The Key to the Science of Holiness?

“Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray, when prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock Heaven’s storehouse…?”–Steps to Christ, p. 95. It is the breath, the life, of the soul, “the secret of spiritual power.”–Gospel Workers, p. 254; Education, p. 258. Hence “in the prayer of faith there is a divine science….a science that every one who would make his lifework a success must understand.”–Id., p. 257. {8SC1-12: 12.1.4}

“Those who bring their petitions to God, claiming His promise while they do not comply with the condition, insult Jehovah.”–Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 142. {8SC1-12: 12.1.5}

How important, then, that prayer meet the conditions laid down–be correct, scientific, inspired! This weighty truth will compel the whole-souled believer critically to re-examine his entire prayer life to make certain that it is not unscientific and uninspired and thus ineffectual–a fraud and a cheat to him, and an insult to God! {8SC1-12: 12.1.6}

By way of a beginning, let us make a check of the basic conditions prerequisite to the effectual fervent prayer which is fundamental to the science of spiritual power: {8SC1-12: 12.1.7}

1. “One of the first of these is that we feel our need of help from him.”–Steps to Christ, p. 95. Only then will we draw nigh unto Him, and He draw nigh to us (Eph. 1:7). {8SC1-12: 12.1.8}

2. “If we regard iniquity in our hearts, if we cling to any known sin, the Lord will not hear us…but the prayer of the penitent, contrite soul is always accepted. When all known wrongs are righted, we may believe that God will answer our petitions.”–Steps to Christ, p. 95. {8SC1-12: 12.1.9}

“Many…are conscious of their actions as they perform them, but suffer them to pass from their memory, and therefore do not reform…. Daily review of our acts, to see whether conscience approves or condemns, is necessary for all who wish to reach perfection of Christian character. Many acts which pass for good works, even deeds of benevolence, will, when closely investigated, be found to be prompted by wrong motives.”–Gospel Workers, p. 275. {8SC1-12: 12.1.10}

“With fasting and earnest prayer, with deep heart-searching, stern self-examination, lay bare the soul: let no act escape your critical examination. {8SC1-12: 12.1.11}

“Commune with your own heart, and then commune with God. Unless you do this, your efforts will be fruitless, made thus by unsanctified hurry and confusion.”–Gospel Workers, p. 272. {8SC1-12: 12.1.12}

3. “If we have in any way grieved or wounded others, it is our duty to confess our fault, and seek for reconciliation. This is an essential preparation that we may come before God in faith, to ask His blessing.”–Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 143. {8SC1-12: 12.2.1}

“He who is unforgiving, cuts off the very channel through which alone he can receive mercy from God. We should not think that unless those who have injured us confess the wrong, we are justified in withholding from them our forgiveness. It is their part, no doubt, to humble their hearts by repentance and confession; but we are to have a spirit of compassion toward those who have trespassed against us, whether or not they confess their faults.”–The Mount of Blessing, p. 166. {8SC1-12: 12.2.2}

“If there have been difficulties,…if envy, malice, bitterness, evil surmisings, have existed, confess these sins, not in a general way, but go to your brethren and sisters personally. Be definite. If you have committed one wrong and they twenty, confess that one as though you were the chief offender. Take them by the hand, let your heart soften under the influence of the Spirit of God, and say, ‘Will you forgive me? I have not felt right toward you. I want to make right every wrong, that naught may stand registered against me in the books of heaven. I must have a clean record.’ Who, think you, would withstand such a movement as this?”–Review and Herald, Dec. 16, 1884. {8SC1-12: 12.2.3}

4. “Perseverance in prayer has been made a condition of receiving. We must pray always, if we would grow in faith and experience.”–Steps to Christ, p. 97. {8SC1-12: 12.2.4}

“After the union with Christ has been formed it can be preserved only by earnest prayer and untiring effort.”–Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 231. {8SC1-12: 12.2.5}

“Seek every opportunity to go where prayer is wont to be made. Those who are really seeking for communion with God, will be seen in the prayer meeting…to reap all the benefits they can gain.”–Steps to Christ, p. 98. {8SC1-12: 12.2.6}

“The prayers offered in public should be short and to the point….A few minutes is long enough for any ordinary public petition.”–Gospel Workers, p. 175. {8SC1-12: 12.2.7}

“We should pray in the family circle and above all we must not neglect secret prayer; for this is the life of the soul.”–Steps to Christ, p. 98. {8SC1-12: 12.2.8}

5. “There is another matter too often neglected by those who seek the Lord in prayer. Have you been honest with God?”–Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 143. {8SC1-12: 12.2.9}

“Prayer offered ever so often and ever so earnestly will never be accepted by God in the place of our tithe. Prayer will not pay our debts to God.”–Messages to Young People, p. 248. {8SC1-12: 12.2.10}

6. “When speaking of divine things, why not speak in distinct tones…? Do not bow down and cover up your faces as if there were something that you desired to conceal; but lift up your eyes toward the heavenly sanctuary.”–Counsels to Teachers, p. 241. {8SC1-12: 13.1.1}

“While praying, many use careless and irreverent expressions, which grieve the tender Spirit of the Lord, and cause their petitions to be shut out of heaven.”–Early Writings, p. 70. {8SC1-12: 13.1.2}

“When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do….The repetition of set, customary phrases, when the heart feels no need of God, is of the same character as the ‘vain repetitions’ of the heathen.”–The Mount of Blessings, p. 129. {8SC1-12: 13.1.3}

“Some…speak of God as they would of a horse, or of any other commonplace thing.”–Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 410. {8SC1-12: 13.1.4}

“Never should that name be spoken lightly or thoughtlessly. Even in prayer its frequent or needless repetition should be avoided.”–Education, p. 243. {8SC1-12: 13.1.4}

“The words God Almighty are coupled together and used by some in prayer in a careless, thoughtless manner, which is displeasing to Him. Said the angel, “Couple them not together; for fearful is His name….I saw that these things will have to be understood and corrected before the church can prosper.”–Early Writings, p. 122; (See also Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 410.) {8SC1-12: 13.1.5}

“Both in public and in private worship, it is our privilege to bow on our knees before the Lord when we offer our petitions to Him. Jesus, our example, ‘kneeled down, and prayed.’ Of His disciples it is recorded that they, too, ‘kneeled down, and prayed.’ Paul declared, ‘I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ In confessing before God the sins of Israel, Ezra knelt. Daniel ‘kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God.’{8SC1-12: 13.1.6}

“True reverence for God is inspired by a sense of His infinite greatness and a realization of His presence. With this sense of the Unseen, every heart should be deeply impressed. The hour and place of prayer are sacred, because God is there; and as reverence is manifested in attitude and demeanor, the feeling that inspires it will he deepened.”–Gospel Workers, p. 178. {8SC1-12: 13.1.7}

7. “Jesus said, ‘Ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you.’ ‘I have chosen you,…that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.’ But to pray in the name of Jesus is something more than a mere mention of that name at the beginning and the ending of a prayer. It is to pray in the mind and spirit of Jesus, while we believe his promises, rely upon his grace, and work his works.”–Steps to Christ, pp. 100, 101. {8SC1-12: 13.2.1}

“We must not only pray in Christ’s name, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This explains what is meant when it is said that the Spirit ‘maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.’ Such prayer God delights to answer. When with earnestness and intensity we breathe a prayer in the name of Christ, there is in that very intensity a pledge from God that He is about to answer our prayer ‘exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”–Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 146. {8SC1-12: 13.2.2}

8. Finally, “guard jealously your hours for prayer, Bible study, and self-examination. Set aside a portion of each day for a study of the Scriptures and communion with God. Thus you will obtain spiritual strength, and will grow in favor with God. He alone can give you noble aspirations; He alone can fashion the character after the divine similitude. Draw near to Him in earnest prayer, and He will fill your hearts with high and holy purposes, and with deep, earnest longings for purity and clearness of thought.”–Gospel Workers, p. 100. {8SC1-12: 13.2.3}

When our prayers are thus inspired, we know that our asking a favor of the Lord is but asking Him to open the way for us to obtain it ourselves, not him to obtain it for us. Then we put forth our supreme efforts to do our part in answering the prayer. {8SC1-12: 13.2.4}

From this limited canvass of the science of prayer, but one phase of the science of Christianity, we get a clear, close-Up vision of what spells the difference between merely and truly being in the narrow way. That difference, we see, is exactly the difference between the unscientific, the uninspired, and the scientific, inspired consecration and zeal–the difference, ultimately, between coming short and entering into the Kingdom of God. Shall we remain desultory and uninspired Christians and lose, or become scientific and inspired Christians and win? Which will it be, Brother, Sister? {8SC1-12: 13.2.5}

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