Recently, I’ve received several very encouraging challenges to attend more to personal prayer. What does it say about me if I depend more on my own abilities than on the Lord’s help and provision? Nothing good.

I was challenged by J.C. Ryle’s thoughts on the incongruity of prayerlessness and real belief:

“We want to know whether you are actually acquainted with the throne of grace, and whether you can speak to God as well as speak about God. Do you wish to find out whether you are a true Christian? Then rest assured that my question is of the very first importance – Do you pray?”

“This I do say, that not praying is a clear proof that a man is not yet a true Christian. He cannot really feel his sins. He cannot love God. He cannot feel himself a debtor to Christ. He cannot long after holiness. He cannot desire heaven. He has yet to be born again. He has yet to be made a new creature. He may boast confidently of election, grace, faith, hope, and knowledge, and deceive ignorant people. But you may rest assured it is all vain talk if he does not pray.”

“What is the reason that some believers are so much brighter and holier than others? I believe the difference, in nineteen cases out of twenty, arises from different habits about private prayer. I believe that those who are not eminently holy pray little, and those who are eminently holy pray much.”

Maybe you find yourself in a season where you need encouragement or even some plain and blunt exhortation on the matter of prayer. If that’s the case, and even if it isn’t, could I encourage you to give ear to Paul Washer’s message below, “Pray and Be Alone with God”? It may even serve your heart to download the file and put it on your phone or mp3 player to have handy for times when you need to be challenged again.