I was book shopping recently and came across a book called A Treasury of Prayer: The Best of E. M. Bounds on Prayer in a Single Volume. It was compiled and condensed by Leonard Ravenhill. Every praying person should know both of these names.
Royal Ones, there are some mighty nuggets in… well, chapter one. I’m still not through chapter one. There’s much to share, and maybe we will get to it if the Lord permits, but I want to share a quote from the book.
Praying is the best school in which to learn to pray, prayer the best dictionary to define the art and nature of praying (p. 28).
I’ve stopped counting and stopped being frustrated at the people who come to me and say one of two things (I’m grouping all the comments into two categories). First, people say something like, “Oh I can’t pray like you!” They say this as if to excuse themselves from a vibrant prayer life altogether. Second, people say something like, “Oh, I want to pray like you!” This they say like their own voice lacks significance to God — which is not true!
“Prayer is the best school in which to learn to pray…” — Isn’t that powerful? Classes do not teach us how to pray. They enhance us at our current levels and equip us to grow. Teachers do not teach us how to pray. When answering his disciples’ request to learn to pray, even Jesus gave them a model prayer. Prayer teaches us to pray…when we extend our prayer to the Father (not people or atmospheres or even the devil). If we want to pray “better” or longer or more, then we have to pray.
“…prayer the best dictionary to define…” — Now, we have more resources available today from some of the generals of the 20th and 21st centuries. Yet, there is an evolving definition of prayer for the assignment of the time. Let me encourage those of us who paralyze our spiritual growth because we are too process driven and lack the strength to go “off book”. Don’t look to fit a mold of prayer. Just talk to the Father. I can assure you that He wants to talk to you.
“…the art and nature of praying…” — There is an art to prayer. Here is a noteworthy parallel. When people refer to classic, timeless works of art, they tell us they were painted or sculpted or created by “the masters”. If prayer is an art, then mastery is possible. This is not mastery for a proud or arrogant display. Instead, this is the mastery of self in relationship with God. Conversations with God over time show us more and more of who we are… without Him… and in Him. We have to know our depth potential for sin as well as our growth potential through and by His anointing.
Isn’t this good?! E. M. Bounds was somebody special. Prayerfully, this nugget opens up some ways for us in prayer. You want to work miracles? Go after it. You want to know “this” or “that” about a topic, a place, a situation? Go after it in prayer. You want to up your game with God, and get to know Him better? Go after Him in prayer.
Selah, love to all and PRAY WELL.