Here’s another E. M. Bounds quote.
…Prayer is the highest intelligence, the profoundest wisdom, the most vital [,] the most joyous, the most efficacious (fruitful), the most powerful of all vocations. It is life, radiant, transporting, eternal life. Away with dry forms, with dead, cold habits of prayer! Away with sterile routine, with senseless performances and petty playthings in prayer (Ravenhill, p. 32)!
I have a good friend who for many years under her name in her email signature had this short sentence: “I am a dispenser of life.” She’s been ahead of her time likely since she was born. Whenever I come into more understanding about the dynamic life of Christ in me, I think about her and that statement. I too, am a dispenser of life.
Prayer is one of the ways we give life to others and receive our portion from the Lord Himself. In the above quote, E. M. Bounds makes a powerful point that dead ritual weakens the thriving life of prayer. Prayer is not exciting when we “feel something.” Prayer is exciting when we start to participate in the conversation with the Father. It is exciting when we see fruit and recognize “I did hear God!”
I have one suggestion to counter the
- dry forms
- dead cold habits
- sterile routine
- senseless performances
- and petty playthings
TRY SOMETHING NEW. Change where you pray. Change how you pray. Change your style of prayer. If you pray with music, then train your ear in silence. If you pray by lists, then wait on the Lord to pray by revelation. If you tend to be emotionally driven in prayer, ask the Lord to pause your feelings and tears so you can learn to pray by faith when you feel nothing. If you are often “stuck” and do not know what to say when you approach the Father, then start studying and praying the psalms. If you are quick to consult others for counsel about identity and calling and ministry concerns, then study the gospels where Jesus taught his disciples.
Fear not. One small change can open the door to major results! Years ago I heard Tommy Tenney live and he said something that stuck with me and I share it when I can.
The secret place is called a secret place because it is a secret how you get there every time.
Routines are not how we get to know God any more than calling you at the same time daily acquaints me with the rest of your life. Try something new! God is not the only doer in the relationship! You can initiate the time with Him, and He won’t turn you away!
Let there be awareness of the dead, fruitless things in our prayer lives. And, let there be courage to prune where necessary and seek the Lord’s way with fervor and fresh perspective!
Selah, and love to all.