Friday, January 7, 2011

Correspondence on Prayer

Dear Readers: The following is my answer to a brother on the subject of prayer. I thought you might enjoy it.


P.S. I have his permission to do so.

With your experience in the "Deeper Life" along with where The Lord has brought you to now, how would you teach or direct people to develop their prayer life?I have read E M Bounds as well as Mueller and Hyde and others that took prayer to an almost indescribable place not only in their lives but with the results that were achieved. Is our time different? Should we seek that prayer vigil that agonizes and begs for God to work with multiple hours committed to prayer everyday to position ourselves as sincerely desiring God to move?I'm not suggesting a "grab and go" prayer life but as I seek to develop mine further I'm looking for guidance and wisdom from someone that has been there and done that. I believe that there are committed folks that do pray powerfully but I also believe that many Preachers and Teachers today like to talk more about it than putting it into practice.I have been seeking the Holy Spirits guidance in this matter, with ... not exactly any clear guidelines. Is it a matter of patience and He'll reveal Himself? Or can I pick up some good guidelines from Bounds and others that have written so much about it?I certainly would appreciate your thoughts on this matter,



Beloved Brother: Rather than using a letter-format, please allow me to present my answers in brief thought pattern. That way each will be separate and distinct from the other, thereby keeping them from running together, causing confusion at times.

1. I certainly believe in the "Deeper Life," not a shallow one. :>) But not the movement with strong "mystical" leanings. You know, an elite group that has something others can't approach or achieve (Isa.65:5).

2. As a young evangelist I was taken up with John R. Rice. I read the "Sword" and his report of his revivals. My heart yearned to experience such meetings. Then I attended one, and found (humbly speaking) mine was as blessed, if not better. But when I read of that particular meeting in his paper a couple of weeks later, it didn't seem like the meeting I was in. Was he lying? No! It was simply how he saw it. So it is with reading of others experiences. Like "Acres of Diamonds," sometimes it is under your own nose.

3. Yes, our times are different. And I literally mean "time". Jesus is the same, but they did not live in the "rat-race" pace we do. At a Winona Lake conference years ago, Bob Jones followed Rice, after he had preached on prayer. B.J. said in his introduction that he wished he could pray like Dr.Rice described, but that he was always a man on-the-go, and had to pray sitting on trains, in offices, etc. He added, "But I have never entered a pulpit that I didn't think I'd die, if God didn't bless me." I ask you, which of the two was a man of prayer? BOTH!

4. You must be careful taking exceptions and making them a rule. For example, we are told that Jesus prayed all night. But there is only time in His three year ministry we are told this. Sometimes we do not need all-night prayer, we need a good night's sleep.

5. As to "agonizing," etc. these things are not meritorious. Our natural temperament accounts for much of it. Brainerd was melancholy, Torrey, stoic. It it the heart God looks at.

6. As to getting things from God, C.S. Lewis has a great quote, "For most of us the prayer of Gethsemane is the model. Removing mountains can wait."

7. I find many are by-passing worship for prayer. The difference is, in worship you want someone, in prayer you want something. If we emphasized the former, I believe the latter would just naturally fall into place.

8. Every child of God, like in a family, is individual and special, and is dealt with accordingly.

9. I've found, looking back, that the first part of my Christian life was spent on what I wanted; now, in these latter years, it is what He wants.

10. I now "make my requests known unto Him," and leave the working out of them to an All-Wise God.

11. I have now come to the place that I can no longer differentiate between worship, prayer, and communion in my life. His person and presence has blurred everything but HIMSELF. HE IS NOW ALL I WANT OR DESIRE.

Your Friend,


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