Prayer is the incense of a holy heart

1
Prayer is the incense of a holy heart
Rising to God from bruised and broken things,
When kindled by the Spirit’s burning breath
And upward borne by faith’s ascending wings.
2
Prayer is the perfume of the plants of grace,
The flowers of patience, faith, and suffering love,
Treasured in “vials full of odors sweet,”
God breathes their fragrance in His courts above.
3
Prayer is th’ ascending vapor which supplies
The showers of blessing, and the stream that flows
Through earth’s dry places, till on every side
“The wilderness shall blossom as the rose.”
4
Prayer is the heavenly telephone that brings
The distant near, till heaven to earth comes down,
And in our Father’s ear and heart we may
Our burdens tell and all our sorrows drown.
5
Prayer is the wireless telegraph that sends
Its heart throbs on the ether waves of heaven;
It finds the heart of God, and back to earth
The answering thrill to faith and love are given.
6
Prayer is the golden pipes the Spirit fills,
Which feed the lamps of God with oil divine,
And, as with one accord we wait and pray,
The Spirit fills, the lamps with brightness shine.
7
Prayer is the mightiest force of earth and heaven,
Prayer is the very dynamite of God;
It moves the hand that all things moves, and turns
The living wheels that sweep through earth abroad.
8
Teach us to pray! Move on our hearts, O Lord,
Till Thine own passion all our being move!
Teach us! Pray in us, till our prayer shall be
Christ in us praying to the Christ above!
9
Teach us to pray! Reveal Thy will to us,
Till Thine own purpose all our being move!
Teach us! Pray in us, till our prayer shall be
God in us answering to the God above!
1
Maxim

Vancouver, WA, United States

We are dry bones that need God's prophetic word to be revived.

Verse 34 says that Christ is at the right hand of God, which is in the heavens, but verse 10 says that Christ is in us. There are not two Christs but one. We may wonder where Christ is — at the right hand of God or in us. Not long after I was saved, I was taught to pray to the Father through Christ who is at His right hand. However, when I did this, I sensed Christ within me. This confused me, for according to what I was taught, I thought that I was praying to the One who was in heaven, but during my prayer, I sensed that He was within me. Many believers have had this kind of experience. Christ being both in the heavens and in us is a mystery, yet it is a fact. We may not fully understand the doctrine, but our experience confirms the truth. A. B. Simpson wrote a hymn in which he indicates that the best prayer is "Christ in us praying to the Christ above" (Hymns, #762, stanza 8). The key to understanding this mystery is the indwelling Spirit being in our human spirit. Romans 8:16 says, "The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God." The divine Spirit is with our human spirit. Because Christ is the Spirit, He is omnipresent, being both at the right hand of God and in our spirit—both in heaven and on earth.

Many Christians consider that to study the Bible is to learn doctrinal teachings and accumulate knowledge. However, to read and study the Bible is to feed on the Lord, to be nourished with spiritual food and to assimilate it. These two concepts — the natural concept of learning and gaining doctrinal knowledge and the spiritual concept of being nourished — are very different. The word of God is not mainly for knowledge but for nourishment. Similarly, the natural concept concerning prayer is that when we need God to help us, we ask Him to do things for us or give something to us. This natural concept is absolutely wrong; this is not the meaning of prayer. In the Bible to pray means to come into the presence of God and open ourselves to Him to prepare the way for the indwelling Spirit to express something to us, within us, and through us. Therefore, we must learn to pray not according to our knowledge or memory but according to what the indwelling Spirit expresses. This is the proper meaning of prayer.

Stanza 1 of #762 in Hymns says, "Prayer is the incense of a holy heart." Then stanza 8 says, "Teach us! Pray in us, till our prayer shall be / Christ in us praying to the Christ above!" and stanza 9 says, "Teach us! Pray in us, till our prayer shall be / God in us answering to the God above!" Christ in the heavens above has something to say, but He needs human coordination. Therefore, we must come into His presence, open ourselves to Him, and let Him have the free way to communicate, to transmit, into us something that is within His heart. Then within us the indwelling Christ will echo, respond to, and answer the Christ in the heavens. Our prayer must be an echo, a response, to the heavenly feeling. I say again, when we come to pray, we need to open ourselves to the Lord and come into His presence. The presence of the Lord today is in the Holy of Holies, that is, in our spirit. Hebrews 4:16 tells us to come forward with boldness to the throne of grace, and 10:19 says that we have boldness for entering the Holy of Holies. This means that we must forget everything else and come into our spirit to be in the presence of the Lord. As we open ourselves to Him, there will be a free course for the transmitting, communicating Spirit to bring something that is in the heart of God into our inward feeling. Then we can utter something according to this inner feeling as the Holy Spirit's expression.

We need to be trained not to read and pray in a natural way. Even in something like driving a car, we need to be trained and restricted to do it in a particular way. However, not many of us have practiced the proper reading and prayer. When we read the Bible, we mostly read it in a natural way, like we read a newspaper or a textbook. That is not the spiritual way to read the Bible. Likewise, when we pray, we mostly pray in a natural way according to our thought, without a concern for God's thought and desire, or for what is in the Spirit. This is why we may pray much yet with very few answers. In John 15:7 the Lord Jesus said that if we abide in Him and His words abide in us, we may ask whatever we will, and it will be done for us. It is when we abide in Him and let Him abide in us, when we are one with Him and He is one with us, that we utter a particular prayer and it is answered.

Andrew Murray once said that the best prayer is the Christ within praying to the Christ above. This means that the Christ within, that is, the indwelling Christ, prays to the ascended Christ. The same meaning is expressed in the last two lines of stanzas 8 and 9 of Hymns, #762 by A. B. Simpson. Stanza 8 says, "Teach us! Pray in us, till our prayer shall be/Christ in us praying to the Christ above!" Stanza 9 says, "Teach us! Pray in us, till our prayer shall be/God in us answering to the God above!" The real prayer is something in the spirit. While you are praying in your spirit, Christ as the Spirit indwelling you prays with you. He prays in your prayer, and you are praying in His prayer. You are mingled with Him.