March 25: Prayer & the Word of God

Andrew Murray
Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was the son of a Dutch missionary sent to South Africa. He ministered for 60 years in South Africa, praying that “May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence, and not a moment without the entire surrender of myself as a vessel for him to fill full of his Spirit and his love.”

In regard to the connection between prayer and the Word in our private devotion, the expression of a convert from heathenism has often been quoted: I pray, I speak to God; I read in the Bible, God speaks to me.

There is a verse in the history of Moses, in which this thought is beautifully brought out.

When Moses was gone into the tabernacle to speak with God, then he heard the Voice of One speaking to him from off the mercy seat: and God spake unto him.

Numbers 7:89

When he went into pray for himself or his people, and to wait for instructions, he found One waiting for him. What a lesson for our morning watch. A prayerful spirit is the spirit to which God will speak. A prayerful spirit will be a listening spirit waiting to hear what God says. In the intercourse with God His presence and the part He takes must be as real as my own. We want to ask what is needed that our Scripture reading and praying may be such true fellowship with God.

First, get into the right place. “Moses went into the tabernacle to speak with God.” He separated himself from the people, and went where he could be with God alone. He went to the place where God was to be found. Jesus has told us where that place is. He calls us to enter into our closet, and shut the door, and pray to our Father which seeth in secret.

Anywhere where we really are alone with God may be to us the secret of His presence. To speak with God needs separation from all else. It needs a heart intently set upon and in full expectation of meeting God personally, and having direct dealings with Him. Those who go there to speak to God, will hear the Voice of One speaking to them.

From The Inner Chamber and The Inner Life, by Andrew Murray.

March 24: Murray – The Danger in the Inner Chamber

Andrew Murray
Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was the son of a Dutch missionary sent to South Africa. He ministered for 60 years in South Africa, praying that “May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence, and not a moment without the entire surrender of myself as a vessel for him to fill full of his Spirit and his love.”

Note from Randy: Today’s reading at first may seem shocking – but if you encounter a secular professor of “religion”, you may meet someone who has read much of the Bible, but has yet to personally encounter the God of the Bible. The Bible points us to the God of the Word – let’s love the Bible, read it, and study it; but don’t let it become mere academic knowledge.

Christian! There is a terrible danger to which you stand exposed in your inner chamber. You are in danger of substituting Prayer and Bible Study for living fellowship with God, the living interchange of giving Him your love, your heart, and your life, and receiving from Him His love, His life, and His spirit.

Your needs and their expression, your desire to pray humbly and earnestly and believingly, may so occupy you, that the light of His countenance and the joy of His love cannot enter you.

Your Bible Study may so interest you, and so waken pleasing religious sentiment, that – yes – the very Word of God may become a substitute for God Himself, the greatest hindrance to fellowship because it keeps the soul occupied instead of leading it to God Himself.

And we go out into the day’s work without the power of an abiding fellowship, because in our morning devotions the blessing was not secured.

What a difference it would make in the life of many, if everything in the closet were subordinate to this one thing: I want through the day to walk with God; my morning hour is the time when my Father enters into a definite engagement with me and I with Him that it shall be so.

What strength would be imparted by the consciousness: God has taken charge of me, He is going with me Himself; I am going to do His will all day in His strength; I am ready for all that may come.

Yes, what a nobility would come into life, if secret prayer were not only an asking for some new sense of comfort, or light, or strength, but the giving away of life just for one day into the sure and safe keeping of a Mighty and Faithful God.

“Pray to thy Father which seeth in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret will reward thee openly.”

Where the secret fellowship with the Father in spirit and in truth is maintained, the public life before men will carry the reward. The Father who sees in secret takes charge and rewards openly. Separation from men, in solitude with God – this is the sure, the only way to live in intercourse with men in the power of God’s blessing.

From The Inner Chamber and The Inner Life, by Andrew Murray.

March 23: Murray – The Door Shut – Alone with God

Andrew Murray
Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was the son of a Dutch missionary sent to South Africa. He ministered for 60 years in South Africa, praying that “May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence, and not a moment without the entire surrender of myself as a vessel for him to fill full of his Spirit and his love.”

When thou prayest enter into thine inner chamber, and, having shut thy door, pray to thy Father, which seeth in secret.”

Matthew 6:6

Man was created for fellowship with God. God made him in His own image and likeness, that he might be fit for this, capable of understanding and enjoying God, entering into His will and delighting in His glory. Because God is the Everywhere-present and All-pervading One, he could have lived in the enjoyment of an unbroken fellowship amidst whatever work he had to do.

Of this fellowship sin robbed us.

Nothing but this fellowship can satisfy the heart of either man or God. It was this Christ came to restore; to bring back to God His lost creature, and bring back man to all he was created for. Intercourse with God is the consummation of all blessedness on earth as in heaven. It comes when the promise, so often given, becomes a full experience: I will be with thee, I will never leave thee or forsake thee, and when we can say: The Father is always with me.

This intercourse with God is meant to be ours all the day, whatever be our condition or the circumstances that surround us. But its enjoyment depends upon the reality of the intercourse in the inner chamber. The power of maintaining close and glad fellowship with God all the day will depend entirely upon the intensity with which we seek to secure it in the hour of secret prayer. The one essential thing in the Morning Watch or the Quiet Hour is – FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD!

It is this our Lord teaches is to be the inner secret of secret prayer: “Shut thy door, and pray to thy Father which seeth in secret.” The first and chief thing is, see that there in secret you have the Father’s Presence and Attention. Know that He sees and hears you.

Of more importance than all your requests, however urgent, of more importance earnestness and effort to pray aright, is this one thing – the childlike, living assurance that YOUR FATHER sees you, that you have now met Him, and that with His eye on you and yours on Him, you are now enjoying actual intercourse with Him.

From The Inner Chamber and The Inner Life, by Andrew Murray.

March 22: Murray – Blessings of the Morning Watch

Andrew Murray
Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was the son of a Dutch missionary sent to South Africa. He ministered for 60 years in South Africa, praying that “May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence, and not a moment without the entire surrender of myself as a vessel for him to fill full of his Spirit and his love.”

In study or on the sport field every student know what need there is of vigorous will and determined purpose if we are to succeed. Religion needs, and indeed deserves, not less but more of intense devotion. If anything, surely the love of Christ needs the whole heart.

It is this fixed determination before everything to secure Christ’s presence, that will overcome every temptation to be unfaithful or superficial in the keeping of our pledges. It is this will make the morning watch itself a mighty means of grace in strengthening character, and nerving us to say No to every call for self-indulgence.

It is this will enable us at once, when we enter the inner chamber and shut the door, to be there with our whole heart, ready at once for our intercourse with Christ. And it is this determination that, from the morning watch on, will become the keynote of our daily life.

To the world it is often said: Great things are possible to any man who knows what he wills, and wills it with all his heart. The student who has made personal devotion to Christ his watchword, will find in the morning hour the place where day by day the insight into his holy calling is renewed; where his will is braced up to walk worthy of it; and his faith rewarded by the presence of Christ waiting to meet him, and take charge of him for the day.

We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. A living Christ waits to meet us.

From The Inner Chamber and The Inner Life, by Andrew Murray.

March 21: Murray – Object of the Morning Hour

Andrew Murray
Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was the son of a Dutch missionary sent to South Africa. He ministered for 60 years in South Africa, praying that “May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence, and not a moment without the entire surrender of myself as a vessel for him to fill full of his Spirit and his love.”

Let us look first at what ought to be the object of the morning watch. The morning watch must not be regarded as an end in itself. It is not sufficient that it gives us a blessed time for prayer and Bible study, and so brings us a certain measure of refreshment and help.

It is to serve as a means to an end. And that end is – to secure the presence of Christ for the whole day. Personal devotion to a friend or a pursuit means that that friend or pursuit shall always hold their place in the heart, even when other engagements occupy the attention. Personal devotion to Jesus means that we allow nothing to separate us for a moment. To abide in Him and His love, to be kept by Him and His grace, to be doing His will and pleasing Him – this cannot possibly be an intermittent thing to one who is truly devoted to Him.

“I need Thee every hour,” “Moment by moment I am kept in His love.” These hymns are the language of life and truth. “In Thy name shall they rejoice all the day,” “I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment” – these are words of Divine power.

The believer cannot stand for one moment without Christ. The personal devotion to Him refuses to be content with anything less than to abide always in His love and His will. Nothing less is the true scriptural Christian life. And the importance and blessedness and true aim of the morning watch can only be seen as nothing less than this as its first object.

The clearer the object of our pursuit is, the better we shall be able to adapt the means to its attainment. Consider the morning watch now as the means to this great end: I want to secure absolutely the presence of Christ all the day, to do nothing that can interfere with it. I feel at once that my success for the day will depend upon the clearness and the strength of the faith that seeks and finds and holds HIM in the closet. Meditation and prayer and the Word will all be used as subordinate and auxiliary to this: the link for the day between Christ and me must be renewed and firmly fastened in the morning hour.

From The Inner Chamber and The Inner Life, by Andrew Murray.

March 20: Murray – The Morning Hour

Andrew Murray
Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was the son of a Dutch missionary sent to South Africa. He ministered for 60 years in South Africa, praying that “May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence, and not a moment without the entire surrender of myself as a vessel for him to fill full of his Spirit and his love.”

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

Psalm 5:3

From the earliest ages God’s servants have thought of the morning as the time specially fitted for the worship of God. It is still regarded by all Christians both as a duty and a privilege to devote some portion of the beginning of the day to seeking retirement and fellowship with God. Many Christians, and specially the Student’s Christian Association, observe The Morning Watch; the Young People’s Christian Endeavour Society speak of it as the Quiet Hours; others use the name of the Still Hour or the Quiet Time.

All these, whether they think of a whole hour or half an hour, or a quarter of an hour, unite with the Psalmist in what he says, “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord.”

In speaking of the extreme importance of this daily time of quiet for prayer and meditation on God’s Word, Mr. Mott has said:

“Next to receiving Christ as Saviour, and claiming the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, we know of no act attended with larger good to ourselves or others, than the formation of an undiscourageable resolution to keep the morning watch, and spend the first half hour of the day alone with God.”

At first sight the statement appears too strong. The act of receiving Christ as Saviour is one of such infinite consequence for eternity, the act of claiming the Holy Spirit is one that works such a revolution in the Christian life, that such a simple thing as the firm determination to keep the morning watch hardly appears sufficiently important to be placed next to them.

If, however, we think how impossible it is to live out our daily life in Christ as our Saviour from sin, or to maintain a walk in the leading and power of the Holy Spirit, without daily, close fellowship with God, we soon shall see the truth of the sentiment.

Because it simply means the fixed determination that Christ shall have the whole life, that the Holy Spirit shall in everything be fully obeyed. The morning watch is the key to the position in which the surrender to Christ and the Holy Spirit can be unceasingly and fully maintained.

From The Inner Chamber and The Inner Life, by Andrew Murray.

March 19: Andrew Murray – The Inner Chamber

Andrew Murray
Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was the son of a Dutch missionary sent to South Africa. He ministered for 60 years in South Africa, praying that “May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence, and not a moment without the entire surrender of myself as a vessel for him to fill full of his Spirit and his love.”

In [South Africa] there are various diseases that affect our orange trees. One of them is popularly known by the name of the root-disease, A tree may still be bearing, and an ordinary observer may not notice anything wrong while an expert sees the beginning of a slow death. Then again, the phylloxera in the vineyard is nothing but a root disease, and it has been found that there is no radical cure, but by taking out the old roots and providing new ones.

The old sort of grape is grafted on an American root, and in course of time you have the same stem and branches and fruit as before; but the roots are new and able to resist the disease. It is in the part of the plant that is kill from sight that the disease comes, and where healing must be sought.

The Church of Christ and the spiritual life of thousands of its members suffers from the root-disease; the neglect of secret intercourse with God. It is the lack of secret prayer, the neglect of the maintenance of that hidden life “rooted in Christ,” “rooted and grounded in love,” that explains the feebleness of the Christian life to resist the world, and its failure to bring forth fruit abundantly. Nothing can change this but the restoration, in the life of the believer, of the inner chamber to the place which Christ meant it to have.

As Christians learn, instead of trusting their own efforts, what it is daily to strike their roots deeper into Christ, and to make the secret personal fellowship with God their chief care, true godliness will flourish. “If the root be holy, so are the branches.” If the morning hour be holy to the Lord, the day with its duties will be so too. If the root be healthy, so are the branches.

From The Inner Chamber and the Inner Life, by Andrew Murray.