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Greetings All,

This week's 'thought' comes to you as an encouragement in regard to prayer. It is taken from David M'Intyre's excellent little book on prayer called: "The Hidden Life of Prayer." The book was written in 1913 in Glasgow, Scotland - a year before the outbreak of WWI. In my opinion it is one of the best books on prayer I have ever read. There is hardly one wasted word in the whole book. Even though it is only a mere 44 pages long, it says far more than some books on prayer I've read that are two to three times its size. This particular selection has to do with those things that are necessary for developing and sustaining a life of prayer. Enjoy.

A Quiet Place.
"With regard to many of us the first of these, a quiet place, is well within our reach. But there are tens of thousands of our fellow-believers who find it generally impossible to withdraw into the desired seclusion of the secret place. A house-mother in a crowded tenement... a soldier in his barracks... these and many more may not be always able to command quiet and solitude. But your Father knows, and it is comforting to reflect that the very Prince of pilgrims shared an experience such as these. In the carpenter's small house in Nazareth there were, it appears, no fewer than nine persons who lived under one roof -- Jesus, Mary His mother and Joseph, the Lord's brothers -- four of them -- and at least two sisters (Mark 6:3)... When our Lord entered His public ministry, there were occasions when He found it difficult to secure the privilege of solitude... So when His spirit hungered for communion with His Father, He bent His steps toward the highlands.... Any place may become a place of prayer, provided that one is able to find in it seclusion... And if no better place presents itself, the soul which turns to God may clothe itself in quietness even in the crowded concourse or in the hurrying streets.
[Susannah Wesley], never able to free herself from the insistent clamor of her little ones (all 19 of them), made for herself a sanctuary in the simplest way. 'I threw my apron over my head,' she said, 'and there was my closet.'

A Quiet Hour.
For most of us it may be harder to find a quiet hour. I do not mean an 'hour' of exactly sixty minutes, but a portion of time withdrawn from the encroachments of business or pleasure, and dedicated to God.... We who live with the clang of machinery and the roar of traffic always in our ears, whose crowding obligations jostle against each other as the hours fly on, are often tempted to withdraw to other uses those moments which we ought to hold sacred for communion with heaven. Dr. Dale says somewhere that if each day had forty-eight hours, and every week had fourteen days, we might conceivably get through our work, but that, as things are, it is impossible. There is at least an edge of truth in this whimsical utterance. Thus, if we are to have a quiet hour set down in the midst of a hurry of duties, and kept sacred, we must exercise forethought and self-denial. We must be prepared to forgo many things that are pleasant, and some things that are profitable. We shall have to redeem time, it may be from recreation, or from social intercourse, or from study, or from works of benevolence, if we are to find leisure daily to enter into our closet, and having shut the door, to pray to our Father who is in secret...

Sometimes one hears it said, 'I confess that I do not spend much time in the secret chamber, but I try to cultivate the habit of continual prayer.' And it is implied that this is more and better than that. The two things ought not be set in opposition. Each is necessary to a well-ordered Christian life. Each was maintained in the practice of the Lord Jesus. He was always enfolded in the Father's love; His communion with the Father was always unbroken... yet St. Luke tells us that it was his habit to withdraw Himself into the wilderness to pray (Luke 5:16). The authorized version does not at all give us the force of the original in this verse. Dean Vaughan comments on it thus: 'It was not one withdrawal, nor one wilderness, nor one prayer, for all is plural in the original -- the withdrawals were repeated, the wildernesses more than one, the prayers were habitual.' Crowds were thronging and pressing Him; great multitudes came together to hear and be healed of their infirmities; and He had no leisure as much as to eat. Yet He found time to pray. And this One who sought retirement with so much solitude was the Son of God, having no sins to confess, no shortcomings to deplore, no unbelief to subdue, no languor of love to ovecome... 'Let no man who can find time to spend on his vanities... say he cannot find time for prayer."

A Quiet Heart.

For most of us, perhaps, it is still harder to secure the quiet heart. The contemplationists of the Middle Ages desired to present themselves before God in silence, that He might teach them what their lips should utter, and their hearts expect... Mc'Cheyne used to say that very much of his prayer time was spent in preparing to pray...
There are, in particular, three great, but simple acts of faith, which serve to quiet and stay the mind on God:

(a) Let us, in the first place, recognize our acceptance before God through the dying of the Lord Jesus....'Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into te holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the way which He dedicated for us, a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh, and having a Great High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart, in fullness of faith, having our consciences sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our body washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it may not waver, for He is faithful that has promised' (Heb. 10:19-23 R.V.)...

(b) It is important also that we confess and receive the enabling grace of the Divine Spirit, without whom nothing is holy, nothing good. For it is He that teaches us to cry, 'Abba, Father,' searches for us the deep things of God, discloses to us the mind and will of Christ, helps us in our infirmities, and intercedes on our behalf 'according to the will of God'.... Without the support of the Holy Spirit, prayer becomes a matter of incredible difficulty... 'As for my heart,' said [George Muller the great man of faith and prayer], 'when I go to pray I find it so loath to go to God, and when it is with Him, so loath to stay with Him, that many times I am forced in my prayers, first to beg of God that He would take mine heart and set it on Himself in Christ, and when it is there, that He would keep it there'....

(c) It is well for us, in the beginning of our supplications, to direct our hearts towards the Holy Scriptures. It will greatly calm the 'contrary' mind if we open the sacred volume and read it as in the presence of God, until there shall come to us out from the printed page a word from the Eternal. George Muller confessed that often he could not pray until he had steadied his mind upon a text."

With prayers that we might seek to find more time to pray, Pastor Jeff