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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
finding that PRAYER PLACE is equally as important