A few months ago I wrote a blog post about Dick Eastman’s book titled The Hour That Changes the World. You can read that post by clicking here. To be honest, the post was more about the idea of Eastman’s book than the actual book itself, because I had read about it, but I had not read the actual book. After I began to engage in his systematic system of prayer and found it to be a great aid to my spiritual discipline of prayer, I decided to get the book. You can read about him more here on his ministries website: Every Home For Christ.
More and more I have felt the desire to become a man of deep and constant prayer. Maybe you are familiar with the feeling. “I should pray more,” you say but never find a convenient time to really engage in prayer in a substantial way. “Oh,” we say, “but I pray lots throughout the day. I’m happy with that and I think the Lord is too.” Well, yes, the Lord is happy that you are “praying without ceasing” and when you come to him throughout the day–this is good.
I would question however the assertion that God is happy with our prayer life as a finished product. Do we really spend enough time in the presence of the infinite and holy Lord of the universe? Prayer is relational. If I say that I spend enough time in prayer, it’s almost the same as saying that I have spent enough time with GOD. Enough? Really? Obviously we can’t spend the entirety of our day on our knees, but do we do it enough? I could not draw that line myself; as for you, you will have to ask yourself that question– maybe you should ask the Lord.
Eastman felt this desire to build a life of prayer. He set about it by first PRAYING ABOUT IT! (Novel, I know.) He began asking for the desire for prayer and began praying more often. Prayer is not a natural thing to mankind. It makes us vulnerable and we have to humble ourselves if it is to be done right. (Luke 18:9-14) So then we have to make the choice to do it, and we should, because the Lord commands us to pray. 1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. … 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? [Luke 18:1, 7 ESV]
We can’t afford for a convenient time to pray. We must decide to make time for it. Eastman quotes Susanna Wesley (John and Charles Wesley’s mother– a woman of much prayer) as saying, “We must make time for prayer every day. Until we do, prayer will never become the force GOD intends it to be in our daily walk.” (pg 16)
So I hope that as I read this book and begin to use it to help give focus to my decision to pray more often, with more delight in the presence of the Lord, I hope that you too might follow along with me. Please consider your prayer life. Ask the Lord about your prayer times with him. What would he have you to do?
Eastman looks at Christ time in the Garden of Gethsemane when he finds his disciples sleeping when they were supposed to be praying with him, “ And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” [Mt 26:40-41 ESV] Eastman sets his goal then for at least an hour of prayer, but he sets it up in a systematic way so as to make this achievable. Read the summery of this method here. Do not be discouraged. Begin with 30 minutes, or less, but begin! In the words of lecturer Fletcher of Madeley, a fellow co-worker with John Wesley, when he would teach about prayer he often concluded the lecture by saying, “That is the theory; now will those who want to practice come along up to my room!” (pg16)
I will make a series of post on this book as I go through it. Please join me as I continue to build a discipline of prayer. I will pray for you. Will you pray for me?