December 19 "Open Windows" by T. Austin Sparks
In the morning, long before sunrise, Jesus went to a place where He could be alone to pray. (Mark 1:35).
I am quite sure that I have the agreement of most of the Lord's people when I say that one of the most difficult things, if not the most difficult thing, is to be able to get to prayer and give ourselves to prayer. When we contemplate prayer we meet a host of unsuspected and unforeseen difficulties which suddenly rise up as ambush forces breaking out upon us. Anything to prevent prayer! I am not saying something that you do not know, but I am saying it in order that you may recognize it clearly, definitely and deliberately, and face the fact that it is not just ordinary circumstances, but a designed, well-laid scheme of the enemy to prevent prayer. The enemy, instead of objecting, will promote occupation with a thousand and one things for the Lord if thereby he can crowd out prayer. He does not mind how busy we are in the Lord's work, nor how often we are found preaching, conducting meetings, and doing the many-sided work of the Lord, as we may call it. He knows quite well that all the work for the Lord which is not founded upon triumphant spiritual prayer will count for little or nothing in the long run and will break down. I say that he does not mind you working. Work for the Lord as hard as you can, but if you leave out prayer you will not accomplish very much. One of the subtleties of the enemy is to get us so busy, so occupied, so much on the go and on the rush with - as we think - things for the Lord and the work of the Lord that our prayer is cramped and pushed up into a corner and limited, if not almost entirely ruled out; and the Lord will never accept the excuse: 'Lord, I am too much engaged in Your interests to pray.' The Lord never favours an attitude like that...
Immediately you begin to contemplate or purpose a fuller prayer-life, the enemy launches a new scheme for keeping you more busy and occupied, heaping up the work and crowding in demands so that you will have no time or opportunity for prayer... But we must recognize this: that the enemy will construct his best arguments about responsibility, duty and conscience to stop us praying, and there is a place where, if we see prayer is utterly ruled out, or brought down to such a limited place that it is completely inadequate for a life of spiritual ascendancy and victory, we have to say: 'Lord, I am going to trust the responsibility with You while I pray, that You will not allow my breaking away for this time to have detrimental results, and that You will protect this prayer-time - which I seek for Your glory - from the inroads of the enemy.'
By T. Austin-Sparks from: In Touch with the Throne - Chapter 2