Reuben Archer Torrey (1856 – 1928) was an American evangelist and pastor. In 1915 he founded the Church of the Open Door in Los Angeles (later pastored by J. Vernon McGee). Torrey was the most famous editor of the 12-volume series, "The Fundamentals," a defense of Christianity against modernism. We'll be sharing some excerpts from his book, "How to Pray."
But why is this constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer so needful?
1. First of all, BECAUSE THERE IS A DEVIL. He is cunning, he is mighty, he never rests, he is ever plotting the downfall of the child of God; and if the child of God relaxes in prayer, the devil will succeed in ensnaring him.
This is the thought of the context. The 12th verse reads:
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Then comes the 13th verse: “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Next follows a description of the different parts of the Christian’s armor, which we are to put on if we are to stand against the devil and his mighty wiles. Then Paul brings all to a climax in the 18th verse, telling us that to all else we must add prayer—constant, persistent, untiring, sleepless prayer in the Holy Spirit, or all else will go for nothing.
Wouldn’t it be great to have extra time in your day to pray? It’s possible!
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
The average American spends over 3 hours a day on their cell phone. Some of it is legitimate work-related or family connecting. But sometimes we’re just swiping thru our Facebook feed. How much time do you spend on your phone, and how much time would you want to save from games and social media?
I recently installed AntiSocial on my Android phone – it’s free and it shows me how much time I spend using my device. Even better I can limit the time I spend on games and social media.
If you find yourself a cell phone addict – try AntiSocial to limit yourself and free up more time to pray!
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith
God is righteous. But what does that mean?
1. Just; accordant to the divine law. Applied to persons, it denotes one who is holy in heart, and observant of the divine commands in practice; as a righteous man. Applied to things, it denotes consonant to the divine will or to justice; as a righteous act. It is used chiefly in theology, and applied to God, to his testimonies and to his saints.
Transcendence: “to exist above and independent from; to rise above, surpass, succeed.”
Immanence: “refers to His presence within His creation”
God transcends creation – He exists in Heaven. But He cares about man – lowlier than the angels (Hebrews 2:7). He wants to know you!
Sometimes its intimidating to enter into His presence. He knows everything you’ve ever done wrong. He’s serious about sin. He is Holy. But He wants to dwell with you!
Talk to Him today and invite Him to dwell with you.
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
That sounds a little familiar – God wanting to dwell with us? Yes He does! He renewed that promise in the New Testament!
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
2Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
Ever wish you could talk to your great-great-great-grandparents and ask them how life was like back then? Ever wonder if today’s challenges are so much worse than anything in the past?
Did you know that God is eternal? We might admit that fact if we took a test of the attributes of God, but have you ever pondered, that the same God who we pray to, was the God of our grandparents, and their grandparents? The same God that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob prayed to – you can call out to Him today.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 reminds us that there is nothing new under the sun. God has seen it all. We can talk to Him today!
One of the big hindrances in prayer is not knowing to whom we’re praying.
If we’re in line at our favorite coffee shop and a stranger starts a conversation with us, it can get awkward quickly – we don’t know his position on God, politics, sports – so we’re not sure what to say to him.
The key to talking with God better, is to know Him better. For the next few days we’ll look at how we can know Him.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1 John 4:8
John chides those that don’t know God, noting that He is love.
God showed His love by sending His Son to take our place
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
We’re blessed with many great resources for Christian growth. Dr. Henry Morris’ Days of Praisedevotional is one such resource, and recently featured a great message on prayer.
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
This promise is comprehensive and unlimited—a tremendous assurance of answered prayer. But there is one proviso—according to His will! There are a number of Christians who, with all good intentions, have argued that it evidences a lack of faith to add the qualification “if it be thy will” to one’s prayer. But this can hardly be true in light of the example of Christ Himself, when he “prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39).
We'll be looking at excerpts from E.M. Bounds classic, Power Through Prayer as we go deeper into prayer. While Bounds is addressing himself to pastors, 1) use this to pray for your pastor, and 2) this applies to all who are in ministry, even if your field is "just" your family.
The act of praying is the very highest energy of which the human mind is capable; praying, that is, with the total concentration of the faculties. The great mass of worldly men and of learned men are absolutely incapable of prayer.—Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Payson wore the hard-wood boards into grooves where his knees pressed so often and so long. His biographer says: “His continuing instant in prayer, be his circumstances what they might, is the most noticeable fact in his history, and points out the duty of all who would rival his eminency. To his ardent and persevering prayers must no doubt be ascribed in a great measure his distinguished and almost uninterrupted success.”
The Marquis DeRenty, to whom Christ was most precious, ordered his servant to call him from his devotions at the end of half an hour. The servant at the time saw his face through an aperture. It was marked with such holiness that he hated to arouse him. His lips were moving, but he was perfectly silent. He waited until three half hours had passed; then he called to him, when he arose from his knees, saying that the half hour was so short when he was communing with Christ.
Brainerd said: “I love to be alone in my cottage, where I can spend much time in prayer.”
William Bramwell is famous in Methodist annals for personal holiness and for his wonderful success in preaching and for the marvelous answers to his prayers. For hours at a time he would pray. He almost lived on his knees. He went over his circuits like a flame of fire. The fire was kindled by the time he spent in prayer. He often spent as much as four hours in a single season of prayer in retirement.
Dr. Judson’s success in prayer is attributable to the fact that he gave much time to prayer. He says on this point: “Arrange thy affairs, if possible, so that thou canst leisurely devote two or three hours every day not merely to devotional exercises but to the very act of secret prayer and communion with God. Endeavor seven times a day to withdraw from business and company and lift up thy soul to God in private retirement. Begin the day by rising after midnight and devoting some time amid the silence and darkness of the night to this sacred work. Let the hour of opening dawn find thee at the same work. Let the hours of nine, twelve, three, six, and nine at night witness the same. Be resolute in his cause. Make all practicable sacrifices to maintain it. Consider that thy time is short, and that business and company must not be allowed to rob thee of thy God.” Impossible, say we, fanatical directions! Dr. Judson impressed an empire for Christ and laid the foundations of God’s kingdom with imperishable granite in the heart of Burmah. He was successful, one of the few men who mightily impressed the world for Christ. Many men of greater gifts and genius and learning than he have made no such impression; their religious work is like footsteps in the sands, but he has engraven his work on the adamant. The secret of its profundity and endurance is found in the fact that he gave time to prayer. He kept the iron red-hot with prayer, and God’s skill fashioned it with enduring power. No man can do a great and enduring work for God who is not a man of prayer, and no man can be a man of prayer who does not give much time to praying.