This week's 'thought' is about prayer. It comes to you from the Puritan preacher George Swinnock and is taken from, "The Works of George Swinnock." Though written hundreds of years ago, his words are as relevant an exhortation for the church today as they were in the day he wrote them. If people would only heed his admonitions it would make an untold difference in their lives, in the church, and in the world. (*Some of the language has been updated.) Enjoy!
"Prayer should be constant. It is your duty to give yourself to prayer. It is like the fire on the altar of the Temple -- it must never go out day or night. It is like the believer's breathing -- a Christian's prayer may have intermissions, but never cessation. There is no duty given to a Christian for his constant attention so much as prayer -- pray always, pray continually, pray without ceasing, pray with perseverance, and pray forevermore.
To pray without ceasing means: 1.) To be in a praying frame all the time. The soldier always has his weapon ready, though he is not always at battle. Your heart should always be in tune so you can make heavenly music. The believer's spirit is like fire on the hearth -- though it is not blazing, it is ready upon any opportunity to be blown up into a flame.
2.) No important business is to be undertaken without prayer. You are God's servant, and must ask permission in all that you do. When you rise up or lie down, when you go out or come in, prayer is with you. The world's poison can be expelled with this antidote.
3.) Set a regular time aside every day for prayer. The Christian has his set times for meals for his body every day, and so it should be for his soul. As with the marigold, the believer should open himself in the morning (through prayer) for the sweet dews of heaven's grace and blessing. At night also he can find some opportunity to converse, as a lover, because during the day he is hindered by business.
Prayer is the key of the morning to open the door of mercy, and prayer is the slidebolt at night to secure him in safety. He that prays should lift his supplication to God even during the day. Prayer has its internal arrows which it needs to shoot heavenward throughout the course of the day.
Some seasons for prayer should never be slighted. When the Spirit of God stirs within us to come and pray, we should make haste to come to God in prayer and not delay."
In the Grip of His Grace, Pastor Jeff