This short seven-day devotional is meant to get your thoughts onto God and your mind and body into prayer, communion, rejoicing and intimacy in walking with God. Be sure to utilize our pray helps page for further growth.
Encouragement to a life of prayer.
“When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place… But Jesus himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” Luke 4:42, 5:16
“Praying is the same to the new creature as crying is to the natural. The child is not learned by art or example to cry, but instructed by nature; It comes into the world crying. Praying is not a lesson got by forms and rules of art, but flowing from principles of new life itself.”
“God never denied that soul anything that went as far as heaven to ask it.”
Challenge this morning:
Carve out time, regardless how tired we maybe. Ask ourselves if we even have a desire to pray. If we have not the desire, let us ask God for a desire. If we have little desire, may we ask God for more desire. God will grant every good and perfect thing according to His will, and his will is that we would “draw near to Him.“
Blessings to you this day!
“He (Jesus), in the days of his flesh, offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.” Heb. 5:7
“And it happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of his disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.’” Luke 11:1
What is it we ask of God?
Are we looking to Christ and growing in a lifestyle of prayer?
Are we asking and believing Him?
“God looks not at the elegancy of your prayers, to see how neat they are; nor yet at the geometry of your prayers, to see how long they are; nor yet at the arithmetic of your prayers, to see how many they are; nor yet at the music of your prayers, nor yet at the sweetness of your voice, nor yet at the logic of your prayers; but at the sincerity of your prayers, how hearty they are. There is no prayer acknowledged, approved, accepted, recorded, or rewarded by God, but that where in the heart is sincerely and wholly. The true mother would not have the child divided. God loves a broken and a contrite heart, so he loves a divided heart. God neither loves halting nor halving.”
Specific Resource Help
The Hidden Life of Prayer & The Prayer-Life of Our Lord – David McIntyre
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent…I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one…Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth…that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me…Father, I desire that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundations of the world…and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:3, 15, 17, 21, 24, 26
For the first time we get to read the words that Jesus actually prayed. And although there is so much that can be said regarding these verses, it is good to see the overall way in how Jesus interceded for His friends, those who make up the true church.
Read all of Jesus’ prayer in John 17. Notice how He prayed deeper than the surface of “ailments that are common to man” (thought owed to Richard Owen Roberts) in this particular prayer. I ask, has there ever been a prayer that Jesus prayed, and the Father did not fulfill? I tell you, no. Let us go from here forward with eternal eyes, trained by the Scriptures, with Jesus as our great example, and intercede for people far beyond the basic observances.
Ah! How often, Christians, hath God kissed you at the beginning of prayer, and spoken peace to you in the midst of prayer, and filled you with joy and assurance upon the close of prayer!
Be very particular in secret prayer, both as to sins, wants and mercies…Be not ashamed to open out all thy necessities…Before God we may speak out our minds fully, and name the persons that afflict, affront, and trouble us; and woe to them that a child of God upon a mature judgment names in prayer! I find not that such a prayer in Scripture ever returned empty. A great reason why we reap to little benefit in prayer is, because we rest too much in generals.”
Have we missed the point of doctrinal theology? What about all the books regarding God we have read? Do these books and our times of reading drive us to the throne of God in prayer and a contrite heart? Or do we just fill our head with a bunch of knowledge, and then run into our busy day never taking another thought as the great privilege we have before us? “To whom much is given, much will be required.”
Valley of Vision – Puritan Prayers
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints…” Ephesians 6:18
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1st Thessalonians 6:16-18
It is God’s will that we would have a life of prayer, communion with Him and in walking closely with Him. Consider how the apostles, the very first of disciples, devoted themselves to prayer (Acts 6:4), or how Nehemiah prayed (very quickly) “to the God of heaven” while standing in front of the King who was demanding an answer, or think of all the Psalms written from the private hiding places and fields of faith, or what about how “Enoch walked with God.” It is clear that we must be in times of dedicated prayer being “shut-up” alone unto God, then the times of corporate prayer, and then the praying throughout the day, and certainly when in the “bowels of the lion.” We must have this reality of intimacy with God ever-present.
Challenge and consideration today:
Read the story of the seven sons of Sceva in Acts 19:11-20. Notice how reality was missing from these men. If we are going to fight down the kingdom of hell, that being against Satan and all the demons, or we are going to fight and conquer battles in the flesh (of which all contain a spiritual under-girth), then we must have a reality of intimacy in prayer and power in walking with our dear Lord and Savior.
The ‘old men’ used to say, the litmus test of a true church is found in its’ prayer meeting.
“A man is only as great as his prayer life.”
“I have never met an old saint who regretted having spent too much time in prayer, but I have met many who regretted having spent too little!”
“It is a good rule never to look into the face of a man in the morning till you have looked into the face of God.”
“I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.”
Learning to Listen in Silence
“Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. Do not be hasty with your mouth or impulsive in your heart to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven but you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. For the dream comes through abundant endeavor and the voice of a fool through abundant words.” Ecclesiastes 5:1-3
“A time to be silent and a time to speak.” Eccl. 3:7b
“And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26, 27
I cannot tell you how many times, whether in a season of spiritual drought, immense turmoil, or even when woken up in the middle of the night, I simple come before the Lord and say, “O’ Lord, O’ Lord, You know!”
Some of the greatest lessons learned, some of the sweetest time in prayer, some of my greatest prayers ever have been when I cannot utter a word before God. And in these times, I have come to embrace much beauties in Christ, and am still learning, to embrace the sweetness of silence and listening to the Lord.
Begin to cultivate a dedicated time (maybe start with a minute or two even) of simply listening in the silence.
“Surely my soul waits in silence for God; From Him is my salvation.” Psalm 62:1
“To You, there will be silence and praise in Zion, O God, And to You the vow will be paid.” Psalm 65:1
“Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” 1st Kings 19:11, 12
“God can pick sense out of a confused prayer.”
“A saint is to put forth his faith in prayer, and afterwards follow his prayer with faith.”
“Though God be not changed by it (prayer) in Himself, yet the real change that is made by it on ourselves, doth infer a change in God by mere relation or extrinsical denomination; He being, according to the tenor of His own covenant, engaged to punish the unbelieving, prayerless, and disobedient, and to pardon them that are faithfully desirous and obedient. So that in prayer, faith and fervency are so far from being useless, that they as much prevail for the thing desired by qualifying ourselves for it, as if indeed they moved the mind of God to a real change; even as he that is in a boat, and by his hook layeth hold of the bank, doth as truly by his labour get nearer the bank, as if he drew the bank to him.”
Morning and Evening – Charles H. Spurgeon
Prayer, Temptation and Ease
“Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:40 “And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray…” Luke 22:41 “And being in agony He was praying very fervently…” Luke 22:44 “When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.’” Luke 22:45, 46
Read through Luke 22:39-46 and take notice that when the need was the greatest, Jesus exemplifies for us such a time of serious prayer. Notice the command to the disciples in what they are to pray for and then take note their response. Ask yourself, how often do I pray to not enter into temptation? When I am in serious need, am I praying fervently regarding the situation or am I seeking a fast out by the arm of the flesh? As a style of my life, am I taking ease in Zion (Amos 6:1) rather than putting my hand to the plow in learning to pray – pray when exhausted, empty and in need of help?
Married men, take further heed:
“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” 1st Peter 3:7
“Pray often; for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.”
C.H. Spurgeon – from Morning and Evening with Spurgeon, Morning, November 3rd
“And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,”— Acts 9:11
Prayers are instantly noticed in heaven. The moment Saul began to pray the Lord heard him. Here is comfort for the distressed but praying soul.
Oftentimes a poor broken-hearted one bends his knee, but can only utter his wailing in the language of sighs and tears; yet that groan has made all the harps of heaven thrill with music; that tear has been caught by God and treasured in the lachrymatory of heaven.
“Thou puttest my tears into thy bottle,” implies that they are caught as they flow. The suppliant, whose fears prevent his words, will be well understood by the Most High. He may only look up with misty eye; but “prayer is the falling of a tear.”
Tears are the diamonds of heaven; sighs are a part of the music of Jehovah’s court, and are numbered with “the sublimest strains that reach the majesty on high.” Think not that your prayer, however weak or trembling, will be unregarded.
Jacob’s ladder is lofty, but our prayers shall lean upon the Angel of the covenant and so climb its starry rounds. Our God not only hears prayer but also loves to hear it. “He forgetteth not the cry of the humble.”
True, He regards not high looks and lofty words; He cares not for the pomp and pageantry of kings; He listens not to the swell of martial music; He regards not the triumph and pride of man; but wherever there is a heart big with sorrow, or a lip quivering with agony, or a deep groan, or a penitential sigh, the heart of Jehovah is open; He marks it down in the registry of His memory; He puts our prayers, like rose leaves, between the pages of His book of remembrance, and when the volume is opened at last, there shall be a precious fragrance springing up therefrom.
“Faith asks no signal from the skies,
To show that prayers accepted rise,
Our Priest is in His holy place,
And answers from the throne of grace.”
My Utmost for His Highest – Oswald Chamber
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail.” Luke 22:31, 32a
“And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” Luke 18:1-8
It is amazing to think that the Lord is still interceding for us today (Romans 8:34). I cannot help but to think that His prayer for us today is still, “that your faith may not fail.” And yet, I must admit, how “prone to leave the God I love,” how quickly I am to fail in faith, and to become disheartened. Yet, despite my lack of diligence, my weak resolve and my sinful old nature of turning away, He is still interceding on my behalf. And the question lies before me, will He find faith in me?
Am I willing to go to Him outside the camp (Hebrews 13:12, 13), cry out to Him day and night, that my faith may be strong, that I may not enter into temptation, that I may live a life of growing love for Him, walking with Him in willful and joyful obedience?
“The speech of the mouth must not go before, but always follow after the conception of the mind. Many times as a musician’s fingers will run over a song which he has been used to play, although his mind is otherwise occupied; so many in prayer will run over that form of words they have been used to utter, though their minds are roving about other matters. Oh, let the absurdity of the fault breed in us a loathing of it.”
“There are endless treasures of grace waiting for those who will make even the most-feeble attempts to pray. The weakest prayers yield grace.”
Challenge and Thoughts:
Set down not a formula of dead religious steps to follow, but rather, sit before the throne of God and follow the risen Savior, King Jesus, all of our days. And if you must apply a ‘formula’ to your life, then apply this: grow in loving the Lord God Almighty with all your being, walk with Him all of your days, and ask Him for the desire to willfully and joyfully obey what He has said (Deuteronomy 30:11-20). It is “by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8, 9) alone; for Jesus “is the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
If we are going to pull down the forces of hell in our lives, then we cannot easily tire, nor give into ease and comfort regarding a life of prayer. It all starts by being authentic with the realities of Christ in and upon our lives. Let us be tried and tested, found true and holding fast to the faith, the Light and Life, otherwise, we be found to be wanting and numbered with one of Sceva’s seven sons (Acts 19:11-20). May we never be mere professors, observers, and found being told, “be away from Me, I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
“And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, reach holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Revelation 5:8
Charles H. Spurgeon – Morning and Evening with Spurgeon – November 3rd, Evening
“Their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.”
2 Chronicles 30:27
Prayer is the never-failing resort of the Christian in any case, in every plight. When you cannot use your sword you may take to the weapon of all-prayer. Your powder may be damp, your bow-string may be relaxed, but the weapon of all-prayer need never be out of order. Leviathan laughs at the javelin, but he trembles at prayer. Sword and spear need furbishing, but prayer never rusts, and when we think it most blunt it cuts the best. Prayer is an open door which none can shut. Devils may surround you on all sides, but the way upward is always open, and as long as that road is unobstructed, you will not fall into the enemy’s hand. We can never be taken by blockade, escalade, mine, or storm, so long as heavenly succours can come down to us by Jacob’s ladder to relieve us in the time of our necessities. Prayer is never out of season: in summer and in winter its merchandize is precious. Prayer gains audience with heaven in the dead of night, in the midst of business, in the heat of noonday, in the shades of evening. In every condition, whether of poverty, or sickness, or obscurity, or slander, or doubt, your covenant God will welcome your prayer and answer it from His holy place. Nor is prayer ever futile. True prayer is evermore true power. You may not always get what you ask, but you shall always have your real wants supplied. When God does not answer His children according to the letter, He does so according to the spirit. If thou askest for coarse meal, wilt thou be angered because He gives thee the finest flour? If thou seekest bodily health, shouldst thou complain if instead thereof He makes thy sickness turn to the healing of spiritual maladies? Is it not better to have the cross sanctified than removed? This evening, my soul, forget not to offer thy petition and request, for the Lord is ready to grant thee thy desires.
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