in the school of prayer - lesson thirty-one

Want to learn more about building a life of prayer?  Me too. This is the final installment of our series exploring prayer using Dr. Andrew Murray's book, With Christ in the School of Prayer. I'm honored to learn alongside you.

 

At last we come to the final chapter, Pray without Ceasing, or A Life of Prayer.  Dr. Murray has gently led us through all our questions and doubts so that we can learn how to live out this particular call of God in our daily lives.  To become a people of prayer, just as our Lord was a Man of prayer, this is our aim.

At the close of our meditations it will not be difficult to say what is needed to live such a life of prayer.  The first thing is undoubtedly the entire sacrifice of the life to God’s kingdom and glory.  He who seeks to pray without ceasing because he wants to be very pious and good, will never attain to it.  It is the forgetting of self and yielding ourselves to live for God and His honour that enlarges the heart, that teaches us to regard everything in the light of God and His will, and that instinctively recognises in everything around us the need of God’s help and blessing, an opportunity for His being glorified...To forget oneself, to live for God and His kingdom among men, is the way to learn to pray without ceasing.

The path has been traced for us over the last months of study:

The first thing is undoubtedly the entire sacrifice of the life to God’s kingdom and glory.  He who seeks to pray without ceasing because he wants to be very pious and good, will never attain to it.  It is the forgetting of self and yielding ourselves to live for God and His honour that enlarges the heart, that teaches us to regard everything in the light of God and His will, and that instinctively recognises in everything around us the need of God’s help and blessing, an opportunity for His being glorified....
  To forget oneself, to live for God and His kingdom among men, is the way to learn to pray without ceasing.

As we learn to be wholly devoted to the glory and will of the Father, we must also learn to trust Him and all His promises knowing that He never lies or misleads us, but only waits for our growth and submission, patiently tending our souls.

We see that the Lord needs and takes time, because we and all around us are the creatures of time, under the law of growth; but knowing that not one single prayer of faith can possibly be lost that there is sometimes a needs-be for the storing up and accumulating of prayer, that persevering pray is irresistible, prayer becomes the quiet, persistent living of our life of desire and faith in the presence of our God.  O do not let us any longer by our reasonings limit and enfeeble such free and sure promises of the living God, robbing them of their power, and ourselves of the wonderful confidence they are meant to inspire.  Not in God, not in His secret will, not in the limitations of His promises, but in us, in ourselves is the hindrance; we are not what we should be to obtain the promise.  Let us open our whole heart to God’s words of promise in all their simplicity and truth:  they will search us and humble us; they will lift us up and make us glad and strong.  And to the faith that knows it gets what it asks, prayer is not a work or a burden, but a joy and a triumph; it becomes a necessity and a second nature.

We are equipped for this growth into the life of prayer because the Holy Spirit Himself lives within us and prays.  This is why we are heard of the Father.  We need no merit or worthiness of our own.  The Spirit Himself dwells in us to accomplish the will of our Lord.

He who prays is our Head and our Life.  All He has is ours and is given to us when we give ourselves all to Him.  By His blood He leads us into the immediate presence of God.  The inner sanctuary is our home, we dwell there.  And He that lives so near God, and knows that He has been brought near to bless those who are far, cannot but pray.  Christ makes us partakers with Himself of His prayer-power and prayer-life.  We understand then that our true aim must not be to work much and have prayer enough to keep the work right, but to pray much and then to work enough for the power and blessing obtained in prayer to find its way through us to men.  It is Christ who ever lives to pray, who saves and reigns.  He communicates His prayer-life to us:  He maintains it in us if we trust Him.  He is surety for our praying without ceasing.  Yes, Christ teaches to pray by showing how He does it, by doing it in us, by leading us to do it in Him and like Him.  Christ is all, the life and the strength too for a never-ceasing prayer-life.

As we have said all through these posts, prayer is not a dull duty to be tacked onto the list of an obedient disciple.  Instead, it is...

The highest conformity to Christ, the most blessed participation in the glory of His heavenly life, is that we take part in His work of intercession:  He and we live ever to pray.  In the experience of our union with Him, praying without ceasing becomes a possibility, a reality, the holiest and most blessed part of our holy and blessed fellowship with God.  We have our abode within the veil, in the presence of the Father.  What the Father says, we do; what the Son says, the Father does.  Praying without ceasing is the earthly manifestation of heaven come down to us, the foretaste of the life where they rest not day or night in the song of worship and adoration.

It has been such a joy to go through this study slowly with all of you.  I have learned so much and am truly changed in my understanding and approach to prayer and what it means.  I hope you have grown and learned as well.

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Let's pray together.

Dear Lord,

We have travelled a long way together, reading and listening and putting into practice what Dr. Murray has shared with us.  We thank You for good teachers and faithful servants who have left their wisdom and experience for us to follow.  Lord, please write these good truths on our hearts and help us to go on from here with purpose and understanding.

We want to participate in Your life, in the work of the Spirit.  We want to be wrapped in the fellowship of the Beloved.  Draw us on in prayer, turning our desires towards Your kingdom and Your glory.

I pray for every person who has joined in this study, that You would answer the cry of their heart to pray.  Lead them day by day, need by need.  A year from now, an hour from now, let them be different than they are at this moment.  Let them become true pray-ers, faithful servants in the Kingdom of God, conformed to the image of the Son, who ever lives to pray.

We love You Lord, and we thank You for the fellowship and learning we have done together.  

In the name of Jesus,

amen 

There is one final chapter in this book - which I will not be commenting on - but I encourage you to read.  A personal witness to a life of prayer;  don't miss George Muller's story.

Previous entries in this series can be found here:  Wednesday Prayer Series