipline. The effort to realize the presence and power of God stretches the sinews of the soul and hardens its muscles. To pray is to grow in grace. To tarry in the presence of the King leads to new loyalty and devotion on the part of the faithful subjects. Christian character grows in the secret-place of prayer.
Samuel M. Zwemer
A man set on fire is an apostle of his age. And the only one who can kindle the spark of light and fire on the hearth where it has died down is He who has revealed Himself as the God of fire, our Lord Jesus Christ. 'Our God is a consuming fire' ... Tell me, is your ministry a burning and shining light, or a smoking wick, slowly dying out to ashes? ...It is a strange custom that we should supply a minister with a glass of water; if only we could supply him with a bonfire in the pulpit, a spiritual bonfire. We need the dynamic of a flaming ministry that will set the Church on fire.
Samuel M. Zwemer
No man has a right to lead such a life of contemplation as to forget in his own ease the service due to his neighbor; nor has any man a right to be so immersed in active life as to neglect the contemplation of God.
Augustine of Hippo
Our power in prayer depends on our life. If ye abide in me, our Lord says, you shall ask, and it shall be done unto you. It is the prayer of a righteous man, according to James, that avails much. We receive whatsoever we ask, John says, because we obey and please God.
We can no more find a method for knowing God than for making God, because the knowledge of God is God Himself dwelling in the soul. The most we can do is to prepare for His entry, to get out of His way, to remove the barriers, for until God acts in us there is nothing positive that we can do in this direction.
Alan W. Watts
If I am concerned that my flock be men and women of prayer, then, as their pastor, I must lead the way; apathy in me will produce apathy in them. The church prayer meeting ought to be the best attended in the week, and if it is, success will follow the ministry of the Word at the weekends. I would rather a thousand times set men and women to pray than teach them to preach.
J. D. Drysdale
A marble cutter, with chisel and hammer, was changing a stone into a statue. A preacher looking on said: 'I wish I could deal such changing blows on stony hearts. ' The workman answered: 'Maybe you could, if you worked like me, upon your knees.'
A. T. Pierson
You must pray with all your might. That does not mean saying your prayers, or sitting gazing about in church or chapel with eyes wide open while someone else says them for you. It means fervent, effectual, untiring wrestling with God...This kind of prayer be sure the devil and the world and your own indolent, unbelieving nature will oppose. They will pour water on this flame.
Great grief prays with great earnestness. Prayer is not a collection of balanced phrases; it is the pouring out of the soul. What is love if it be not fiery? What are prayers if the heart be not ablaze? They are the battles of the soul. In them men wrestle with principalities and powers ... The prayer that prevails is not the work of lips and fingertips. It is the cry of a broken heart and the travail of a stricken soul.
Do get on with your studies. Remember you are now forming the character of your future ministry, if God spare you. If you acquire slovenly or sleepy habits of study now, you will never get the better of it. Do everything in earnest. Above all, keep much in the presence of God. Never see the face of man till you have seen His face who is our life, our all.
Robert Murray M'Cheyne