Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Profiting from the Word - Chapter 4

In Chapter 4 "The Scriptures and Prayer" of Profiting from the Word, A.W. Pink states that "a professing believer who prays not is devoid of spiritual life. Prayer is the breath of the new nature in the saint, as the Word of God is its food."  Christians can measure how much they profit from reading and studying the Word of God by the extent to which they use the Word of God as a directory for daily prayer.  As part of my family devotional study of this book, I've decided to post my thoughts chapter by chapter and to include portions from the book that are helping me improve my daily Bible reading and study. You can read my notes from Chapter 1 here, Chapter 2 here, and Chapter 3 here.

Christians profit from the Scriptures when they:
  1. Realize the Deep Importance of Prayer--"It is really to be feared that many present-day readers and even students of the Bible have no deep convictions that a definite prayer-life is absolutely essential to a daily walking and communing with God, as it is for deliverance from the power of the indwelling sin, the seductions of the world, and the assaults of Satan."
  2. Know How to Pray--"The Christian can no more pray without the direct enabling of the Holy Spirit than he can create a world. This must be so, for real prayer is a felt need awakened within us by the Spirit, so that we ask God, in the name of Christ, for that which is in accord with His holy will."
  3. Understand the Necessity of the Spirit’s Help--"We have inward wants as well as outward. Some of these may be discerned in the light of conscience, such as the guilt and defilement of sin, of sins against light and nature and the plain letter of the law. Nevertheless, the knowledge which we have of ourselves by means of the conscience is so dark and confused that, apart from the Spirit, we are in no way able to discover the true fountain of cleansing. The things about which believers do and ought to treat primarily with God in their supplications are the inward frames and spiritual dispositions of their souls."
  4. Learn the Right Purpose of Prayer--"God has appointed the ordinance of prayer with at least a threefold design. First, that the great triune God might be honored, for prayer is an act of worship, a paying homage: to the Father as the Giver, in the Son’s name, by whom alone we may approach Him, by the moving and directing power of the Holy Spirit. Second, to humble our hearts, for prayer is ordained to bring us into the place of dependence, to develop within us a sense of our helplessness, by owning that without the Lord we can do nothing, and that we are beggars upon His charity for everything we are and have...Third, as a means or way of obtaining for ourselves the good things for which we ask. It is greatly to be feared that one of the principal reasons why so many of our prayers remain unanswered is because we have a wrong, an unworthy, end in view."
  5. Plead God’s Promises--"Prayer must be in faith (Rom 10:14), or God will not hear it. Now faith respects God’s promises (Heb 4:1; Rom 4:21); if, therefore, we do not understand what God stands pledged to give, we cannot pray at all. The promises of God contain the matter of prayer and define the measure of it. What God has promised, all that He has promised, and nothing else, we are to pray for."
  6. Submit Completely unto God--"Prayer is an acknowledgment of our helplessness, and a looking to Him from whom all our help comes...We are to spread our case before God, but leave it to His superior wisdom to prescribe how it shall be dealt with. There must be no dictating, nor can we 'claim' anything from God, for we are beggars dependent upon His mere mercy. In all our praying we must add, 'Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt,' (Mat 26:39)."
  7. See Prayer as a Real and Deep Joy--"What is it which, under the blessing of the Spirit produces and promotes his joy in prayer? First, it is the heart’s delight in God as the object of prayer, and particularly the recognition and realization of God as our Father...Second, joy in prayer is furthered by the heart’s apprehension and the soul’s sight of God as on the throne of grace...Thirdly...freedom and delight in prayer are stimulated by the consciousness that God is, through Jesus Christ, willing and ready to dispense grace and mercy to suppliant sinners. There is no reluctance in Him which we have to overcome. He is more ready to give than we are to receive."
Mr. Pink gives a sharp rebuke for Christians who do not have a vibrant prayer life:

"Thus the purity and power of our prayer life are another index by which we may determine the extent to which we are profiting from our reading and searching of the Scriptures. If our Bible study is not, under the blessing of the Spirit, convicting us of the sin of prayerlessness, revealing to us the place which prayer ought to have in our daily lives, and is actually bringing us to spend more time in the secret place of the Most High, unless it is teaching us how to pray more acceptably to God, how to appropriate His promises and plead them before Him, how to appropriate His precepts and turn them into petitions, then not only has the time we spend over the Word been to little or no soul enrichment, but the very knowledge we have acquired of its letter will only add to our condemnation in the day to come."

 
***
"O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," (Matt. 12:34).

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves," (James 1:22).