Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven.
The act of prayer teaches us our unworthiness, which is a very salutary lesson for proud people like us. If God gave us favors without constraining us to pray for them, we would never know how poor we are, but a true prayer is an inventory of wants, a catalog of necessities, a revelation of hidden poverty.
While prayer is an application to divine wealth, it is also a confession of human emptiness. The most healthy state of a Christian is always to be empty of self and constantly depending upon the Lord for provision; to be consistently poor in self and rich in Jesus; to be weak as water personally, but mighty through God to do great exploits. This is where prayer comes in, because while it adores God, it puts the creature where it should be--in the dust.
Prayer is in itself, apart from the answer that it brings, a great benefit to the Christian. As the runner gains strength for the race by daily exercise, so for the great race of life we acquire energy by the holy exercise of prayer. Prayer thins the feathers of God's young eaglets, so that they can learn to soar above the clouds. Prayer readies God's warriors and sends them out to combat with their sinews braced and their muscles firm. The praying believer comes out of his closet, even as the sun rises from the chambers of the east, rejoicing like an athlete about to race. Prayer is the uplifted hand of Moses that defeats the Amalekites more than the sword of Joshua; it is the arrow shot from the prophet's chamber announcing defeat to the Syrians. Prayer equips human weakness with divine strength, turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and gives the peace of God to troubled souls.
We do not know what prayer cannot do! We thank You, great God, for the mercy-seat, a wonderful evidence of your marvelous loving-kindness. Help us to use it properly throughout this day!
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.