The 3 Movements of Prayer
The simple fact of prayer is that it seeks and then approaches the unseen God. Consequently the carnal doubts and disbelief (taught by the Tree of Knowledge to each of us since birth) strive to rob us of hope and confidence in both prayer and His presence. This is the war of those who would pray, whose heart is attuned to God.
The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, ~ 2 Chronicles 15:2
The Movement of the Body
Is our consciousness of eternity as bankrupt as our diaries are rich with the world and its events?
Prayer is laying hold of the presence of God. It is the delightful movement from the here and now natural, to the seeking of the eternal Supernatural. A heart immersed in prayer knows little time, for prayer is a great time eater. (Leonard Ravenhill.)
Prayer is the standing in the presence of God with the mind in the heart... ~ Henri Nouwen.
Prayer is both lived and felt. It is from the impulses of the heart that the deepest, strongest and firmest prayers arise.
Yet time measures hearts, it is the quantifier of love; for I give the largest volume of my disposable time to whom I love most. Is not prayer's greatest enemy the clock, and my greatest disability the slicing of devotional time from my day?
Leonard Ravenhill captured well the human heart's drive to pray:
"For lovers love to be alone and the high peaks of the soul are reached in solitude."
Prayer's enormous obstacle is the inability to move the body to stillness and solitude; that the spirit and soul may follow. For it is as soon as you decide on a prayerful exchange with Heaven that satan arises and will interrupt with a shopping list of imperative 'must dos'.
With every possible guile he knows, the devil would snatch us from the closet of prayer. ~ Leonard Ravenhill
It is better to let the work go by default than to let the praying go by neglect. ~ E.M.Bounds
The Movement of the Heart
Prayer contains a depth that mere mortality can only be puzzled at. It reaches to God's glory, seeks Divine counsel and elevates the soul to float above the cares of the world to a place of peace. In prayer the heart escapes to heaven for a divine morsel of time.
The practise of prayer is in fact the gaining of spiritual momentum (no wonder we are kept busy by satan).
Ceaseless interior prayer is a continual yearning of the human spirit towards God. ~ Henri Nouwen. Surely this is the strongest symptom of a healthy heart.
Prayer is the conduit for soul-searching; it is the fodder of a healthy spirit and the divine axe that cuts down the forests of sin.
In our heart we come to see ourselves as sinners embraced by the mercy of God. ~ Henri Nouwen
Prayer is a saw to the logs in a believer's eye, an antidote to the proud poison of sin and a divine mirror to the soul.
Prayer is a great detergent. ~ Leonard Ravenhill
Prayer is the bath of the soul. It is the soul's assize where we must unsparingly judge whatever is evil in our lives and shelter in our hearts no rival to God - 'let not one of them escape'. ~ A.W.Pink
Woe-betide he whose prayer life is shallow and his knees not wrinkled; long will his sin live and long will his vine be barren.
The richest garments of the soul are spun on looms of prayer. ~ Leonard Ravenhill
The heart of repentance is a garden for the Lord to sow in, till and water. Such a heart is a vineyard for a large harvest, season after season.
It is from a scoured soul and a sober heart that prayer is engaged. It seeks no vainglory but the extension of His Kingdom in my life and the lives of those I can touch.
The Movement of the Heavens
Satan would whisper that prayer is hollow, God is disinterested and it wastes time for it is not productive.
BUT prayer does help much. The necessity of pure, life-filled, holy-spirit inspired prayer I am continually challenged by. That gracious survivor of a World War Two Nazi prison camp Corrie ten Boom taught:
When a Christian stops praying the devil starts shouting.
Ravenhill echoed Corrie ten Boom:
Nothing does satan or hell fear more than praying men.
J.O. Fraser, Burma's pioneer Christian missionary elevated the eternal value of prayer:
Just as a plant may die for lack of watering, so may a genuine work of God die and rot for lack of prayer.
Prayer is sowing seeds in heaven for the bearing of fruit on earth.
Prayer seeks a divine harvest that bequeaths an invisible multiplying legacy through the generations until the Lord returns.
Prayer is never merely a chasing after the wind, it is sowing to fruit that will last (John 15:16) and it is building a work to survive (1 Corinthians 3:14).
There is an obscure reference to prayer in Revelation where an angel of the Lord guarantees the passage of our prayers to the Throne of Grace. Prayers get through. (Revelation 8:1-5)
Prayer alone can release that power which shakes the hearts of men. ~ Leonard Ravenhill
In a recent chat about prayer with a very good friend we both agreed that - prayer action is ministry traction.
The prayer of the heart is the pulse of the spiritual life and the challenge to indulging distractions. It is a ladder to climb above the shallowness of the mind that prays for the carnal unaware of the thirsts, distresses and pleasures of the soul.
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3
The prayer of the heart seeks to unleash the powers of heaven, not merely have a chat with them.