Lessons In the School of Prayer
He who rushes into the Presence of God, to hasten through a few formal petitions, and then hastens back to outside cares and pursuits, does not tarry long enough to lose the impression of what is without, and get the impress of what is within the secret chamber. He does not take time to fix his mind's gaze on the unseen and eternal. Many a so-called "praying man" has never once really met and seen God in the closet. The soul, disturbed and perturbed, tossed up and down and driven to and fro by worldly thoughts and care, can no more become a mirror to reflect God, than a ruffled lake can become the mirror of the starry heights that arch above it. He who would look downward into his own heart-depths, and see God reflected there, must stay long enough for the stormy soul to get becalmed. Only when He first gives peace is the nature placid enough to become the mirror of heavenly things.
But when such communion becomes real, prayer ceases to be mere duty and becomes delight. All sense of obligation is lost in privilege. Love seeks the company of its object, simply for the sake of being in the presence of the beloved one; as one little fellow explained his, quietly coming into his father's study by the hunger for his presence- "just to be with you, papa." Have any of us not known what it is to cultivate companionship for its own sake, mutely sitting in the presence of another whom we devotedly love? And do we not love God enough to make it an object to shut ourselves in with Him at times just to enjoy Him? Is there no taint of selfishness in prayer which knows no there motive than to ask for some favor? Jude counsels us to "pray in the Holy Ghost" as a means whereby we keep ourselves in the love of God, He who know the very ecstasies of the secret chamber, there learns to keep himself in the love of God, finding therein the Sunbeam whose light illumines, whose love warms, whose life quickens. God's Presence becomes the atmosphere he breathes and without which his spiritual life cannot survive. Such a habit of abiding in the Presence of God, and dwelling upon His glorious perfection develops a holy and enamoring love, which can only say with Zinzendorf and Tholuck, "I have but one passion: and it is He and He alone!