The Danger Of Unbelief

Horatius Bonar“Unbelief in Scripture is spoken of as the sin of sins. As faith is the root of all good, so is unbelief of all evil. God hates it; Christ condemns it; our own hearts cannot but say it is evil. ‘The evil heart of unbelief’ is the most evil of all. … Unbelief is injustice—

  1. To God—It assumes that He is not to be trusted or credited; that He is not the being that He has said He is. It does gross injustice to His whole character; His love, His grace, His veracity, His unchangeableness. It misinterprets and misrepresents Him in all respects, and so dishonors Him, and separates us from Him.
  2. To Christ—It rejects the testimony which God has given of Him; it refuses to accept the character which the Father has given of Him, and treats Him as one like ourselves. Every act of unbelief, every doubt, every suspicion is an injustice to Him—to one who has not deserved such treatment at our hands. It keeps us apart from Him, and Him from us; it will not allow us to be satisfied with what Scripture has revealed concerning Him.
  3. To the Holy Spirit—All unbelief is a rejection of the Spirit’s testimony to the Son; a grieving of the Spirit. It is a doing injustice to His love and power; to His willingness to bless. It is making Him a liar. It is casting discredit on that Book which He has written for us concerning the love of God.
  4. To the Cross—All unbelief, more or less, directly assails the cross. It says—(1) That Cross is insufficient, it cannot save unless assisted by goodness in us; (2) That Cross may save ordinary sinners, it cannot save me; (3) That Cross is not the place of substitution, but merely of example of a divine self-surrender. Thus it insists that we shall not take our peace from the cross alone.
  5. To the blood—The special thing which marks the Cross is the blood; and unbelief specially sets aside the blood in its value and efficacy. It refuses to take peace from the blood alone. …
  6. To the gospel—It makes void the good news, and turns them into evil tidings, or at least into no tidings at all. It makes the faith which receives the gospel a work to be done, a condition to be performed; and upon the right doing of that work, and the right performance of that condition….

“Unbelief checks prayerfulness—Prayer implies expectancy: ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’ Where unbelief comes in, this expectancy is stopped; and prayer becomes irksome, and in the end brief and infrequent.” —Horatius Bonar

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“Patience is the evidence of an inner strength. Impatient people are weak, and therefore dependent on external supports—like schedules that go just right and circumstances that support their fragile hearts. Their outbursts of oaths and threats and harsh criticisms of the culprits who crossed their plans do not sound weak. But that noise is all a camouflage of weakness. Patience demands tremendous inner strength. For the Christian, this strength comes from God.” —John Piper

“Prayerless people soon become faithless people. The more they forsake the gift of access, refusing to draw on God’s provisions, the more they drift away.” —David Wilkerson

“Christians are not fighting for victory. They are fighting from victory. The outcome has been determined.” —Tony Evans

Whether you are a Detroit Tigers fan or not, this is a very cool story: The Day Willie Horton Saved Al Kaline’s Life.

Researchers are working on some amazing advances to treat infections without using antibiotics.

E.M. Bounds On Prayer

E.M. BoundsSome great quotes from E.M. Bounds on prayer…

“Trouble and prayer are closely related to each other. Prayer is of great value to trouble. Trouble often drives men to God in prayer, while prayer is but the voice of men in trouble.” —E.M. Bounds

“Prayer is the language of a man burdened with a sense of need.” —E.M. Bounds

“The prime need of the church is not men of money nor men of brains, but men of prayer.” —E.M. Bounds

“Other duties become pressing and absorbing and crowd out prayer. ‘Choked to death’ would be the corner’s verdict in many cases of dead praying if an inquest could be secured on this dire, spiritual calamity.” —E.M. Bounds

“Faith, and hope, and patience and all the strong, beautiful, vital forces of piety are withered and dead in a prayerless life.” —E.M. Bounds

10 Quotes For Pastors From “Living A Prayerful Life”

Living A Prayerful LifeAs I mentioned in my book review of Andrew Murray’s A Prayerful Life, this book was written as a response to pastors who were concerned about the lack of effectiveness in their ministry. Pastor Murray called out the sin of prayerlessness as the main factor in their struggles. Here are some quotes from this book specifically to pastors.

“The enemy uses all his power to lead the Christian—and above all, the minister—to neglect prayer. satan knows that however admirable the sermon may be, however attractive the service, however faithful the pastoral visitation, none of these things can damage him or his kingdom if prayer is neglected.”

“The pastor’s highest calling is not preaching, or speaking, or church visitation, but it is to cultivate the life of God in himself daily, and to be a witness of what the Lord teaches him and accomplishes in him.”

“Here on earth I may expend my time in exchange for money or learning. The minister exchanges his time for divine power and the spiritual blessings to be obtained from heaven. That, and nothing else, makes him a man of God and ensures that his preaching will be in the demonstration of the Spirit and power.”

“Many pray for the Spirit that they may make use of Him and His power for their work. This is an entirely wrong concept. It is He Who must use you. Your relationship toward Him must be one of deep dependence and utter submission. The Spirit must have you completely and always and in all things under His power.”

“When the Lord promised the apostles that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and commanded them to wait for Him, it was as though He said: ‘Do not dare to preach without this power. It is the indispensable preparation for your work. Everything depends on it.’”

“Little time in the Word together with little prayer is death to the spiritual life. Much of the Word but little prayer yields a less than healthy spiritual life. Time spent in prayer with little time in the Word yields life, but without steadfastness. A full measure of the Word and much prayer each day produces a healthy and powerful life.”

“The preacher must come to see that his preaching is comparatively powerless to bring new life until he begins to take time for prayer.”

“All you who long for blessing in your ministry, He calls you to abide in Him. Let it be the greatest delight of your life to spend time with God; it will be the surest preparation for fruitful service.”

“As a minister of the gospel, have you ever considered why you have a salary and a place to live, and so are freed from the need of holding a regular job? The reason is so that you can continue in prayer and the ministry of the Word. These will give you the necessary wisdom and anointing for your work. And that is the secret of a fruitful ministry. No wonder there are often complaints about the ineffective spiritual life of a minister and his congregation. That which is of prime importance—perseverance in prayer—does not occupy its rightful place.”

“The great question is: Shall we earnestly set ourselves to win back again the weapon of believing prayer that satan has, at least in a measure, taken away from us? Let us set before ourselves the serious importance of this conflict. As far as each minister is concerned, everything depends on whether or not he is a man of prayer—one who in the inner room is clothed each day with power from on high.”

To read some of the other quotes I shared from this book, please click here. And to read my full book review of Living A Prayerful Life, click here.

14 Quotes From “Living A Prayerful Life”

Living A Prayerful LifeAndrew Murray’s book Living A Prayerful Life is a timeless call to all Christians to value prayer more highly. You can read my book review by clicking here. Below are a few of the quotes I especially appreciated.

“How many of us admit to taking a mere five minutes for prayer! The claim is that there is no time. The reality is that a heart desire for prayer is lacking. … Prayerlessness is proof that for the most part our life is still under the power of the flesh. Prayer is the pulse of life; by it the doctor can diagnose the condition of the heart.” 

“God’s child can conquer anything and everything by prayer. Is it any wonder that satan does his utmost to snatch that weapon from the Christian or hinder him in the use of it?”

“Think about our Lord’s words: ‘Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. [And] you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you’ (John 14:11, 17). Those words are the secret of the life of prayer. Take time in your place of prayer to bow down and worship. Wait on Him until He reveals Himself, takes possession of you, and goes with you to show you how a person may live and walk in abiding fellowship with Him.”

“I know all too well what weak concepts we have concerning the promises and the power of God. I see how prone we are to backsliding, to limiting God’s power, and to deeming it impossible for Him to do greater things than we have seen. It is a glorious thing to get to know God in a new way in our prayer time. That, however, is only the beginning. It is something still greater and more glorious to know God as the All-Sufficient One and to wait on His Spirit to open our hearts and minds to receive the great things, the new things that He longs to bestow on those who wait for Him.”

“Does it not become even more clear that what God wills to accomplish on earth needs prayer as its indispensable condition? There was only one way for Christ and so for believers: a heart and mouth open toward heaven in believing prayer will certainly not be put to shame.” 

“God has done His utmost to make prayer as natural and effectual as the cry of a child to an earthly father when he says, ‘Abba, Father.’”

“Our first work, therefore, ought to be to come into God’s presence not with our ignorant prayers, not with many words and thoughts, but in the confidence that the divine work of the Holy Spirit is being carried out within us. This confidence will encourage reverence and quietness and will also enable us, in dependence on the help that the Spirit gives, to lay our desires and deepest needs before God. The supreme lesson for every prayer is first of all to commit to the leading of the Holy Spirit and in total dependence on Him to give Him first place. Through Him your prayer will have value you cannot imagine. Through Him also you will learn to express your desires in the name of Christ.”

“If we remain prayerless, let our hearts be deeply ashamed. By so doing we make it impossible for God to impart His holiness to us. Let us ask God to forgive us this sin and to draw us to Himself by His heavenly grace and to strengthen us to have fellowship with Him, the One Who is holy.”

“As you enter a time of private prayer, let your first focus be to give thanks to God for the unspeakable love that invites you to come to Him and to converse freely with Him.”

“Prayer is not a soliloquy, where everything comes from one side; it is a dialogue, where God’s child listens to what the Father says, replies to it, and then makes his requests known.”

“Prayerful study of the Bible is indispensable for powerful prayer.”

“Do not forget the close bond between the inner room and the outside world. The attitude of the inner prayer room must remain with us all day. The object of secret prayer is to unite us to God that we may know His abiding presence with us.”

“The Word supplies us with material for prayer and encourages us to expect everything from God. … It is only by prayer that we may live such a life that every word of God might be fulfilled in us.” 

“Our daily life has a tremendous influence on our prayers, just as our prayers influence our daily life. In fact, our life is a continuous prayer. We are continually praising or thanking God by our actions and by the manner in which we treat others. This natural prayer and desire for God can be so strong in a man (who also prays to God) that the words of prayer that he actually utters cannot be heard. At times God cannot hear the prayer of your lips, because the worldly desires of your heart cry out to Him much more strongly and loudly.”

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“I also get a quite new feeling about ‘If you forgive you will be forgiven.’ I don’t believe it is, as it sounds, a bargain. The forgiving and the being forgiven are really the very same thing. But one is safe as long as one keeps on trying.” —C.S. Lewis

“You can read every fairy tale that was ever written, every mystery thriller, every ghost story, and you will never find anything so shocking, so strange, so weird and spellbinding as the story of the incarnation of the Son of God. How dead we are! How callous and unfeeling to Your glory and Your story! How often have I had to repent and say, ‘God, I am sorry that the stories men have made up stir my emotions, my awe and wonder and admiration and joy, more than Your own true story.’” —John Piper

“Experiencing the presence of Jesus in a church is not so much a corporate matter as it is an individual one. It is true that a spiritually lifeless, prayer-less shepherd can spread death over the people. Yet every member is still a temple and remains personally responsible to obey God and be available as an instrument of His presence. Your church can be dead and yet you can be full of Christ’s presence.” —David Wilkerson

11 Quotes From “A Call To Prayer”

A Call To PayerJ.C. Ryle makes the case for more prayer in his book A Call To Prayer. You can read my book review by clicking here. These are a few of the quotes I thought were thought provoking.

“But this I do say, that not praying is a clear proof that a man is not yet a true Christian. He cannot really feel his sins. He cannot love God. He cannot feel himself a debtor to Christ. He cannot long after holiness. He cannot desire heaven. He has yet to be born again. He has yet to be made a new creature. He may boast confidently of election, grace, faith, hope, and knowledge, and deceive ignorant people. But you may rest assured it is all vain talk if he does not pray.”

“We live in days of abounding religious profession. There are more places of public worship now than there ever were before. There are more persons attending them than there ever were before. And yet in spite of all this public religion, I believe there is a vast neglect of private prayer.”

“Diligence in prayer is the secret of eminent holiness.”

“Bibles read without prayer; sermons heard without prayer; marriages contracted without prayer; journeys undertaken without prayer; residences chosen without prayer; friendships formed without prayer; the daily act of private prayer itself hurried over, or gone through without heart: these are the kind of downward steps by which many a Christian descends to a condition of spiritual palsy, or reaches the point where God allows him to have a tremendous fall. This is the process which forms the lingering Lots, the unstable Samsons, the wife-idolizing Solomons, the inconsistent Asas, the pliable Jehoshaphats, the over-careful Marthas, of whom so many are to be found in the church of Christ.”

“You may be very sure men fall in private long before they fall in public. They are backsliders on their knees long before they backslide openly in the eyes of the world. Like Peter, they first disregard the Lord’s warning to watch and pray, and then like Peter, their strength is gone, and in the hour of temptation they deny their Lord.”

“Prayer can lighten crosses for us, however heavy. It can bring down to our side One who will help us to bear them. Prayer can open a door for us when our way seems hedged up. It can bring down One who will say, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ Prayer can let in a ray of hope when all our earthly prospects seem darkened. It can bring down One who will say, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’ Prayer can obtain relief for us when those we love most are taken away, and the world feels empty. It can bring down One who can fill the gap in our hearts with Himself, and say to the waves within, ‘Peace; be still.’ Oh that men were not so like Hagar in the wilderness, blind to the well of living waters close beside them.”

“There is not a single good reason that you can show for living without prayer.”

“Wait not because you feel unworthy. Wait for nothing. Wait for nobody. Waiting comes from the devil. Just as you are, go to Christ. The worse you are, the more need you have to apply to Him. You will never mend yourself by staying away.”

“Fear not because your prayer is stammering, your words feeble, and your language poor. Jesus can understand you.”

“It should not be enough to confess we are sinners: we should name the sins of which our conscience tells us we are most guilty. It should not be enough to ask for holiness; we should name the graces in which we feel most deficient. It should not be enough to tell the Lord we are in trouble; we should describe our trouble and all its peculiarities.”

“Sermons and books and tracts, and committee meetings and the company of good men, are all good in their way, but they will never make up for the neglect of private prayer.”

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