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Praying with Purpose

Posted on Fri, Oct 5, 2007

The following excerpt is from E.M. Bounds' book Praying With Purpose: The spirit of prayer should rule our spirits and our conduct. The spirit of the prayer chamber must control our lives, or the hour in the prayer closet will be dull and sapless. Always praying in our spirits, always acting in the spirit of praying - these make our praying strong. The spirit of every moment is that which imparts strength to the communion of the prayer closet. It is what we are outside of the prayer closet that gives victory or brings defeat to the prayer closet. If the spirit of the world prevails in our non-closet hours, the spirit of the world will prevail in our closet hours, and that will be a vain and idle farce.

We must live for God out of the prayer closet if we want to meet God in the prayer closet. We must bless God with praying lives if we want to have God's blessing in the prayer closet. We must do God's will in our lives if we want to have God's ear in the prayer closet. We must listen to God's voice in public if we want God to listen to our voice in private. God must have our hearts out of the prayer closet if we want to have God's presence in the prayer closet. If we want to have God in the prayer closet, God must have us out of the prayer closet. There is no way of praying to God, except by living to God. The prayer closet is not a confessional, simply, but the hour of holy communion, of high and sweet communication, and of intense intercession.

Men would pray better if they lived better. They would get more from God if they lived more obediently and with the intention to please God. We would have more strength and time for the divine work of intercession if we did not have to expend so much strength and time settling old scores and paying out delinquent taxes. Our spiritual liabilities are so greatly in excess of our spiritual assets that our time in the prayer chamber is spent filing claims for bankruptcy instead of being a time of great spiritual wealth for us and for others. Our prayer closets are too much like the sign that says, 'Closed for Repairs.'

John said, regarding the praying of the first Christians, "Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight"(1 John 3:22). We should note what measureless grounds were covered, what measureless gifts were received by their strong praying. 'Whatsoever' how comprehensive is the range and the reception of mighty praying, how suggestive of the reasons for the ability to pray and to have prayers answered! Theirs was obedience, but more than mere obedience; they were doing the things that please God well.

It makes much difference whether we come to God as a criminal or a child; to be pardoned or to be approved; to settle scores or to be embraced' for punishment or for favor. Our praying, to be strong, must be buttressed by holy living. The name of Christ must be honored by our lives before it will honor our intercessions. The life of faith perfects the prayer of faith.

Our lives not only give color to our praying, but they give body to it as well. Bad living leads inevitably to bad praying, and we pray feebly because we live feebly. The stream of praying cannot rise higher than the fountain of living. The force of the prayer closet is made up of the energy that flows from the confluent streams of living. Therefore, any feebleness of living will throw its faintness into our prayer chambers. We cannot talk to God strongly when we have not lived for God strongly. The prayer closet cannot be made holy to God when the life has not been holy to God.