11 The Spirit of prayer

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10)

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)

All the way throughout this study, I have used the phrase “the Spirit of prayer”. It has been my desire that this thought would be a red thread running through every part of this study, binding it all together into a unified whole the various things that I have said about prayer. In conclusion, may I try to sum up everything I have said under this one heading before bringing these meditations to a close that the Spirit of prayer throws light upon every phase of our prayer life? From this vantage point we can see light falling upon every detail of prayer life. Not only theoretical light, enlightening our minds, but practical light for our use in praying and for our training in prayer.

My praying friend, you who must admit that you are not yet well acquainted in the realm of prayer, do pray a little each day in a childlike way for the Spirit of prayer; and you will have some wonderful experiences in this realm, which has so many surprising things in store for you.

If you feel that you know, as yet, very little concerning the deep things of prayer and what prayer really is, then pray for the Spirit of prayer. There is nothing He would rather do than unveil to you the grace of prayer.

If you find the difficulties in prayer so insurmountably great that you become disheartened, then pray for the Spirit of prayer. He will help you in your weakness and show you in what ways you misunderstand prayer, and will make it simple and easy for you to pray.

If the work of prayer becomes burdensome to you, and you feel your heart becoming weary of praying, then pray with childlike simplicity for the Spirit of prayer. It is written that the Lord will pour out the Spirit of prayer. You need not then work yourself up into the spirit and attitude of prayer.

If wrestling in prayer becomes a hard and bitter struggle, and you feel that your soul is out of touch and not in tune with God, and your prayers are only empty words, then pray trustingly for the Spirit of prayer. He will point out the sin which is acting as a hindrance to your prayers and will help you to acknowledge it, and then He will make Christ so precious to you that you will voluntarily give up that sin which is threatening to sever your connection with God.

If you notice that you have been inclined towards the misuse of prayer, to selfish and self-indulgent prayer,and you scarcely have the courage to pray any more, then pray again for the Spirit of prayer. He will not only show you the true meaning and purpose of prayer; He will also lift you up in all your helplessness to the very heart of God where you will again be warmed by His love, so that you can again begin to pray according to His will, asking for nothing except those things which are in harmony with His plans and purposes.

If you are scarcely able to pray, still less able to give thanks, and least of all to praise and worship Him, then pray for the Spirit of prayer. There is nothing He would more gladly do then to teach you these things.

If the problem of prayer have become so dark and heavy to you that the words of prayer freeze on your lips, then pray in your distress for the Spirit of prayer. He will solve the deepest mysteries of prayer by revealing to you that the more helpless you are, the better you are fitted to pray, and the more answers to prayer you will experience.

If the school of prayer becomes tedious and tiresome to you, then speak to the Spirit of prayer about this too. He is doing the teaching Himself, and He will see to it that it becomes neither more tedious nor more tiresome than you can endure. Now and then He will give you a little recess. He knows what we are made of and remembers that we are dust.

Such childlike petitions for the Spirit of prayer will little by little bring about a change in our prayer life that we hardly thought possible. Without noticing it ourselves, prayer will become the great centralizing and unifying factor in our distracted and busy lives. In everything that we experience during the day our minds and our hearts will quietly and naturally be drawn towards God. A longing to talk to God about everything will arise. Everything we see and hear in connection with our dear ones, our friends, our enemies, the converted or the unconverted, temporal or spiritual affairs, small things and great, the hard and the easy, all the observations and experiences which fill and shape our daily lives, will naturally and readily begin to take the form of prayer. Intimate friends tell each other of their experiences as soon as possible. So it is in prayer too. The Spirit of prayer makes us so intimate with God that we scarcely pass through an experience before we speak before we speak to Him about it, either in supplication, in sighing, in pouring out our woes before Him, in fervent requests, or in thanksgiving and adoration.

You will experience sweet release in thus speaking with God about everything in your daily life and especially while it is fresh in your mind and of actual interest to you. By so doing you will be able to lay aside your cares and responsibilities and leave everything in God’s hands. You will begin to realize more and more that prayer is the most important thing you can do; and that you can use your time to no better advantage than to pray whenever you have an opportunity to do so, either alone or with others, while at work, while at rest, or while walking down the street. Anywhere! We can make use of our time in no better way.

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