Tuesday, March 13, 2007
THE CINDERELLA OF THE CHURCH today is the prayer meeting. This handmaid of the Lord is unloved and unwooed because she is not dripping with pearls of intellectualism, nor glamorous with the silks of philosophy, neither is she enchanting with the tiara of psychology. She wears the homespuns of sincerity and humility and so is not afraid to kneel!
The offense of prayer is that it does not essentially tie in to mental efficiency. That is not to say that prayer is a partner to mental sloth. But in these days, efficiency and smartness are at a premium. Prayer is conditioned to one thing alone, and that is to spirituality. One does not need to be spiritual to preach, that is, to make and deliver sermons of homiletical perfection and exegetical exactitude. By a combination of memory, knowledge, ambition, personality, plus well-lined book shelves, self-confidence and a sense of having arrived - the pulpit is yours almost anywhere these days. Preaching of the type mentioned affects men; prayer affects God. Preaching affects time; prayer affects eternity. The pulpit can be a shop window to display our talents; the closet speaks death to display.
The tragedy of this last hour is that we have too many dead men in the pulpits giving out too many dead sermons to too many dead people. There is a strange thing that I have seen even in the fundamentalist circles: it is preaching without unction. The ugly fact is that the altar fires are either out or burning very low. The prayer meeting is dead or dying. By our attitude to prayer we tell God that what was begun in the Spirit we can finish in the flesh. What church ever asks its candidating ministers what time they spend in prayer? Ministers who do not spend two hours a day in prayer are not worth a dime a dozen - degrees or no degrees.
- Leonard Ravenhill