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April 4 Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 7-10
Prayer Found In the Heart
“For thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.”
(2 Samuel 7:27)
Prayer is one of those holy, spiritual activities that is better practiced than written about or discussed. It is an intensely personal activity, an activity that modesty always keeps hidden away in the closet, out of public view. I do not pretend to know much about prayer. But I do know that prayer is a subject about which there is much confusion. Because there is so much confusion about prayer, it might be wise for us to meditate for a brief while today on three simple facts revealed in this verse of Holy Scripture about prayer. May God the Holy Spirit, the Inspirer and Creator of all true prayer, stamp these three things upon our hearts and minds.
First, true prayer arises from the heart. It is a heart work. David did not find a prayer in his books, or in his memory, or even in his mouth, but in his heart. Far too often, I fear, my prayers arise from my lusts, my personal desires, rather than from a heart of faith that seeks the will and glory of God (James 4:2-4). God listens only to what the heart speaks in prayer. He has no regard for the sounds of our mouths, or the thoughtless, selfish, self-centered desires of our flesh.
Therefore, we should carefully weigh our words before God, and prepare our hearts to pray. Robert Murray McCheyne once wrote, “A great part of my time is spent getting my heart in tune for prayer.”
Yet, we ought to approach God with the simplicity of a child speaking to his father, with absolute confidence and sincerity. John Trapp wrote, “God respecteth not the arithmetic of our prayers, how many they are; nor the rhetoric of our prayers, how long they are; nor the music of our prayers, how methodical they are, but the divinity of our prayers, how heart sprung they are. Not gifts, but graces prevail in prayer.”
Secondly, if prayer is found in the heart, God put it there. Prayer is the communication of a believer's spirit with God, who is Spirit, by the power and grace of God the Holy Spirit. He teaches us to pray by showing us what the will of God is. He does this by his Word, by his providence, and by putting a burden upon our hearts that will not go away. Then he graciously inclines our hearts to pray, to seek what God has purposed to do. He has many ways of doing that (Psalm 107:1-31).
Thirdly, God will perform the thing that he puts in our hearts to seek by earnest prayer. True prayer is seeking the will of God by the Spirit of God, through faith in the Son of God. And whatever we ask according to his will, he will do (1 John 5:14-15). Prayer is not an attempt by man to conform God to his will, but the cry of a heart conformed by grace to God's will. It is breathing out to God what God has breathed into our souls. — “Lord, teach us to pray!”