“And all things, whatever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.” Matthew 21:22
Draw near, then, seeking soul, with boldness; not the boldness of a presumptuous, self-righteous man, but that of one chosen, called, pardoned, and justified. Draw near with the lowly boldness of a child—with the humble confidence of a son.
Dear are you to your Father. Sweet is your voice to Him. Precious is your person, accepted in His Beloved. You can not come too boldly—you can not come too frequently—you can not come with too large requests. You are coming to a King, that King your Father, that Father viewing you in His beloved Son.
Oh, hang not back. Stand not afar off. He now holds out the golden scepter, and says, “Come near; what is your request? Come with your temporal want. Come with your spiritual need. Ask what you will, it shall be granted you. I have an open hand, and a large heart.” Is it your desire—”Lord, I want more grace to glorify You. I want more simplicity of mind, and singleness of eye. I want a more holy, upright, honest walk. I want more meekness, patience, lowliness, submission. I want to know more of Jesus, to see more of His glory, to feel more of His preciousness, and to live more simply upon His fullness. I want more of the sanctifying, sealing, witnessing, and anointing influences of the Spirit”? Blessed, holy desires! It is the Spirit making intercession in you according to the will of God; and entering into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, the Lord will fulfill the desires of your heart, even to the half of kingdom.
Watch diligently against the least declension in the spirit of prayer. If there be declension here, there will also be declension in every part and department of the work of the Spirit in your soul. It is prayer that keeps every grace of the Spirit in active, holy, and healthy exercise. It is the stream, so to speak, that supplies refreshing vigor and nourishment to all the plants of grace.
It is true, that the fountain-head of all spiritual life and “grace to help in time of need,” is Christ; “for it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.” And Paul’s encouragement to the Philippians was, “My God shall supply all your need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” But the channel through which all grace comes is prayer—ardent, wrestling, importunate, believing prayer. Suffer this channel to be dry—permit any object to narrow or close it up—and the effect will be a withering and decay of the life of God in the soul.
Guard, then, against the slightest decline of prayer in the soul. If prayer—family prayer, social prayer, most of all, closet prayer, is declining with you, no further evidence is needed of your being in a backsliding state of mind. There may not yet have been the outward departure, but you are in the way to it—and nothing but a return to prayer will save you.
Oh, what alarm, what fearfulness and trembling, should this thought occasion in a child of God, “I am on my way to an awful departure from God! Such is the state of my soul at this moment, such my present state of mind, such the loss of my spirituality, such the hold which the world has upon my affections, there is no length in sin to which I may not now go, there is no iniquity which I may not now commit.
The breakers are full in view, any my poor weak vessel is heading to and rapidly nearing them.” What can shield you from the commission of that sin, what can keep you from wounding Jesus afresh, what can preserve you from foundering and making shipwreck of your faith, but an immediate and fervent return to prayer.
Prayer is your only safety. Prayer, for grace to help in your time of need. Prayer, for reviving grace, for quickening, restraining, sanctifying grace. Prayer, to be kept from falling, to be held up in the slippery paths. Prayer, for the lowly mind, for the contrite spirit, for the broken heart, for the soft, and close, and humble walk with God.