Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Friday, September 18, 2015

Delighting in prayer

We are profited from the Scriptures when prayer becomes a real and deep joy. Merely to “say” our prayers each morning and evening is an irksome task, a duty to be performed which brings a sigh of relief when it is done. But really to come into the conscious presence of God, to behold the glorious light of His countenance, to commune with Him at the mercy seat, is a foretaste of the eternal bliss awaiting us in heaven. The one who is blessed with this experience says with the Psalmist, “It is good for me to draw near to God” (Psa 73:28). Yes, good for the heart, for it is quieted; good for faith, for it strengthened; good for the soul, for it is blessed. It is lack of this soul communion with God which is the root cause of our unanswered prayers: “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psa 37:4). 

 What is it which, under the blessing of the Spirit produces and promotes his joy in prayer? First, it is the heart’s delight in God as the object of prayer, and particularly the recognition and realization of God as our Father. Thus, when the disciples asked the Lord Jesus to teach them to pray, He said, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven.” And again, “God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba (the Hebrew for ‘Father’), Father” (Gal 4:6), which includes a filial, holy delight in God, such as children have in their parents in their most affectionate addresses unto them. So again, in Ephesians 2:18, we are told, for the strengthening of faith and the comfort of our hearts, “For through Him (Christ) we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” What peace, what assurance, what freedom this gives to the soul: to know we are approaching our Father! 

Second, joy in prayer is furthered by the heart’s apprehension and the soul’s sight of God as on the throne of grace—a “sight” or prospect not by carnal imagination, but by spiritual illumination, for it is by faith that we see “Him who is invisible” (Heb 11:27); faith being the “evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1), making its proper object evident and present unto them that believe. Such a sight of God upon such a “throne” cannot but thrill the soul. Therefore are we exhorted, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).

 Thirdly, and drawn from the last quoted Scripture, freedom and delight in prayer are stimulated by the consciousness that God is, through Jesus Christ, willing and ready to dispense grace and mercy to suppliant sinners. There is no reluctance in Him which we have to overcome. He is more ready to give than we are to receive. So He is presented in Isaiah 30:18, “And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you.” Yes, He waits to be sought unto; waits for faith to lay hold of His readiness to bless. His ear is ever opened to the cries of the righteous. Then “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb 10:22); “in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God,” and we shall find that peace which passes all understanding guarding our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phi 4:6-7).

A. W. Pink

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