♣ A Closed Mouth and Silent Heart
My heart was hot within me; while I was musing, the fire burned. Then I spoke with my tongue… Psalm 39:3
“Prayer among evangelical Christians is always in danger of degenerating into a glorified gold rush. Almost every book on prayer deals with the “get” element mainly. How to get things we want from God occupies most of the space. Now, we gladly admit that we may ask for and receive specific gifts and benefits in answer to prayer, but we must never forget that the highest kind of prayer is never the making of requests. Prayer at its holiest moment is the entering into God to a place of such blessed union as makes miracles seem tame and remarkable answers to prayer appear something very far short of wonderful by comparison.
Holy men of soberer and quieter times than ours knew well the power of silence. David said, “I was dumb with silence. I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me; while I was musing the fire burned; then spake I with my tongue.” There is a tip here for God’s modern prophets. The heart seldom gets hot while the mouth is open. A closed mouth before God and silent heart are indispensable for the reception of certain kinds of truth. No man is qualified to speak who has not first listened.” – A.W. Tozer
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“Almost every book on prayer deals with the ‘get’ element mainly. How to get things we want from God occupies most of the space.”
The more I read, think and pray leaves me astounded at how our modern age Christian beliefs and principles are so far from the New Testament way of thinking and living; of course our culture is different but the elements of true faith must always remain if we are to avoid loss of influence in our society.
The challenge comes more and more to me of how self centered I have been in my praying to the point I cannot help but look on myself with shame. We see little happen because we do not pray right; our whole approach to God is wrong, and we ‘worship’ God in order to obtain what we want out of Him. Tozer’s attitude comes as a blow to many of us: “God, if Thou dost never answer another prayer while I live on this earth I will still worship Thee as long as I live and in the ages to come for what Thou hast done already. God’s already put me so far in debt that if I were to live one million millenniums I couldn’t pay Him for what He’s done for me.” The greats knew God through prayer; the majesty and eternity of God had so gripped their hearts that they could only but pray in a way that prevailed and deserved to be heard because it was primarily concerned for the glory of God.
I’m not saying we’re not to ask in prayer and I am not implying that we shouldn’t turn to our heavenly father who cares for us, but the pendulum has swung over to the other side to where we are only concerned about ourselves. Faith implies, “Your Heavenly Father knows…” and faith acts in getting caught up with the aspects of His kingdom, His interests, His desires, His ways. Do we really trust Him to take care of us and dismiss our anxiety, to take no thought and know that whatever God brings is what He thinks best for His purposes? All along God is altering our perspectives to pray on His lines; “seek first the kingdom of God…” the results of truly seeking Him will be the abandonment of our own interests for His will. Are we more sympathetic to God’s purposes or our own?
“Teach us Lord how to pray” is something we are desperately in need of today.