I dear brother [b]just[/b] sent this to me in an email:
[i](in case anyone is wondering, I mostly just read a lot of books on prayer, then pass on the gleangings.... o yes, eventually, it gets me to my knees, and I simply cry out to God. I hope it does the same for you)
Hoping God has Inspired You, Through His Servants Who Prayed...
... all true prayer begins in the recognition of the Father -- A. B. Simpson,
"The Life of Prayer"
The first view given of God in the Lord's Prayer is not His majesty but His paternal love. To the listening disciples this must have been a strange expression from the lips of their Lord as a pattern for them. Never had Jewish ear heard God so named, at least in His relation to the individual. The Father of the Nation He was sometimes called, but no sinful man had ever dared to call God his Father. They, doubtless, had heard their Master speak in this delightful name of God as His Father, but that they should call Jehovah by such a name had never dawned upon their legal and unillumined minds. And yet it really means that we may and should recognize that God is our Father in the very sense in which He is His Father, and ours as partakers of His Sonship and His Name. The Name expresses the most personal and tender love, protection, care, and intimacy; and it gives to prayer, at the very outset, the beautiful atmosphere of the home circle and the delightful affectionate and intimate fellowship of friend with friend -- A. B. Simpson,
"The Life of Prayer"
Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts -- Zech 4:6
I care not what black spiritual crisis we may come through or what delightful spiritual Canaan we may enter, no blessing of the Christian life becomes continually possessed unless we are men and women of regular, daily, unhurried secret lingerings in prayer -- J. Sidlow Baxter
Behold, I [ am ] the LORD , the God of all flesh : is there any thing too hard for me? -- Jeremiah 32:27
...prayer is not only a fellowship with God but a fellowship of human hearts. "Our Father" lifts each of us at once out of ourselves, and, if nowhere else on earth, at least at the throne of grace, makes us members one of another. Of course, it is assumed that the first link in the fellowship is Christ, our Elder Brother, and so there is no single heart, however isolated, but that may come with this prayer with perfect truthfulness, and hand in hand with Christ say, "Christ's and mine." But, undoubtedly, it chiefly refers to the fellowship of human hearts. The highest promises made to prayer are those who agree, or, as the Greek more beautifully expresses it, "symphonize" on earth. There is no place where we can love our friends so beautifully or so purely as at the throne of grace. There is no exercise in which the differences of Christians melt away as when their hearts meet together in the unity of prayer, and there is no remedy for the divisions of Christianity but to come closer to the Father, and then, perforce, we shall be in touch with each other -- A. B. Simpson,
"The Life of Prayer"
The highest promises made to prayer are those who agree, or, as the Greek more beautifully expresses it, "symphonize" on earth. There is no place where we can love our friends so beautifully or so purely as at the throne of grace. There is no exercise in which the differences of Christians melt away as when their hearts meet together in the unity of prayer, and there is no remedy for the divisions of Christianity but to come closer to the Father, and then, perforce, we shall be in touch with each other -- A. B. Simpson,
"The Life of Prayer"
... for My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations -- Isaiah 56:7
From the house of prayer comes Divine wisdom, by which we wage war --
Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the
LORD -- Psalm 31:24
...worship is the highest element in prayer. "Hallowed be thy name" is more than any petition of the Lord's Prayer. It brings us directly to God Himself and makes His glory supreme, above all our thoughts and all our wants. It reminds us that the first purpose of our prayers should ever be, not the supply of our personal needs, but the worship and adoration of our God
Not until we have first become satisfied with God Himself and realize that His glory is above all our desires and interests are we prepared to receive any blessing in the highest sense; and when we can truly say, "Hallowed be thy name whatever comes to me," we have the substance of all blessing in our heart. This is the innermost chamber of the Holy of Holies, and none can enter it without becoming conscious of the hallowing blessing that falls upon and fills us with the glory which we have ascribed to Him. The sacred sense of His overshadowing, the deep and penetrating solemnity, the heavenly calm, that fills the heart which can truly utter these sacred words, constitute a blessing above all other blessings that even this prayer can ask. Beloved, have we learned to begin our prayer in this holy place, on this heavenly plane? Then, indeed, have we learned to pray -- A. B. Simpson,
"The Life of Prayer"
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me - A prayer to the God of my life -- Psalms 42:8 NKJV
O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your dwelling places -- Psa 43:3 NASB
Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth -- Psalms 46:10
It is said of a devoted minister, Dr. Backus, of Baltimore, that when told he was dying and had only half an hour to live, he asked them to raise him from his bed and place him upon his knees, and he spent the last half hour of his life in one ceaseless prayer for the evangelization of the world. Truly that was a glorious place to end a life of prayer! But the Lord's Prayer begins with this lofty theme and teaches us that it should ever be the first concern and petition of every loyal subject of the Redeemer's Kingdom. Must it not be true, beloved, that the failure of many of our prayers may be traced to their selfishness, and the innumerable efforts we have spent upon our own interests, and the little we have ever asked for the Kingdom of our Lord? There is no blessing so great as that which comes when our hearts are lifted out of self and become one with Christ in intercession for others and for His cause. There is no joy so pure as that of taking the burden of our Master's cause on our hearts and bearing it with Him every day in ceaseless prayer, as though its interests wholly depended upon the uplifting of our hands and the remembrance of our faith. "Prayer shall be made for him continually," is one of the promises respecting our blessed Lord. Beloved, have we prayed for Jesus as much as we have for ourselves? There is no ministry which will bring more power and blessing upon the world and from which we ourselves will reap larger harvests of eternal fruit than the habit of believing, definite and persistent prayer for the progress of Christ's Kingdom, for the needs of His church and work, for His ministers and servants, and especially for the evangelization of the world and the vast neglected myriads who know not how to pray for themselves. Oh, let us awaken from our spiritual selfishness and learn the meaning of the petition, "Thy kingdom come!" -- A. B. Simpsom,
"The Life of Prayer"
Psa 55:17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray - In another place Psa 119:164 the psalmist says that he engaged in acts of devotion seven times in a day. Daniel prayed three times a day, Dan 6:10. David went, in his troubles, before God evening, morning, and mid-day, in solemn, earnest prayer. So Paul, in a time of great distress, gave himself on three set occasions to earnest prayer for deliverance...True religion is cultivated by frequent and regular seasons of devotion -- Albert Barnes, Barnes Notes
Psa 55:17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray. Often, but none too often. Seasons of great need call for frequent seasons of devotion. The three periods chosen are most fitting; to begin, continue, and end the day with God is supreme wisdom. Where time has naturally set up a boundary, there let us set up an altar-stone. The Psalmist means that he will always pray; he will run a line of prayer right along the day and track the sun with his petitions. Day and night he saw his enemies busy (Psa_55:10), and therefore he would meet their activity by continuous prayer. And cry aloud. He would give a tongue to his complaint; he would be very earnest in his pleas with heaven. Some cry aloud who never say a word. It is the bell of the heart that rings loudest in heaven. Some read it, I will muse and murmur; deep heart-thoughts should be attended with inarticulate but vehement utterances of grief. Blessed be God, moaning is translatable in heaven. A father's heart reads a child's heart. And he shall hear my voice. He is confident that he will prevail; he makes no question that he would be heard, he speaks as if already he were answered. When our window is opened towards heaven, the windows of heaven are open to us. Have but a pleading heart and God will have a plenteous hand -- C. H. Spurgeon,
A Treasury of David
Psa 55:17 He resolves to be both fervent and frequent in this duty. 1. He will pray fervently: I will pray and cry aloud. I will meditate (so the former word signifies); I will speak with my own heart, and the prayer shall come thence. Then we pray aright when we pray with all that is within us, think first and then pray over our thoughts; for the true nature of prayer is lifting up the heart to God. Having meditated, he will cry, he will cry aloud; the fervour of his spirit in prayer shall be expressed and yet more excited by the intenseness and earnestness of his voice. 2. He will pray frequently, every day, and three times a day - evening, and morning, and at noon. It is probable that this had been his constant practice, and he resolves to continue it now that he is in his distress. Then we may come the more boldly to the throne of grace in trouble when we do not then first begin to seek acquaintance with God, but it is what we have constantly practised, and the trouble finds the wheels of prayer going. Those that think three meals a day little enough for the body ought much more to think three solemn prayers a day little enough for the soul, and to count it a pleasure, not a task. As it is fit that in the morning we should begin the day with God, and in the evening close it with him, so it is fit that in the midst of the day we should retire awhile to converse with him. It was Daniel's practice to pray three times a day (Dan_6:10), and noon was one of Peter's hours of prayer, Act_10:9. Let not us be weary of praying often, for God is not weary of hearing -- Matthew Henry
Psa 55:17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, AND CRY ALOUD : H1993 haw-maw' - A primitive root (compare H1949); to make a loud sound (like English hum); by implication to be in great commotion or tumult, to rage, war, moan, clamor: - clamorous, concourse, cry aloud, be disquieted, loud, mourn, be moved, make a noise, rage, roar, sound, be troubled, make in tumult, tumultuous, be in an uproar -- Strong's Hebrew Dictionary
Isaiah 56:7 "Even them will I bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a "house of prayer for all nations". Matthew 21:13 "And He saith unto them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer.'" Mark 11:17 And He taught, and said unto them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations?'" Luke19:45-46 Then (Jesus) went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in saying unto them, "It is written, 'And my house shall be a house of prayer..."
Nine out ten of us are needing to rescue our prayer life from the tyranny of our emotions, and from bondage to moods, or feelings. All too many of us pray only when we feel emotionally drawn to do so, or when there is seen some special need for prayer; and thus, our prayer times become sporadic, disconnected, evanescent, and seemingly exasperated. Also there are many Christians who seem to have the strange idea, that unless they become emotionally stimulated during a time of prayer, their praying has been merely skyward talk, lost in empty space... Now listen to me! All of us are needing to learn, deeply and permanently, that the validity of prayer is utterly independent of any emotional condition in the one who prays. The thing that makes prayer valid and vital is that my faith lays hold on God's truth, and presses for an answer, in the Name that is above every name. GET RID of your blessed emotions! Theyre a perfect nuisance in this matter of prayer --
J. Sidlow Baxter
Most of us never know the larger power and richer depths of prayer because our praying is a continual running in circles around our own selves. Were so full of our wants that we forget our greatest need of all, that is to be lifted completely out of our hereditary self-ism, into a Christ-like other-ism a burning concern for the saving and blessing of others. Our praying is self-circling, instead of outgoing. Its nearly all begging, instead of largely interceding. Such self-preoccupied prayer soon becomes a withered fig tree. OH the liberation that comes to our own spirits, when we forget ourselves, and give ourselves, to praying for others --
J. Sidlow Baxter
And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt
glorify me. -- Ps 50:15
May I remind you of the epilogue of that magnificent poem, the book of Job. It says, and the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for himself. Does it? No. Now if ever a man needed to pray for himself, Job did. And if ever a man pleaded for himself, Job did; But, the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends his what? Ooooo, what friends they were! They came ostensively to be his sympathizers, and they turned out to be his cruelest condemners. And they talked, and talked, and talked, until their cloudy verbosity nearly sent poor Job doubting. They all needed to have their blocks knocked off, but God said to Job pray for those three friends of yours, and the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends. Ill give you a motto for prayer: Egocentricity strangulates it. Catholicity supplemates it. And if you want to know the wonderful reflective benefits of prayer, forget yourselves! And pray for others --
J. Sidlow Baxter
How blessed it is to hear some aged saint, who has long walked with God and enjoyed intimate communion with Him, pouring out his heart before Him in adoration and supplication. But how much more blessed should we esteem it could we have listened to the utterances of those who companied with Christ in person during the days when He tabernacled in this scene. And if one of the apostles were still here upon earth, what a high privilege we should deem it to hear him engage in prayer! Such a high privilege that most of us would be willing to go to considerable inconvenience and to travel a long distance in order to be thus favored. And if our desire were granted, how closely we would listen to his words, how diligently we would seek to treasure them up in our memories. Well, no such inconvenience, no such journey, is required. It has pleased the Holy Spirit to record quite a number of the apostolic prayers for our instruction and satisfaction. Do we evidence our appreciation of such a boon? Have we ever made a list of them and meditated upon their import? -- A. W. Pink, "Gleanings from Paul"
The fact that so many prayers are found in the New Testament epistles calls attention to an important aspect of ministerial duty. The preacher's obligations are not fully discharged when he leaves the pulpit, for he needs to water the seed he has sown. We will enlarge a little upon this point for the benefit of young preachers. It has already been seen that the apostles devoted themselves "continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word," and therein have they left an excellent example to be observed by all who follow them in the sacred vocation. Observe the order, and not only observe, but heed and practice the same. The most laborious and carefully prepared sermon is likely to fall unctionless [unanointed] on the hearers unless it has been born out of travail of soul before God. Unless the sermon be the product of earnest prayer, we must not expect it to awaken the spirit of prayer in those who hear it. As we have pointed out, Paul mingled supplications with his instructions. It is our privilege and duty to retire to the secret place after we leave the pulpit and beg God to write His Word on the hearts of those who have listened to us, to prevent the Enemy from snatching away the seed, to so bless our efforts that they may bear fruit to God's eternal praise. Luther was known to say, "There are three things which go to the making of a successful preacher: supplication, meditation, and tribulation." This was taken down by one of his students from his "Table Talks." We know not what elaboration the great Reformer made, but we suppose he meant that prayer is necessary to bring the preacher into a suitable frame to handle divine things and endue him with power. He meant also that meditation on the Word is essential in order to supply him with material for his message. Finally, tribulation is required as ballast for his vessel, for the minister of the gospel needs trials to keep him humble, as the apostle was given a thorn in the flesh that he might not be unduly exalted by the abundance of the revelations given him. Prayer is the appointed medium of receiving spiritual communications for the instruction of our people. We must be much with God before we are fit-ted to go forth and speak in His name. The Colossians were reminded that their minister was "always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that we may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God" (4:12). Could your church be truthfully told that of you? -- A. W. Pink, "Gleanings from Paul"
And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the fence, and stand in the
gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none --
O, what heat, strength, life, vigour, and affection there is in true prayer! 'As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God' (Ps. 42:1). 'I have longed after thy precepts' (Ps. 119:40). '1 have longed for thy salvation" (Ps. 17:4). 'My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God' (Ps. 84:2). 'My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times' (Ps. 119:20). O what affection is here discovered in prayer! You have the same in Daniel. 'O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God" (Dan. 9:19). Every syllable carries a mighty vehemency in it. This is called the fervent, or the working prayer, by James. And so again, 'And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly* (Luke 22:44). He had his affections more and more drawn out after God for his helping hand. O how wide are the most of men with their prayers from this prayer!...When the affections are indeed engaged in prayer, then the whole man is engaged, and that in such sort that the soul will spend itself, as it were, rather than go without that good desired, even communion and solace with Christ. And hence it is that the saints have spent their strength, and lost their lives, rather than go without the blessing (Ps. 69:3; 38:9,10; Gen. 32:24, 26) -- John Bunyan, "Praying in the Spirit"
True prayer sees nothing substantial, and worth the looking after, but God -- John Bunyan, "Praying in the Spirit"
...show me now thy way, that I may know thee -- Ex. 32:13
Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate, pouring out of the heart or soul to God through Christ, by the strength or assistance of the Spirit. These things so depend one upon another that it is impossible that it should be prayer without a joint concurrence of them; for though it be never so eloquent, yet without these things, it is only such prayer as is rejected of God. For without a sincere, sensible, affectionate, pouring out of the heart to God, it is but lip-labour; and if it be not through Christ, it falls far short of ever sounding well in the ears of God. So also, if it be not in the strength and by the assistance of the Spirit, it is but like the sons of Aaron, offering strange fire (Lev. 10:1, 2)... that which is not petitioned through the teaching and assistance of the Spirit cannot be 'according to the will of God' (Rom. 8:26, 27) -- John Bunyan, "Praying in the Spirit"
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer -- Rom
"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17. The position of our text is very suggestive. Observe what it follows. It comes immediately after the precept, "Rejoice evermore;" as if that command had somewhat staggered the reader, and made him ask "How can I always rejoice?" and, therefore, the apostle appended as answer, "Always pray." The more praying the more rejoicing. Prayer gives a channel to the pent-up sorrows of the soul, they flow away, and in their stead streams of sacred delight pour into the heart. At the same time the more rejoicing the more praying; when the heart is in a quiet condition, and full of joy in the Lord, then also will it be sure to draw nigh unto the Lord in worship. Holy joy and prayer act and react upon each other. Observe, however, what immediately follows the text: "In everything give thanks." When joy and prayer are married their first born child is gratitude. When we joy in God for what we have, and believingly pray to him for more, then our souls thank him both in the enjoyment of what we have, and in the prospect of what is yet to come. Those three texts are three companion pictures, representing the life of a true Christian, the central sketch is the connecting link between those on either side. These three precepts are an ornament of grace to every believer's neck, wear them every one of you, for glory and for beauty; "Rejoice evermore;" "Pray without ceasing;" "in everything give thanks." -- C. H. Spurgeon,
"Pray Without Ceasing"
...the posture of prayer is of no great importance, for if it were necessary that we should pray on our knees we could not pray without ceasing, the posture would become painful and injurious. To what end has our Creator given us feet, if he desires us never to stand upon them? If he had meant us to be on our knees without ceasing, he would have fashioned the body differently, and would not have endowed us with such unnecessary length of limb. It is well to pray on one's knees; it is a most fitting posture; it is one which expresses humility, and when humility is truly felt, kneeling is a natural and beautiful token of it, but, at the same time, good men have prayed flat upon their faces, have prayed sitting, have prayed standing, have prayed in any posture, and the posture does not enter into the essence of prayer. Consent not to be placed in bondage by those to whom the bended knee is reckoned of more importance than the contrite heart -- C. H. Spurgeon,
"Pray Without Ceasing"
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he
trusteth in thee -- Isaiah 26:3
"Pray without ceasing." That precept at one stroke overthrows the idea of particular times wherein prayer is more acceptable or more proper than at others. If I am to pray without ceasing, then every second must be suitable for prayer, and there is not one unholy moment in the hour, nor one unaccepted hour in the day, nor one unhallowed day in the year. The Lord has not appointed a certain week for prayer, but all weeks should be weeks of prayer: neither has he said that one hour of the day is more acceptable than another. All time is equally legitimate for supplication, equally holy, equally accepted with God, or else we should not have been told to pray without ceasing. It is good to have your times of prayer; it is good to set apart seasons for special supplication we have no doubt of that; but we must never allow this to gender the superstition that there is a certain holy hour for prayer in the morning, a specially acceptable hour for prayer in the evening, and a sacred time for prayer at certain seasons of the year. Wherever we seek the Lord with true hearts he is found of us; whenever we cry unto him he heareth us. Every place is hallowed ground to a hallowed heart, and every day is a holy day to a holy man -- C. H. Spurgeon,
"Pray Without Ceasing"
And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away
captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have
peace - Jeremiah 29:7
"Pray without ceasing..." There is one other thing implied in the text, namely, that a Christian has no right to go into any place where he could not continue to pray. Pray without ceasing? Then I am never to be in a place where I could not pray without ceasing. Hence, many worldly amusements without being particularized may he judged and condemned at once. Certain people believe in ready-made prayers, cut and dried for all occasions, and, at the same time, they believe persons to be regenerated in baptism though their lives are any thing but Christian; ought they not to provide prayers for all circumstances in which these, the dear regenerated but graceless sons and daughters of their church, are found? As, for instance, a pious collect for a young prince or nobleman, who is about to go to a shooting-match, that he may be forgiven for his cruelty towards those poor pigeons who are only badly wounded and made to linger in misery, as also a prayer for a religious and regenerated gentleman who is going to a horserace, and a collect for young persons who have received the grace of confirmation, upon their going to the theater to attend a very questionable play. Could not such special collects be made to order? You revolt at the idea. Well, then, have nothing to do with that which you cannot ask God's blessing upon, have nothing to do with it, for if God cannot bless it, you may depend upon it the devil has cursed it. Anything that is right for you to do you may consecrate with prayer, and let this be a sure gauge and test to you, if you feel that it would be an insult to the majesty of heaven for you to ask the Lord's blessing upon what is proposed to you, then stand clear of the unholy thing. If God doth not approve, neither must you have fellowship therewith -- C. H. Spurgeon,
"Pray Without Ceasing"
Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you
do not know -- Jeremiah 33:3 [NKJV ]
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed -- Mark 1:35
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon