The Language of Dependence

25-06-2019 13:06

The man, then, who refuses, or neglects to pray, who regards prayer not as a privilege, but as a wearisome and needless task, practically says, in the most unequivocal manner, I am not dependent on God; I want nothing that he can give; and therefore I will not come to him, nor ask any favor at his hands.

I will not ask him to crown my exertions with success, for I am able, and determined, to be the architect of my own future. I will not ask him to instruct or guide me, for I am competent to be my own instructor and guide. I will not ask him to strengthen and support me, for I am strong in the vigor and resources of my own mind. I will not request his protection, for I am able to protect myself. I will not implore his pardoning mercy nor his sanctifying grace, for I need, I desire, neither the one nor the other. I will not ask his presence and aid in the hour of death, for I can meet and grapple, unsupported, with the king of terrors, and enter, undaunted and alone, any unknown world into which he may usher me. Such is language of all who neglect prayer.

Edward Payson in The Complete Works of Edward Payson Volume 1, page 472.

On the other hand, those who do pray and see it as a privilege are saying the exact opposite. Their language is that they stand in great need of God and all his intervention and grace. Further, they expect God to hear and answer prayer.

You can hear this language in the life and writings of the Apostle Paul. He is confident even while in prison. Listen to the reason why: “Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance…” (Philippians 1:18-19, ESV). He knows his circumstance will turn out for his deliverance because these people are praying and the Spirit is helping.

To pray is admit that we are dependent on God. To pray is also to proclaim that he hears and answers. So prayer puts us into the rhythm of being truly human. We humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord and he lifts us up (James 4:10).

One of the advantages of our position in raising support is that it forces us into this rhythm. The need and the task are much too large for us. This helps us to recognize that we are dependent on God. Because we are dependent we pray and because we pray, things are moving. Just this morning we received notifications of another few people who are starting as monthly supporters or gave gifts toward our initial costs of moving.

God has not promised us that our planned move to Cambridge will work out. But we believe he has led us toward this and has been giving us the pieces we need as we go along. It is a thrill to see God moving and bringing his people around us. It would be wonderful to receive the opportunities that await us in Cambridge. But the greatest thing is to draw close to God and find his strong hands lifting us up again and again.


We are in the process of gathering a team that will send and support us as we serve the Global Church so that the good news of Jesus will be heard where he is least known. Click on the Together… tab for more information about how you can partner with us.

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