“Prayer will consume sin or sin will choke prayer.”

Wednesday is for Prayer

I am being raked over the coals by my third reading of J.C. Ryle’s A Call to Prayer: An Urgent Plea to Enter into the Secret Place. You can kid yourself and delude yourself and hypnotize yourself into thinking you are too busy to pray or too distracted to pray or that you are doing “important” stuff until you read a quote like this from the good doctor Ryle:

“Praying and sinning will never live together in the same heart. Prayer will consume sin, or sin will choke prayer.” (p. 7)

Yeah, that’s convicting.

I got news a few days ago of a friend,

a pastor,
a man of great talent,
a past student of mine,
a man greatly used of God,

hundreds of people brought to faith through his ministry, …

  • but something got off kilter,
  • something wasn’t right,
  • a wife wasn’t happy,
  • children were seeing inconsistencies,
  • but everything was hidden from the church,
  • only God knew the hollowness that would lead to lies, and cover up, and eventually divorce.

And then I read these words in J.C. Ryle’s tiny book on prayer.

… that backsliding generally first begins with neglect of private prayer. … You may be very sure men fall in private long before they fall in public. They are backsliders on their knees long before they backslide openly in the eyes of the world.” (p. 13).

If you are not praying for pastors and Christian leaders, start. And no matter who you are, if you are HIS, cultivate a private life of prayer, not just praying while you are doing something else. Concentrated, private prayer for the world, for your soul, for the advance of the gospel, for the progress of righteousness in the world.

Pray for miracles.

revised and updated from a summer 2011 post, still relevant and still convicting to my own soul.

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