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Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer told a story on the subject of prayer. A certain minister was in the habit of profound prayers, oftentimes resorting to words beyond the understanding of his simple flock. This went on week after week, to the dismay and frustration of the congregation.

At last, a wee Scottish woman in the choir ventured to take the matter in hand. On a given Sunday, as the minister was waxing his most eloquent rambling, the little woman reached across the curtain separating the choir from the pulpit. Taking a firm grasp on the frock tail of the minister, she gave it a yank, and was heard to whisper, "Jes’ call Him Fether, and ask ’im for something."

That great Chinese Christian, Watchman Nee, put it this way: "Our prayers lay the track down which God’s power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, his power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails.

My desire was for a wristwatch when I finished the eighth grade. My parents were in agreement. However, they did not offer that when I was in the sixth or seventh grade. They waited until I reached enough maturity to ask for what they were willing to provide."

A young woman dreamed she died and went to heaven. As one of the angels was showing her around a room of the Glorious City she saw a stack of boxes in one corner. Finding her name on them, she asked the angel what it meant. "Well," she said, "You know, I remember praying for these things when I was on earth."

The angel replied, "Yes. When any of God’s children make requests to him, preparations are made to give the answer. But the angels are told that if the petitioner is not waiting for the answer, they are to return with it and store it in the room."

Many a person is praying for rain with his tub the wrong side up - Sam Jones (1847--1906).

Francis of Assisi was born to privilege and lived a decadent life. He was under conviction and prayed, "Oh God, make me pure and chaste and holy -- but not yet, not just yet."

Some don’t pray much at all. A fisherman who was out of fellowship with the Lord was at sea with his godless companions when a storm came up and threatened to sink their ship. His friends begged him to pray; but he demurred, saying, "It’s been a long time since I’ve done that or even entered a church."

At their insistence, however, he finally cried out, "O Lord, I haven’t asked anything of You in 15 years, and if You help us now and bring us safely to land, I promise I won’t bother You again for another 15!"

Although this story at first evokes a smile, it is sobering to realize that prayer is often an escape mechanism rather than a way of life. This may be true even of believers who call on God only when they’ve reached the end of their rope and there seems to be no other way to solve their problems.

Corrie ten Boom - Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?

(From a sermon by Bobby Scobey, "Essentials #4-When You Pray-Part 2" 2/25/2009)

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