The Spontaneous Prayer: How We Learn to Pray

Biblical EldershipI am currently taking our church leaders (we call them elders) through a study on the biblical concept of an elder’s roles and duties. This morning we met at 6:15 for prayer and study, working through the last pages of lesson 3 in the Biblical Eldership Mentor’s Guide by Alexander Strauch and Richard Swartley.

It is ALWAYS great to meet with these godly men who take seriously and are learning to take even more seriously the care and protection of God’s flock, our little portion of His kingdom colony on earth. This morning two quotes arrested my attention. One, by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and the second by John Piper.

Both quotes deal with prayer.

Piper deals with planning to pray for the saints and Lloyd-Jones with spontaneous prayer for the saints.

Dr. John Piper:

“Unless I’m badly mistaken, one of the main reasons so many of God’s children don’t have a significant prayer life is not so much that we don’t want to, but that we don’t plan to. If you want to take a four-week vacation, you don’t just get up one summer morning and say,”Hey, let’s go today!” You won’t have anything ready. You won’t know where to go. Nothhing has been planned. But that is how many of us treat prayer. We get up day after day and realize that significant times of prayer should be a part of our life, but nothing’s ever ready.”
(underline emphasis added)

In other words, there is a disconnect between what we know and what we do, between what we intend and what we practice.

The second quote is from Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones:
Always respond to every impulse to pray. The impulse to pray may come when you are reading or when you are battling with a text. I would make an absolute law of this—always obey such an impulse. Where does it come from? It is the work of the Holy Spirit; it is a part of the meaning of ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and do of his good pleasure’ (Philippians 2:12. 13). This often leads to some of the most remarkable experience in the life of a ministrer. So never resist, never postpone it, never push it aside because you are busy. Give yourself to it, yield to it.

D. Martin Lloyd-Jones 
The Preacher and Preaching, p. 395

I see ZERO reason to limit Dr. Lloyd-Jones advice to pastors and elders. This is magnificent counsel for all believers. “Always respond to the impulse to pray.”

It is how we learn to pray.

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