No. 978



As a Christian, one of the most meaningful things in my life is prayer. This has not always been the case, but over the past several years, and especially the past several months, prayer has become increasingly more important to me.
My favorite story regarding prayer is about the lady who was visiting with her pastor about some serious challenges she was facing. After listening to her for a while, the pastor said, “What we need to do is pray about your situation.” She responded, “Oh Lord -- has it come to that?” Just my comment, but it probably would not have come to that if she had been praying all the time.
Now granted, prayer is a very private matter and is left to each of us to determine in our own lives the priority we place on this hallmark of the Christian life. It has been my experience while being in the “people” business for more than four decades that almost everyone prays at some time or another, if only at times when circumstances drive them to their knees. What prompted these thoughts was a fantastic book a friend gave me a while back titled, “PRAYER – A Holy Occupation”, by Oswald Chambers. If you have done much reading in this area you probably identify Oswald Chambers as the author of “My Utmost for His Highest.”
Oswald Chambers was born in Scotland in 1874 and died in 1917 while serving as a Chaplain in the British Commonwealth in Egypt during World War I. Now a little simple math will tell you that he only lived 43 years, about average back then, but not so much today when the average life expectancy is approaching 80 years of age. What this also tells me is that God was at work back then just as He is today.
Because this little book is so rich and powerful, I have titled this column “A Book of Gems” and you recognize the word “Gem” as something of great value. The format he uses is to take a number of important words and make very succinct statements about each one and follow that with a “Reflective” question. This works great and it will definitely make you think. Here are the words that will give you further insights into what I am saying: Boldness, Childlikeness, Communion, Concentration, Desire, Discipline, Faith, Honesty, Intimacy, Obedience, Patience, Power, Purpose, Silence, Simplicity, Wonder, Work, and Worship. It only takes about 10 minutes to read each section and my routine is to read each one three days in a row, which helps to internalize these truths.
I want to give you at least one sample that will further illuminate what I am saying. “You very earnestly and solemnly tax your resources to be a praying person; people call at your house but cannot see you because it is your time for prayer. You perhaps have not noticed before that you always take care to tell those to whom it matters how early you rise in the morning to pray, how many all nights of prayer you spend; you have great zealousness in proclaiming your protracted meetings. This is all pious play-acting. Jesus said, ‘Don’t do it’.” And here is the reflective question: “How much of my praying is dishonest in that it is done to impress other people?”
No doubt about it, God gifted Oswald Chambers with a special talent to get to the truth of the matter – in a hurry. I highly recommend his book. You can find it at Hope you have been blessed today.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)