In this coming up weeks with prayer and fasting, there are many things that Lord has put on my heart to pray and fast for. I am encouraged that the church is committed to fast as a unit. Not many churches are prayerful and not many churches fast corporately, yet that does not mean that there cannot be change. I have heard from some that the prayer meetings are “dwindling down” over the months for GCC. Whether that is true or not I do not know. I do pray that more and more people find the prayer meeting to be essential for the church life. It is such a blessing to come together, worship the Lord with good hymns and spiritual songs, and lift up prayers in agreement and not quarrel with one another.
Last night, I could have prayed, and it could have been edifying. I was going to lay hold of the reality that the God I was going to pray to is the LORD, the God of all flesh; there is nothing too difficult for Him (Jeremiah 32:27). However, I was insecure; I was prideful. I led the church in prayer only once since the time I have been in San Antonio. I had carnal thoughts about trying to impress certain people with my prayers, so that must have been why the Lord did not give me grace to pray for the church last night. What a shame. May God help me not to have my eyes on myself but on the Lord. May my eyes be on the one who answers prayer, and not on my own prayers. “If we only spent more of our time in looking at Him we should soon forget ourselves”, said Martyn LLoyd-Jones.
Therefore, I asked a pastor from Illinois to pray that I can pray, not eloquently, but just pray more. At the same time, I am pursuing the Lord through prayer and meditating on His word. He promised in James 4:8 that if I draw near to Him, He will draw near to me.
Some encouraging words I read on prayer are include Charles Spurgeon’s Praying Successfully and George Mueller’s Answers to Prayer. Chapter 1 in Spurgeon’s book dealt with Psalm 142:1, “A prayer when he was in the cave.” Spurgeon said, “David did pray when he was in the cave. If he had prayed half as much when he was int he palace as he did when he was in the case, things would have been better for him. But, alas, when he was king, he find him rising from his bed in the evening, looking from the roof of his house, and falling into temptation. If he had been looking up to heaven, if his heart had been in communion with God, he might never have committed that great crime that has so deeply stained his whole character.”
In the introduction of Answers to Prayer, an excerpt from Mueller’s autobiography said, “Before one can pray…one’s heart must have have ‘no will of its own in regard to a give matter’ because ‘Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will.’ Such readiness will come primarily by the habit of reading the Word of God and meditating on it. Another excellent quote from the introduction is, “Prayer was the central ingredient in the existence of these orphanages. Whether it was for more property, for fixing of a boiler, for managing an outbreak of the measles, for the conversion and spiritual growth of the orphans, or for daily bread, Mueller never sent specific details to donors; he prayed, consistently, agonizingly, sincerely, and faithfully. And God answered in a colorful and often unpredictable array of ways, sometimes maddeningly later rather than sooner, but always in time. The reward was, of course, the refreshment of knowing these answers had had nothing to do with anything but God’s intervention. How often does the average Christian know that? We are so prone to want to answer our own prayers.”
May God break me of my pride and insecurity. Afterwards, may eyes utterly be on Christ. Paul Washer once said, the most dangerous thing to pray for is to be conformed into the image of Christ. I see what he said there because that implies fiery trials that will make my faith like gold. May the Lord conform me to the image of Christ. I know I have the gift to pray because I have a tongue to speak a language not because my prayers will qualify for the Valley of Vision. And, the hospital is an open gate for prayers to be lifted to the heavens.