Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings in the Scripture
Rom. 12.12c – be constant in prayer
If we would love God, and know the fullness that comes from having a heart filled with love for another – we must learn the things that speak of love to that other. Those things which speak to God of our love for Him. And so far we’ve looked at two such things. God loves to be believed, and God loves to be trusted. Those two are virtually an echo of Hebrews 11.6 – “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Note the word MUST in that text. These are necessities. Without believing that God IS, and that His promises are to be trusted, we cannot draw near to Him. We cannot gain true intimacy with God apart from a faith in Him and what He has said.
But there is more. In fact, it is the key to the first hand experience of intimacy, and, it is the means whereby the first two grow and produce more and more trust – prayer. Be “constant” our text says, in prayer. Constant, carrying with it the sense of being given over to it or devoted to it. In other words, coming to live in the atmosphere of prayer in such a way that it is never our last resort – but our FIRST.
Maybe you’ve said what I have at different times, especially when facing exceedingly difficult circumstances – have you ever said: Well, all we can do now is pray? The very wording betrays the fact that we tend to try and do everything WE can first, and then, once our resources are exhausted – we are left to just having to leave it in God’s hands. While that seems legitimate, it actually comes off more like an expression of hopelessness. Don’t get me wrong, we are not to be passive in our circumstances and not do all we CAN do. But neither are we to reserve prayer for the time when “that’s all we can do.” No, the Father is wanting us to think of running to Him FIRST. Even with what we ought to be and can be doing on our own.
Prayer ought never to be reserved for, or simply become an expression of, hopelessness. No indeed! Prayer is the exact opposite of hopelessness. It is the very essence of hope itself. It is saying not only are we not without hope – we have One to hope in – one who is above all, and loves us and cares for our every need. One who is waiting beside us and loves to be called upon. One who delights to hear us and answer us. Prayer is never to be rooted in hopelessness. It is to be our very first expression of true hope.
Now this is what the Spirit is after in this text. One way we express true love to God the Father, is to have hearts and minds that think of running to Him first, with everything. Childlike, humble love. Sinclair Ferguson in his wonderful book on the Holy Spirit opens up the joy of our having received the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry “abba, Father”. He writes: “as instinctively as a child who has fallen and been hurt calls out in similar language, ‘Daddy, help me!’ Assurance of sonship is
not reserved for the highly sanctified Christian; it is the birthright of even the weakest and most oppressed believer.” And is not that cry – “ABBA!” when we are in need, the simplest and best explanation of the spirit of prayer in the believer? Instinctive. Unthinking. Humble. Immediate. Child-like. This is what it means to be constant in prayer. To delight the Father’s heart AS our Father, by learning the holy instincts of the new creation in Christ. So that we remain in that frame in
all places and at all times.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” (Luke 10.27). How? Believe Him. Trust him. Call on Him – everywhere, at all times and in all things.