WHAT IS PRAYER?
And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
1 John 3:19
What is prayer? Well, I cannot think of a better way of describing it than these two words that we have at the end of 1 John 3:19: “Hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.” That is prayer; prayer is coming before Him. Now we are always in the presence of God—“in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28)—and we are always under His eye. But prayer is something still more special. Prayer is having a special audience and going immediately and directly to Him—“before him.” Prayer is something in which we turn our back upon everything else, excluding everything else, while, for the time being, we find ourselves face to face with God alone. There is a sense in which one cannot expound it further; it is just that.
We have to realize that is exactly and precisely what we do when we pray. Obviously, therefore, in a sense the most vital thing in prayer is the realization that we are before Him. And you will find that the saints have always talked a great deal about this. That is the difficulty; thoughts will keep on obtruding themselves, and our imaginations will wander all over the world, and certain ideas and proposals and wants and needs will intrude. But all that must be dismissed, and we must just start by realizing that we are actually and literally in the presence of the living God. “Before him.”
Now, says John, this whole question of brotherly love is of importance because of that. It is when you come there, when you are before Him, that you begin to realize the importance of what you are doing with the rest of your life and with the rest of your time. It is when you come there that you begin to see the relevance of this.
A Thought to Ponder
We must just start by realizing that we are actually and literally in the presence of the living God.
From Children of God, p. 122.
Dr, Martyn Lloyd-Jones