Blaise Pascal, the mathematical and spiritual genius, believed that “all the troubles of life come upon us because we refuse to sit quietly for a while each day in our rooms.” Oswald Chambers agreed: “Prayer is the way the life of God is nourished. We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; the Bible’s idea of prayer is that we may get to know God himself.”
How can we know our Father more fully, by praying more effectively?
How to pray
Jesus’ instructions on prayer are so simple we can all follow them: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). With this promise: “everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (v. 8). There is no such thing as “unanswered prayer,” if only we will ask, seek, and knock.
Note the progression. A child asks for his mother’s help. But he cannot find her, so he seeks her. He still cannot find her, so he knocks at her bedroom door until she opens and answers. So with us. We ask, but when it seems he does not hear, we seek him. When it seems he is not to be found, we knock. It may seem that the door is closed, but it is not. Your Father will always open to you: “The Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isaiah 30:18). He wants to hear your prayer even more than you want to pray it.
So pray with urgency. Jesus’ words are imperatives, not options but commands. Charles Spurgeon advised: “He who prays without fervency does not pray at all. We cannot commune with God, who is a consuming fire, if there is no fire in our prayers.” So pray urgently, and continually. Jesus’ words are in the present tense: pray and keep on praying.
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