“But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is”
People who believe little pray little. The basic reality of the Christian’s prayer life is predicated by our faith. The proof of our faith is revealed in our drawing nigh unto HIM. We must believe that HE IS in order to enter into that Holy Place of prayer and communion with Him. The true prayer life is one of relationship and intimacy with our God and Father. It is “by faith” that we draw near unto HIM; it is “by faith” that the substance of the unseen relationship is realized. The recurring thought throughout the faith chapter in the Book of Hebrews is: “by faith”. So it is in the life of PRAYER by which we are to be “building up ourselves on our most holy faith, PRAYING IN THE HOLY GHOST” (Jude 1:20).
BY FAITH is the means by which all deeds are birthed and brought unto perfection. Without FAITH we have no means to draw from the “wells of salvation”. Without FAITH we have no “handle” upon which to lay claim to the precious promises of God. Without FAITH we have no ability to truly understand the depths HIS WORD. Without FAITH we are left to the miserable resources of self that will always wither in the hour of greatest need. “By faith” men DO, GROW and BECOME like their great High Priest. The deeper and more intimate our life of prayer becomes, the more there is a growing realization that we are no longer praying just for our selves. Rather we are becoming participants of HIS HEART for His purposes in the lives of others. For that is the Heart of our Great HIGH PRIEST…
“I pray for them”
Let us get a glimpse of THIS HEART that ever beats and is ever working and praying on our behalf that we might become pure and holy expressions of the Son. “Faith without works is dead” and nowhere is this truth more evident than in the life of holy, powerful and fervent prayer.
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”
Religious men may pray, they may mouth and speak great words that sound right and good but, as Jesus commented, the Pharisee “prayed thus with himself”. His prayer had no HOLY WITNESS but was borne of self and concerned with self. This prayer never left the man. Prayers without works are the bane of religion. The Pharisee’s words were never joined with the works of true Christian charity. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan the Levite and the Priest would pass by the beaten man in the streets on their way to the Temple with no concern. The power of true prayer and interaction with the Heart of Jesus will always bring us into the Love for that thing we pray for. Prayer without faith will be revealed in a life without works. No one can truly touch the heart of God in prayer and be bereft of works. It is an impossibility. Love and faith are the womb from which the works of God flow; in touching Him we touch others.
But we, By FAITH, have access to the Holy Altar of incense that burns with the Holy Fire (singular) of His love and desire. On this Altar the Incense of God is added to the prayers of His saints that they may ascend as sweet fragrant offerings unto HIM who alone is worthy!
“I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting”
I TIMOTHY 2:8
“Jesus answered and said to her, “If you had known the gift of God and who it is saying to you, ‘Give Me to drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given to you living water”
It is as we come to know Him that prayer rises for the “living waters” of Christ. He becomes the cry and the desire of our heart. He does not measure out this gift of living water; it flows from the abundance of His heart. Our partaking, our seeking and our asking will be in proportion to us knowing who He is. He is ever pouring out yet never running dry. His grace and mercy are as endless as the love from which they spring. The greater our thirst the deeper are the waters of His Supply.
“…thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore, do the virgins love thee”
Song of songs 1:3
He meets the woman at the well and in seven bits of conversation goes from a complete stranger to the revelation of Him as the Christ. While she attempts to drag Him into irrelevant religious discussions; Jesus cuts through the chitchat of men’s doctrines and brings her to the seeing of God’s Heart. Instead he addresses her real need and invites her to drink of the living water. The great test of His continued ministration to her came when He asked her to go get her husband. It is at that moment she stood on the precipice of truth. For He is ever looking for truth with which He can work with. It is the honest heart that draws from Him the waters and ministrations of life. She could have stayed within the confines of the hypocrite or she could venture into the land of truth where vulnerability and honesty lay. She chose the path of honesty and discovered this man to be nothing less than the Christ Himself.
It is as we uncover ourselves and open our hearts in full disclosure that we find a grace and a comfort beyond our comprehension. Honesty with men and with God will propel the true in heart into all that He is.
Pretense and keeping up appearances will cloud our seeing of Him. It will rob us of our secret time of prayer and communion with Him leaving us unchanged, fettered with the bonds of self-deception.
Christ calls out to the downtrodden, the burdened, and the faltering.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”
His invitation goes out to all who are weary of themselves, circumstances and the strife in the world around us. Come with an honest and open heart. Come and find in Him the power for transformation and change. Come to Him as you are to discover Him as He is. Let the opinions of men fade, be free from seeking approval of others and discover the joy of His Life becoming yours. The portals of prayer are open to the honest of heart, who live what they pray and through prayer find the ability to live. How good, gracious and true He is to the pure in heart.
“While the king was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance”
Song of songs 1:12 (BSB)
The life of prayer brings us to many different experiences and aspects of our relationship with Him. At times while sitting in His presence we are simply struck with Him and are left without words. We are overwhelmed with just the wonder of His presence. It is in these times of quietude there is simply the wonder of His peace resonating through the silence. We feel the simplicity of a love arising from our hearts filling the moment with the fragrance of our worship for Him. It is here where prayer touches the unknowable and in the silence speaks the unspeakable elements of a shared love.
This spontaneous worship is worth life itself. Holy bonds of grace arise from the giver of all good things touching the heart of a redeemed soul binding it in the cords of His love. These are rich and precious times where we are sitting at His table and are bidden to simply feed upon the very presence and glory of Himself.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone should hear My voice and open the door, then I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (BLB)
It is the hearing ear and the obedient heart which gives way to such communion with Him. He ever stands at the door of our hearts beckoning us unto Himself. It is in the Holy chambers of our time with Him that our hearts are made right, our fears alieved and our love for Him intensified.
Our faith determines the nature of our requests. Those who believe little ask for little. Faith is the formative factor in our asking and our receiving. The doors of His great storehouse are opened unto us upon the hinges of Faith.
Jeroboam went to Elisha the Prophet who was on his deathbed whereupon Elisha gave the King an arrow and told him it was the arrow of the Lord’s deliverance for Israel from the Syrians. He then instructed the King to shoot the arrow into the air and then strike the ground with the remaining arrows. The King did so and struck the ground three times; the Prophet responded:
“And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.”
2 Kings 13:19
The King’s response revealed a faith which was lacking. Jeroboam’s desire for victory was small and correspondingly so was Israel’s victory over the Syrians. Our asking will always be proportional to the faith we hold in our hearts. We may pretend to ask largely but within the recesses of our heart we know when we are in the faith or when we are asking in the presumption of self.
“For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us”
2 Corinthians 1:20
It requires the faith of Christ to access the Amen of Christ to all the promises of God. (Galatians 2:20)
“The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations”
“Think of Him now, at this moment – the great Angel of the Covenant, with the censer full of much incense, in which are placed your feeblest aspirations, your most burdened sighs – the odour-breathing cloud ascending with acceptance before the Father’s throne. The answer may tarry; – these your supplications may seem to be kept long on the wing, hovering around the mercy-seat. A gracious God sometimes sees it meet thus to test the faith and patience of His people. He delights to hear the music of their importunate pleadings – to see them undeterred by difficulties – unrepelled by apparent forgetfulness and neglect. But He will come at last; – the pent-up fountain of love and mercy will at length burst out; – the soothing accents will in His own good time be heard, “Be it unto thee according to thy word!”
– J.R. Macduff
“Prayer is often a temptation to bank on a miracle of God instead of on a moral issue, i.e., it is much easier to ask God to do my work than it is to do it myself. Until we are disciplined properly, we will always be inclined to bank on God’s miracles and refuse to do the moral thing ourselves. It is our job, and it will never be done unless we do it.”
– Oswald Chambers
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven”
The true foundation of prayer is relationship. While many religious people may use rote prayers and vain repetitions, relationship is the determining element of the power and efficacy of prayer (Ezekiel 14:14, 20). True prayer has as much to do with listening as speaking. Prayer is the fragrance of relationship, the very atmosphere in which our hearts touch the Holy presence of God Himself. We see in the opening line of Jesus’ prayer that he presents the Fatherhood of God as the first key to prayer. For prayer is to be the conversing of His child with their heavenly Father in the bonds of love.
“Hallowed be thy name”
Matthew 6:9 KJV “Your name be honored as holy”
The entrance into this Holy place of communion will be most felt within the hearts of those who know of His Holiness. The heart that spends time in prayer with Him will have a desire to keep His Name Holy in their thoughts, desires, intentions and deeds. One does not come brazenly or carelessly into this place for “the fear of the Lord is the beginning (principle part) of knowledge”. There is a beauty and a fire associated with the true prayer of relationship where the intimacy of connection grows as the years pass and becomes as natural as breathing. The intensity of the soul to cultivate an audience with Him becomes the chief purpose and desire of life itself.
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple”
It becomes the one thing. It is not something to be scheduled into specific meetings and times of prayer for in reality it becomes the very posture of our hearts in everyday living. How privileged we are to have such access to God Almighty. The true wonder of prayer is to be held within the miracle of relationship! Relationship with the Father has no end or limit other than the condition of our own hearts! The Eternal Mystery of God in Christ is infinite in nature and scope; so is our knowing of Him.
“For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God”
Saint Teresa of Avila