Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Skill in Prayer and the Grace of Prayer

"There is a great difference between the skill and the grace of prayer. The skill is but the outside, the shape, the carcass of our responsibility. The grace is the soul and spirit that gives it life, vigor and efficacy, that renders it acceptable to God and of real advantage to ourselves. The skill consists chiefly in a readiness of thought consistent with the various aspects of prayer, and a facility for expressing those thoughts in speaking to God. The grace consists in the inward workings of heart and conscience toward God and our life of faith. The skill has a show and appearance of holy desires, and real conversation with God belong only to the grace of prayer. The skill and the grace are often separated from each other, and it has often been found that the skill of prayer has been attained in great measure by study and practice and by the common workings of the Spirit of God communicated to some persons that have known nothing of true grace. Conversely, there may be a lively exercise of the grace of prayer in some wouls who have a very small measure of skill - - who hardly know how to form their thoughts and desires in a methodical or regular way, or to express those desires in tolerable language" Isaac Watts On Prayer (1715)

A pastor cannot get on very long without skill in public prayer. It's scary how much we can get done without the grace of prayer. I've been recently encouraged by some who have sensed "unction" in my preaching. I'm afraid. I have seen God use my preaching without the matching grace of prayer. Am I a carcass without a soul? Is public prayer for God's consumption alone? Private prayer is conversation - - where the things of God and the things of the child of God are going back and forth from heaven and earth through the Mediator by the power and groanings of the Spirit. Pray for me and with me as I seek the grace of prayer.

1 comment:

Clarkie said...

Wow! That quote sent me reeling!

You will likely see it quoted in a newsletter article I am writing on prayer.

BC at UA