In looking back upon the character of our prayers, if we do it honestly, we shall be filled with wonder that God has ever answered them. There may be some who think their prayers worthy of acceptance--as the Pharisee did; but the true Christian, who sees things clearly, must surely weep over his prayers, and if he could retrace his steps he would desire to pray more earnestly.
Remember, Christian, how cold your prayers have been. When in your closet you should have wrestled as Jacob did; but instead your petitions have been faint and few--far removed from that humble, believing, persevering faith that cries, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." Yet, how wonderful to know that God has heard these cold prayers of yours, and not only heard, but answered them.
Reflect also how infrequent have been your prayers unless you have been in trouble, and then you have gone often to the mercy-seat: But when deliverance has come, what happened to your constant supplication? Yet, even though you have stopped praying as you once did, God has not stopped blessing. When you have neglected the mercy-seat, God has not deserted it, but the bright light of His glory has remained visible between the wings of the cherubim. How marvelous that the Lord should pay attention to our intermittent spasms of prayerfulness that ebb and flow with our needs. What a God He is to hear the prayers of those who come to Him when they have pressing concerns but neglect Him when they have received a mercy; who approach Him when they are forced to come but who almost forget to address Him when benefits are plentiful and sorrows are few.
Let His gracious kindness in hearing such prayers touch our hearts, so that from now on we may be found "praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication."1