The Secret of a Happy, Yielded Life
PRAYER is the most important spiritual exercise a Christian can have. If you are to live a happy, yielded and victorious life, prayer is absolutely essential daily. The apostle said that we are to “pray without ceasing.” I Thessalonians 5:17. The reason you may be having difficulties in your business, work, home, or social affairs is because you are not spending enough time daily in prayer. Here are a few facts on prayer that may be of help.
First, the place of prayer. It is not the place, but the spirit of prayer that is the all-important factor. Jacob found that desert stones can become an altar. Peter prayed in a storm-tossed ship. Hagar cried to God in the heart of the desert. Hezekiah prayed to the Lord on his sickbed. David prayed while hiding in a cave. The Penitent Thief prayed from a cross. God’s ear is open to our cry, whether at the seashore or on the housetop, on a mountain or a battlefield. However, daily prayer is better and easier under favorable surroundings. Learn to shut the door on conditions that would bring disturbance. Ordinarily, it is best to have a place for daily prayer. Jesus suggested, “Enter into thy closet.” Matthew 6:6. It is good to pray at least once a day in a secluded place, praying out loud, guarding yourself against wandering thoughts.
Second, the posture of prayer. No particular posture is prescribed in the Bible. You should certainly shun all slovenly habits when you assume a prayer attitude. The Bible indicates many postures in prayer.
Lifting up of hands (Exodus 9:33, Psalm 28:2). Charles Wesley had this posture in mind when he wrote: “Father, I stretch my hands to Thee; no other hope I know.”
Sitting is another posture. David used this posture as mentioned in II Samuel 7:18.
Standing was the usual Jewish attitude of Christ’s day.
Kneeling is a reverent attitude adopted by others. David knelt three times a day. Stephen knelt and prayed. Peter and Paul knelt several times according to Scripture. I personally find this the best posture.
You should choose a posture best fitted for your own realization of the Divine Presence and not condemn others who adopt different habits. It is actually the posture of the soul that pleases or offends the Lord.
Third, the period for prayer. The time you give to prayer is governed by desires, need, circumstances and physical ability. The most active life needs the most prayer.
Jesus seems to have devoted Himself especially to prayer at times when His life was full of work and excitement. The Bible says to pray at all seasons (Ephesians 6:18); to “pray without ceasing.” I Thessalonians 5:17. Charles Wesley gave two hours daily to prayer. John Wesley arose at four o’clock to pray. John Fletcher sometimes prayed all night. Bishop Andrews prayed five hours a day. Martin Luther had to have three hours a day in prayer. Judson of Burma said he had to pray a dozen times a day.
The Bible makes it clear that you can pray at any time for God never sleeps, and His ear is ever open to your cry. The Bible teaches that there is public prayer, family prayer and private prayer. When Christ prayed in public, He was brief. When He was with the disciples, He prayed longer. When He prayed alone, He prayed all night.
God help us to pray! If we are to survive, we must have spiritual revival! If we are to have spiritual revival, we must have more earnest, effectual praying!