(J.R. Miller, “Prayer in the Christian life” 1903) LISTEN to audio! Download audio (selections below…full dev. on audio)
What place should prayer have in a Christian’s life? Should we pray little or much? …
There is a verse of Paul’s which seems to answer all these questions. “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. That means, pray always and everywhere. There is nothing we may not take to God in prayer, asking for His help. There is no hour of the day when we may not turn to God, and find Him ready to hear and bless us. The gates of prayer are never shut!
To pray without ceasing, is to do everything with prayer. …To pray without ceasing is to have the heart always in converse with God. It is to live so near to God–that we can talk with Him wherever we go–and seek His help, His wisdom, His guidance. God is our Father, with infinite love in His heart for us, ready and eager to help us and bless us in every way!
Whatever we are doing, our hearts may go out to Him. “Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath–the Christian’s native air!”
…It is often said that we should ‘count that day lost’ in which no kindness is done, no deed of love to anyone, no help given. But sadder far is a day without prayer! It is a day without God, without heaven’s light shining into it–a day unblessed! That morning you forget to pray, is a sad morning for you!
We should form the habit of praying at every step,
as we go along through the day. That was part of Paul’s meaning when he said, “Whatever you do, in word or in deed–do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” He would have us include every word we speak, as well as every deed we do. … We can scarcely think of one using bitter words, backbiting words, unholy words–if his heart is always full of prayer; if he has trained himself to always pray before he speaks.
But we are to do all our deeds also, in the name of the Lord Jesus. That means that we should do everything for Him, to please Him. If we could get this lesson learned, if we would really pray without ceasing–how beautiful our lives would be! How well we would do all our work!
”In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
“Pray at all times and on every occasion.” Ephesians 6:18
It is well for us to learn this lesson–to take everything to God in prayer, to pray as we go from task to task. –lift up your heart in the prayer, “Jesus, help me to do Your will.” Or if you meet a sudden temptation and are in danger of being swept away, look up and cry, “Jesus, save me!” We do not know what we miss, by leaving God out of so much of our life!
We often wonder . . .
why we fail,
and so little comes of our efforts.
why we do not get along better with people,
and we are not happy,
why joy is so lacking in our experience,
and we are so easily fretted and vexed,
why we are so discontented,
and we fall so easily into surliness and bad temper.
It is because we cease to pray!
It is impossible to tell of the blessing of such a spirit and habit of prayer. Those who have not learned to “pray without ceasing” have no conception of what they are missing. If we all had learned this lesson, what a company of overcoming Christians we would be! The world would have little power over us–we would tread it under our feet! We would be strong, where now we are so weak. We would be victorious over temptation, where now we fail so sadly. If you knew that Christ was always actually walking with you, how strong you would be! There is no lesson we need to take more to heart, than this lesson of unceasing prayer! All the best things of Christian living, are the fruit of silent meditation.
~ ~ ~ ~