- 25 -
"Most Standing In Need Of Prayer"
Preachers of old used to pray at the conclusion of services, "Lord, touch the one most standing in need of prayer."
At various times, that includes all of us, doesn't it? Our spiritual enemies do all they can to distract and discourage us, pointing to sins, failures, and feelings of religious coldness and disinterest. In such times, we do "most stand in need of prayer," that is, we need our own prayers. We feel disqualified from such access to God, however, as we project the sense of alienation we feel in our hearts upon His heart. Thus, when we most need to pray, we feel that we can't.
In such times, we commit what one of those preachers of old called "the second sin." The first sin involves whatever particular expression of fleshly unbelief and disobedience we have embraced. We sin the second sin when we fail to remember, affirm and avail ourselves of the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, as provided through the shed blood of His atoning work on the cross of Calvary.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).
The second sin of prayerlessness regarding repentance leads to prayerlessness regarding everything. Our stained conscience tells us that in the time when we most stand in need of prayer, we cannot pray. The Word of God and the Spirit of God, conversely, would tell us that in times of sin, our Heavenly Father most stands in readiness to answer our prayer of humble contrition and acknowledgement of sin. Just as the father ran to his repentant and returning son in the story of the prodigal, so our Heavenly Father is "ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy to them that call upon Thee" (Psalm 86:5). Yes, ready forgiveness and abundant mercy await us when we have wandered. But we must call.
We must also believe that when we call for forgiveness and cleansing, God answers. As we do, we will discover a conscience cleansed through the efficacy of Christ's work on our behalf, and the Holy Spirit's application thereof to our hearts. Such grace blesses us with the sense of freedom to approach the throne so rightly termed by the writer of Hebrews "the throne of grace" (Hebrews 4:16). A life of prayer ensues because the sense of freely given acceptance and favor with God causes genuine desire for communion with Him. As we often suggest, we pray most consistently and sincerely when our first consideration involves not our own desires and inclinations, but rather our Lord's delight in our communion with Him - "the prayer of the upright is His delight" (Proverbs 15:8). Add to this the blessed truth that "He delighteth in mercy," and an unhindered path to the throne of God stands before us always, and when we most stand in need of prayer.
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."