I won't bore you with the sob stories I presented. The buckets of tears I shed or the disappointments I suffered by my own refusal to understand what prayer really is. I am embarrassed to say that for a while I even gave up on the whole thing, because I felt it was too painful, too much of a ritualistic endeavor and some situations seemed just hopeless.
Oh, my friends...hopelessness is so NOT true. The problem was and always has been ME...my feeble faith and my refusal to shut my mouth and LISTEN to what the Holy Spirit was saying. But there is so much more. Listen to the Preface to Hallesby's book:
"I have had more of a desire to write this book than possibly any other that I have written. And yet I have been more afraid of this one than of any other. It seems to me that it is very difficult to speak or write about prayer.
This book does not presume to be anything more than a presentation of a few simple rules for the benefit of souls who are fainting in prayer. It does not aim to give an exhaustive treatment of the great theme.
My one desire and prayer has been to preach the Gospel of prayer without setting aside any of the laws governing the prayer life."
Here are a few quotes that I particularly loved:
"..the answer to prayer is not dependent upon our emotions or out thoughts before, during or after prayer."
"To pray is to open our hearts to Jesus."
"The least gifted, the uneducated and the poor can cultivate the holy art of prayer."
One more and it is 4 paragraphs...but they are packed with riches...hear him out
"We think that we understand better than He does when and how our prayers should be answered. Without intending to do so, our prayers become a struggle with God. We make use of prayer to convince God that we see the matter in the right light, that the answer should be given immediately, and should be as we have planned it. Unconsciously we make use of prayer to try to convince God that in this respect we are in the right.
It is this struggle with God which makes us so restless and anxious when we pray. We are afraid that God will not permit Himself to be convinced by our prayers, but will do as He wills regardless of our supplications. I know of nothing that makes our prayer so burdensome and trying as this does.
When, therefore, the Spirit has taught us that God is unyielding on this point and that He Himself decides when and how our prayers are to be answered, then we will experience rest and peace when we pray. And if the Spirit can teach us also that there is no danger in leaving with Him the time and the means of answering our prayer, our seasons of prayer will become in truth seasons of rest.
We will begin to see that it is God's will not only to hear our prayer, but to give us the best and the richest answer which He, the almightly and omniscient God, can devise. He will send us the answer when it will benefit us and His cause the most. And He will send it to us in that way which will give us the best and most abiding results."
I don't mean to place an undue burden on Mr. Hallesby...the book is clear, concise and Biblical. He connects his statements to appropriate Scripture, in context. The Scripture has been the most invaluable part of the book.
I close with this thought...in today's world, we know news immediately...sometimes as it is taking place. Our hearts are burdened now more than ever. Sin and sinfulness abounds...as it always has. There is a quiet place of refreshment at the Savior's feet. We, as sinful men and women, can present our praise, our needs, our hopes and dreams to an understanding God. We CAN rest knowing that He will give us not good but GREAT things. With the aid of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus, we can make our requests known to our Father and then face life with a quiet assurance that in His hands, all will be well.
"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen." Romans 11: 33-36
Blessings to you,