We are endeavoring in prayer meetings at our local church to really study, and be involved in, prayer, especially corporate prayer as gathered believers. God tells us much about prayer, especially that He delights in His children seeking Him, and that He hears and answers prayer, according to His purpose. As Arthur Pink said in quoting another, “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of God’s willingness”.
“Nine times out of ten, declension from God begins in the neglect of private prayer"- Charles Spurgeon
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened”(Matthew 7:7-8).
Prayer for forgiveness is part of it, as Christ teaches us in the so-called Lord’s prayer. It is actually the model prayer. In this example He says in part: “Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil” (Luke 11:3-4).
I am personally so glad that He is a forgiving God, for I went through several years of failure and defeat in the things of the Lord. It was backsliding -- just to be completely honest. I am ashamed of it now, but thank God I am forgiven. I won’t give the devil any glory by telling all about it. Suffice it to say, Christ preserved me from the worst sins. I could have hit rock bottom, but I am sure God heard the prayers of my family and others. About seven years ago, the Lord met me where I was. I repented and He restored me. I hope I have grown ever since. By His grace alone I will persevere! It is He that preserves us, and enables us to persevere. It is all of grace! There is no mercy or security outside of Christ! The following reading from Mr. Spurgeon for May 18th is partially my testimony
LOSSES OVERCOME---CHARLES SPURGEON
“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten” (Joel 2:25).
Yes those wasted years over which we sigh shall be restored to us. God can give us such plentiful grace that we shall crowd into the remainder of our days as much of service as will be some recompense for those years of unregeneracy over which we mourn in humble penitence.The locusts of backsliding, worldliness, lukewarmness, are now viewed by us as a terrible plague.
Oh that they had never come near us! The Lord in mercy has now taken them away, and we are full of zeal to serve Him.
Blessed be His name, we can raise such harvests of spiritual graces as shall make our former barrenness to disappear. Through rich grace we can turn to account our bitter experience, and use it to warn others. We can become the more rooted in humility, childlike dependence, and penitent spirituality, by reason of our former shortcomings. If we are the more watchful, zealous, and tender, we shall gain by our lamentable losses. The wasted years, by a miracle of love, can be restored. Does it seem too great a boon?
Let us believe for it, and live for it, and we may yet realize it, even as Peter became all the more useful a man after his presumption was cured by his discovered weakness. Lord, aid us by thy grace (Faith's Checkbook).