BY E. W. REEVES
The principles of knowledge…Perspective…Conviction…Skill…and Character… work well in the practice of prayer as in the maturing of a Christian.
Slowly but surely we are making the transition to our new look. I trust you approved of the February and March issues and more color. Thanks to Conley at Cooley Printers for helping to get things done properly. If it were not for the help of so many I don’t know what I would do. Thanks to all.
There is an interesting article on page six written by Jim Yohe in this issue. It will challenge your thinking. You may not agree with all he says but you will be like the chickens in the barnyard, you’ll have something to cluck about. It fits right along with Brother Tenney’s article on page three. Read them together.
Recently I did some teaching on Christian maturity and read some of Rick Warren’s work on The Purpose Driven Church. He noted five things that go into the development of a mature Christian–Knowledge of the
Word of God, Perspective of that Word, Convictions regarding the Word, Skill at using the Word and these all go into the development of a Character.
Using the same principles I thought along the lines of prayer and its relationship to these five things.
The Knowledge of Prayer. In my library I have a score or more books dedicated to the study of prayer. I have some old and some of the more modern approaches to the subject. I wish I had all the principles
included in these books at work in my own prayer life. It has been a rewarding experience to read The Kneeling Christian, along with E. M. Bounds works on prayer. One of his books on the Power of Prayer (also printed under the title Preacher and Prayer) was given to me many years ago by a precious landlady in St. Paul. However, what ever knowledge I have without putting it into practice will avail me nothing. Knowledge without practice is an exercise in futility.
The perspective of Prayer. To grasp the why of prayer gives me a better understanding of the knowledge. Not just what I am saying but why I am saying the words of my prayers. The perspective of prayer gives me a better oversight–a larger perspective of not so much what I am praying but why I am praying in this manner.
Perspective in prayer causes me to love God more because I am getting a broader insight into the purpose of God’s dealing with me. Perspective gives me a better resistance to temptation. I crowd out the thoughts of the world with the thoughts of God in my prayers. And this perspective helps me to handle the trials that come my way. My prayers become prayers of understanding my position in God–I am His son by a new birth experience.
I take the prayer Jesus taught to the disciples as the model and put my words together with the idea of why He taught them in that particular manner. My prayers cannot all be “grimme,” but must include above all
else reverence for the deity of God; the sacredness of His name, and the praise of His power. Larry Lee has given us a great perspective in the praying of that opening phrase of the prayer in Matthew–“Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name.” The relationship of God’s names to the blessings of the Spirit that I have inherited as a child of God causes me to see Him in a deeper and richer perspective. He is infinite deity and I am finite humanity who is recipient of His infinite mercy, grace, wisdom, etc.
The Conviction of Prayer. Jesus had a custom of going to the house of God, sometimes to the wilderness, often to his knees. This He transferred to His disciples. In fact, it was part of His final command to go to Jerusalem and tarry. We find Peter and John after Pentecost still going to the temple at the “hour of prayer.” Paul became obsessed with the practice and told to “Pray without ceasing.”
“Do we realize that there is nothing the devil dreads so much as prayer? His great concern is to keep us from praying. He loves to see us ‘up to our eyes’ in work–provided we do not pray. He does not fear
because we are eager and earnest Bible students–provided we are little in prayer. Someone has wisely said, ‘Satan laughs at our toiling, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.’ Let us never forget that the
greatest thing we can do for God or for man is to pray.” So wrote the unknown author of The Kneeling Christian.
The skill of Prayer. For prayer to become a part of your Christian experience it must be something you worked at. Warren Wiersbe calls it “Basic Training.” The author of The Kneeling Christian said, “Why are so many Christians so often defeated? Because they pray so little. Why are many church-workers so often discouraged and disheartened? Because they pray so little. Why do most men see so few brought ‘out of darkness to light’ by their ministry? Because they pray so little.”
Brother Lawrence, the dishwashing monk, once said, “Prayer is nothing else than a sense of God’s presence”–and that is just the practice of the presence of God.
The Character of Prayer. One of the greatest books I have on prayer is entitled, They Teach Us To Pray by Reginald White. In it he goes through the Bible and sites the many men who held favor with God
because of their prayer life. It has chapters such as–“Abraham: The Argument of Prayer; Moses: The Benefits of Prayer; Joshua The Condition of Prayer. You get the picture as he brings these men and their
characters to us by the prayers they prayed.
Abraham had his whole character behind his argument in prayer. Within Abraham’s prayer was a reasoned appeal based on the character of God. What we ask of God should be based on what we know of God’s
character and His ways. “What we know of God, and what He knows of us–these lay the foundation, and set the strict limits, of all our experience of the power of prayer.”
These men had all the first four principles at work in their prayer life and because of them they became well known by their character.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY LOUISIANA CHALLENGER, APRIL 1977, PAGE 2. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.