Do you find prayer meaningful? How about satisfying? Do you see the evidence of answered prayer(s) in your life? Most people answer those questions with a despairing “no.” But there have been others who have literally changed the world through prayer.
What are they doing differently than us?
While doing research for his book on prayer, Philip Yancey discovered the prayer practices of several influential Christians. They all had one thing in common: they spent a lot of time praying.
George Müller built orphanages and schools that impacted the lives of thousands of impoverished children in 19th century England. The mighty leader wouldn’t start a single day without spending several hours in prayer asking God to meet the many needs of his life-changing facilities.
The English scholar and bishop, Lancelot Andrewes, devoted five hours to prayer each day. He went on to oversee the translation of the King James Version Bible.
Charles Simeon, an English pastor in the 18th and 19th centuries, founded the Church Missionary Society. But he was founded (and grounded) by prayer. Rising at 4:00am each morning, he spent a total of four hours in prayer every day.
Nuns in an order known as “The Sleepless Ones” pray in shifts throughout every hour of every day and night.
Susanna Wesley, the mother and Bible teacher of John and Charles Wesley, was a busy mother with no privacy at all. She made time for prayer, however, by sitting in a rocking chair with an apron draped over her head praying for her famous sons and the rest of her children.
Martin Luther, the man who kicked off the Protestant Revolution, invested two to three hours every day to prayer. He said Christians should pray as naturally as a shoemaker makes shoes and as naturally as a tailor makes a coat.
Jonathan Edwards, the fiery preacher who had a significant role in the Great Awakening, wrote about the “sweet hours” spent on the banks of the Hudson River, “rapt and swallowed up in God.”
These mighty men and women spent hours in prayer…and we think we’ve accomplished something if we remember to pray over our lunch. Chances are good that we would benefit from spending more time in prayer. Since prayer is one of those things with no negative side effects, we can’t do too much of it.
Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey. Zondervan, 2006, Page 14.
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)