The Encouraging Mr Sibbes

23 01 2008

Post No.6 in the Timmy Brister Challenge.

Of all the areas which Christians struggle with, I imagine that prayer must be one of the most prominent. In my own Christian life, and from conversations with others over the years, I have come to learn that one of our biggest challenges is to seek God’s face on a consistent and disciplined basis.

This is particularly so when we are faced with major problems and temptations as believers. Whenever we feel ourselves to be ‘bruised reeds’, when we are keenly aware of our failings, faults, and indwelling sin, we have a tendency to avoid the presence of God in prayer – fearing that we will not be heard, or accepted, or received. At times like these our prayers can be a confused mass of trying to confess sin, whilst not truly daring to seek the Lord fully.

Sibbes’ mind is fully alive to this fact as he writes to encourage Christians who are struggling in their walk. He writes of seeking God in tender terms, and warm tones, showing us the way in which God receives our most garbled of prayers. His depiction of God’s attitude to us in prayer is quite simply beautiful, deeply touching, and hugely encouraging to us in our darkest and most difficult of times spiritually:

“God can pick sense out of a confused prayer. These desires cry louder in his ears than your sins. Sometimes a Christian has such confused thoughts that he can say nothing but, as a child cries, ‘O, Father’, not able to express what he needs, like Moses at the Red Sea. These stirrings of spirit touch the heart of God and melt him into compassion toward us, when they come from the Spirit of adoption, and from a striving to be better” [pge 51].

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