Devotion engages the heart in prayer. It is not an easy task for the lips to try to pray while the heart is absent from it. The charge which God at one time made against His ancient Israel was that they honored Him with their lips while their hearts were far from Him.
Religion has to do with everything but our hearts in today’s Church. It engages our hands and feet, it takes hold of our voices, it lays its hands on our money, it affects even the postures of our bodies, but it does not take hold of our affections, our desires, our zeal, and make us serious, desperately in earnest, and cause us to be quiet and worshipful in the presence of God. Social affinities attract us to the house of God, not the spirit of the occasion. Church membership keeps us after a fashion decent in outward conduct and with some shadow of loyalty to our baptismal vows, but the heart is not in the thing. It remains cold, formal, and unimpressed amid all this outward performance, while we give ourselves over to self-congratulation that we are doing wonderfully well religiously.
Why all these sad defects in our faithfulness? Why this modern perversion of the true nature of the religion of Jesus Christ? Why is the modern type of religion so much like a jewel-case, with the precious jewels gone? Why so much of this handling religion with the hands, that are often not too clean or unsoiled, and so little of it felt in our heart and witnessed in our life?
This great lack of modern religion is the spirit of devotion. We hear sermons in the same spirit with which we listen to a lecture or hear a speech. We visit the house of God just as if it were a common place, on a level with the theatre, the lecture-room or the forum. We look upon the preacher of God not as the divinely-called man of God, but merely as a sort of public speaker, on a plane with the politician, the lawyer, or the average speech maker, or the lecturer. Oh, how the spirit of true and genuine devotion would radically change all this for the better! We handle sacred things just as if they were the things of the world. Even the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper becomes a mere religious performance, no preparation for it before-hand, and no meditation and prayer afterward. Even the sacrament of Baptism has lost much of its solemnity, and degenerated into a mere form, with nothing especially in it.
We need the spirit of devotion, not only to salt our unconcern with religion, but to make praying real prayers. We need to put the spirit of devotion into our Monday’s business as well as in Sunday’s worship. We need the spirit of devotion, to recollect always the presence of God, to be always doing the will of God, to direct all things always to the glory of God.
The spirit of devotion puts God in all things. It puts God not merely in our praying and Church going, but in all the concerns of life. “Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. " The spirit of devotion makes the common things of earth sacred and the little things great. With this spirit of devotion, we go to business on Monday directed by the very same influence, and inspired by the same influences by which we went to Church on Sunday. The spirit of devotion makes a Sabbath out of Saturday, and transforms the shop and the office into a temple of God.
THE possibilities of prayer are gauged by faith in God’s ability to do. Faith is the one prime condition by which God works. Faith is the one prime condition by which man prays. Faith draws on God to its full extent. Faith gives character to prayer. A feeble faith has always brought forth feeble praying. Vigorous faith creates vigorous praying. At the close of a parable, “And he spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men always ought to pray, and not to faint, " in which He stressed the necessity of vigorous praying, Christ asks this pointed question, “When the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" If more information is required on prayer and faith please see my blog at byfaith-enterprises.blogspot.com and leave a comment. For prayer or any questions you may have, leave the request in the comment section and I will answer back as soon as I can. Keep praying to the Great I AM.