Keys to Effective Praying; Humility

When I look back upon my own Christian experience, or at the church of Christ as a whole, I am amazed at how little humility is seen as the distinguishing feature of discipleship. In our preaching and in our living, in our daily interaction in our families and in our social life, as well as fellowship with other Christians, how easy it is to see that humility is not esteemed the cardinal virtue, the root from which grace can grow and the one indispensable condition of true fellowship with Jesus. The fact that it is possible for anyone to say of those who claim to seek holiness that the profession has not been accompanied with increasing humility, is a loud call to all earnest Christians, whatever truth there be in the charge, to prove that meekness and lowliness of heart are the chief marks by which they who follow the Lamb of God are to be known. – Andrew Murray

On Tuesday nights we have been engaged in a series entitled Teach Us To Pray. During a recent study we examined the topic of humility and it’s role in assisting us to pray effectively. I submit to you that this is a key component to touching the throne of grace. The Bible says that a broken and a contrite heart God will not despise (Psalm 51:17). Contrariwise, pride will keep the hand of God from assisting us. 1 Peter 5:5 lets us know that God resists the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Humility then gives us an audience with the King. It was Mary at the FEET of Jesus that had chosen the good part (Luke 10:42). It was the man that cried “God be merciful to me a sinner” that was justified (Luke 18:13). Abraham, the friend of God, exemplified humility when pleading with God to stay the wrath against Sodom: “And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes” (Ge. 18:27). Solomon displayed it in 1 Kings 3:7 “I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.” John, that great preacher and forerunner of Jesus: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Humility is the absence of pride. Humility is brokenness. Humility is sackcloth, dust, and ashes. It is self-abasement. Some literal definitions of humility are these: 1) A deep sense of one’s littleness modesty; lowliness of mind. 2) Not rising far from the ground. As a condition of lowly, of low degree. 3) Not proud or arrogant; modest. I’m reminded of the Scripture in Proverbs 11:2 that says:When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.

May God give us the grace to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and watch the favor of God grace our lives. Without this quality our praying will be ineffective. It would be to our advantage to admit our own wrongs instead of blaming others. We must recognize our sins, confess them and turn from them. If we go to God in a spirit of humility I believe we will see more results from our prayer time.

John Bunyan said “It is hard to get down into the valley of humiliation, the descent into it is steep and rugged; but that it is very fruitful and fertile and beautiful when once we get there. I think that no one will dispute that; almost every man, even the ungodly, admires meekness.” The Psalmist said “Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off” (Ps. 138:6).

This has probably been one of the longer posts on this blog yet I feel this topic deserves so much more attention. I challenge us to study the subject in more detail during our private devotions and to do some soul searching to rid ourselves of pride. We want to have audience with God in prayer and we want to be in good standing with Him should He return for us. For us to be able to stand before Him in confidence, may we find a place to kneel before Him in humility.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chron. 7:14).

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