We think rightly or wrongly about prayer according to the idea of prayer we have in our minds. If we think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood in our hearts, we think rightly. The breathing continues ceaselessly; the blood flows ceaselessly. We’re not always conscious of these activities, but they are always going on. This is how it ought to be with prayer. We might not be conscious of Jesus keeping us in perfect, prayerful harmony with God, but if we are obeying him, he always is. Prayer isn’t an exercise; it’s life. To “pray continually” means to keep the childlike habit of spontaneous prayer in our hearts at all times.

Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer. He had the boundless certainty that prayer is always answered. Do we, through the Holy Spirit, share Jesus’s certainty? Or do we always think of the times when it seemed God didn’t answer? Jesus taught that “everyone who asks receives” (Matthew 7:8). “But, but, but . . .” we say. We forget that God answers prayer in the best way—not sometimes but every time. His answer might not come immediately, nor in the exact way we want, but it does come.

Do we truly expect God to answer prayer? The danger with many of us is that we want to water down what Jesus said. We want to make his words mean something that agrees with common sense. If what Jesus said is only common sense, it wasn’t worthwhile for him to say it. The things Jesus said about prayer are supernatural revelations.

Wisdom from Oswald

“I have chosen you” (John 15:16). Keep that note of greatness in your creed. It is not that you have got God, but that He has got you.  My Utmost for His Highest, October 25, 837 R