IT is worthy of note that the praying to which such transcendent position is given and from which great results are attributable, is not simply the saying of prayers, but holy praying. It is the "prayers of the saints," the prayers of the holy men of God. Behind such praying, giving to it energy and flame are the men and women who are wholly devoted to God, who are entirely separated from sin, and fully separated unto God. These are they who always give energy, force, and strength to praying.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was preeminent in praying, because he was preeminent in saintliness. An entire dedication to God, a full surrender, which carries with it the whole being, in a flame of holy consecration-all this gives wings to faith and energy to prayer. It opens the door to the throne of grace, and brings strong influence to bear on Almighty God.
The "lifting up of holy hands" is essential to Christlike praying. It is not, however, a holiness which only dedicates a closet to God, which sets apart merely an hour to him, but a consecration which takes hold of the entire man, which dedicates the whole life to God.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners," had full liberty of approach and ready access to God in prayer. And he had this free and full access because of his unquestioning obedience to his Father. Right through his earthly life his supreme care and desire was to do the will of his Father. And this fact, coupled with another-the consciousness of having so ordered his life-gave him confidence and assurance, which enabled him to draw near to the throne of grace with unbounded confidence, born of obedience, and promising acceptance, audience, and answer.
Loving obedience puts us where we can "ask anything in his name," with the assurance, that "He will do it." Loving obedience brings us into the prayer realm, and makes us beneficiaries of the wealth of Christ, and of the riches of his grace, through the coming of the Holy Spirit who will abide with us, and be in us. Cheerful obedience to God, qualifies us to pray effectually.
This obedience which not only qualifies but foreruns prayer, must be loving, constant, always doing the Father's will, and cheerfully following the path of God's commands.
In the instance of King Hezekiah, it was a potent plea which changed God's decree that he should die and not live. The stricken ruler called upon God to remember how he had walked before him in truth, and with a perfect heart. With God, this counted. He hearkened to the petition and as a result death found his approach to Hezekiah barred for fifteen years.
Jesus learned obedience in the school of suffering, and, at the same time, he learned prayer in the school of obedience. Just as it is the prayer of a righteous man which availeth much, so it is righteousness which is obedience to God. A righteous man is an obedient man, and he it is, who can pray effectually, who can accomplish great things when he betakes himself to his knees.
True praying, be it remembered, is not mere sentiment, nor poetry, nor eloquent utterance. Nor does it consist of saying in honeyed cadences, "Lord, Lord." Prayer is not a mere form of words; it is not just calling upon a name. Prayer is obedience. It is founded on the adamantine rock of obedience to God. Only those who obey have the right to pray. Behind the praying must be the doing; and it is the constant doing of God's will in daily life which gives prayer its potency, as our Lord plainly taught:
Not every one which saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto me in that day, "Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?" And then will I profess unto them, "I never knew you; depart from me, ye that worketh iniquity" ~E.M. Bounds