ďYou ought always to pray and never to faint.Ē Jesus
As a young Christian it was always a great challenge to pray. I kept hearing how others would pray for an hour or more and I could hardly manage 10 minutes. When I knelt beside my bed at night I would soon fall asleep and waken ashamed that it had happened again. At other times I could not keep on track and my mind would wander to this and that. Talk of praying in tongues for any length of time when my mind is unfruitful, that could never be.
Beside all this, what could there be to talk to God about that would take that long. My tutors taught me a method of prayer based on the Lordís Prayer which it seemed would make it easy to extend the time for which I prayed. It helped; I prayed for about 20 minutes now. Then I read a book by Oswald J. Smith, founder of the Peoples Church in Toronto Canada. In it he told of his own struggle to pray for any length of time and how he overcame the difficulty by praying out loud and walking up and down. This transformed my prayer life and I began to talk to God as if He was in the room with me. Time became no enemy.
I learned to pray through on difficult matters, to worship and praise God for long periods without let up, and to intercede for the needs of others. God answered my prayers. Friends were miraculously healed and it was a great joy to pray. I looked forward to the times of refreshing in Godís presence. Doing the work of an Evangelist in the local church was wonderful as people were saved and signs and wonders followed. The two keys of revival were obviously a love for Godís word and prayer.
After many years of successful ministry, during which I was ordained and pastored and pioneered churches, I had a serious illness and came close to dying. I was in intensive care for two months and drugged for much longer. Concentration in prayer was impossible, during this time and I listened to tapes of praise for long periods during the day. To most it seemed I would not live but God did not forsake me, He carried me.
Recuperation from this illness took several months and although I studied the word and spoke to God often I had lost the ability to concentrate in prayer. Our faithful God did not forsake me but continued to use me.
During my years of recuperation I went to India, Bangladesh & Nepal for missionary trips and was co-pastor in a local Church in Sydney Australia. Signs and wonders still accompanied my ministry now and then. But I could not pray as I ought. To make matters worse, I had learned that to drive unbelief from my heart I sometimes needed to fast when praying, but my doctor told me that I could not fast while taking the medication.
Even worse still, I would need to be on this medication for the rest of my life. I contented myself with being instant in prayer and the knowledge that God was with me all the time. This was comforting but I longed to spend hours alone with God again. I needed to start all over again because the urgent things of life would quickly put an end to my praying. I felt like Samson after his hair was cut. Here a little blessing and there a little miracle but no continuous power. I knew why.
I have taken the same steps again to renew my strength, ďFor they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up on wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.Ē
I wanted to share this with you in case some of you are struggling with your prayer life. Take Godís word and enter your closet and your Father who hears you in secret will reward you openly. Godís love did not end on Calvary, it was just made readily available.
When your fears grow mountain high
And would block your pathway
Wait, oh, wait upon the Lord
Believing as you pray.
Then your eagle wings will grow
Up, up, upward you will go
Far above the world below.
This little Chorus describes the power we get through concentration in prayer.
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