Responding to Weakness

Those who place their faith in Christ’s death on the cross for the forgiveness of sins are secure, never forsaken, and completely assured by Scripture that through the merits of Jesus Christ alone they are, without a doubt, adopted members of the first Person of the Trinity’s family, and rightful owners of every privilege that comes with being God’s child.

God is completely committed to our joy, which requires conforming us to His Son — a life-long process that finally culminates in our glorification when Christ returns to receive His church. When God gets the glory in our lives, we get the most satisfaction; so God (who is ridiculously patient) through His Word, reveals weak spots in our lives that are yet to be conformed to Jesus. These are opportunities: we either agree with God that the particular aspect He is shining light on is producing death and destruction, leading us to place our faith in Christ’s life to bear fruit in that area, OR we call God a liar by not responding. There’s no middle ground.

All that to say…

Through the experience of some trying times, deep discouragement, and inconsistency in my walk with the Lord, God revealed another weak spot in my Christian life while in the Kuman tribe: my prayer life. I’ve been a believer for 20 years, but I simply didn’t understand prayer at the depth that I should have. Prayer has been a part of my Christian life, but a very small part.

Pretty bad, I know…considering the fact that we’re literally commanded to pray without ceasing!

So here are some quotes on prayer from some of the books I’ve picked up to grow in this essential Spiritual discipline.

In Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald Whitney wrote,  

God gives us seasons of life where priorities change as well as the time available for them; nevertheless, in every season God expects every Christian to be devoted to prayer and to pray without ceasing…“As it is the business of tailors to make clothes and of cobblers to mend shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray (Spurgeon).”

In A Praying Life, Paul Miller writes,

If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money, and talent are all you need in life. You’ll always be a little too tired, a little too busy. But if, like Jesus, you realize you can’t do life on your own, then no matter how busy, no matter how tired you are, you will find the time to pray.

The Puritan John Owen had this to say about prayer,

A minister may fill his pews, his communion roll, the mouths of the public, but what that minister is on his knees in secret before God Almighty, that he is and no more. 

Tim Keller in his book Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God wrote,

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. . . . But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen . . . in secret” (Matt 6:5–6).

The infallible test of spiritual integrity, Jesus says, is your private prayer life…Many people will pray when they are required by cultural or social expectations, or perhaps by the anxiety caused by troubling circumstances. Those with a genuinely lived relationship with God as Father, however, will inwardly want to pray and therefore will pray even though nothing on the outside is pressing them to do so. 

Joel Beeke quotes William Gurnall in his work Taking Hold of God,

Prayer is nothing but the promise reversed, or God’s Word formed into an argument, and retorted by faith upon God again…Furnish thyself with arguments from the promises to enforce thy prayers, and make them prevalent with God. The promises are the ground of faith, and faith, when strengthened, will make thee fervent, and such fervency ever speeds and returns with victory out of the field of prayer…. The mightier any is in the Word, the more mighty he will be in prayer.

To close this post, in Praying BackwardsBryan Chappell wrote,

Our union with Christ influences every dimension of the Christian life. When we worship, Christ is not only the audience of our songs, but through his Spirit he is also the singer (Eph. 5:18–20). When his servants preach, he is not only the witness of the sermon but the proclaimer (2 Cor. 4:5–7; 5:20; 2 Tim. 4:1–2). When we serve, he is not only the object of our service but the enabler (Phil. 4:13). When we pray, he is not only the Lord whom we seek but the One who speaks…The realization that we pray with the voice of our Savior should make us very bold when we pray. Because Christ intercedes for us, the writer of Hebrews says we can approach the holy, majestic throne of God with confidence of his grace in time of need (Heb. 4:16).

Do you have a favorite book or quote about prayer?

One comment

  • George Herbert

    PRAYER. (II)

    OF what an easie quick accesse,
    My blessed Lord, art thou ! how suddenly
    May our requests thine eare invade !
    To shew that state dislikes not easinesse,
    If I but lift mine eyes, my suit is made :
    Thou canst no more not heare, than thou canst die.

    Of what supreme almightie power
    Is thy great arm which spans the east and west,
    And tacks the centre to the sphere !
    By it do all things live their measur’d houre :
    We cannot ask the thing, which is not there,
    Blaming the shallownesse of our request.

    Of what unmeasurable love
    Art thou possest, who, when thou couldst not die,
    Wert fain to take our flesh and curse,
    And for our sakes in person sinne reprove ;
    That by destroying that which ty’d thy purse,
    Thou mightst make way for liberalitie !

    Since then these three wait on thy throne,
    Ease, Power, and Love ; I value prayer so,
    That were I to leave all but one,
    Wealth, fame, endowments, vertues, all should go ;
    I and deare prayer would together dwell,
    And quickly gain, for each inch lost, an ell.

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