John Wesley on Prayer Lesson 10

*Have a holy urgency

See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks [from heaven].

 Hebrews 12:25 NIV

Strive to enter by the narrow door.

Strive, as in an agony of holy fear. A promise has been made of your entering into His rest (see Hebrews 4:9-11). Strive, lest you should come short of it.

Strive, in all the fervor of desire, with groans that words cannot express.

Strive, by prayer without ceasing. At all times, in all places, lift up your heart to God. Give Him no rest till you, like the psalmist, “awake with God’s likeness” and are satisfied with it.

To conclude: Strive to enter in at the narrow gate. Strive, not only by this agony of soul, of conviction, of sorrow, of shame, of desire, of fear, of unceasing prayer. Strive, likewise, by putting in order all your conversation, your whole life, by walking with all your strength in all the ways of God–the way of innocence, of piety, and of mercy. Shun all the appearance of evil. Do all possible good to all people. Deny your own will in all things, and take up your cross daily.

Be ready to cut off everything that would hinder, and to cast it from you. Be ready and willing to suffer the loss of possessions, of friends, of health, of all things on earth, so you may enter into the kingdom of heaven.

*From How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.

Wesley, in this tenth lesson on prayer, calls upon us to heed the call of God. He begins with Hebrews 12:25, which says, “See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven” (NASB). And in heeding, let it be done with striving. Striving means to make great efforts to achieve or obtain something.

What John Wesley is getting to here is not to assume, with a casual attitude that all things in your life are in order before God. It is hard to hear correction when one feels no correction is needed. It is hard to repent when one feels themselves above it. These people are headed for destruction. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus tells us, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Complacency in our spiritual life is a trap the enemy sets for all of us. Add to that the desires of our flesh and the pull of the world upon us and we can see the wisdom in Wesley’s words of exhortation: “Strive to enter in at the narrow gate. Strive, not only by this agony of soul, of conviction, of sorrow, of shame, of desire, of fear, of unceasing prayer. Strive, likewise, by putting in order all your conversation, your whole life, by walking with all your strength in all the ways of God, the way of innocence, of piety, and of mercy. Shun all the appearance of evil. Do all possible good to all people. Deny your own will in all things, and take up your cross daily.

“Be ready to cut off everything that would hinder, and to cast it from you. Be ready and willing to suffer the loss of possessions, of friends, of health, of all things on earth, so you may enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

With all this striving Wesley is calling for, some might ask about the rest he references. Hebrews 4:9-11 reads “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience” (NASB). The striving comes with obedience. The rest comes with entering.

Hear His word, heed His word, and let His word lead you in by the narrow gate of life.

Published by doctorpaddy

An ordained minister, Christian communicator, and educator.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: