By Patrick Hawthorne
Before a word of petition is offered, we should have the definite and vivid consciousness that we are talking to God, and should believe that He is listening to our petition and is going to grant the thing that we ask of Him. R. A. Torrey
Hither, thither, and yon we go. Rush, rush, rush! Zip in here, zip over there. No time to waste, we must go, go, go. “Hi God…ok, see ya.” Is it any wonder why the Body of Christ has become so ineffective, so paralyzed?
Acts 12:5 – Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
Did you catch those words? Let’s retrace. “Without ceasing” and “Unto God,” are our focus. Firstly, prayer was made…UNTO GOD! As I read the words of R.A.Torrey, it occurred to me that much of our prayer, although we claim it is unto God, is really just a shot gun approach in which we shoot into the air hoping something hits its mark. This should never be the case.
Let me ask you a question. Think seriously upon this. When was the last time you went into prayer and first asked, “Holy Spirit, please guide me with the correct words that I need as I speak to my Heavenly Father?” When was the last time you paused before praying and took a moment to ensure that your heart was in tune with God and you knew you had audience with Him?
Now, don’t get me wrong. We are to have a heart of prayer; to pray without ceasing. However, there are times when we need to stop, shut our mouths, and wait upon the Lord. When was the last time you allowed Jesus to lead the dance, to have control?
The second thing we need to focus on is “Without ceasing” prayer. The meaning here is out-stretched; fervent and with intent. The early Church was not known for wishy-washy, “O’ most holy Father, if it be Thy will,” type prayer. NO! They were known for praying with fervency, “Now Lord, behold their threats and grant unto your servants that with all boldness we might speak your word and that signs and wonders follow in the name of your Holy servant, Jesus!” (Acts 4:29 paraphrase). The early Church entered the Throne Room of Grace with a boldness that we just do not see in the present day Church.
“Ah yes,” the religious squawk. “We must stay reverent in our approach to Almighty God.” While I agree we must maintain our reverence to God, where is the boldness to ask of God for something we ourselves deem impossible? Where is the fervency of Malachi 3:10 to “Prove Me now, thus says the Lord?” Where is the dogged determination to stand before our Creator and say, “Lord, You said?” Think about it. Be blessed.