THE SIMPLE MEANING OF PRAYER
What is the real suggestiveness of this word "pray"? The disciples were taught by Truth Himself to start their prayer off with the words "Thy Kingdom come." If you take it as to its first simplicity and intention, it means-and this is not complete but it will help us to reach the complete thought-TO WISH FORWARD, TO DESIRE TOWARD THE ULTIMATE; or if you will have that interpreted by the language of the apostle in one of his greatest epistles, that to the Colossians, it means THE SEEKING OF THINGS THAT ARE ABOVE (Col. 3:1). That does not at all suggest that the Christian is forevermore to be sighing after heaven, and expressing his discontent with the present world, and longing to escape from it; but rather that the Christian is to SEEK THE UPPER THINGS, setting his mind upon them, and everywhere and every when he is to be hoping for, and endeavoring after, THE ULTIMATE. That is the simple meaning of prayer. REACHING FORWARD, WISHING FORWARD, DESIRING FORWARD, SEEKING THE UPPER, the higher, and the nobler. Since we are going to this Kingdom to rule and reign with Him we have to be PERFECTED in mind, body, as well as soul. He had many things to say to them but they were not ready to accept those things. New thoughts coming from a mind like Christ’s. New feelings and desires from a heart that has been cleansed, and ears to hear the things that God is forever to teach them. And their prayers would give evidence of their need to reach past the thoughts, feelings that were coming from their flesh. They needed to pick up their cross and follow Him. So that in prayer there is included, first, always first, the thought of worship and adoration, that content of the heart with the perfection and acceptability and goodness of the will of God which bows the soul in worship to the God Who sent the perfect example to rescue them from their own ways and thoughts. That is the first attitude of prayer. To pray is forevermore to set the life in its inspiration and in all its endeavor toward that ultimate goal of the glory of God, "Being justified by faith, let us have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through Whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and let us rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (Rom. 5:1-2) That is the first quantity of quality of prayer, the vision of the ultimate with a corresponding attitude of life toward it, which is that of perpetual endeavor after it, that is the perfection He came to empower us with (Matt. 5:48; Jude 24; 1 John 3:2, Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:22). This means not merely that in the midst of battle and strife and noise and smoke, and wounding and blood and tears, that we see a better day, a golden age, but that the soul, seeing that golden age as in the will of God, and realizing that the ultimate fact of the vision is that of God Himself, the absolute attitude of the life becomes that of submission, and the highest effort of the life is that of co-operation with God toward the ultimate upon which His heart is set. That is prayer. Prayer is not merely position of body, or of mind. Prayer is not merely asking for something in order that I may obtain it for myself. Prayer forevermore says when it asks for anything, "Not my will, but Thine be done," (Luke 22:42) which means, if the thing I ask for, however much I desire it, however good it seems to me to be, will hinder or postpone, by a hair's breadth or a moment, the ultimate victory, will be denied to me. Those who know the real secret of the prayer life have discovered the fact that denial is over and over again the graciousness of overwhelming answer. To pray is to desire forward, to seek forward, to endeavor after. It is to have a new vision of God, and of the ways of God, to be overwhelmingly convinced of the perfection of God, of the perfection of all He does, of the certainty of His ultimate victory, and then to respond to the profound and tremendous conviction by petition, by praise, and by endeavor; and so men "ought always to pray" (Luke 18:1) and to "pray without ceasing." (1 Thess. 5:16).