The Still Hour

The Still Hour
Joseph J. Adrian

Helpful books on prayer are relatively scarce, but are exceedingly valuable to Christians of all ages. Prayer is one of the greatest blessings, yet among the most difficult responsibilities and privileges, in this dispensation. Austin Phelps asks a couple of searching questions——"Why did we pray this morning? Do we often derive any other profit from prayer, than that of satisfying convictions of conscience. . . ?" One of the many obstacles that we face in persevering in prayer is the realization that we sense "God's Absence" from us (in the midst of our endeavors "To Seek His Face" through our prayers). That is why Scriptures, such as "Blessed are those that hunger," are encouraging in the face of this obstacle. "Many times, all I can do is to complain that I want Him, and wish to recover Him."

If we would find greater delight and joy in prayer, it helps to know what can hinder our success (if I may call it that). "An impenitent sinner prays . . . if the heart is not right with God, enjoyment of communion with God is impossible." This is one of abc's of Christian living. One cannot be careless, frivolous, unguarded in their attitude toward sin, if they desire to draw near to "The Holy One Of Israel" and long to have Him draw near to them. Though this is a part of "Basic Christianity"(I doubt few if any would deny), yet how often do we need to be reminded of "The Fundamentals Of The Christian Faith." Toying with sin——taking sin lightly——extinguishes even the desire to seek the Lord in prayer.

Intensity and specificity in prayer are vital components of our engaging with the Lord. Do we hunger to know God better and walk more closely with Him? The degree of this intensity varies, in each of us constantly. We should constantly aim for what David desired when he was in the wilderness, fleeing from persecution——"As the hart pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after thee, O God." The author goes on to say, "Under the sway of intense desires, our minds naturally long to individualize . . . the petitions."

When we are exhorted to "Pray without ceasing," that cannot mean we are to do nothing but pray. But if we are to be continually in a prayerful frame, a state of prayer, then "Fragmentary Prayer" is essential——prayer which is not uttered from our mouths, but from our hearts (form our thoughts from our inner man). Prayerful thoughts can be directed straight to throne room of God. "Prayer . . . in the highest conception of it . . . a state rather than an act."

I've long valued books that help Believers to maintain a healthy prayer life. "The Still Hour" is one of the books that has been a great help to me in this all-important discipline.