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In February 1950 this article was published to help people pray as an extract from a larger article. 


For ‘The Likes Of Us’?


A number of people have described their difficulties in prayer as due to ‘not knowing how to prepare themselves for it.’


Some signs of ‘prayer-hunger’.

There are some signs today that many are becoming aware of the inadequacy of leaning entirely upon the prayers of the minister in church and are searching for ways by which thy may find the desire and the will to pray in their own words, as individuals or in family  in their own homes. That can come only with some kind of preparation.

Many would seem to be hungry for the kind of prayer which would represent an honest attitude to God, an essential simplicity amongst all the bewildering complexity of our thought and desires, something which would be pure in spite of our impurity and sincere in spite of all our mixed motives. But that kind of honesty is not come by through a process of heart-searching only; it has to be reached by submitting ourselves fearlessly to God’s Word. The preparation must begin there. That is the surest way to honesty in prayer.

Another sign is that many people know that the main trouble of their lives is the unquiet, the restlessness, the over-activity of their minds and the over-stimulation of their wills in the friction of daily relationships – developing for some so acutely that it becomes actual illness of the nervous system. Now it is not enough to tell a person who is suffering from nervous tension to sit still, to relax the mind, and to learn to be more passive. There must be specific help in beginning to do the very thing he thinks impossible, help in loosening the nervous grip – help which still gives activity enough not to be a too sudden change for an over-active mind. It is the same with the original human disease of the over-assertive human mind, the over-assertive human will, the over-confidence in our ability to order our own lives. We need a preparation for prayer which will deal realistically with that condition, which will help us to relax our wills and become teachable, by giving us the beginnings of a new kind of activity which has His peace and power in it.

Do not scorn simple aids

Some people may find it helpful to write down what seems to come to them in the quietness, to give it definiteness and to act as a reminded for the future. That may even be a help to relieve the feeling of abstractness at first, just to have pencil and paper in one’s hands. We must not scorn, we can be sure our Lord does not scorn, anything that is an aid to naturalness and simplicity.

Some may find that they wish to associate some definite physical action with their own personal preparation, for the same reasons – to occupy the body in some activity which assists the mind to slip free from its over-occupation with self. And some may find their own particular temperament demands special measures.

The main thing is for everyone to believe is that whatever helps to bring them where they can speak and listen must be of His devising – and to be on the watch for any hint from Him.

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