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Prayer Appointment

Keeping Prayer Appointment is the last thing devil wants a Christian to do, because a praying Christian is a big threat to him and his kingdom. Therefore the devil will do his utter most best to be a blockage to the person.

As a result, Prayer Appointment can be drudgery at times, lacking vitality and spiritual excitement. So if our prayer times were conducted on the basis of feeling alone, then our moments of communion with God would be few and far between.

We must learn to pray and keep our Prayer Appointment with God whether we feel like it or not. If we have an engagement with a friend, or a business appointment, we keep it, regardless of our feelings - sickness or emergencies apart.

We would regard someone as lacking in common courtesy if he or she cancelled an engagement with a friend, just because they 'didn't feel like it.' Are we to be less courteous with God?

I have found that one of the most common misunderstandings is the view that prayer is only effective when it arises from an eager and excited heart. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Many of the great saints of the past who have written on the subject of prayer believed that great waves of feeling belong only to the early stages of discipleship. This does not mean, of course, that the higher you rise in the levels of discipleship the less feeling will be involved.

It means rather that the more experienced you become in prayer the less dependent you will be on feeling, and the more dependent you will become on faith.

Faith, not feeling, measures the efficacy of prayer. A number of things happen to us when we pray despite our lack of feeling and disinclination.

Firstly, the meek submission of our will deepens our spiritual lives. One great spiritual leader, Dr E. Stanley Jones, said, 'The one business of human living is to keep our wills coinciding with the will of God in self surrender and constant obedience.

' The human will is so self-centered, so stubborn, and so recalcitrant, that it wants its own way in everything. When, by an act of will, we decide to keep our Prayer Appointment with God even though we don't feel like it we take the steps to break our will of its inherent selfness and thus train it to respond more to God than to our own carnal desires.

One man put it to me like this: 'The more I make my will respond to God, the easier it becomes to keep my Prayer Appointment. The will, it seems, gets the message that God is first in my life and it is learning to respond more to God's way than my own way.

' Once we learn how to make our human wills submit to the Divine will we have discovered one of the greatest secrets of the Christian life: one that opens our whole being to God's endless resources of life and power.

Secondly, our resolution to engage in prayer greatly strengthens thought control. Many Christians are discouraged because they are unable to control their thoughts. But one of the main reasons why they are defeated is because they never practice thought control.

The apostle Paul exhorts us to locus on this matter by 'bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ' (2 Corinthians 10.5).

The more we practice thought control, focusing the core of our thought life, the imagination, on the things of Christ, the more expert we will become in the matter. When we confront every negative thought pattern, the thoughts that lead us away from the place of prayer, and stubbornly refuse to let them have their way, we take an important step toward mastery of our thoughts.

Thirdly, committing ourselves to prayer when we don't feel like it develops powerful muscles in our faith. Just as physical exercise builds up muscles in the human body, so does praying against inclination greatly strengthen the tenacity of faith.

Jesus placed great emphasis on faith. He never said 'Thy feeling hath made thee whole' but 'Thy faith hath made thee whole.' The old Welsh theologians used to say that 'faith develops only as it is exercised.'

They claimed that 'everyone has a measure of faith' (Romans 12.3) but we can only rise higher in the scale of faith as we use the faith we have. The more we use it, they said, the more powerful it becomes.

If a man or woman finds themselves in doubt about their ability to develop, and sustain, a systematic and methodical prayer life, let them undertake a planned program of prayer for a month.

Let them keep a daily Prayer Appointment with God, even though they may not feel like it. Let them pursue the task with firmness and resolution. I would be greatly surprised if, at the end of the trial period, they did not discover such a joy and rapture that nothing, positively nothing, would, in future, keep them from their Prayer Appointment.

Therefore finding that PRAYER PLACE is equally as important



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