Marilyn Wheeler - Prayer - San Diego Special Meetings - April 1, 1979

While I was sitting down in my seat, I looked at these two "mikes" and I decided the upper one was for the voice and the lower one was for the heart beats! Unless you were standing here, you wouldn't understand.

Thinking of the meetings, I wished I could speak of something I really understood and had been successful in doing so that I could speak with authority; but we all have common struggles and for me, one is the struggle of prayer. This is something we really don't enjoy talking about, because it is hard for most of us. When we pray, it becomes a kind of form sometimes, and sometimes a repetitious thing. We have a cut and dried routine of petitions we make, and we forget it is more of a heart thing than a matter of words.  It would be better if we prayed with no words rather than with no heart. We have had communication with people who were rather intellectual and perhaps we have had a nice time with them, but there has not been a communion or meeting of hearts. There is a difference between intellectual talk and communion. It would be easy to get into a form in our relationship with God, perhaps feeling we could conquer our relationship with Him with a certain form of words, but I don't think that is very impressive to the Lord. We could be kneeling and not praying. Then there are times when we could be praying and not kneeling.  I am not saying we should not find ourselves in the position of prayer, but our heart's position is more important in this matter of prayer.


It is much easier to serve than to commune; it is more natural for some of us. There is nothing I want to do more than serve in the Kingdom, but it is easy to get taken up with serving and to forget communion is more important to God. There comes a time when people because of their physical limitations can no longer serve as they once did, but it does not limit them in communion with God; their fellowship with God can still continue. I think of a man in the scripture who served faithfully, but it is hard to feel he ever had communion with his father. He is that one mentioned in Luke 15. When the prodigal returned, the father was so happy. They killed the calf and had a feast, and the older brother didn't enter into the rejoicing. He went to the father and complained and said, "Lo, these many years have I served thee, neither at any time transgressed I thy commandment; and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends." His jealousy showed itself when he said, “You have never given me….”  His father shared all he had with him; all his father had was his to enjoy, and he tried to show the feelings of his heart because his younger son had come home. If that man had communicated with his father he would have known his feelings, but he was taken up with the fact he had served in the home and that was righteousness in his sight.


We could be in the Father's household many years and never know a heart relationship with our heavenly Father. We heard about a little girl who wanted to do something nice for her father's birthday, so she hid herself from her father's presence for a week while she knitted a pair of socks for him. When she presented the gift to him, he thanked her for it, but he told her how much he had missed her "fellowship," and how much more that would have meant to him. While trying to do something of service, she had denied herself his fellowship. While trying to do something good for the Lord we could deny Him of our love and fellowship. I thought of the common example we have in Mary and Martha. Martha was taken up with serving in the home. That is something that has to be done, but Jesus commends Mary for doing the better part, and He said it would never be taken away from her.

During Uncle Willie's last illness, while we were privileged to be with him, it seemed to me that most of the time those caring for him, their time and strength were used in just taking care of his physical needs. I think I was not aware there was a need in his heart for communion and fellowship and for those to stand by quietly, even without a lot of talking, but more that we just spend that time with him.

One of my companions spoke about the vine and the branch, and how the branch was to abide in the vine. She said the branch doesn't come and plug into the vine every morning and night, but it abides in the vine constantly. We think sometimes our only communion with the Lord is in the morning and evening, but we have a deep need of abiding in the vine continually. We are not only relating to Him when we are on our knees.


Someone told us about the trap door spider, and said it has the ability to build a little house for itself that has a trap door and it can go in there and escape from its enemies. It takes with it the flies it has caught and consumes them behind the closed door. In Proverbs 30:28 we are told, "The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in king's palaces." If we have the ability to escape into the presence of God, we know what it is to be in the palace of a King.


I thought of the hymn we sing that says, “Praying always in the Spirit.” It says, “Praying always, praying ever.” It isn't just the times when we are alone with God, even though those times are so special. When we are alone with a person, we can see things we couldn't at any other time, and we need those times alone with God.


Sometimes we can say a lot to a person by a look or a gesture. That is true with the Lord. It is our privilege every morning to have a little funeral service beside our bed, as far as self is concerned. The secret of continuing and finishing in the way of God is this matter of prayer. I would like to learn more about it.