in the school of prayer - lesson twelve

Want to learn more about building a life of prayer? Me too. Meet me here on Wednesdays for an ongoing series exploring prayer using Dr. Andrew Murray's book, With Christ in the School of Prayer. I'm honored to learn alongside you.

In our last lesson we learned that once we know the will of our Father, we can boldly believe that He will answer the prayer of faith.  Today, Dr. Murray brings us a little more definition and a gentle caution:

Make sure that you have faith IN GOD.

"The power to believe a promise depends entirely, but only, on faith in the promiser.  Trust in the person begets trust in his word.  It is only where we live and associate with God in personal, loving intercourse, where GOD HIMSELF is all to us, where our whole being is continually opened up and exposed to the mighty influences that are at work where His Holy Presence is revealed, that the capacity will be developed for believing that He gives whatsoever we ask."

Let us be careful where we apply our faith.  Again and again through these chapters Dr. Murray reminds us that all the promises, all the power, all the privilege of prayer is tied up in our relationship with the Heavenly Father.  If ever we forget this, then prayer and faith can get off-balance.

Faith "is often compared to the hand or the mouth, by which we take and appropriate what is offered to us.  But it is of importance that we should understand that faith is also the ear by which I hear what is promised, the eye by which I see what is offered me.  On this the power to take depends.  I must hear the person who gives me the promise:  the very tone of his voice gives me courage to believe.  I must see him:  in the light of his eye and countenance all fear as to my right to take passes away.  The value of the promise depends on the promiser:  it is on my knowledge of what the promiser is that faith in the promise depends."

If we are confused about His desires, if we find ourselves greedy or using prayer as a way to try and manipulate God's will, if we are frustrated and anxious in our prayers, then we have gotten askew.  We can only ask rightly in faith for those things that the Promiser has revealed to us first.  At the beginning of the prayer of faith is listening and knowing, then believing.

It is because very many of God’s children do not understand this connection between the life of faith and the prayer of faith that their experience of the power of prayer is so limited.  When they desire earnestly to obtain an answer from God, they fix their whole heart upon the promise, and try their utmost to grasp that promise in faith.  When they do not succeed, they are ready to give up hope; the promise is true, but it is beyond their power to take hold of it in faith.  Listen to the lesson Jesus teaches us this day:  HAVE FAITH IN GOD, the Living God:  let faith look to God more than the thing promised:  it is His love, His power, His living presence will waken and work the faith.

This relationship is an astonishing symbiosis of abiding within and receiving, of knowing and being known, of submitting and acting.  Confusion and worry has no place here, because we have learned to rest until the word comes to us clear.  Then we simply trust and believe in the thing that has already been given to us by His own word.

Therefore, child of God, take time, take time, to bow before Him, to wait on Him to reveal Himself.  Take time, and let thy soul in holy awe and worship exercise and express its faith in the Infinite One, and as He imparts Himself and takes possession of thee, the prayer of faith will crown thy faith in God.

This week, let's spend a few moments at the beginning of the day thinking on God alone, worshipping Him and resting in His presence.  Let's begin our prayer times with focus on the dear Father and Friend we are coming to know better. 

Next week I'll be sharing my thoughts from chapter 13 - ‘Prayer and fasting;’Or,  The Cure of Unbelief.

You can read the other entries in this series here:  Wednesday Prayer Series.

Let's pray.

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Dear Lord,

We come to You today hungry to know You, to live in You and have our dwelling place within Your Spirit.   It is so easy to go astray, to take our eyes off of You as the Provider and to get wrapped up in the gifts themselves.  Reorient us, Lord, to understand that this life is about drawing nearer to YOU, and all the trials and needs and growth are intended to teach us how to walk with You and love You.   Help us put our faith where it belongs: in the living God.

Father, please examine our prayers and our intentions and show us the areas where we need to refocus.  Show us if we have gotten off track.  We submit our prayers, our work, our lives to Your direction and instruction.  We trust You to shape us and lead us.

Thank You for this instruction, for this study which is drawing each of us deeper and further into our relationships with You.  We love You Lord Jesus.

In Your precious name,

amen.