Following the introduction, Joel Beeke’s booklet, How Can I Cultivate Private Prayer, has two main calls: “Take Hold of Yourself” and “Take Hold of God.” Each call has seven principles. But before we get to them, this week I want to focus on his introduction to the first call to take hold of yourself. He writes:
I thus plead with you to seek a more fervent and faithful prayer life, with effort, urgency, and dependence on Christ and the Holy Spirit.
I must exert effort if I am going to cultivate my prayer life. Prayer can be hard work, and pressing forward in this holy habit will require discipline and self-control. I will not simply drift into a greater prayer life.
I must have a sense of urgency. There are always other things to do that seem more urgent, that will crowd out this important habit of prayer. There is always the temptation to put this off to another time when I have more time (whenever that will be). The only way I will grow in this habit is if I sense an urgency today to make it happen today.
I must depend on God to help me grow in prayer. I need his grace and his Spirit if I am going to have the self-control to exert the necessary effort (Titus 2:11-12, Galatians 5:22-23). I must pray even to grow in prayer. But here surely is a prayer that God delights to answer!
Effort. Urgency. Dependence. May these be true of me – and of you too, as we seek to grow in prayer.