"Men ought always to pray, and not to faint" (Luke 18:1).
"Continue in prayer" (Romans 12:12)
"Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17)
One of the greatest drawbacks to the life of prayer is the fact that the answer does not come as speedily as we expect. We are discouraged by the thought: "Perhaps I do not pray aright," and so we do not persevere in prayer. This was a lesson that our Lord taught often and urgently. If we consider the matter we can see that there may be a reason for the delay, and the waiting may bring a blessing to our souls. Our desire must grow deeper and stronger, and we must ask with our whole heart. God puts us into the practicing school of persevering prayer that our weak faith may be strengthened. Do believe that there is a great blessing in the delayed answer to prayer.
Above all, God would draw us into closer fellowship with Himself. When our prayers are not answered, we learn to realize that the fellowship and nearness and love of God are more to us than the answers of our petitions, and we continue in prayer. What a blessing Jacob received through the delay in the answer to his prayer! He saw God face to face, and as a prince he had power with God and prevailed.
Christians, listen to this warning. Be not impatient or discouraged if the answer does not come. "Continue in prayer." "Pray without ceasing." You will find it an unspeakable blessing to do so. You will ask whether your prayer is really in accordance with the will of God and the Word of God. You will inquire if it is in the right spirit and in the Name of Christ. Keep on praying - you will learn that the delay in the answer to prayer is one of the most precious means of grace that God can bestow on you.
Our Father, help me to learn that those who have persevered often and long before Thee, in pleading Thy promises, are those who have had the greater power in prayer. Amen
The Prayer Meeting
"These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication." "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:14; 2:4). (See also Matthew 18:19-20).
Great is the value of a genuine prayer meeting. There God's children meet together, not as in church to listen to one speaker, but to lift up their hearts unitedly to God. By this means Christians are drawn closer to each other. Those who are weak are strengthened and encouraged by the testimony of the older and more experienced members, and even young Christians have the opportunity of telling of the joy of the Lord.
The prayer meeting may become a great power for good in a congregation and a spiritual help to both minister and members. By means of intercession, God's blessing is poured out at home and abroad.
But there are also dangers to be considered. Many attend and are edified but never learn to pray themselves. Others go for the sake of social and religious fervor and have a form of godliness but do not know the hidden life of prayer. Unless there is much and earnest prayer in the inner chamber, attendance at a prayer meeting may be a mere form. There should be heart love and fellowship between the members. It is well to ask: What constitutes a living prayer meeting?
The leaders should realize how great the influence of such a meeting may be, with its roots nourished by the life of prayer in the inner chamber. Prayer should include God's people and His church all over the world. And above all, as on the Day of Pentecost, there must be waiting on God for the filling with the Holy Spirit.
Dear reader, this book aims at helping you in your spiritual life. But remember, you do not live for yourself alone but are part of the Body of Christ. Your prayer must include in its intercession all Christians. As the roots of the tree hidden deep in the earth and the branches spread out to heaven are one, so the hidden prayer life is inseparably bound up with united prayer.
Dear Father, help me always to pray for all Christians. Amen