Hello, and welcome to this episode of The Speak Life Today Podcast. I’m your host Felton Thompkins, Gospel Minister and Ambassador for Jesus Christ our Lord. A few episodes ago we talked about focusing on prayer, praying with attitude. Well on this episode of The Speak Life Today Podcast we will resume with the topic of praying with attitude. You might recall me mentioning a great book that was gifted to me over the holidays entitled E M Bounds on Prayer. Some call this magnificent work of E M Bounds the encyclopedia of prayer, and the more that I read of it, the more that I am inclined to go along with them.
This week I’m pressed to go a little different route. This week I would like to share with you a few paragraphs or excerpts from the book E M Bounds on Prayer in hopes of encouraging us and imparting in us a desire to evaluate or re-evaluate our attitudes or views when it comes to the business of prayer.
Now, it could be that after you have heard what’s about to be read in your hearing. You may be one that have already been blessed enough to have reached that mark. If so, I truly commend you of your piety and dedication to our Lord’s work of prayer, and please continue to pray for the saints that many of us will desire to have a deeper, stronger, more passionate, more fervent and a more loving relationship to prayer and too our Heavenly Father. Glory to the name of Jesus.
Again, what you are about to hear will be read from E M Bounds on Prayer: Purpose in Prayer, I will be reading out of chapter #10 entitled “Prayerless Praying.”
And it reads as thus….
“Prayer is a rare gift, not a popular, ready gift. Prayer is not the fruit of natural talents; rather, it is the product of faith, of holiness, of deeply spiritual character. Men learn to pray as they learn to love, for, as Fenelon said, “Perfect prayer is only another name for love.” Perfection in simplicity, in humility, in faith, these form it’s chief ingredients. Novices in these graces cannot be experts in prayer. It cannot be seized upon by untrained hands; only graduates in heaven’s highest school of art can touch its finest keys, raise its sweetest, highest notes. For to graduate from the school of prayer is to master the course of a religious life. Fine material, fine finish are requisite. Master workman are required, for mere journeyman cannot execute the work of prayer.
The spirit of prayer should rule our spirits and our conduct. The spirit of the prayer chamber must control our lives, or the hour in the prayer will be dull and sapless. Always praying in our spirits, always acting in the spirit of praying-these make our praying strong. The spirit of every moment is that which imparts strength to the communion of the prayer closet. It is what we are outside of the prayer closet that gives victory or brings defeat to the prayer closet. If the spirit of the world prevails in our non-closet hours, the spirit of the world will prevail in our closet hours, and that will be a vain and idle farce.
We must live for God outside of the prayer closet if we want to meet God in the prayer closet. We must bless God with praying lives if we want to have God’s blessing in the prayer closet. We must do God’s will in our lives if we want to have God’s ear in the prayer closet. We must listen to God’s voice in public if we want God to listen to our voice in private. God must have our hearts out of the prayer closet if we want to have God’s presence in the prayer closet. If we want to have God in the prayer closet, God must have us out of the prayer closet. There is no way of praying to God, except by living to God. The prayer closet is not a confessional, simply, but the hour of holy communion, of high and sweet communication, and intense intercession. Bless the name of Jesus.
Men would pray better if they lived better. They would get more from God if they lived more obediently and with the intention to please God. We would have more strength and time for the divine work of intercession if we did not have to expend so much strength and time on settling old scores and paying delinquent taxes. Our spiritual liabilities are so greatly in excess to our spiritual assets that our time in the prayer chamber is spent filing claims for bankruptcy instead of being a time of great spiritual wealth for us and for others. Our prayer closets are too much like the sign that says, “Closed for Repairs.”
John said regarding the praying of the first Christians, “Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1st John 3:22). We should note what measureless grounds were covered, what measureless gifts were received, by their strong praying. “Whatsoever”—how comprehensive is the range and reception of mighty praying, how suggestive of the reasons for the ability to pray and to have prayers answered! Thiers was obedience, but more than mere obedience, they were doing the things that please God well.
They went to their prayer closets, having been made strong by strict obedience and loving fidelity to God in their conduct. Their lives were not only true and obedient, but they were thinking about things above obedience, searching for and doing things to make God glad. This sort of Christian can come with eager step and radiant countenance to meet his Father in the prayer chamber, not simply to be forgiven, but to be approved and receive.
It makes much difference whether we come to God as a criminal or a child; to be pardoned or to be approved; to settle scores or to be embraced; for punishment or for favor. Our praying to be strong, must be buttressed by holy living. The name of Christ must be honored by our lives before it will honor our intercessions. The life of faith perfects the prayer of faith. (James 2:20)…”faith without works is dead.”
Our lives not only give color to our praying, but it gives body to it as well. Bad living leads inevitably to bad praying, and we pray feebly because we live feebly. The stream of praying cannot rise higher than the fountain of living. The force of the prayer closet are made up of the energy that flows from the confluent streams of living. Therefore, any feebleness of living will throw its faintness of living into our prayer chambers. We cannot talk to God strongly when we have not lived for God strongly. The prayer closet cannot be made holy to God when the life has not been holy to God. Note, that the Word of God emphasizes how our conduct affects the value of our praying.
Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity. (Isaiah 58:9).
Men are to pray, “lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1st Timothy 2:8). We are to pass the time of our sojourning here in the fear of the Lord if we wish to call on the Father. We cannot divorce praying from conduct. “Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1st John 3:22). Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3) The injunction of Christ, “Watch and pray” (Matthew 26:41), is to cover and guard our conduct, that we may come to our prayer closets with all the force secured by a vigilant guard over our lives.
Our religion breaks down most often and most sadly in our conduct. Beautiful theories are marred by ugly lives. The most difficult, as well as the most impressive, point in piety, is to live it. Our praying suffers from bad living as much as our religion does. Preachers were charged in the earlier times to preach by their lives or to not preach at all. So Christians everywhere ought to be charged to pray by their lives or to not pray at all.
Of course, the prayer of repentance is acceptable; but repentance means to quit doing wrong and learn to do well. A repentance that does not produce a change in conduct is a sham. Praying that does not result in pure conduct is a delusion; it is prayerless.
We have missed the whole office and virtue of praying if it does not rectify our conduct. The very nature of things is that we must either quit praying or quit bad conduct. Cold, dead praying may exist with bad conduct, but cold, dead praying is no praying in God’s eyes. Our praying advances in power as it rectifies our lives. A life growing in its purity and devotion will be a more prayerful life.”
My brothers and sisters in Christ that’s going to do it for this excerpt of E M Bounds on Prayer- Purpose in Prayer- Prayerless Praying.
Listen beloved, my prayer is that what you have just heard being read to you, will challenge you, but more importantly encourage you as it has done for myself to go deeper and deeper in regards to a better prayer life, a better and much closer walk with the Lord Jesus and to live a life that is truly well pleasing to our Heavenly Father. Hey, if you believe God is calling you to have a deeper and more knowledgeable prayer life. I believe that he is without a doubt calling you to a more intense and loving relationship with himself and with others. If that’s you, I sincerely encourage you to pick up a copy of this work by EM Bounds. You can find a link to his work on our website at: www.SpeakLifeToday.org.
Well saints of God that’s going to do it for this episode of The Speak Life Today Podcast. And as always, I count it a privilege to share with you what’s on my heart concerning the things of God our Father. So, until next time remember Proverbs 18:21 Death and Life are in the power of the tongue, and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Lord willing, I’ll talk to you soon, may God bless you and Speak Life Today!