"The Conditions of Prayer"
Humility and Prayer
Pride prevents prayer. Those who believe themselves to be self sufficient think they have have no need for God's presence, promises, protection, provision, and power.
"The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God" (Psalm 10:4).
God must undertake a mighty work of grace and truth in our lives to convince us of the abundance of His supply, and the awareness of our need. This involves both our salvation and our Christian lives subsequent to the new birth. Regardless of how long and how well we have known the Lord Jesus Christ, the deception remains in our flesh inherited from our original forefathers: "Ye shall be as gods… the flesh lusteth against the spirit" (Genesis 3:5; Galatians 5:17). In their own minds, gods have no need for the help of others, particularly the living and true God. Thus, our Lord must continually work to keep us in venues of necessity whereby we realize the truth often expressed by a good friend: "God is God, and we ain't!" (Thanks, Wayne!). No believer ever progresses in this present life beyond the temptation to "not seek after God." We can forget or be distracted. We can be deceived. And in an interesting twist of pride, we can even be discouraged into not praying because of our failures (as if our successes qualify us to pray rather than the person and work of the Lord Jesus).
Our role in God's ongoing work of humbling involves awareness and response to the process. "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God" (I Peter 5:6). We must put to death the fleshly impulses of pride that distract us from the life of prayer to which our Father calls us. Humility therefore supplies a primary condition on our part regarding our prayers. As the Lord Jesus said to His disciples directly, and indirectly to us, "Without Me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). If our hearts respond in agreement, we will pray. If not, our Heavenly Father will direct our paths to redeeming briars and thickets, stones and boulders, and pits and abysses that remind us of His promised supply, and our persistent need. "In the day of my trouble, I sought the Lord" (Psalm 77:2).
Left to ourselves, even the most godly believers among us would ultimately stop praying. All Christians require the humbling "mighty hand of God" to save us from deceptive notions of fleshly self sufficiency that distract us from visiting the Throne of grace. Again, the condition we fulfill involves response to God's working. He humbles us; we humble ourselves by acknowledging the light He reveals regarding our need. Thus, humility results in prayer, which in turn results in more humility as we increasingly discover God's faithfulness and the necessity of our accessing His continual provision.
"But I am poor and needy, make haste unto me, o God, Thou art my help and my deliverer."
Next: The condition of devotion
Weekly Memory Verse
"I exhort therefore that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men."
(I Timothy 2:1)