BY E. STANLEY JONES
PRAYER GUIDELINES FROM AN EARLY 20TH CENTURY PRAYER WARRIOR
This article is excerpted from one which originally appeared in The Christian Advocate and was published in brochure format in 1945. Proceeds were used to fund postwar relief efforts in war-stricken lands.
1. Decide what you really want. The “you” is important. It must not be a vagrant part of you wandering into the prayer hour with no intention of committing yourself to your prayer program. You cannot pray with a part of yourself and expect God to answer, for He hears what; the whole you is saying. “In the day that Thou seekest me with the whole heart. thou shaft be found of me!
2. Decide whether the thing you want is a Christian thing. I God has shown us in Christ What the divine character is like. God is Christ-like. He can only act in a Christ-like way. He cannot answer A prayer that would not fit in With His character.
A woman Who was having an illicit relationship with a married man said: “I thought God was going to answer my prayers and give him to me. “But how could God do that? She had merely read her desires into the heavens, and the answer was only the echo of her own desires.
3. Write It down. The writing of the prayer will probably help you in self-committment. For if you write it, you will probably mean ft. Committing a thing in writing is almost destiny to me, I can hardly change it afterward. The writing of it will also save you from hazy indefiniteness. You will be praying for this and not something else.
4. Still the mind. The stilling of the mind is a step in receptivity. Prayer is pure receptivity in the first stage. “As many as received Him, to them He gave power! If you come to God all tense, you can get little. Let down the bars. They are all on your side; there are none on His.
The stilling, of the mind reminds you not of your pitiful little store, but of the fact that you are now harnessing yourself to God’s illimitable fullness. “Be still and know,” and you will be full. Be unstill and you will not know; you will remain empty.
5. Talk with God about it. Note, I say, “Talk with God about it, not talk to God,” for it is a two-way conversation. And the most vital part may not be what you will say to God, but what God will say to you.
For God wants not merely to answer your prayer. He wants to “make you” to make you into the kind of person through whom He can habitually answer prayer. So this prayer episode is part of a process of God-
training. God will answer the prayer provided it will contribute in the long run to the making of you.
6. Promise God what you will do to make this prayer come true. Since the conversation is a two-Way affair. the accomplishment is also two-way. You and God answer it together. de silent to hear God again and see if He makes any suggestions to you about your part in answering the prayer. If definite suggestions come to you, then promise that you will carry them out.
The impulses that come out of the prayer hour are usually true impulses of the Spirit. Some would say these impulses are of the spirit, but those of us who try this two-way living know that you cannot tell where
your spirit ends and His Spirit begins: They are now flowing back and forth to each other.
7. Do everything loving that comes to your mind about it! This step is important. for it is a cleaning and clarifying step. The word “loving” is important. It is the password to find the source of the suggestions that come to your mind. If the suggestion is not loving, it is probably from your subconscious mind, and not from the Spirit. The first fruit of the Spirit is “love,” and if the suggestion does not fit in with love then don’t do it. Wait for the suggestion that does fit in.
If the word “loving” is important, so is the word “do.” if you only will to do something and never actually do then you will find that God cannot “do.” Your doing looses the floodgates of God’s doing.
8. Thank God for answering in His own way. God will answer that prayer. No prayers are unanswered. But He may answer “no” as well as “yes.” “No”, is an answer and it may really be next in order leading on to a higher “yes.”
Moreover, the answer may be delayed in order to toughen your fibre. Your very persistence in asking for something over a long period can be one of the most character-toughening processes imaginable. He often
holds us off to deepen our character.
9. Release the whole prayer from your conscious thinking. Don’t keep the prayer at the center of your conscious thinking. It may become an anxiety center Let it drop down into the subconscious mind and let ft work at that greater depth. Then there will be an Undertone of prayer in all you do, but there will be no tense anxiety. Dismissing it from the conscious mind is an act of faith that having committed ft to God. you leave it in His hands, believing He will do the best thing possible.
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