IF MY PEOPLE . . . WILL . . . PRAY
By: C.M. Becton
When Jesus took leave of the eleven apostles at the ascension, He entrusted to them a superhuman task. They were to go make disciples of the people of all the nations.
It was a humanly impossible task. But He who sent them knew what He was doing. He equipped them for their superhuman task in a twofold manner. First, He equipped them with the Holy Ghost, and this put the
whole world at the disposal of this small group. Secondly, He equipped them with prayer, the means by which all of these powers are imparted to the individual believer.
When at His ascension He took leave as far as His physical presence was concerned, He extended His almighty arm so far down that we insignificance men can react it every time we bend our knees in prayer.
Whenever we touch His almighty arm, some of His omnipotence streams in upon us, into our souls and into our bodies. And not only that, but through us, it streams out to others. This weapon is the more valuable to the friends of Jesus, because it is not possible for the enemies of Jesus, to make use of it.
The most important work we have to do is that which must be done on our knees.
There is not a substitute for this great and mighty weapon. We are prone to think that when we are real busy in the work of the Lord, then we can, without danger, spend less time in prayer. This way of thinking is in our very blood. And Satan sees to it that it is quickened into life at just the right time.
It is necessary for the Spirit of God to burn into our hearts. The most important work we have to do is that which must be done on our knees, alone with God, away from the bustle of the world and the compliments of men. This work is the most important of all, because it is prerequisite to all the rest of the work we have to do in the kingdom of God: preaching, pastoral work, meetings, administrative groups, organization, etc. If the labor of prayer does not precede, as well as accompany, all of our work in the kingdom, it will become
nothing but a work of man, more or less capably done and with more or less effort and agitation as the case may be, but resulting in nothing but weariness both to themselves and to others.
The work of praying is prerequisite to all other work in the kingdom of God. It is by prayer that we couple the powers of heaven to our helplessness, the powers which can turn water into wine and remove mountains in our own life and in the lives of others, the powers which can awaken those who sleep in sin and raise up the dead, the powers which can capture strongholds and make the impossible possible.
There are, no doubt, many who have not given much attention to prayer. Prayer is looked upon mainly as a means of sustaining our life in God from day to day in the midst of an atmosphere which is so worldly that it almost chokes to death our weak, frail, spiritual life. And we pray accordingly. We move in a narrow circle about ourselves and those nearest to us. Now and then we widen the circle a little bit, especially when we gather with the People of God, and the mighty tasks of the kingdom of God at home and abroad are placed before us. But when we get back home into our daily routine, our prayer-circle narrows down again.
If prayer is the very heartbeat of our life in God, it is obvious that our prayer life will become the target against which Satan directs his best and most numerous darts. He understands better than we do what
prayer means to ourselves and to others. That is why his chief attack is directed against our prayer life. If he can in one way or another weaken it, his prospects of stealing our life in God without us even noticing it are great. Satan desires above all to provide himself with servants who think that they are God’s children and who are even looked upon as children of God by others. There are those who would like to appear spiritual, have the name of being a spiritual person, but in reality they are not spiritual at all because Satan has succeeded in putting a stop to their prayer life.
The protest of the carnal mind against prayer is made indirectly, very cleverly and at the opportune time.
It is important for us to bear this clearly in mind. By so doing we will, in the first place, be able to account for something which we formerly could not understand, namely, the aversion to prayer which we
feel more or less strongly from time to time. In the second place, we must keep the hindrance to prayer which we have at all times within our own bosoms constantly in mind, or else our prayer life will most
certainly ebb out. The thing to remember is that our carnal nature, will not refuse directly to participate with us in prayer. If this were the case, our warfare against our flesh would be comparatively simple. On the contrary, the protest of the carnal mind against prayer is made indirectly, very cleverly and at the opportune time. Instinctively and automatically it will mobilize all the reasons it can conceive of for not praying now: You are too busy; your mind is too preoccupied; your mind will be more calm and collected, and you will be able to pray in a more devotional frame of mind.
Finally you decide to pray, but all of a sudden the thought comes: I must do this thing first. When I have finished this, I shall be ready for a good season of prayer. Then you do the thing you have in mind. And when you have done it, your mind has become distracted. One thing after another begins to clamor for your attention. And before you know it, the whole day is gone, and you have not had a single quiet hour with God. Woe to the person who, is unacquainted with these foes!
The first and the decisive battle in a connection with prayer is the conflict which arises when we are to make arrangements to be alone with God every day. If the battle is lost for any length of time at this point, the enemy has already won the first skirmish.
There is a profound and beautiful passage bearing on this in Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” The only way in which we can gather and keep collected our distracted minds and our roaming thoughts is to center them about Jesus Christ. By that I mean that we should let Jesus lay hold of, attract, captivate and gather about Himself all our interests, Then our sessions of prayer will become real meetings with God. Just as the
radii of a circle runs to the center, so all our thought should run toward God. There are those who would like to appear spiritual, have the name off being a spiritual person, but in reality they are not spiritual at all because Satan has succeeded in putting a stop to their prayer life.
(The original source of the above material is unknown.)
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