More from P. T. Forsyth’s “Soul of Prayer”

From the chapter “The Ceaselessness of Prayer:”
Asking is polar cooperation.  Jesus … made the all-knowing Fatherhood the ground of true prayer.  We do not ask as beggars but as children…Love loves to be told what it knows already.  Every lover knows that.  It wants to be asked for what it longs to give.  And that is the principle of prayer to the all-knowing God.  As God knows all, you may reckon that your brief and humble prayer will be understood (Matt. vi.8).  It will be taken up into the intercession of the Spirit stripped of its dross, its inadequacy made good, and presented as prayer should be.  That is praying in the Holy Ghost…We tell God, the heart searcher, our heavy thoughts to escape from brooding over them. “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Thou knewest my path.” (PS. cxlii. 3).  So Paul says the Spirit intercedes for us and gives our broken prayer divine effect
(Rom. viii. 26).  To be sure of God’s sympathy is to be inspired to prayer, where His mere knowledge would crush it.
    …The reality of prayer is bound up with the reality and intimacy of life.  And its great object is to get home as we are to God as He is, (my emphasis) and to win response even when we get no compliance.  The prayer of faith does not mean a prayer absolutely sure that it will receive what it asks.  That is not faith.  Faith is that attitude of soul and self to God which is the root and reservoir of prayer apart from all answer.  It is what turns need into request.  It is what moves your need to need God.  It is what makes you sure your prayer is heard and stored, whether granted or not. “He putteth all my tears in His bottle.”  God has old prayers of yours long maturing by Him.  What wine you will drink with Him in His kingdom!  Faith is sure that God refuses with a smile; that He says No in the spirit of Yes, and He gives or refuses always in Christ, our Great Amen.  And better prayers are stirred by the presence of the Deliverer than even by the need of deliverance.
The writer than asks “How is it that the experience of life is so often barren of spiritual culture for religious people?”  Here is part of his answer:
 [T]hey have never really prayed with all their heart; only, at most, with all their fervor, certainly not with strength and mind.  They have neer “spread out’ their whole soul and situation to a god who knows.  They have never opened the petals of their soul in the warm sympathy of His knowledge.  They have not become particular enough in their prayer, faithful with themselves, or relevant to their complete situation.  They do not face themselves, only what happens to them.  They pray with their heart and not with their conscience.  They pity themselves, perhaps they spare themselves, they shrink from hurting themselves more than misfortune hurts them.  They say, “If you knew all you could not help pitying me.”  They do not say, “God knows all, and how can He spare me?”  For themselves, or for their fellows, it is the prayer of pity, not of repentance.  We need the prayer of self-judgement more than the prayer of fine insight (emphasis mine).
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