More and more the love and fear of God came to me, and faith grew and my spirit was exercised, until I was praying up to a hundred times every day, and in the night nearly as often. So that I would remain in the woods and on the mountain in snow, frost and rain, waking to pray before first light.
– Patrick, Confession, Irish, 5th century
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
– Psalm 42.5
Patrick was recalling the days just before he fled his captivity and made his way back to the west of Britain and his home. God used Patrick’s hard times to chide him for his paltry faith and turn him on a quest to know the true and living God. God brought him very low – to poverty, slavery, and deep hardship – but He did not abandon him there. In the depths of his near-despair, God made him desperate to pray, and when he did, He brought him forth unto Himself.
I wonder if today’s Church will ever be desperate to pray? No one doubts that the Church has fallen on hard times; but how many are willing to commit to the hard work of seeking God for revival? Every true believer will admit that his faith is not nearly as vibrant and robust as he would like it to be; yet how many of them recognize that prayer is the remedy for a shallow faith and the starting-point of an exceeding-abundant-above-all-you-can-ever-ask-or-think experience of the Lord? Let’s face it: we don’t pray any more than we do because we do not consider prayer to be as important to what we want out of life as whatever else we’re doing with our time. We’d rather sleep than pray. We prefer long hours at work to long moments in prayer. We like our imaginations dulled on the ready-mix cuisine of TV and film, and we are not willing to train the eye of the heart in prayer so that we can gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and the mysteries of unseen things.
Perhaps God will bring us low. Or maybe He’s just written us off. Either way, He is looking for people who will pray. Will He find you to be one of them?
Lord, I know I should pray more; help me, Lord, to want to pray!