“Help me to be all prayer…”
I ran across that line while meditating on a Puritan prayer in The Valley of Vision. What can that mean, to be “all prayer?”
Whatever it means, most of us can admit we fall short of the standard. But in the early church, prayer was so important that the apostles delegated other responsibilities so they could focus on prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6). In fact, prayer resonates throughout the book of Acts. And you can’t read Paul’s letters without reading his prayers. In our current practice, we tend to emphasize strategies and statements rather than prayer.
We should be intentional. We should be strategic. But we must be prayerful.
Join me in spending some time in this Puritan prayer:
O Lord, in prayer I launch far out into the eternal world, and on that broad ocean my soul triumphs over all evils on the shores of mortality.
Time, with its gay amusements and cruel disappointments, never appears so inconsiderate as then.
In prayer, I see myself as nothing;
I find my heart going after thee with intensity, and long with vehement thirst to live to thee.
Blessed be the strong gales of the Spirit that speed me on my way to the New Jerusalem.
In prayer all things here below vanish, and nothing seems important but holiness of heart and the salvation of others.
In prayer all my worldly cares, fears, anxieties disappear, and are of as little significance as a puff of wind.
In prayer my soul inwardly exults with lively thoughts at what thou art doing for thy church, and I long that thou shouldest get thyself a great name from sinners returning to Zion.
In prayer I am lifted above the frown and flatteries of life, and taste the heavenly joys; entering into the eternal world I can give myself to thee with all my heart, to be thine for ever.
In prayer I can place all my concerns in thy hands, to be entirely at thy disposal, having no will or interest of my own.
In prayer I can intercede for my friends, ministers, sinners, the church, thy kingdom to come, with greatest freedom, ardent hopes…as a son to his Father, as a lover to the beloved.
Help me to be all prayer and never to cease praying.
The fall season at Venture will begin with a focus on prayer. The challenge is to be “all prayer,” as we move in God’s purposes for our church. We can pray for “friends, ministers, sinners, the church, thy kingdom come” and for God to work in powerful ways in our community.
The fall season is an exciting one at Venture Church. We move into the all-church focus on Romans 8, Friend Sunday, Baptism Service — we launch into September with great expectations!
But first, we quiet our hearts and bend our knees. We enter the place and priority of “holiness of heart and the salvation of others,” and we seek God’s desire for his people.
Help us to be all prayer and never to cease praying!