“Behold, he prayeth.” (Acts 9)
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5)
“…continuing instant in prayer.” (Romans 12)
“Continue in prayer” (Colossians 4)
Samuel the prophet called prayer-less-ness a sin. When Christ sent Ananias (the good one) to find Saul, the persecutor of Christ-ians, He said unto him, “Behold he prayeth.” In other words, Ananias would recognize Saul and the great change in Saul by the fact that Saul prayeth to the same God Ananias prays to and through the same Christ doth he pray.
A man who prays well in public prays well in private. A man who stumbles in public prays little in private. The depth of a person’s faith is determined by prayer. The depth of a Christ-ians love can be determined by prayer. The more one prays the more one shall know God. These are spiritual laws, reader. When a baby is born that baby will cry out and draw it’s first breathe. ‘Tis true of the second birth, the baby believer will cry out in prayer for what air is to the newborn baby, prayer is to the newborn believer.
We are not to use prayer as a measurement of other believers. We are to use prayer as a measurement upon our own person. We are to use time spent with God in reading, studying, meditating, and praying as a litmus test to our spiritual health. We are to measure our love for God by the desire we have to meet with Him through the varying means and modes He allows us and affords us.
I understand that the world wants to claim your time in order to keep you away from time spent with God. However there are ways around this. If you “have not the time” to read the Scriptures listen to them in your car on the way to work or eliminate that which is not necessary so that you might spend time in the Book of God.
Prayer, there is always time to pray. Pray before you walk out the door, “Lord, Let me go forth in Thy Holy Name and with Thy blessings.” Pray prior to answering or making a phone call. “Lord, grant me the focus and the grace to deal with X, or help me to think staight as I converse with this person.” Pray before driving your car, “Lord, Grant me Thy Mercy in my travels.” Before meeting with someone pray, “Lord, let me be a blessing to this person and let this person be a blessing to me.” Before rising from slumber pray, “Lord, allow me to keep my thoughts upon Thee this day.”
Prayer need not be a formal ritual. Though one should not throw out formality altogether. There are times to kneel before God, there are times to lie upon one’s face before God, there are times to remain silent before God. There are times to shout before God. There are times to be still before God and to know that God is God.
I read a book called, “Practicing the Presence of God.” I re-read it often. It is a tiny booklet that was written by one Brother Lawrence. It was published in the (1600’s) Sixteen hundreds. It is a tiny book made up of letters written by Lawrence to different persons on how to dwell in God’s Presence on a continuous basis, yes, continuous. This book changed my life and i use not hyperbole. This book taught me about “ceaseless prayer” and “continued/continuing prayer” and “being instant in prayer.”
To be in a continuous God-mindset is to dwell in His Presence, it is to be His door-keeper so to speak. The need for daily devotionals become extinct for the whole of your life is devoted to God. You can bring this Perpetual Presence with you in Bible reading, Bible study. This Perpetual Presence is with you in a very real and unimagined way. This Presence goes before you, stands beside you, watches behind you, quickens the graces of God from within you.
I mispoke when I said that I learned from Lawrence or that he taught me. Certainly he did in a way. However, of what I speak cannot be taught or learned by man or from man. One can learn to desire it by hearing another man speak of it. A man may fervently pray for this Presence after having heard of it’s splendid-ness. It truly must be practiced if it is ever to be learned and it is never a thing to be mastered. To master this Presence is to master God and that is impossible and ridiculous.
The Perpetual Presence will become pervasive in all that is you. You will find that this Holy Presence is active in all of your ways of thinking, in your intuitions, and in your instincts. You will find this Divine Spirit of God will be continually witnessing to your Spirit and He will be saying, Mine….All Mine. This Pervasive, Perpetual Presence will positively Possess your Person. “Not my will be done, but Thine will be done” will become not second but first nature in your life.
As this Presence dwells in you, with you, on you; as the Holy Spirit goes before you and stands beside you, you will grow more and more impatient while you await the Coming of Christ. Your love for God will grow deeper and deeper, you will long more and more for His arrival, you will desire your knowledge of all things God to widen and widen.
Reader, I cannot teach you this Presence, but I can encourage you to read after those who do practice it. I would encourage you to pray for a greater sense of God’s Presence. I would encourage you to seek His Presence in His Word. Seek for Him in your godly thoughts and meditations. Look for Him in His Creation, and above all speak with Him in Prayer…await Him in silent prayer, praise Him, thank Him, seek His forgiveness and if you think you have a need petition Him for that need, intercede for others and then tell Him how you so desire His Spiritual Presence and how you long after His physical return.