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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Prayer: A Lifestyle

I recently started reading R.A. Torrey's book on prayer. As I started to read it, I suddenly realized what I was lacking in my spiritual life. There were so many important aspects about prayer that I had never realized, until I read Torrey's book on prayer. Now I cannot vouch for full agreement with Torrey's beliefs, but he does have some very good insights on prayer I'd like to share.

As ashamed as I am to admit it, my prayer lifestyle hasn't been the best in a long time. I tend to think that Bible reading is more important than praying. It seems to slip my mind that both are equally important and of value. And because of my lack of consistent prayer, I realized the reason why my spiritual walk seemed to lack so much, despite my efforts to spend more time reading, memorizing, and studying God's Word. I thought that was enough, until I read this book. I suddenly realized that prayer is so pivotal to the Christian walk. This is how Torrey sums it up,

"Consequently, when things do not go right, instead of realizing the real source of our failure, our neglect to depend upon God and to look to God for power, we look around to see if there is some new organization, resource, or new wheel we can add to our machinery."

Exactly what I had been doing. I didn't realize why my spiritual life had seemingly gone stale, despite my efforts. This is what Torrey says to us who are inconsistent in our prayer life or perhaps pray on a short daily basis,

"Some people express surprise that professing Christians today are so little like their Lord, but when I stop to think how little time the average Christian spends in secret prayer the things that astonishes me is, not how little we are like the Lord, but that we are as much like Him as we are."

Prayer life is vital to our Christian walk. As I continued reading on, I realized that it's not just praying on a daily basis for five minutes a day. Oh no! In fact, Torrey gives the example of John Knox's son-in-law who felt his day was badly spent if he did not spend seven to eight hours a day in prayer. Did you read that? I said seven to eight. Torrey explained how Moses' face shined when he was up on the mount alone with God and correlated that to 2 Corinthians 3, which speaks about our lives reflecting the glory of God. He says this can only be done through much prayer.Torrey says this,

"This is the secret of becoming much like God; remaining long alone with Him. If you will not stay long with God, you will not be much like Him."

That really hit me hard. At that point, I was committed to praying more. As I continued reading on, Torrey explains the important of sacrificial prayer. He explains that we cannot ask for something and expect to receive it because we pray for it a few minutes every day or so. By no means! We can only receive the things we ask for in prayer when we make great sacrifices of dying to self and praying for longer periods of time. Some gave up a night of sleeping for God to answer prayer. Some gave up hours in a day for God to answer prayer. It was an earnest and sincere prayer life that produced effective results. Those who wanted to see their children saved were told by Torrey to sacrifice more time to devote to prayer. So I challenged myself to pray more. Not once a day like I had previously decided upon. Oh no. If you tell me to pray once a day, it'll be 5 minutes long at the most. No, I decided that this praying business needed to be done much longer. As I've started off praying more, I find it so much easier to slip into that realm that the time goes by so fast. I realized that we can never run out of things to say when we pray to our Heavenly Father. Before praying was a chore. It took everything within me to pray. Why? I have no clue. It's so effortless and easy, I have no idea why I made it into something terrible and avoidable. How wrong I was! I have my mind unsettled about something important. I've been praying often and long for this matter to be settled. I cannot wait to see the results of God's answer to prayer with my new outlook on the prayer life. If anyone would like to form an accountability group concerning prayer life and join me in the challenge to pray more, I would love to hear from you!