"Your Prayer Has Always Contributed"
A man who knew empirically that an event had been caused by his prayer would feel like a magician. His head would turn and his heart would be corrupted. The Christian is not to ask whether this or that event happened because of a prayer. He is rather to believe that all events without exception are answers to prayer in the sense that whether they are grantings or refusals the prayers of all concerned and their needs have all been taken into account...We must not picture destiny as a film unrolling for the most part on its own, but in which are prayers are sometimes allowed to insert additional items. On the contrary; what the film displays to us as she unrolls already
contains the results of our prayers and all our other acts. There is no question whether an event has happened because of your prayer. When the event you prayed for occurs, your prayer has always contributed to it. When the opposite event occurs, your prayer has never been ignored; it has been considered and refused for your ultimate good and the good of the whole universe.(For example, because it is better for you and for everyone else in the long run that other people, including wicked ones, should exercise free will than that you should be protected from cruelty or treachery by turning the human race into automata.) But this is, and must remain, a matter of faith.
"The Holiness of Prayer"
Prayer means that we have come boldly into the throne room and we are standing in His presence.
"The Spirit Intercedes"
Every minute on the clock that you are engaged in praying is a minute in heaven that the Spirit is speaking to the Father with wonderfully perfect words on your behalf.
Prayer is the golden key that opens heaven.
Pray as if everything depends on God; act as if everything depends on you.
"Be Not Too Dignified to Unveil Thine Heart"
...we want to know not how we should pray if we were perfect but how we should pray being as we are now. And if my idea of prayer as "unveiling" is accepted, we have already answered this. It is no use to ask God factitious earnestness for A when our whole mind is in reality filled with the desire for B. We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us...And perhaps, as those who do not turn to God in petty trials will have no 'habit' or such resort to help them when the great trials come, so those who have not learned to ask Him for childish things will have less readiness to ask Him for great ones. We must not be too high-minded. I fancy we may sometimes be deterred from small prayers by a sense of our own dignity rather than of God's.
"Praying With Both Body and Soul"
When one prays in strange places and at strange times one can't kneel, to be sure. I won't say this doesn't matter. The body ought to pray as well as the soul. Body and soul are both the better for it.
"The Supreme Delight Of God's Presence"
It is in recognizing the actual presence of God that we find prayer no longer a chore, but a supreme delight.
One’s prayer life is a useful index of one’s level of faith. If your prayer life does not contain a certain amount of outlandishly improbable scenarios for the advance of Kingdom of God, for your children’s salvation, for your own sanctification—if, in fact, your imagination has never even been stretched to entertain such requests—maybe you can join me in this daily exercise too: “Lord, I believe that nothing is impossible with You! I believe that You can (fill in the blank with your personal impossibilities).” ...There are two ways of looking at everything that life throws up at us. We can always be “reasonable” (but watch out for low expectations of God masquerading as reasonableness) or we can say, “With God all things are possible.”
"Before Approaching The Throne"
When you pray, know before Whom you stand.
"Into The Bosom of Omnipotent Love"
The great thing in prayer is to feel that we are putting our supplications into the bosom of omnipotent love.
"Life or Death"
We must wrestle earnestly in prayer, like men contending with a deadly enemy for life.
“Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!”
I am glad to learn from this Psalm  that it is important to be willing to “wait patiently” for his answers (verse 1), but also that I may be bold enough to ask the Lord to “make haste.”
The psalmist has waited patiently in past troubles, and has found that God comes through. We know this because he testifies in verses 2 and 3 about past experience with prayer results: “He drew me up from the pit, out of the miry bog.” If God can do it once, He can do it twice—and a thousand times. And it is the memory of past deliverances that helps us to hang in there with present afflictions. But we can never have those empowering memories unless we begin now to walk in faith in present troubles.
It is beyond me why the Lord tarries. But one thing is evident: The Lord is interested in making us into habitual prayers. Immediate answers and rescues do not make for inveterate life habits of continuous prayer; they make for amnesia. And they make for a God-as-my-personal-valet mentality. You can’t deny that we hardly remember answers granted too quickly.
A Peruvian pastor told me that on New Year’s Eve, a pastor he knew had his parishioners write their major personal prayer requests on a piece of paper and put them in a sealed envelope and keep them safe. One year later the pastor asked them if they could remember what was written on the paper. Most of them could not. Prayer requests that we are not invested in with much daily prayer leave no footprint in the mind.
It is not for His sake but for ours that God delays answering prayers. He likes the effect it has on us. We learn how to surrender more and more of ourselves and our agenda and our will. We may start off praying like this: “Lord, please give me a new job; this one stinks.” When nothing happens after a few weeks, we may start praying like this: “Lord, please teach me what you are trying to teach me by keeping me in this job.” A little more time passes and we may pray like this: “Lord, help me to be content and show me how to honor you while you have me in this job.”
It is obvious that the psalmist has been holding on for a long time, and doesn’t know how much longer he can. He has, in the meantime, perhaps unknown to himself, created a deep groove in his soul, running from his mouth to God’s ear; he prays constantly. Paul Miller writes in A Praying Life: “Instead of trying to suppress anxiety, manage it, or smother it with pleasure, we can turn our anxiety toward God. When we do that, we’ll discover that we’ve slipped into continuous praying.” Imagine “slipping” into praying all day long. It is wonderful, and feels normal and right.
And when we have done that, we have become like Jesus—which is God’s big idea anyway. Did you really think He was as interested in you keeping your job as in your trusting Him through the loss of it? Did you really think God was as interested in your present comfort as in the growth of your faith in Him? Did you really think He was as interested in you having a good reputation with everyone as in your trusting Him through the pain of a bad reputation?
"Light The Fire"
Prayer is the incense of a holy heart
Rising to God from bruised and broken things,
When kindled by the Spirit's burning breath
And upward borne by faith's ascending wings.
A. B. Simpson
"What God Wants"
If God answered all your prayers immediately, you would have yourself a fine prayer-dispenser machine—not a relationship. But God is into relationship, as evidenced by His having been in one for all eternity. Here are a few good things God wants for you in the deserts and ambiguity that stretch between asking and receiving:
* He wants you to have a chance to get to know Him.
* He wants you to have a chance to get to know yourself.
* He wants to expose your idols—and deal with them—in a natural way.
* He wants you to be in the story with Him, co-creating it as an authentic agent and not a puppet.
* He wants you to watch him weave the circumstances of your life into a work of art.
* He wants you to come to the point of surrendering completely.
* He wants you to learn to trust Him.
* He wants you to know what perplexity and the silence of God feel like, so that you can help others who are going through it.
* He wants you to have...joy at the way He finally answers your prayer, rather than the lesser joy of an answer given too soon.
* He wants you to get to see, when you emerge from the desert, that He was there all along.
* He wants you to have a chance to hold on tight to him in the middle of the story, when you see no light—and then He wants to reward you for that...
* He wants to give you a chance to walk by faith and not by sight, not as a mere slogan or abstract doctrine but as an every-moment dance.
* He wants to give you a chance to learn that praying, as Miller writes, is “inseparable from repenting, serving, managing, waiting,” and not an add-on in your life.
* He wants to give you “victory over little pockets of evil,” writes Miller.
* He wants to give you a chance to reject what seem like answers to prayer on a silver platter that have, as Miller writes, “little tests of integrity” attached to them.
He wants relationship. How about you?
Andree Seu/ Paul Miller "A Praying Life"
“Preparing Or Producing?”
The old way in my Christian life was to be always preparing to live for God. Satan was well pleased. We do a lot more talking about the Christian life than living it, seems to me... we prepare on Sunday morning. We prepare at retreats, and fill our notebooks with great weekend insights that land on the shelf. How many times have I practically knocked over spiritually dying people trying to get to the women’s Bible study on time? That’s the parable of the Good Samaritan.
So I have started praying for random people—at the mall, at the cemetery where I walk. One benefit I find is that if you pray for the person you pass at the mall, you cannot simultaneously judge him, lust after him, or engage in any other fleshly preoccupation. I think this new posture is taking on a momentum of its own and producing a new lifestyle. It primes the pump, you see, and creates a groove between oneself and God that gets deeper and more natural day by day.
"Opening And Closing Your Day"
Let prayer be the key of the day and the bolt of the night.
Jean Paul Richter
I picked up a little pamphlet from the rack in the foyer of a church I was visiting titled “Squeezing Prayer into a Busy Life.” I could imagine various possible directions for the six pages that would follow. The writer could tell us that if we really loved God we would find time to pray. He could tell us that he himself loves praying more than football. He could tell us that if we don’t pray a lot, maybe we ought to examine ourselves to see if we’re really even Christians at all!
This particular writer, Jim Auer, takes a different tack. He gently invites us to consider that the problem of time management might mask a few deeper blocks to prayer that we’re unaware of, which he then proceeds to deal with helpfully. At one point he comes up with the idea of using any of the day’s small happenings as grist for the mill of prayer. Example:
“Prayer Over Empty Beer Cans Discarded on the Sidewalk: ‘Lord, please be with whoever left these cans. If they drank from sorrow, heal their hurt. If they drank to escape, help them to face their difficulty. . . .”
I like that...Sometimes we spiritual slackers can be helped immensely by a concrete suggestion or two.
"Stake Your Claim"
The Lord has a storehouse of unasked for prayers just waiting to be claimed
"If You Only Knew"
“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10).
If you and I knew who Jesus was—really, really knew—would we pray differently? Wouldn’t it expand our imagination? Isn’t this what Jesus is saying to this Samaritan woman he has struck up a conversation with at the well: “Lady, if you really knew who you were talking to here, you and I wouldn’t be wasting our time in theological debate; you would be inundating me with requests for all your spiritual needs”?
My dullness about God tends to fall along two lines: Dullness about how powerful he wants to be in our lives and dullness about how involved he wants to be in our lives. I act as if forgiveness of sins is His entire gift, and not also the breaking of bondages, the bending of impossibilities, and the undoing varieties of the devil’s handiwork (1 John 3:8). He commended people who gave Him no rest in these concerns.
Two blind men gave Him no rest. They cried out to Jesus, and not only did He ignore them, He walked into someone’s house. They had to barge in after Him before they got satisfaction (Matthew 9:27-31).
The Syrophoenician woman gave Him no rest. She begged to the point of harassment, and Jesus gave her no encouragement. But she would not be put off until she got satisfaction (Mark 7:24-30).
Maybe Jesus was waiting to see how badly they wanted what they wanted, and how strongly they believed He was both merciful and able.
What is it that you wished for today that you kept to yourself and didn’t even think to pray for because you didn’t believe God would be willing to grant it?
"Thank God For Beauty And Answered Prayer"
Answered prayers cover the field of providential history as flowers cover the western prairies.
"Timelessness, Prayer, and Freewill"
When we are praying about the result, say, of a battle or a medical consultation, the thought will often cross our minds that, if we only knew it, the event is already decided one way or the other. I believe this to be no good reason for ceasing our prayers. The event certainly has been decided. In a sense, it was decided before all the worlds. But one of the things taken into account in deciding it, and therefore one of the things that really causes it to happen, may be this very prayer that we are now offering. Thus, shocking as it may sound, I conclude that we can at noon become part causes of an event occurring at ten o'clock. (Some scientists would find this easier than popular thought does.) The imagination will, no doubt, try to play all sorts of tricks on us at this point. It will ask, 'Then if I stop praying can God go back and alter what has already happened?' No. The event has already happened and one of its causes has been the fact that you are asking such questions instead of praying. It will ask, 'Then if I begin to pray can God go back and alter what has already happened?' No. The event has already happened and one of its causes is your present prayer. Thus something does really depend on my choice. My free act contributes to the cosmic shape. That contribution is made in eternity 'before all worlds'; but my consciousness of contributing reaches me at a particular point in the time series.
"Wretched And Needy"
The more you see how wretched and needy you are, the less the question "How much should I pray?" is an issue for serious debate.
"Work And Pray"
The things, Good Lord, I pray for, give me Thy grace to labor for.
Sir Thomas More
"Preventing The Fray"
A day hemmed in prayer seldom unravels.
"Pray Aloud For The Battle Is Fierce"
The main thing I have to say about speaking out loud to God is that I need to do it, somehow. Partly it’s as basic as being able to disentangle my prayers from the stream of random thoughts in my mind: When you pray out loud you know you’ve prayed. Also, prayer that percolates up to the lips, even if in barely a whisper, packs a force that stands a fighting chance against the screaming banshees of desire and mutiny. I pray out loud because the battle in me is fierce and so prayer must be fierce.
"Open The Windows"
O Light that never fades,
as the light of the day
now streams through these windows
and floods this room,
so let me open to Thee
the windows of my heart,
that all my life may be filled
by the radiance of Thy presence.
"Only In You"
Let me not seek outside you what can only find in you,
Peace and rest, and joy and bliss
which abide only in your abiding joy,
Lift up my soul above the wearing round of harassing
thoughts to your eternal presence.
Lift up my mind to the pure, bright, serene atmosphere of
that I may breathe freely,
there repose in your love,
there be at rest from myself
and from all things that weary me:
and thence return, arrayed in your peace, to do and to bear
whatsoever shall best please you, O blessed Lord.
"Come, Lord Jesus"
Prayer is an invitation to God to intervene in our lives.
Abraham Joshua Heschel
"That I May Cleave To You"
O Thou Beloved:
my whole good,
happiness which has no bounds...
Oh everlasting light,
surpassing all created luminaries,
flash forth Thy lightning from above,
piercing all the most inward parts of my heart.
and make alive my spirit,
with all the powers thereof,
that I may cleave to you
in ecstasies of joy.
"Every Perfect Gift"
Not what we wish,
but what we need,
Oh! let your grace supply,
The good unasked, in mercy grant;
The ill, thought asked, deny.
We beg you, Lord, to help and defend us. Deliver the oppressed. Pity the insignificant. Raise the fallen. Show yourself to the needy. Heal the sick. Bring back those of your people who have gone astray. Feed the hungry. Lift up the weak. Take off the prisoners’ chains. May every nation come to know that you alone are God, that Jesus is your Child, that we are your people, the sheep that you pasture. Amen.
Clement of Rome
"I Would Surrender Myself To You"
O Lord, reassure me with Your quickening Spirit; without You I can do nothing.
Mortify in me all ambition, vanity, vainglory, worldliness, pride,
selfishness, and resistance from God,
and fill me with love, peace, and all the fruits of the Spirit.
O Lord, I know not what I am, but to You I flee for refuge.
I would surrender myself to You, trusting Your precious promises
and against hope believing in hope.
You are the same yesterday, today, and forever; and therefore,
waiting on the Lord, I trust that I shall at length renew my strength.
"The Good Pleasure Of Thy Will"
Grant me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know,
to love what I ought to love,
to praise what delights Thee most,
to value what is precious in Thy sight,
to hate what is offensive to Thee.
Do not suffer me to judge according to the sight of my eyes,
nor to pass sentence according to the hearing of the ears of ignorant men;
but to discern with a true judgment between things visible and spiritual,
and above all,
always to inquire what is the good pleasure of Thy will.
Thomas a Kempis
O You, from whom to be turned is to fall,
to whom to be turned is to rise,
and in whom to stand is to abide for ever:
Grant us in all our duties your help
in all our perplexities your guidance,
in all our dangers your protection,
and in all our sorrows your peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord
Good morning, Lord. it’s me Monty. Thank you for this wonderful day! Thank you for letting me live it for you. Stretch my wings and take me to where you want me to be. Take my eyes and show me what you want me to see. Take my heart and show me how to care. Take all of my skills and training and let it all be to your glory. For all I have ALL I HAVE, is but a gift from Thee. Take all of my life, my breath, my soul and let it be consecrated unto Thee.
"Let My Heart Be Warmed"
O most loving Father of Jesus Christ, from whom flows all love, let my heart, frozen in sin, cold to you and cold to others, be warmed by this divine fire.
Anselm of Canterbury
"Take Possession Of Our Hearts"
O Lord Jesus Christ,
word and revelation of the Eternal Father,
come, we pray You,
take possession of our hearts
and reign where you have right to reign.
So fill our minds with the thought
and our imaginations with the picture of your love,
that there may be in us no room for any desire
that is discordant with your holy will.
we pray you,
from all that may make us deaf to your call
or slow to obey it,
Who, with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
art one God,
Holy Spirit, Truth divine,
dawn upon this soul of mine;
Word of God and inward light,
wake my spirit, clear my sight.
Holy Spirit, Love divine,
glow within this heart of mine;
kindle every high desire;
perish self in thy pure fire.
Holy Spirit, Power divine,
fill and nerve this will of mine;
grant that I may strongly live,
bravely bear, and nobly strive.
Holy Spirit, Right divine,
King within my conscience reign;
be my Lord, and I shall be
firmly bound, forever free.