Prayer is at the heart of who we are as children of God. We are especially designed to be people of prayer. Over the past several months I have been reading through P.T. Forsyth’s “The Soul of Prayer.” At times it is hard to track with Forsyth but there are so many remarkable gems about prayer in this book it is well worth time to read and reflect. The following is an example of his writing.
“Prayer is a greater school and discipline of divine love than the service of man is. But not if it is cut off from it. And no less also is it the school of repentance, which so easily can grow morbid. We are taught to be not only true to reality, but sincere with ourselves. We cannot touch God thus without having a light no less searching than saving shed upon our own hearts; and we are thus protected from Pharisaism in our judgment of either self or friend or foe–especially at present of our foe. No companion of God can war in His name against man without much self-searching and self-humiliation, however reserved. But here humility turns into moral strength. Here we are also regathered in soul from the fancies that bewilder us and the distractions that dissolve us into the dust of the world. We are collected into peace and power and sound judgment, and we have a heart for any fate, because we rest in the Lord whose judgments are salvation. What gives us our true stay gives us our true self; and it protects us from the elations and despairs which alternate in ourselves by bringing home to us a Saviour who is more to us than we are to ourselves. We become patient with ourselves because we realize the patience of God. We get rid of illusions about ourselves and the world because our intimacy is with the real God, and we know that we truly are just what we are before Him. We thus have a great peace, because in prayer, as the crowning act of faith, we lay hold of the grace of God the Saviour. Prayer alone prevents our receiving God’s grace in vain. Which means that it establishes the soul of a man or a people, creates the moral personality day by day, spreads outward the new heart through society, and goes to make a new ethos in mankind. We come out with a courage and a humanity we had not when we went in, even though our old earth remove, and our familiar hills are cast into the depth of the sea. The true Church is thus co-extensive with the community of true prayer.”
I am reminded as we begin this new year that our great calling is to be people of prayer above all else. Prayer is the essence of our life in God and with God. May each of us sense a renewed call to be God’s people who pray. (1 Thess 5:17)