In The School Of Prayer

                “After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise Him for the splendour of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

                                                “Give thanks to the LORD,

                                                For His love endures forever.””

                                                                                                                                                2 Chronicles 20:21

                “Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, His Holy Mountain.”

                                                                                                                                                Psalm 48:1

                One of the key themes in the Bible is that God speaks to us, calling us to trust Him as we live in the light of the Gospel message.  In the New Testament book of Hebrews we read these powerful statements.

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son.”

                                                                                                                                                Hebrews 1:1-2a

Later in Hebrews we read this,

“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert.”

                                                                                                                                                Hebrews 3:7-8

                This second quote in Hebrews is a quotation from Psalm 95:7-8, in which we are reminded of the vital importance of our listening to the Word of the Lord and responding to it with obedient faith.  Christian people are called to a life that is characterized by this faith which listens to and obeys the LORD who came to us as our redeemer.  God has spoken to us in His Son.  In doing so He has called us to a prayerful life.  This however means much more than just saying our prayers each do.  It is a calling to a life of faith in the LORD.  We live according to His Word.

This is what we see portrayed in 2 Chronicles 20 and in Psalm 48.  The focus is upon those who heard God’s calling to follow His way in faith even when that way does not seem to fit with the way our flesh would take us.  As we live this way, by faith in the LORD, we discover that He really teaches us to pray in ways that are filled with faith and conformed to His will.  It is as if, to use Andrew Murray’s phrase, we are enrolled, with Christ, in the school of prayer.

This is what Robert Dean is describing in his funeral sermon for a woman named Lucia which is found in his book Leaps of Faith: Sermons from the Edge.

“The Psalms have been called the “Prayerbook of the Bible.”  But to our supposedly enlightened, but actually spiritually superficial age, the Psalms can be both startling and off-putting on account of their sheer earthiness.  In addition, the utter transparency and vulnerability of the Psalmists on display in the Psalter can leave us shifting uncomfortably in our pews.  But the Psalms have been the great school of prayer for God’s people for thousands of years.  In learning to pray the Psalms we learn to pray with Jesus who Himself prayed and lived the Psalter.  Lucia’s own faith was formed through her immersion in the school of prayer which was the Psalms.  As a result she could speak quite openly and freely about her own missteps and mistakes.  She could also speak quite matter-of-factly about her various ailments, sometimes leaving prim and proper listeners squirming on account of the detailed nature of her accounts.  Prayer was an essential discipline for Lucia. “

                The question is has it become an essential discipline for you as you follow Jesus in this life of faith?