“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
“They shall come with weeping, and I will lead them with prayers. I will cause them to walk by rivers of waters, in a right way; they will not stumble in it…”
Prayer is the secret of the life of a Christian. It is in this secret place that our hearts meet with our heavenly Father in the bonds and the merits of Christ. Prayer is much more than asking God for things and help in our situations; it is the sacred place of listening to Him and hearing His Will and purpose for our life. Prayer is the participation of our hearts in the wonder of God.
Communion with God is to be the center and focus of our lives. It is as we draw near to His presence that our hearts are softened and touched by His heart. There is a posture that seeps into our hearts by the touching of the Holy; we become still and bowed before our God. In that moment we know our place before Him, and we are enabled to hear the “still small voice” of our God. Oftentimes His directions come to us in whispers infused with faith to walk in His way. The secrets of the Lord often come in quiet times of prayer and communion with God.
“Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child”
The magnitude of His presence quiets our being and in that wonder we are “weaned” of our wants and needs; like a contented child resting in the arms of its loving mother.
“I will lead them with prayers”
Those who pray much, hear much and see glimpses of Him that overwhelm the heart with the immensity of His presence. Prayer is the secret of faith, the wellspring of peace, and a hiding place for His children.
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty”
“The true spirit of prayer is no other than God’s own Spirit dwelling in the hearts of the saints. And as this spirit comes from God, so doth it naturally tend to God in holy breathings and pantings. It naturally leads to God, to converse with him by prayer”
– Jonathan Edwards
“Trust always operates in the present tense. Hope looks toward the future. Trust looks to the present. Hope expects. Trust possesses. Trust receives what prayer acquires. So, what prayer needs, at all times, is abiding and abundant trust”
– E.M. Bounds
“All Christ’s public acts were consecrated by prayer, — His baptism, His transfiguration, His miracles, His agony, His death. He breathed away His spirit in prayer. ” His last breath,” says Philip Henry, “was praying breath.”
– JR MacDuff
“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