About the Author
One of four children, Andrew Murray was born in Graaff-Reinet, South Africa. It was there, after his formal education in Scotland and three years of theological study in Holland, that Andrew Murray returned as a missionary and minister. In 1873 he helped establish the Huguenot Seminary, a school where young women could be trained for educational work. Murray also served as the first president of the Young Men’s Christian Fellowship (YMCA). He authored over 240 books and was a man of great prayer. Abiding in Christ was the cornerstone to Andrew Murray’s life and ministry. He wrote, “Abide in Jesus: your life in Him will lead you to that fellowship with God in which the only true knowledge of God is to be had. His love, His power, His infinite glory will, as you abide in Jesus, be so revealed as it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive.” He and his wife, Emma, had nine children.
Bruce Wilkinson is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers The Prayer of Jabez® and A Life God Rewards™, as well as Secrets of the Vine®, Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs, and numerous other books. He serves as the chairman of Dream for Africa, Global Vision Resources, and Ovation Productions. Bruce and his wife, Darlene Marie, have three children and six grandchildren. They divide their time between Georgia and South Africa.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Why are so many Christians reluctant to spend time in prayer? If, on the human level, spending time in the company of a parent is normally something quite natural and enjoyable for a child, what is it that hinders God’s children from doing the same with their heavenly Father?
One answer could be that we are too focused on our human limitations, on our own meekness and sinfulness, and not
enough on God’s greatness, holiness, love, and omnipotence. The thoughts and feelings that fill our hearts and minds influence our prayers.
If we dwell upon our own needs and desires, our own efforts, and our own faith, we shall soon find that there is no real power in our prayers. It is essential that we see prayer in the light of God: the deep interest He takes in us, the great love with which He desires to answer prayer, the omnipotence of His power, and the magnitude of His strengthening grace. As with all else, in prayer God must be first. Prayer, to be effective, needs to first be approached in the light of heaven and the infinite glory of the living God. It is when, by this marvelous grace, we have been lifted up into His fellowship and love that He bestows upon us the blessings we need. The first thing, then, must be to bow in lowly reverence before God, offering Him our adoration and worship.
We need to take time to adore God and to secure some sense of His presence. Give God time to reveal Himself to you. Then adore Him. God is in the temple: Let all who appear before Him do so in awe. Prostrate yourself before Him with deepest reverence. Own Him alone as your God and Savior, and praise His name forever.
What might be the reason that prayer is not for us a greater joy and delight? How can we bring down the power and the blessing on those for whom we pray?
The primary answer is undoubtedly that our experience of the presence of God is too limited. When we pray, we do not seek after His presence with all our hearts. We think mostly of our need, our weakness, our desire, our prayer. We forget that in every prayer God must be first and foremost. To seek Him, to find Him, to linger in His presence, is the approach that gives prayer its inspiration. How then can you acquire an intimate experience of the presence of God in your communion with Him? The answer is quite simple:
Believe with your whole heart that He offers Himself as the listener. Give God the opportunity to make Himself known to you when you approach Him in prayer. You will never discover this, however, if you do not take time to have
genuine fellowship with God. The power of prayer does not lie in the number or earnestness of the words you use, but in a living faith that God Himself accepts both you and your prayer into His loving heart.
It is the goal of this month’s readings to help you to meet with God every time you pray. Each day you will be given one or more texts, with which you can bow before God in adoration, waiting for Him to lead you into a real experience of their truth and power. Therefore, begin the day with the desire, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:2).