Andrew Murray: With Christ In the School of Prayer:
'Pray to thy Father, which is in secret;'
Or, Alone with God.
"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall recompense thee"
Moses gave neither command nor
regulation with regard to prayer: even the prophets say little
directly of the duty of prayer; it is Christ who teaches to pray.
...He wants each one to choose for himself the fixed spot where He can daily meet him. That inner chamber, that solitary place, is Jesus' schoolroom.
And yet He wants each one to choose for himself the fixed
spot where He can daily meet him. That inner chamber, that
solitary place, is Jesus' schoolroom.
That spot may be anywhere;
that spot may change from day to day if we have to change our abode;
but that secret place there must be, with the quiet time in which the
pupil places himself in the Master's presence, to be by Him prepared
to worship the Father. There alone, but there most surely, Jesus
comes to us to teach us to pray.
The fresh air from heaven with which Jesus would have it filled, the atmosphere in which I am to breathe and pray, is: God's Father-love, God's infinite Fatherliness.
The first thing in closet-prayer is: I must meet my
The light that shines in the closet must be:
light of the Father's countenance.
The fresh air from heaven
with which Jesus would have it filled, the atmosphere in which I am to
breathe and pray, is: God's Father-love, God's infinite
Fatherliness. Thus each thought or petition we breathe out will
be simple, hearty, childlike trust in the Father. This is how
the Master teaches us to pray: He brings us into the Father's
living presence. What we pray there must avail. Let us
listen carefully to hear what the Lord has to say to us.
...we are taught, at the very outset of our search after the secret of effectual prayer, to remember that it is in the inner chamber, where we are alone with the Father, that we shall learn to pray aright.
The secrecy of the inner chamber and the closed door, the entire separation from all around us, is an image of, and so a help to that inner spiritual sanctuary, the secret of God's tabernacle, within the veil, where our spirit truly comes into contact with the Invisible One. And so we are taught, at the very outset of our search after the secret of effectual prayer, to remember that it is in the inner chamber, where we are alone with the Father, that we shall learn to pray aright. The Father is in secret: in these words Jesus teaches us where He is waiting us, where He is always to be found.
Christians often complain that private prayer is not what it should be. They feel weak and sinful, the heart is cold and dark; it is as if they have so little to pray, and in that little no faith or joy. They are discouraged and kept from prayer by the thought that they cannot come to the Father as they ought or as they wish. Child of God! listen to your Teacher. He tells you that when you go to private prayer your first thought must be: The Father is in secret, the Father awaits me there. Just because your heart is cold and prayerless, get you into the presence of the loving Father. As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth you.
'And thy Father, which seeth in secret, will recompense thee.' Here Jesus assures us that secret prayer cannot be fruitless: its blessing will show itself in our life.
Do not be
thinking of how little you have to bring God, but of how much He wants
to give you. Just place yourself before, and look up into, His
face; think of His love, His wonderful, tender, pitying love.
tell Him how sinful and cold and dark all is: it is the Father's
loving heart will give light and warmth to yours. O do what
Jesus says: Just shut the door, and pray to thy Father which is
in secret. Is it not wonderful to be able to go alone
with God, the infinite God? And then to look up and say: My
'He that cometh to God must believe that He is a rewarder of them that seek Him.'
Our Lord would thus teach us that as infinite Fatherliness and Faithfulness is that with which God meets us in secret, so on our part there should be the childlike simplicity of faith, the confidence that our prayer does bring down a blessing. 'He that cometh to God must believe that He is a rewarder of them that seek Him.' Not on the strong or the fervent feeling with which I pray does the blessing of the closet depend, but upon the love and the power of the Father to whom I there entrust my needs.
And therefore the Master has but one desire: Remember your Father is, and sees and hears in secret; go there and stay there, and go again from there in the confidence: He will recompense. Trust Him for it; depend upon Him: prayer to the Father cannot be vain; He will reward you openly.
...we do not need, as the heathen,
with the multitude and urgency of our words, to compel an unwilling
God to listen to us.
It will lead to a holy thoughtfulness and silence in prayer as it suggests the question: Does my Father really know that I need this? It will, when once we have been led by the Spirit to the certainty that our request is indeed something that, according to the Word, we do need for God's glory, give us wonderful confidence to say, My Father knows I need it and must have it. And if there be any delay in the answer, it will teach us in quiet perseverance to hold on: Father! Thou Knowest I need it.
...this be your liberty to bring every need, in the assurance that
your God will supply it according to His riches in Glory in Christ
'LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.'
O let the place of secret prayer become to me the most beloved spot of earth.
Saviour! ...with my whole heart I do bless Thee for the
appointment of the inner chamber, as the school where Thou meetest
each of Thy pupils alone, and revealest to him the Father. O my
Lord! strengthen my faith so in the Father's tender love and
kindness, that as often as I feel sinful or troubled, the first
instinctive thought may be to go where I know the Father waits me, and
where prayer never can go unblessed. Let the thought that He
knows my need before I ask, bring me, in great restfulness of faith,
to trust that He will give what His child requires. O let the
place of secret prayer become to me the most beloved spot of earth.
...where they are daily anointed with fresh oil, where their strength is renewed, and the blessings are received in faith, with which they are to bless their fellow-men.
Bring back all who are discouraged, because they
cannot find ought to bring Thee in prayer.
O give them to
understand that they have only to come with their emptiness to Him who
has all to give, and delights to do it. Not, what they have to
bring the Father, but what the Father waits to give them, be their one
Author of over 250 books, he was the minister at the Dutch Reformed Church of Wellington (South Africa) from 1871 to 1906, and lived there until his death in 1917.
This statue of Andrew Murray was erected in Wellington in 1923
His vision for winning Africa for Christ led him beyond the borders of Wellington. Missionaries from Wellington penetrated into the heart of Africa.
He was a proponent and at the forefront in founding schools both of education for girls, and of Higher Education for women. ______________
Copyright © 2001
S.G.P. All rights