Echoes From the Campfire

The land seasoned them, it toughened them, it warped them, it made some of them strong and wise and tolerant, it made some of them cruel.  Each man was his own answer, just as each day in this deep and lonely world was its own answer.”
              –Ernest Haycox  (Saddle and Ride)

    “Jesus said, ‘This is how you should pray: “Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.”'”
              –Luke 11:2-4 (NLT)
                          “Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,
                           Unuttered or expressed,
                           The motion of a hidden fire
                           That trembles in the breast.”
                                  –James Montgomery

I’m glad my wife gave this hymn to read.  I don’t know how you pray, what method you use.  From the earliest days of my Christian walk I have always felt I struggled with prayer.  I read of the great men of the faith and how they had a regular time of prayer.  I read of David Wilkerson who tithed prayer into his daily schedule.  I know much of that comes from self-discipline, but I would try that and I would get distracted or I’d fall asleep (prayer is a sure cure for insomnia).  But I like what Montgomery says in his hymn “Prayer Is the Soul’s Sincere Desire.”

                          “Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
                           The falling of a tear,
                           The upward glancing of an eye,
                           When none but God is near.”

I’ve read books on “how to pray”, I’ve read how to make prayer into a formula using various gimmicks to help you stay on track.  I’ve read the great prayers of Joseph Parker.  You want to be encouraged and see deep into a man’s soul, read some of those prayers.  I’ve read about “Praying Hyde” and his ministry and of how Mueller would pray in food for his orphanage.

                          “Prayer is the simplest form of speech
                           That infant lips can try;
                           Prayer the sublimest strains that reach
                           The Majesty on High.”

One day I came across a little book by Rosalind Rinker that dealt with Conversation Prayer.  This really helped me.  If you see me talking to myself it might just be that I’m carrying on a little conversation with the Lord.  Sure there is time and place for a formal prayer, but really if we say we want a relationship, if we believe that the Holy Spirit resides within us and walks beside us then why not just talk to Him like you would have a conversation with anyone else?  Prayer may be unuttered, as most of mine are, it may be just a sigh.  It is not necessarily high and lofty speech, unless that is your normal way of conversing.  Prayer is truly “the soul’s sincere desire.”

                          “Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice,
                           Returning from his ways,
                           While angels in their songs rejoice
                           And cry, ‘Behold, he prays!’

                           Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath,
                           The Christian’s native air,
                           His watchword at the gates of death;
                           He enters heaven with prayer.”

I really did not understand Paul’s admonishment to “pray without ceasing” until I understood the idea of just having conversations with God, anytime, anyplace, anywhere.  I realized that I could talk to Him about anything; why not, He knows everything.  Tell Him your woes, share with Him your troubles, weaknesses, and questions.  Praise Him for His blessings and have a heart full of thanksgiving just because He is there with you.

                          “O Thou, by whom we come to God,
                           The Life, the Truth, the Way;
                           The path of prayer Thyself hast trod:
                           Lord, teach us how to pray!”

Yet in all my years, I still do not really understand how to pray.  It is something I should constantly do; Jesus did it, should I not follow His example?  Lois Cheney wrote about how a person prepared all day to come up with the right prayer for the Lord.  They struggled, to make it just right, but kept being interrupted.  They were sorry that at the end of the day they never said their prayer.  God told them, “I heard you this morning and throughout the day.”