Thursday, July 16, 2009

How to Pray

Recently read the book "How to Pray" by R.A. Torrey. There was no copyright in the book, but the best I can tell, it was published around the year 1900. Here are some of the things that stood out to me. If you have a call and heart for prayer, you will really appreciate some of this. This book did a fantastic job of connecting the Word of God and Prayer together as they should be. In this review, I will give verses (all in KJV), followed by connected thoughts.

Ephesians 6:18- "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints..."
  • Note the "alls"! All prayer. All seasons. All perseverance. All the saints.
Why is such constant and persistent prayer so needful?
  1. Because there is a Devil! (Ephesians 6:12)
  2. We do not have, when we do not ask! (James 4:2)
  3. The Apostles regarded prayer as the most important business of their lives.
  4. Prayer occupied a very prominent place in the life of Jesus on earth. (Mark 1:35)
  5. Prayer is such an important part of the present ministry of our risen Lord. (Hebrews 7:25)
  6. Prayer is the means that God has chosen for us to receive mercy and obtain grace! (Hebrews 4:16)
  7. Prayer leads to fullness of joy! (John 16:24)
  8. Prayer leads to freedom and peace! (Philippians 4:6-7)
  9. God himself declared prayer the method for obtaining the Holy Spirit. (Luke 11:13)
  10. Prayer clarifies our crazy lives. (Luke 21:34-36)
  11. Because of what prayer accomplishes!
Acts 12:5- "...but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him."
  • We need to pray TO God!
  • In much of prayer there is actually little thought of God.
  • We need to be more taken up with God than our petitions. Before a word of petition is offered, we should have the definite and vivid consciousness that we are talking to God, and believe that He is listening and is going to grant the thing that we are asking of him.
Hebrews 5:7- "...who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death..."
  • Much of our modern prayer has no power in it because it has no heart in it. We rush into God's presence, run through a string of petitions, jump up and go out!
  • If we put so little heart into our prayers, we cannot expect God to put too much heart into answering them.
I John 3:22- "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."
  • If we give a listening ear to all God's commands to us, He will give a listening ear to all our petitions to him.
  • If, on the other hand, we turn a deaf ear to His precepts, He will be likely to turn a deaf ear to our prayers.
A couple other quotes that made me think:
  • When we least feel like praying in the time that we most need to pray. We should wait quietly before God and tell him how cold and prayerless our hearts are, and look up to Him and trust Him and expect Him to send the Holy Spirit to warm our hearts and draw them out in prayer.
  • One of the great needs of the present day is men and women who will not only start out to pray for things, but pray on and on until they obtain that which they seek from the Lord. That is praying THROUGH!
  • To abide in Christ is to renounce any independent life of our own and to give up trying to think our thoughts, or form our resolutions, or cultivate our feelings, and simply and constantly look to Christ to think His thoughts in us, to form His purposes in us and to feel His emotions and affections in us.
  • A selfish purpose in prayer, robs prayer of power.
  • When returning to God to ask for new blessings, we should never forget to first thank Him for the blessings already granted. If we actually realized how many of our prayers have been answered that we NEVER went back and thanked God for, we would be horrified!
There were 4 other really important ideas in this little book that I will blog about later in separate posts:
  1. Praying in the name of Jesus.
  2. Knowing the will of God.
  3. The Word/Prayer Connection.
  4. Hindrances to Prayer.
Coming Soon!

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