by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
O the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God,
I commune as friend with friend
The outstanding characteristic of all the most saintly people that the world has ever known has been that they have not only spent much time in private prayer but have also delighted in it.... The more saintly the person, the more time such a person spends in conversation with God. Thus it is a vital and all-important matter....
This has been true in the experience of God's people throughout the centuries. We find it recorded in the Gospels that John the Baptist had been teaching his disciples to pray. They obviously had felt the need of instruction, and they had asked him.... And John had taught them how to pray.
Our Lord's disciples felt exactly the same need.... "Lord, teach us how to pray." Undoubtedly the desire arose in their hearts because they were conscious of this kind of natural, instinctive, initial difficulty of which we are all aware; but it must also have been greatly increased when they watched His own prayer life. They saw how He would arise "a great while before dawn" and go up into the mountains to pray and how He would spend whole nights in prayer.
And sometimes, I have no doubt, they said to themselves, "What does He talk about? What does He do?" They may also have thought, "I find after a few minutes in prayer that I come to the end of my words. What is it that enables Him to be drawn out in prayer? What is it that leads to this ease and abandonment?"
"Lord," they said, "teach us how to pray." They meant by this ... "We wish we knew God as You know Him. Teach us how to pray." Have you ever felt that? Have you ever felt dissatisfied with your prayer life and longed to know more and more what it is truly to pray? If you have, it is an encouraging sign.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, ii, p. 47
Comments on D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, A First Book of Daily Readings
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