True Praying in the Holy Spirit (4)
LABORING IN PRAYER (Part III)
By G. H. C. Macgregor
"Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." —Col. 4:12.
But if we have learned to pray thus, the Word of God teaches us further the manner in which we shall agonize in prayer.
Our prayers will be secret. The soul’s agony in prayer will be known to God alone. The highest kind of prayer is too sacred to share with any one but God. In this matter we cannot wear our heart upon our sleeve. We cannot allow our brother to share this agony with us. It is profoundly instructive in studying the life of the Lord Jesus to find how often He went apart to pray. He could not let His most loved disciples share His prayers. And this not only because the relation in which they stood to the Father was different from that in which He stood; but also because His prayers were too deep, too sacred for them to know. When we have learned to agonize in prayer, we will not tell our neighbors that we have learned it. The blessed suffering, which the learning of this will cost us, will be borne alone. But although we say nothing of it, its influence will be felt. It will inevitably touch our public prayers with tenderness, and a yearning, and a pleading power such as they never had before.
Our prayers will be self-denying. We shall fast as well as pray. But, remember, fasting is a matter for the soul as much as for the body. That we may agonize in prayer we shall subject ourselves to a holy discipline. We shall require discipline if we are to get time for prayer, to get quiet for prayer, and to make prayer the great business of our life. And this discipline may affect the body. We may, like the apostle, have to beat our body black and blue and keep it under, training it to be obedient as the wrestler trains his body for the battle, or the runner for the race.
Our prayers will be sustained. When we have reached this height in prayer, we shall understand what our Lord meant when He said, "men ought always to pray and not to faint" (Luke 18:1), and what the apostle meant when he bade us "Pray without ceasing." When we have learned to agonize in prayer, our prayers have ceased to be a matter of impulse. They have become part of the main, full stream of our life. The habit of prayer has been formed, so that we live and move in an atmosphere of prayer.
Our prayers will be Spirit-taught. It is impossible for us to agonize in prayer unless we are "praying in the Holy Ghost" (Jude 20). Our agony in prayer is really something of His begetting. It is the answer of our soul to His agony when He makes intercession for us with groaning that cannot be uttered. Prayer, like faith, is the gift of God the Holy Spirit. It is a work, which He works in our hearts, as they are yielded to Him, and filled by Him.
But if our prayers are Spirit-taught our prayers will be successful. For the Holy Spirit will bring us into true fellowship with God, and strengthen faith so that we shall pray earnestly (Acts 12:5) with our spirits on the stretch, looking for the answer that will speedily come from none but Him, how, in the very act of agonizing in prayer, to enjoy the deepest rest of faith. He will prevent us from praying in such a way as to dishonor God by seeming to think Him unwilling to bless. He will prevent us from weariness and discouragement. So our prayers will prevail, and to us will be given the joy have seeing those for whom we have prayed standing "perfect and complete in all the will of God."
You are reading the third part of chapter 4 of the book, True Praying in the Holy Spirit, by G.H.C. Macgregor. If you are interested in reading the previous chapter, you can find it by clicking on PRAYERPATHWAYS.
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May the riches of the blessings of the Lord come upon your prayer life!
An Announcement for the Coming Event: HEART-CRY FOR REVIVAL CONFERENCE will be held at Ridgecrest Conference Center, Asheville, North Carolina on May 23-27, 2000. The conference will feature with sessions, which will be geared to a "heart-cry" for revival. The desire of the conference is to catch the heartbeat of God through the messages delivered by His choice servants sharing their own "heart-cries" for a deep work of God among believers and spiritual awakening in the world. Confirmed sponsors are as follows: Bible Prayer Fellowship, Canadian Revival Fellowship, Inc., Herald of His Coming, International Awaking Ministries, Life Action Ministries, Inc., Luther Rice Seminary, Prayer Explosion NJ, Prayer & Spiritual Awakening Office of the North American Mission Board, Susek Evangelistic Association. For more information, please call 1-800-477-1454, or send E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org