Teach Me to Pray, Part 2
Last week, I introduced you to a new journey I was embarking upon – to learn afresh how to pray.
My study of revival history provoked me to learn to pray like those who touched heaven and brought it down to earth.
It is not that I did not pray or had not seen answers to prayer. But my study of revival history provoked me to learn to pray like those who touched heaven and brought it down to earth. They were often unknown intercessors who gave themselves to pray; who walked with a deep faith and intimacy with God.
I felt I could no longer justify expecting others to pray the kind of prayers that bring revival so that I could personally benefit from their sacrifice.
The following books have been very instructive and encouraging to me: Praying in the Spirit by Arthur Wallis, Intercessory Prayer by Andrew Murray, and, most recently, Unrelenting Prayer by Bob Sorge.
“Prevailing prayer requires a tender, compassionate heart, a deep solicitude for the glory of God and the good of His people. Nehemiah wept and mourned.” - Arthur Wallis
But reading about prayer is one thing; doing it is another. This series has been a good source of accountability. I do want to honestly share my journey with you to encourage you. As I look back on the last few months, here is what I have observed and learned:
I realized I cannot rise to any level in prayer effectiveness through self effort. The biblical encouragement that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness” (Rom. 8:26), has become a saving lifeline to me. So often when I approach prayer, my flesh fights me. “I don't feel like praying. I have too many things to do. I will pray later…” I have learned to stop and pray, “Holy Spirit, help me in my weakness. Help me to pray.” And then I continue praying.
An enormous help has come from setting aside one day a week for fasting and prayer. I skip breakfast and lunch and do not break the fast from food or other work until about 3:00 in the afternoon. I meet with at least two different prayer groups that day, and the remaining time is devoted wholly to the Lord. It has become my favorite day of the week. My heart is renewed, and my prayer life is infused with new passion and faith.
I am finding my desire to pray grow. I want to pray more. I am using “spaces” in my schedule, such as driving somewhere, to pray. And my passion in prayer is increasing. All this is evidence not of my efforts, but the Spirit’s work in answer to my prayer, “Teach me to pray.”
I still feel as if I am in elementary prayer school, but I am learning and growing.
As I have told my friends, I still feel as if I am in elementary prayer school, but I am learning and growing. The book I recently read by Bob Sorge shed much light on the need and value of persevering in prayer.
Prayer is beginning to fill more and more of my life routine. I am encouraged, but I recognize my propensity to get distracted, to allow lesser things to delay my time in prayer, and to miss opportunities to pray which God provides.
My gracious Father is so patient. I feel His delight and hear His voice calling me, “Keep going, son!”