Note: This post is associated with a call to 50 days of prayer at Bethel Church of Houston in association with the Houston Church Planting Network. You can find the HCPN daily devotion by following this link: Day 8 & Day 9
Welcome to the second week of our 50 days of prayer. Given my Sunday and Monday schedule, it took me a little time to get to the computer so we will play catch up with day eight and nine.
This week I am reading through The Prayer Life by Andrew Murray as a stimulus to my personal prayers. The first couple of chapters are hard-hitting as he calls us to forsake the “sinfulness” of prayerlessness (that will preach). The following were particularly striking:
What is the reason why many thousands of Christian workers in the world have not a greater influence? Nothing save this – the prayerlessness of their service. In the midst of all their zeal in the study and in the work of the church, of all their faithfulness in preaching and conversation with the people, they lack the ceaseless prayer which has attached to it the sure promise of the Spirit and the power from on high.The Prayer Life by Andrew Murray (p.19)
My soul resonates with such a challenge. I desire to see God move mightily in the lives of people. However, I must be careful as each of us must, to guard our hearts even in our prayer life. Perhaps one of Murray’s other statements is where we begin:
There is the holy and most glorious God who invites us to come to Him, to hold converse with Him, to ask from Him such things as we need, and to experience what a blessing there is in fellowship with Him.The Prayer Life by Andrew Murray (p.17)
Murray, while laying down a sharp rebuke also reminds us that we are not to pray in the flesh but in the Spirit. There are two dangers here. One is we live a carnal lifestyle while approaching God without repentance in prayer. Second, in our desire to improve our prayer life we do so by means of the flesh. Paul says in Galatians 5:16, 25, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh…If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Our prayer must imminent from a life in the Spirit because if we are living in the flesh, our thoughts will not reveal the mind aligned with the things of the Spirit. Prayer seems to be both a means and a result of our abiding in Christ as described in John 17. Prayer is a conscious dependence on God while in fellowship with him.
Perhaps the tie between the prayerlessness Murray rebukes above and the workers lack of “greater influence” is because we believe we can do it without God and the empowering of a Spirit-filled life.