Sunday, 7 February 2016

Prayer - Excerpts from Richard Foster


All who have walked with God have viewed prayer as the main business of their lives. The words of the gospel of Mark, “And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed,” stand as a commentary on the life-style of Jesus (Mark 1:35). David’s desire for God broke the self- indulgent chains of sleep: “Early will I seek Thee” (Ps. 63:1, KJV). When the apostles were tempted to invest their energies in other important and necessary tasks, they determined to give themselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4). Martin Luther declares, “I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.” He held it as a spiritual axiom that “He that has prayed well has studied well.”2 John Wesley says, “God does nothing but in answer to prayer,”3 and backed up his conviction by devoting two hours daily to that sacred exercise. The most notable feature of David Brainerd’s life was his praying. His journal is permeated with accounts of prayer, fasting, and meditation. “I love to be alone in my cottage, where I can spend much time in prayer.” “I set apart this day for secret fasting and prayer to God.”4 For those explorers in the frontiers of faith, prayer was no little habit tacked onto the periphery of their lives; it was their lives. It was the most serious work of their most productive years. William Penn testified of George Fox that “Above all he excelled in prayer.... The most awful, living, reverend frame I ever felt or beheld, I must say was his in prayer.”5 Adoniram Judson sought to withdraw from business and company seven times a day in order to engage in the holy work of prayer. He began at dawn; then at nine, twelve, three, six, nine, and midnight he would give time to secret prayer. John Hyde of India made prayer such a dominant characteristic of his life that he was nicknamed “Praying Hyde.” For these, and all those who have braved the depths of the interior life, to breathe was to
pray. 

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