Turning the spotlight on prayer!#

There is such a thing as a retreat, a going backwards in religion after making a fine profession of faith.

Jesus got this right:

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

The Christian faith becomes precariously balanced when prayer is neglected.

People may run well for a season, as the Galatians did, and then turn aside after false teachers.

People may profess loudly while their feelings are warm, as Peter did, and then in the hour of soft or fiery trial deny their Lord.

People may lose their first love as the Ephesians did.

People may cool in their zeal to do good, like John Mark the companion of Paul.

People may follow an apostle for a season, and as with Demas return to Babylon

It is a miserable thing to become a backslider. Of all unhappy things that can befall a Christian person I suppose it is the worst.

A stranded ship, a broken-winged eagle, a garden overrun with weeds, a harp without strings, a church without worshippers of the truth, all these are saddening sights. But, a backslider is even sadder still.

A wounded conscience—a mind sick of itself—a memory full of self-reproach—a heart pierced through with the Lord's arrows—a spirit broken with the inward accusation—all this is a taste of hell. It is a hell on earth.

Truly the words of King Solomon weigh solemn:

The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways. (Proverbs 14:14)

Now what is the case of many a backsliding?

I believe, as a general rule, one of the chief causes is neglected private prayer. (Of course the secret history of falls into sin will not be known until the last day). I can only give my opinion as a minister of Christ and a student of the heart. The opinions I repeat distinctly are settled in my mind.

Backsliding generally first begins with neglect of private prayer.

Bibles read without prayer; sermons heard without prayer; marriages contracted without prayer; journeys undertaken without prayer; residences chosen without prayer; friendships formed without prayer - these all contribute to the deadly malaise of backsliding.

When the daily act of prayer itself is hurried over, it will soon be gone. Prayers repeated without heart are downward steps by which many a Christian descends into a spiritual palsy, or reaches the point where God allows them to have a tremendous fall.

You may be very sure that people fall in private long before they fall in public.#

Today's Soul Snippet:

'Prayer is one half of a man's ministry; and it gives to the other half all its power and success.' ~ Henry C. Fish

#Today's SoulSnack was penned by Bishop J.C. Ryle. It contains light SoulSupply edits

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