“Behold, he prays.” Acts 9:11
WHAT a precious fruit of the renewed heart is true prayer! If there is a single exercise of the soul that places the fact of its regeneracy beyond a doubt, it is this. Prayer, that comes as holy fire from God, and that rises as holy incense to God—prayer, that takes me, with every want and infirmity, with every sin and sorrow, to the bosom of the Father, through the smitten bosom of the Son—prayer, that sweetens my solitude, that calms my perturbed spirit, that weakens the power of sin, that nourishes the desire for holiness, and that transports the soul, by anticipation, beyond the region of winds, and storms, and tempests, into the presence of God, where all is sunshine and peace—oh what a wondrous privilege is this!
That there is much of awful mystery yet to be unraveled, in relation to this holy exercise of the soul, we readily admit. How prayer operates upon God, we know not. That it can effect any alteration in His purpose, or change His will, or afford Him information, no one for a moment supposes. And yet, that it should be an ordained medium by which finite weakness seems to overcome Infinite strength, a human will seems to turn the Divine will, and man’s shallow mind seems to pour knowledge into the fathomless mind of God—that it should arrest a threatened judgment, remove an existing evil, or supply a present want—is a marvel in which, like all others of Divine revelation, I submit my reason to my faith, receiving and adoring what my reason cannot, unless I were God, perfectly comprehend.
The only solution which we have of this mystery of prayer is contained in these words: “He that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God;” the Holy Spirit thus inditing just that petition which is in harmony with the purpose, will, and love of Him who is emphatically the hearer and the answerer of prayer. What a volume might be composed on the subject of prayer, and yet the half would not be told! A compilation of its achievements would of itself be the work of the longest life. Blessed are they who can enter into the spirit of these words—”I give myself unto prayer.” “It is good for me to draw near unto God.” “Pray without ceasing.” “Praying always with all prayer.” “If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us; and if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.”
Have you, reader, this fruit? Then restrain not prayer before God.