In all your private duties, God looks first and most to your hearts: “My son, give me your heart” (Proverbs 23.26).  It is not a piece of your heart, it is not a corner of the heart, that will satisfy the Maker of the heart.  The heart is a treasure, a bed of spices, a royal throne wherein He delights.  God looks not at the elegance of your prayers, to see how neat they are, nor yet at the geometry of your prayers, to see how long they are, nor yet at the arithmetic of your prayers, to see how many they are, nor yet at the music of your prayers, nor yet at the sweetness of your voice, nor yet at the logic of your prayers – but at the sincerity of your prayers, how hearty they are.  There is no prayer acknowledged, approved, accepted, recorded, or rewarded by God but that wherein the heart is, sincerely and wholly.  The true mother would not have the child divided.  God loves a broken and a contrite heart, so He loathes a divided heart (Psalm 51.17; James 1.8).  God neither loves halting nor halving – He will be served truly and totally.  The royal law is: “You shall love and serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”  Among the heathen, when the beasts were cut up for sacrifice, the first thing the priest looked upon was the heart and, if the heart was naught, the sacrifice was rejected.  Truly, God rejects all those sacrifices wherein the heart is not.  Prayer without the heart is but as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.  Prayer is only lovely and weighty as the heart is in it, and not otherwise.  It is not the lifting up of the voice nor the wringing of the hands nor the beating of the breasts nor an affected tone nor studied motions nor seraphic expressions, but the stirring of the heart that God looks at in prayer.  God hears no more than the heart speaks.  If the heart be dumb, God will certainly be deaf.  No prayer takes with God but that which is the travail of the heart. – Thomas Brooks (1608-1680), commenting on Psalm 119.145.

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