Prayer by Pastor Paul
What motivates you to pray? What is prayer to you? Do you struggle to pray?
On the topic of prayer, I have been greatly impacted by a man named George Muller. He was a pastor in the 1800s in London. He is famously known for establishing a large orphanage in Bristol, England where every penny of the funding during the 60 years he ran it came only by means of prayer that the Lord would provide. Thousands of times the orphanage would go into a meal time with nothing to eat and at the designated time when they were to gather and eat, there was a knock at the door with the food they needed. Thousands of times he records in his journal of not having the financial means to pay for what was needed, and in the moment of need, there it was provided. So specific were the answers that not one child ever had a need unmet or any knowledge of any lack. George was a man known for great faith, and when he prayed, seemingly miraculous answers were often seen. Were this man’s prayers more effective than others? Did he have a special gift of faith incomparable to what any of us have?
Muller describes his faith in this way, “Think not dear reader that I have some special gift of faith above and beyond another, and because of that I am able to trust God more. From my inmost soul I do ascribe it to God alone that He has enabled me to trust in Him, and He has not suffered my conscience in Him to fail.”
God continually worked in and through Muller in all circumstances of life to grow him in trust of God’s provision through prayer. But what was Muller’s prayer life like?
Muller comments on prayer in some of his writings. He describes prayer in this way:
“When we pray, we speak to God. Now prayer, in order to be continued for any length of time in any other than a formal manner, requires, generally speaking, a measure of strength or godly desire, and the season, therefore, when this exercise of the soul can be most effectually performed is after the inner man has been nourished by meditation of the Word of God, where we find our Father speaking to us, to encourage us, to comfort us, to instruct us, to humble us, to reprove us.”
Outside of formal times of prayers such as before dinner or at bedtime or during a particularly difficult season of life, what will aid in this day-to-day, hour-to-hour conversation with the Lord Jesus? Muller’s answer is meditation on the living and active Word of God.
He says also about prayer that, “as plain to me as anything, that the first thing a child of God should do morning by morning is to obtain food for the inner man.” This food for the inner man is the Word of God. Read the Word, think on the Word, delight in the Word, and then from that food, pray according to and in light of truths of the Word. In practicing this, Muller said that after spending a few moments in the Word of God reading and thinking about it, he was brought to encouragement, conviction, repentance, joy, and hope, which led into prayer. His soul was fed, and for the rest of the day, in the little things and the big things, he made everything a matter of prayer.
Do you think your prayers aren’t that effective? Wise words from a faithful preacher from the past would say that effective prayer begins with the meditation of God’s word. There you will find, correction, reproof, reminders of Gospel truths, etc., and be led into prayer.
What then is the result? Will it be the answer you were hoping for? Maybe, but most certainly prayer will always be a conversation with your Heavenly Father who sustains you by His Word in all things. The effect then in prayer is the Spirit’s work in our hearts to move us to a biblical perspective of the situation we are facing and to remind us of the ultimate hope we have in our Savior. Let the meditation of the Word of God lead you to pray. When you pray, pray in faith, and be watchful, anticipating the goodness and kindness of your Savior to answer according to His wisdom and pleasure. In this way, when you see how He answers, your faith will be strengthened to pray all the more boldly.
Let us be a people that make everything a matter of prayer,