Prayer holds a special place in my heart because I was born again into prayer; willing and joyful prayer from deep longing for the Father is what I was born again into. It was alive, it was pure, clean, free, and fresh.
But prayer must always remain pure. Nothing destroys prayer faster than impurities like pride, legalism, selfish ambition, carnal lusts, and doubt. They are like a ceiling that oppresses our prayers!
Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue. Gods voice in response to mine is its most essential part. ~ Andrew Murray
Nothing in prayer is more important than our Father. If our Father is not in our prayers, then they are for naught! To pray out of obligation, or for respect of others opinions, is the most futile endeavor a Christian can undertake in prayer. To abide in such a condition for very long will wreck havoc on your fellowship with your heavenly Father and strip your time in prayer of all joy and benefit!
Therefore first and foremost seek God in prayer!
Seek Him with constancy, persistence, sincerity, and love; seek Him without respect to time, place, or environment. It is too easy to settle complacently into set times or places to seek God and allow our prayers to plunge into the dullness of routine; such rote prayers lose all expectation and awe of God. If our prayers are shaped by such temporal things like “atmosphere”, they lose all sense of eternity!
Prayers that do not seek out God are will be filled with “self”, and prayers that are filled with “self” are woefully dry!
UNSEEN & FERVENT
Prayer – secret, fervent, believing prayer – lies at the root of all personal godliness. ~ Williams Carey
Jesus taught His disciples “secret prayer”, that is, intimate prayer that is unseen and unheard by others. Prayer must never lose its intimacy!
Prayer that is unseen by others is prayer that is seen by God! Jesus said, “But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6 HCSB). I fear that the prayer-life that is always seen and heard by others is never seen or heard by God.
What is the reward of secret prayer?
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6)
Those who will seek Him in secret will find Him; I believe God Himself is the reward Jesus spoke of that belongs to the diligent, to those who earnestly pursue God out of a fervent desire for Him!
Prayer is an effort of will. ~ Oswald Chambers
We mustn’t think that prayer will come easily; while the redeemed soul yearns for God in prayer, the flesh, when deprived of substance to feed its pride and lusts in prayer, resists fervent prayer. There is simply nothing gratifying for the flesh in unseen, unannounced secret prayer. Therefore, if one is to seek God fervently in prayer, it is necessary for our redeemed will to impose itself on our heavy, sluggish, flesh, and exert an effort diligent enough so as to lift the flesh to this purpose.
Prayer is not about goosebumps or feelings. This is not to say that sincere prayer will not activate your emotions, nor stimulate your body, rather it is to say that “the will” is where the struggle for prayer exists.
Unless God first exerts His will to draw us unto Himself in prayer through Christ, we simply cannot lift the weight of our flesh in prayer for very long. The disciples in the garden demonstrated just how quickly the flesh wearies in prayer. But once the effort of God’s will has been felt in our soul, drawing us nearer to Him, then the redeemed soul of His children must awaken and exert force over the weighty flesh that so resists prayer!
Understand that when Jesus taught the disciples to pray, “Your will be done”, He was teaching them to cry out to the Father for the effort of His will upon their prayers!
IN THE SPIRIT
The fewer the words the better the prayer. ~ Martin Luther
We are not heard for the words we pray. We are heard for the Spirit who makes intercession for us on our behalf, as it is written, “the Spirit helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).
Neither those who sit for hours, swaying back and forth, praying the same words over and over again, nor those who stand to “wax eloquent” in their prayers, are heard by God for their words; if the Spirit is not interceding for them with deep groanings that cannot be uttered by man, then God is as deaf to them as He is to the prayers of the pagans!
Confidence put in words kills prayer. Only evil can come of this. Either it will cause timidity and doubt in those who seek to pray, or it will cause boasting and evil pride to arise in those who pray often, as it is written “to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).
HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST
But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. Psalm 22:3
The heart of prayer is ever mindful of God; it is consumed by Him who is enthroned by our praises!
I have experienced both the fervent joys and deep darkness of prayer, the former being a time when my prayers ascended to God upon winds of joy, awe, and reverence for His glory, and the latter being a time when my prayers were bound by pride, the judgments of men, and self. As with all things in Christian life, if we lose sight of God, prayer dies and becomes a burden. Set your prayers on God and He will fill them with life!