My earliest memories include prayer. My parents by my bedside and teaching my sister and me how to pray, my pastor laying his hand upon my forehead praying for me. My uncles when they prayed it was fervent and earnest, reminded me of Moses on the mountain. My boyhood church prayed around the altar, and in my public grammar school every morning our teachers would lead us in the Lord’s Prayer.
I was so accustomed to prayer, I never really gave it much thought about how to go to prayer. My life was surrounded by people who prayed publicly, fervently, emotionally, and powerfully. Prayer was something we did. As for me I felt that I needed to imitate my elders and how they prayed. I look back now with gratitude but also regret that I thought successful prayer was on how emotional I prayed.
Early on, one of my professors, Robert Elliott introduced me to the writings of R. A. Torrey. Wow! Reading his books, were like standing by a fire. He wrote about prayer and our Heavenly Father that convicted me of thoughtlessly going into the presence of God. Think about it, when we pray we are coming into the presence of God Almighty! We have been granted an audience with the LORD! Prayer isn’t ritual or form, it’s worshipful, loving, fellowship with God the Father! Yes, indeed, a Holy, Terrible, Fearful, Awesome God not to be trifled with, but One who revealed Himself as a loving Father through our Lord Jesus Christ! He wasn’t impressed with my emotion or even my lofty thoughts. He wanted my worship, faith, and love. Thank-you Brother Elliott for introducing me to Torrey and for helping me to learn how to go to prayer.
How could I dare approach God’s throne thoughtlessly or just as another box to check on my spiritual growth list? Never again! How do I go to prayer? “So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body. So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word.” (Hebrews 10:19–23, Message)