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Prayer quotations and summary

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Open Heaven whiteFor those who have followed our series on prayer, I have put a summary of the links at the end of this page which also includes some statements on prayer from the masters.

“Prayer agrees with God’s word, and the heart agrees with our lips.”  John Newton

“Prayer is the great bond of union of Christendom; and not only of Christendom, but all mankind. Prayer is the most tangible proof of the fact that the whole of mankind is seeking after God; or – to put it more correctly – that it is sought by God. Mankind at prayer is a proof of the universal revelation of God.”  Friedrich Heiler

“Prayer is not man’s work, or discovery or achievement; but God’s work in man.” Friedrich Heiler

“Without prayer faith remains a theoretical conviction, worship is only an external and formal act, moral action is without spiritual depth, man remains at a distance from god, an abyss yawns between the finite and the Infinite.” Friedrich Heiler

“Prayer draws the great God down into a small heart; it drives the hungry soul up to God in His fullness” Mechthild of Magdeburg

“In prayer the highest and the lowest come together, the lowliest heart and the most exalted God.”     
Johann Arndt

“As the mysterious linking of man with the Eternal, prayer is an incomprehensible wonder, a miracle of miracles which is daily brought to pass in the devout soul.” Friedrich Heiler

“There is nothing more powerful than prayer and there is nothing to be compared with it.” Chrysostom

“Prayer is the first thing, the second thing, the third thing necessary to a minister. Pray then, my dear brother; pray, pray, pray.”
Edward Payson

“If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer…He that has prayed well has studied well.” Luther

“No man can do a great and enduring work for God who is not a man of prayer, and no man can be a man of prayer who does not give much time to praying.” E.M. Bounds

“Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth. God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” John Wesley

“If there is one thing I think the Church needs to learn, it is that God intends prayer to have an answer, and that man has not yet fully conceived of what God will do for the child who believes that his prayer will be heard. God hears prayer.” Andrew Murray

“The chief thing we need for a life of unceasing prayer is to know that Jesus teaches us to pray…Jesus’ teaching takes us up into the fellowship of His own prayer-life before the Father.” Andrew Murray

“Prayer is but man uttering to God what is God’s will.” Watchman Nee

“True prayer uncovers the emptiness in the petitioner but the fullness in the Petitioned…The state of one’s prayer life cannot be too greatly disconnected from the condition of his daily walk…Prayer is work. The experiences of many children of god demonstrate that it accomplishes far more than does any other form of work. If a believer fails in prayer, he in fact fails in everything.”     Watchman Nee

“As crucifixion proceeds, intercession begins.” Norman Grubb

“Prayer proves the supremacy of God in missions.” J. Piper

“So we pray because we were made for prayer, and God draws us out by breathing Himself in…And it comes to this, that, as there are thoughts that seem to think themselves in us, so there are prayers that pray themselves in us. And, as those are the best thoughts, these are the best prayers. For it is Christ at prayer who lives in us, and we are conduits of the Eternal Intercession.”
Forsyth

“Prayer is the highest use to which speech can be put. It is the highest meaning that can be put into words…The chief failure of prayer is its cessation.” Forsyth

“True prayer is the supreme function of the personality which is the world’s supreme product…The praying personality has an eternal value for God as an end in itself.” Forsyth

“Prayer is like the air of certain ocean isles, which is so pure that there vermin cannot live. We should surround ourselves with this atmosphere, as the diver shuts himself into his bell ere he descends into the deep.” Vinet

“The theory of religion is really the philosophy of prayer; and the best theology is compressed prayer. The true theology is warm, and it steams upward into prayer…The greatest, deepest, truest thought of God is generated in prayer, where right thought has its essential condition in a right will…Bible searching and searching prayer go hand in hand.” Forsyth

“In life it is not ‘dogged that does it’ in the last resort, and it is not hard work; it is faculty, insight, gift, talent, genius. And what genius does in the natural world prayer does in the spiritual. Nothing can give us so much power and vision.” Forsyth

“Prayer, as our greatest work, breeds in us the flair for the greatest work of God, the instinct of His kingdom and sense of His track in time…The only answer to God’s eternity is an eternal attitude of prayer.” Forsyth

“God has old prayers of yours long maturing by Him. What wine you will drink with Him in his kingdom…So if you are averse to pray, pray the more…As appetite comes with eating, so prayer with praying. Our hearts learn the language of the lips.” Forsyth

“Private prayer, when it is real action, is the greatest forge of personality. It places a man in direct and effective contact with God the Creator, the source of originality, and especially with god the Redeemer as the source of the new creation.”  Forsyth

“Prayer is for the religious life what original research is for science – by it we get direct contact with reality.” Forsyth

“It is an art – this great and creative prayer – this intimate conversation with God. ‘Magna ars est conversari cum Deo,’  “
Thomas à Kempis

Teaching links

1) https://afruitinseason.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/prayer-the-aunty-nelly-factor/

2) https://afruitinseason.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/prayer-o-when-the-saints/

3) https://afruitinseason.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/prayer-dont-you-worry-child/

4) https://afruitinseason.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/prayer-one-thing-is-needed/

5) https://afruitinseason.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/prayer-nations-people-and-revival/

6) https://afruitinseason.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/prayer-protecting-the-promise/

7) https://afruitinseason.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/prayer-wisdom-protects-the-promise/

8) https://afruitinseason.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/prayer-god-really-is-good/

9) https://afruitinseason.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/prayer-is-god-asleep/

10) https://afruitinseason.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/prayer-is-god-unjust/

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The prayer dialectic…

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“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

ForsakenThoughts on Psalm 22

God’s promise and perspective: My early Christian beginnings were nourished in the victorious context of a prayerful missionary movement. I fed on the nectar of such Biblical promises from Matthew 7:7 and John14:14 – “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” My guiding principle was:

“Prayer means answer.”

What do I then do with the shuddering God forsaken cry that comes from a broken man?

“O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer…” v.2

What do you do in face of failure? How do you handle a cross? Jesus himself spent a lifetime resisting the Devil’s promises to answer prayer. The last temptation of Christ was to come down from the cross:

“Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”  Matthew 27:40

Theologians come up with two useful phrases that help me understand God’s apparent failure and weakness. Kenosis and Epistemological distance…the first is based on the humility of the incarnation, the fullness of deity, “making himself nothing kenosis(kenosis)” Philippians 2:7

The second speaks about a necessary limitation on the knowledge of God in order to protect our freedom to love. God doesn’t write his name high in the sky or play miracles to the crowd in order to impose Himself. He hides in humility, and sometimes pain, waiting to be discovered by those who long for true intimacy.

Perhaps my own prayer weakness may also be a sharing of the same principles? I am not a “prayer superman.” I need the discipline of learning obedient sonship, leading me, like Solomon in the face of the prayer promise – 2 Chronicles 1:7, to ask for more wisdom.

So should we all just give up and abandon the prayer promises? Surely not!

My experience is always less real than God’s Word and promise. In the face of transient non-answer and pain – Hang on! Be a limping Jacob, refusing to let go of the promise:

“I will not let you go unless you bless me.”  Genesis 32:26

In the Psalm, the suffering hero appeals to the Sovereignty of God and decides to praise Him anyway, whatever the circumstances – can we not do the same?

“Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.” v.3

Other’s testimony and my experience: Are you sometimes overwhelmed by the victorious testimony of others compared with your own meager experience of victory? v.4 speaks of the testimony of history where “Fathers” trusted and were delivered. Others “cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.” Wonderful, Hallelujah, buy the DVD…But what about me!Fail

“I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people…” v.6

There seems to be a glaring contradiction in the heart of intimacy. The bridal delight of “Hephzibah” in Isaiah 62:4 seems to have been perverted into the restrained “delight” (Chaphets) v.8, of God towards his servant. I should be a glorious Bride…but I feel like a worm! Kenosis and distance are again at work.

What can I do? Appeal to destiny – throw yourself into the ultimate purpose of God.

“Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even from my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” v.9-10

Demonic oppression, yet victory in His presence: Bulls, lions and oxen speak of the fearsome reality of the demonic opposition let loose sometimes upon holy servants. Hearts turning to wax, being “poured out like water” v.14, are experiences of many burnt out, fearful – yet faithful, men and women of God. The “piercing” v.16, of hands and feet points us to Christ’s passion, but it is the same physical or mental torment of many of his people throughout time and geography.

BullsOnly the presence of the Almighty can give us strength in such times:

“But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.” v.19

The apparent contradiction of the opening “abandon” finds a deeper answer of intercession in the ultimate Presence:

“For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” v.24

My testimony: Intercession, prayer, praise and proclamation.

“I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.” v.22

My mission: Geographical – “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations.” v.27-28

Social – “All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him-those who cannot keep themselves alive.” v.29 The whole social structure from the rich to the “dirt poor” will be impacted by such intercession from his Church.

Generational – Our lives of faith, prayers and sufferings lay a solid foundation for those who are to follow. Nothing is wasted. Can you believe that part of your mission is for the yet “unborn?” Those who sow in tears can be encouraged by this long-term perspective.

“Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn – for he has done it.” v.30-31