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Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : Time For Everything But Prayer

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Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37226
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 Time For Everything But Prayer

[b]Time For Everything But Prayer[/b]
[i]by Horatius Bonar[/i]

Horatius Bonar, a Scottish Presbyterian minister of Scotland (1808-1889) wrote the following particularly for ministers of the Gospel, but it contains good exhortation for all of us today.

We have not been people of prayer. The spirit of prayer has slumbered amongst us. The closet has been too little frequented and delighted in. We have allowed business, study or active labor to interfere with our closet hours. And the feverish atmosphere in which both the church and nation are enveloped has found its way into our closet, disturbing the sweet calm of its blessed solitude. Sleep, company, idle visiting, foolish talking and jesting, idle reading, unprofitable occupations, engross time that might have been redeemed for prayer.

Why is there so little anxiety to get time to pray? Why is there so little forethought in the laying out of time and employments so as to secure a large portion of each day for prayer? Why is there so much speaking, yet so little prayer? Why is there so much running to and fro, yet so little prayer? Why so much bustle and business, yet so little prayer? Why so many meetings with our fellow men, yet so few meetings with God?

Why so little being alone, so little thirsting of the soul for the calm, sweet hours of unbroken solitude, when God and His child hold fellowship together as if they could never part? It is the want of these solitary hours that not only injures our own growth in grace but makes us such unprofitable members of the Church of Christ, and that renders our lives useless.

In order to grow in grace, we must be much alone. It is not in society – even Christian society – that the soul grows most rapidly and vigorously. In one single quiet hour of prayer it will often make more progress than in days of company with others. It is in the desert that the dew falls freshest and the air is purest. So with the soul. It is when none but God is nigh; when His presence alone, like the desert air in which there is mingled no noxious breath of man, surrounds and pervades the soul; it is then that the eye gets the clearest, simplest view of eternal certainties; it is then that the soul gathers in wondrous refreshment and power and energy.

And so it is also in this way that we become truly useful to others. It is when coming out fresh from communion with God that we go forth to do His work successfully. It is in the closet that we get our vessels so filled with blessing, that, when we come forth, we can not contain it to ourselves but must, as by a blessed necessity, pour it out whithersoever we go.

We have not stood "continually upon the watchtower in the daytime," nor have we been "set in the ward whole nights" (Isa. 21:8). Our life has not been a lying in wait for the voice of God. "Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth" (1 Sam. 3:10), has not been the attitude of our souls, the guiding principle of our lives. Nearness to God, fellowship with God, waiting upon God, resting in God, have been too little the characteristic either of our private or our ministerial walk. Hence our example has been so powerless, our labors so unsuccessful, our sermons so meager, our whole ministry so fruitless and feeble.

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2006/10/3 21:21Profile

Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37226
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 Re: Time For Everything But Prayer

Oh may God revive a spirit of prayer in the church in our day. Here is a short article I wrote on some lost principles of prayer:

[b]In this manner, therefore, pray...[/b]

I would like to take a look into three vital principles on prayer that have been lost in our generation and it is necessary to see them revived into our prayer life's with God. The three principles are as follows:

We are to pray with a sense urgency
We are to pray believing that it is effectual
We are to pray persisitenly

We are to pray with a sense urgency - God has reminded me of an quote from a book by Chuck Smith which says: "Today, we are living in desperate times. Yet, the Church is not desperate before God in prayer." If anyone looks at the state of the world and of our lives in the light of scripture and church history there definetly is something wrong. We are not living with a sense of urgency for the lost, for our lifes to be radically devoted to God, and for God's kingdom to come to this earth. When our Lord Jesus prayed the words: "Thy Kingdom come." They were not words that were placid but rather they were a fervent desiring of this thing to actually happen and for the words just prayed to actually move that reality closer.

Prior to the welsh revival outbreak in 1904 God was moving and speaking to many hearts. One of those hearts was of mr Jenkins in Wales. Here is an account of this preacher: "The Rev. Joseph Jenkins had been deeply concerned about the lack of annointing in his own preaching, which compelled him to desperately seek a deeper life in Christ. Andrew Murray's book, 'With Christ in the School of Prayer' came into his possession and moved him greatly at this time. He became increasingly burdened by the indifference among the Christians around him and the apathy of the young people in his own church. He exhorted them earnestly to obey the Spirit." This preacher caught the urgency of the hour and condition of the church. This burden and urgency needs to have its outlet in prayer, praying earnestly for the moving of God's spirit.

This hunger to pray for God's working in our hearts and in the life's of others really needs to be practiced. Personally the Lord has given me these two prayers as my own heart's cry for this reality to happen: "Teach us to be praying men." and the prayer, "Kindle the altar of prayer again Lord." Oh for a praying church, urgent to see God move on behalf of man. "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." (Ezekiel 22:30) Do you sense the urgency of the hour?

We are to pray believing that it is effectual - "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that dilgently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6). Does that smart? are you seeing answers to prayer? or are you not "dilgently" seeking Him? Jesus gives the edict out to his disciples, seek, knock, ask and ye shall! Not you might, but "ye shall." What comfort that gives us that we serve a God that if we call out to Him; He will hear and answer. God is waiting for His church to call upon Him with faith, believing that He will answer and effectual work on behalf of the prayers of the church. God has not left the church to work on its own but rather that we are to depend wholly on Him and that dependence is to be through the agent of prayer in the life of the church.

"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. and he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit." (James 5:16-18). In simple venacular it was said that Elijah was just like us in every aspect and if we pray we can have the same results as Elijah. Notice that the prayers of the righteous man availath much, not the prayers of the backslidden Christian or the unbeliever. Praying "fervently" shows to God that the prayers and things prayed for matter to us and that we believe they can be answered. To show affection and emotion in prayer is somewhat required if we are looking to this text as our guidemap to effect, effectual prayer. Ah for one hundred praying elijah's again to shake a city and for God to be glorified. Are we just seeking for prayer that avails or avails much? Aren't we criminal brethren having such a small conception of what God can and wants to do in our generation. Oh Lord allow our praying to be effectual!

We are to pray persisitenly - The radically sold out brother Singh in india declared many years ago to an sleepy church: "Some people become tired at the end of ten minutes or half an hour of prayer. What will they do when they have to spend Eternity in the prescence of God? We must begin the habit here and become used to being with God." And Herein is where the reading stops and we "go forward on our knees." May God give each one that reads this an sense of the divine responsibility to pray aright and fully as which pleases God.

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2006/10/3 21:40Profile

Joined: 2006/9/28
Posts: 108


At a prayer meeting a few weeks ago I was praying about a message I would be giving at a leaders gathering exhorting a return to "buckets of sweat" kind of prayer. As I was praying it became so clear to me that the people of my church were totally unable to respond to my exhortation and that I must back up one step and pray first that they would be set free to receive and follow through with the exhortation to pray for the mission of our church. It's almost like the hindrance was like a heavy sleepy fog from which they first must be set free, (as smoke is driven away so drive them away,,,Ps 68)So my prayer changed for them. When the fog is driven away a new sense of alertness will amaze because they will begin to notice everything and bring it to God in prayer. They will not be expert at first but prayer is a school which is learned best by doing. Now every time I see a fog roll in it prompts me to pray for clarity of vision so we can see where God is leading and then position ourselves behind Him through our right on the target prayers.

 2006/10/3 22:19Profile

Joined: 2005/8/9
Posts: 100
montana usa

 Re:time for everything but prayer

Thank you Greg for the article you wrote on prayer,it excited me because it is always encouraging to know someone else is not only burdened to pray ,but that they are actually doing it. Are we recieving answers? We should be. that is a normal part of being a christian.How marvelous to be a worker together with Him!
Although at the same time this article breaks my heart to think of how many years I spent taking the priviledge to pray for granted . I am afraid when I see so many complacent in their prayer time. Oh let us pray that God would sent forth laborers (in prayer) so that we can reap the harvest. Oh God have mercy on us. I love to spend time with Jesus, and the more I spend time with Him the more dependent I become on His presence. I also become much more useful to Him. Oh glorify yourself in and through us Lord!


 2006/10/3 23:37Profile

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