The Centrality of Prayer - 5
It is not possible for a prayerless man to succeed. A prayerless man is a mocker of God. He may be very gifted, very, very talented, but he must fail. Before you start asking, “Why am I not where I ought to be?” first look at your prayer life. Are you where you should be in prayer? We can put it this way. Success in life is directly proportional to success in prayer. Success in the Christian life is directly proportional to success in prayer.
Listen, my Beloved. Look at your prayer life and you will see your life story, whether it is failure or success. No success in the prayer life, no success in life. Little success in the prayer life, little success in life. Much success in prayer, much success in life. The thing is this. The prayer life governs the spiritual life, governs the academic life, governs the professional life, governs the financial life, governs the health, governs the children, governs the grandchildren, governs the great-grandchildren and makes your enemies into total failures. They will come in one direction and flee in a thousand directions. A man of very little ability who prays will rise to heights that cannot be understood. A man of little ability, of little significance, as he prays, God will exalt him beyond measure and lift him to heights that cannot be understood. People will look and say, “But what is happening?”
It was in 1966, after I consecrated my life to the Lord at University, that I began to pray. I began to pray and I began to mobilise people to pray. When I consecrated my life to the Lord, I was so hot! Everyday in the College Chapel, Holy Communion used to be served in the Anglican Service. So everyday, in my zeal, I went for Communion. And the Chaplain was happy because there was one man to have Communion every day. Most of the time I was alone and he went through the Service and gave me Communion. I was zealous. I was burning. And I was tactless. Then I got tired of the Service because there was no word, just the reading of the liturgy. There was an empty room as you entered the Chapel. I called other zealous students and we started praying there, because, from there you just went to the Dining Hall. So we prayed there from 7:00 till 7:30, and then we just went for breakfast. We were praying and clapping and rejoicing. I didn’t even think I was offending anybody. I was just a happy fool. Now the Chaplain no longer had anybody to hand his Communion to. So one day, when I came, he had locked that door. I went to the Presidency of the Students’ Union which had a whole building for the students. They gave us a room there. It was a bit far, but we met there and we prayed.
It is not possible to pray for too long before you want to amass people to pray with you. There is the joy of wrestling on your knees before God. There is the joy of wrestling but there is another joy when together - one after another, or all together - you blast the Kingdom of God and bring down those packages that are too big to be brought down by one person. So, when you begin to pray and begin to take prayer seriously, every domain of your life begins to enter into the favour of God. Your finances become Kingdom finances. Your health becomes Kingdom health. Your children become Kingdom children. There is a peace inside that nothing can take away. You turn to the right and you turn into blessing. You turn to the left and you turn into blessing. You turn to the back and you turn into blessing. You turn ahead and you turn into blessing. You go down – into blessing. You jump up – into blessing because, the God to Whom you pray comes and envelopes you with Himself. Prayer is where the relationship with God is built and cemented. When you have built a very solid foundation, all the storms cannot shatter it. And all that the devil plans against you becomes an open door for greater blessings. You are blessed. You are just blessed. Naturally zero, but in God your betters in the world, cannot see the back of your head. God has covenanted to work with the praying one! He has said, “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). There are the supreme commitments of God. He says, “Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).
“Ask and you will receive!” God says, “You ask!” That is all. It is My duty to give.” God says, “You ask. Ask and keep asking and you will receive and keep receiving. Ask and it will be given to you!” He says, “He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12b).
Are you asking those greater things?
I said to the Lord, “You showed me stupendous things in Beijing. I would like to know some more. I would like to know the mechanism of application. I know Your mind. I would like to know Your methods.” Then He said to me, “Give Me time. Give Me time as you gave Me time in Beijing.” Then the next day He said, “Son, you know such things cannot be said in a hurry. Give Me time.” I remember that in Beijing I just sat before the Lord for nine hours. I did not stand up. I had slept. I was awake. I was just silent. I was ready. Then He opened the door and came in. “Give Me time. Give Me time.”
Now we have so many Marthas or so many Mathiases or “Martha-men”, but very few Marys that just stay at His feet, who perhaps make a little food for Him but their business is to sit at His feet and gaze into His all-lovely face – gaze and contemplate – until all of their being is lost in Him, until He possesses their hearts, until they possess Him, until union becomes communion, until touching becomes fusion.
“Give Me time. You know such things cannot be said in a hurry.”
What is success?
It is, first of all, total union and total fusion with God.
It is to be totally lost in God.
It is for God to be your Portion.
It is to be possessed by God.
It is to know divine fullness, divine contentment.
It is to lack nothing, because He has filled to overflowing.
It is to see everything through the eyes of Jesus.
It is to fast as He fasts.
It is to pray as He prays.
It is to be content with what He was content with.
It is to be in the centre of His will.
It is to lay all that He gives at His feet:
the success that He gives – placed at His feet,
the promotion that He gives – placed at His feet.
It is to bear the insults of the world, of the carnal.
It is to bear the insults of the worldly, of the natural.
It is to bear the insults, the blames, the accusations of the unbelievers and of the unconsecrated believers as a joy because of Him.
It is to go nowhere except by His command!
It is to go nowhere, not to take one step, without His command!
It is not to hesitate, even for one second, when He commands so that there is a perpetual testimony, “I am in the centre of my Lord’s will.”
It is to know, “To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.”
It is to belong actively radically, totally, permanently to Him.
It is to own nothing but give Him everything, yet be the custodian of His wealth entrusted to you.
It is to prefer to die than do anything that is not ascertaining His will.
It is to do only that which is certainly His will.
It is to stop when in doubt!
It is to dare for God!
To risk everything for God!
It is to be a fool for God!
It is to find a place of rest in His bosom from which one never departs.
It is to live and serve in the glorious expectation of His return; waking up each morning and asking, “Lord, is this the day? Lord, won’t You come today? When will the heavens open so that I may behold Your all-wondrous face?”
It is to hate sin; hate all sin, with the violence of your total being!
It is to love righteousness.
It is to be holy at all cost.
It is to rather die than lie, rather die than compromise.
It is to please God and let everyone else be angry.”
That is success.
Finally, it is to win His approval and receive His “Well-done, good and faithful servant.”
All these things are birthed in the crucible of prayer, sustained in the crucible of prayer, brought to maturity in the crucible of prayer and laid at His feet in prayer. That is success. This is success. This is success.
And we give all glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is Success Himself.
He Himself is Success.
He is the Law of Success.
To possess Him is to succeed.
May the Holy Spirit our Teacher write this law into our very being and work it in our lives.