HOW NATURAL IS PRAYER TO YOU?
In over sixty years of walking with the Lord, I have experienced prayer in many settings; from the empty meaningless repetitions to passionate pouring out of heart before God and seeing Him transform me and people as we labored in prayer. I have grown to love my time in prayer.
“It is said of C. H. Spurgeon, that he glided from laughter to prayer with the naturalness of one who lived in both elements. With him the habit of prayer was free and unfettered. His life was not divided into compartments, the one shut off from the other with a rigid exclusiveness that barred all intercommunication. He lived in constant fellowship with his Father in heaven. He was ever in touch with God, and thus it was as natural for him to pray as it was for him to breath.” (1)
This quote reminded me of Jesus in Matthew 11. He had just been criticizing the cities of Chorazin and Capernaum for their lack of repentance, and in a very natural way turns to speak in prayer to the “Father, Lord of heaven and earth” (11:25).
Our lack of freedom in prayer reflects two serious problems we have. One of these problems is that we do not know the “Father” well enough because we do not spend time with Him in secret. We also do not recognize Him as “Lord of heaven and earth.” Lack of intimacy with God means we do not understand His character or rule, nor how closely He is involved in our daily lives. The other problem, which Spurgeon alludes to, is the compartmental attitude we take toward God’s involvement in what we do and say. We would never say it, but by our actions we think that God is not interested in those parts of our lives that are not “spiritual.” Yet, as far as God is concerned, there is no distinction between the sacred and secular. He wants us to access Him in prayer no matter what we are doing and where. Our attitude toward this will not change until we get to know Him better. Intimacy with Him grows out of a consistent desire and pursuit to know Him!
(1) The Complete Works of E. M. Bounds on Prayer, Prince Press, 2000, page 311.
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