The New Testament understanding of Prayer according to Oswald Chambers


When a man is at his wit’s end it is not a cowardly thing to pray it is the only way to get in touch with Reality #OswaldChambers

As long as we are self-sufficient and complacent we don’t need to ask God for anything  only when we are powerless that we  listen to Jesus

When a man is in real distress he prays without reasoning he does not think things out he simply spurts it out..#OswaldChambers

The three Tweets above, from last night’ reading about Prayer in Oswald Chambers’ The Complete Works’,  capture  the essence of one, and perhaps the most widely held, view,  of one of the most hotly debated questions, even among non religious people, in life. What really is the good of prayer?

And God knows that there are a lot of things that bring us to our wit’s end.
A family member, a dear friend, or even one of us in this ministry ( which goes out to both Christians and non Christians),  afflicted with cancer – one of the most dreaded diseases that confronts mankind. News of the sudden  death of a loved one – motor vehicle crash; murder; unexplained catastrophic illness causing death in deep sleep.
The sudden death of a previously good relationship! The sudden demise of previously thriving business! A previously well behaved child that suddenly, ‘ lick his head’, as we say in Jamaica ( become wayward and uncontrollable). And the list goes on.
Pushing even the previously very vocal and assured  Atheist, or non religious person,  to ‘ bawl out’ to an unknown but very real God.

But Chambers and other theologians contend that ‘ crying out to God’, is a limited understanding of the ‘ good ‘ of prayer.

” When a man is born from above, the life of the Son of God,  ( Jesus Christ) is begins in him. And he can either starve that life or or nourish it.
Prayer is the way the life of God is nourished. Our Lord nourished the life of God in  him by prayer; He was continually in contact with his Father.

We generally look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves, where the Bible idea of prayer is that God’s holiness and God’s purpose and God’s wise order may be brought about, irrespective of who comes or who goes. Our ordinary views of prayer are not found in the New Testament….

It is not so true that ” Prayer changes things ” as that prayer changes me, and then I change things; consequently we must not ask God to do what He has created us to do. For instance, Jesus Christ is not a social reformer; He came to alter us first, and if there is any social reform to be done on earth, we must do it.

God has so constituted things that prayer on the basis of Redemption alters the way a man looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of altering things externally, but of working wonders in a man’s disposition…..

The good thing of praying is that it gets us to know God and enables God to perform His order through us, no matter what His permissive will may be. ( God’s order is that there should be no sin, no suffering, no no sickness, no limitation, and  no death; His permissive will is all of these things. God has so arranged matters that we are born into His permissive will, and we have to get at His order by an effort of our own, viz. by prayer.

Perhaps that’s the reason why two days ago, before I left home to attend a special meeting convened, at the highest level in our nation,  to deal with the rising numbers of sudden death on our roads, and then to go into the heart of an inner city, at an altogether different level in my country to care for the sick, on behalf of my Church,  in the midst of extreme poverty, The Lord placed this prayer in my heart:

Breathe on me, breath of God,
fill me with life anew,
that I may love what thou dost love,
and do what thou wouldst do.

For without ‘ life anew’, which comes  through belief in, and obedience to, Christ and Him Crucified, prayer has no power to help us, even and sadly, especially  when,  we are at out wit’s end. That’s the Gospel Truth.


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