Scudder: When Your Prayers Lack the Spirit

Scudder: When Your Prayers Lack the Spirit

From The Christian’s Daily Walk


Be Humbled but Not Discouraged

If in your meditations and in your prayers, you find a dullness and want [lack] of spirituality, I would have you to be humbled in the sense of your impotency and infirmity.  Yet be not discouraged nor give them over [cease], but rather betake [take upon] yourself to these duties with more diligence and earnestness.

Prime the Pump

When you want [lack] water (your pump being dry), you by pouring in a little water, and much labour in pumping, can fetch water; so, by much labouring the heart in preparation, and by prayer, you may recover the gift of prayer, Luke 11:13.

Kindle the Fire

And, as when your fire is out, by laying on fuel, and by blowing the spark remaining, you kindle it again: so by meditation you stir up the grace that is in you, 2 Tim. 1:6, and by the breath of prayer, may revive and inflame the spirit of grace and prayer in you.

Move on to Pray

Yet, if you find that you have not [no] time to prepare [for prayer] by meditation; or having done so, if you find a confusion and distraction in your meditation, then it will be best to break through all hindrances, and without further preparation, attend to the duty of prayer, only with premeditation of God to whom, and of Christ by whom, through the Spirit, you must pray.

Make a Right Use of your Poor Condition

If for all this you do not find satisfaction in these holy exercises, yet give them not over [do not give up]: for God is many times best pleased with your services when, through an humble sense of your failings, you are displeased with yourself for them. Yet more: if when you have wrestled and striven with God and your own heart in prayer, you are forced to go halting [faltering] away, with Jacob, Gen 32:25-31, in the sense of your infirmities; yet be not discouraged, for it is a good sign that you have prevailed with God as Jacob did. Gen 32:28.

God uses [works] in them that do experience some sense of weakness to let them know that they prevail with him in prayer, not by any strength of their own or by any worthiness of their prayer when they have prayed best, but from the goodness of God’s free grace, from the worthiness of Christ’s intercession by whom they offer up their prayers, and from the truth of his promise made unto them that pray. If it were not thus, many, when they have their hearts’ desire in prayer, would ascribe all to the goodness of their prayers and not to the free grace of God, and would be proud of their own strength, which, in truth, is none at all.