Andrew Murray was a famous preacher from South Africa in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. His ministry spanned 57 years. One of the most remembered aspects about Andrew Murray’s life and ministry was his emphasis on prayer.
We live in a society that is marked by always being busy. We have so much to do, that we never have time to do anything – even pray. Andrew Murray’s view of prayer is almost completely missing within our society, and even within Christendom.
An overview of Murray’s writings highlights 7 major components to God-pleasing prayer. Those 7 components are that God-pleasing prayer 1) waits on God, 2) begins and ends with the Word of God, 3) takes time, 4) must be definite, 5) requires obedience, 6) must be without ceasing, and 7) requires the Holy Spirit.
We will look at the first of these components in this post, and hopefully, in the future, the others will be addressed as well.
Component 1: God-Pleasing Prayer Waits on God
Andrew Murray realized that God is not compelled to operate on our time table. We live in a world where you can wake up, open a pop-tart, throw it in the microwave, and in 5 seconds be eating. We have a question, we Google it, and instantly, have at least a semblance of an answer. If we click a show on Netflix and the buffering sign comes up, we are infuriated that we cannot have exactly what we want, exactly when we want it.
In direct contrast with this, Andrew Murray wrote in his book With Christ in the School of Prayer that as believers, we should “let no delay shake our faith” (p. 122). The believer should not treat God like a genie in a bottle. The believer must realize that God does not exist to fulfill our wishes, actually, we exist to fulfill His! Sometimes, God utilizes our waiting to conform us to the image of Christ by increasing our faith and allowing us the opportunity to show our trust in Him.
God-pleasing prayer requires not only that the believer have an attitude of “waiting,” but also, that the attitude of waiting be accompanied by two further attitudes, namely that of expectation and of teachability. We will look at expectant waiting first.
God-Pleasing Prayer Waits Expectantly. When we pray, must pray to God realizing that He does not have to operate on our time-table, and yet, at the same time, we must ask expecting that we will receive an answer. Earnest expectation and hope that God is faithful to His promises are cornerstones of faithful prayer. Andrew Murray wrote that “An ear opened towards God, that is, a believing heart waiting on Him, to hear what He says, will hear Him speak.” (With Christ in the School of Prayer, p. 88). Murray encouraged withdrawing yourself from everything else, and waiting on God alone.
Murray further writes that we must wait on God patiently, day by day, knowing that through our waiting He will reveal Himself to us and will lead us to see the glory of God (Ibid., p. 122). Murray eloquently penned “It is in the adoring worship of God, the waiting on Him and for Him, the deep silence of soul that yields itself for God to reveal Himself, that the capacity for knowing and trusting God will be developed.” (Ibid., p. 97). Sometimes, it is the act of waiting itself that God is desiring from us.
God-Pleasing Prayer Waits Teachably. Andrew Murray knew that how a person waited on God is critically important. When a believer prays and waits on God, we must not wait like a parent waiting on a child. We do not hold the position of authority, rather, we are the child, waiting for good things from our Father in heaven. Murray states, “It is in prayer that we wait for the leading of the Spirit to show us whether we are asking the right thing and in the right spirit” (With Christ in the School of Prayer, p. 81). Notice, not only are we waiting to be taught about our future or other such area, we are also waiting to discover if what we are asking for is right. Murray himself asserted that God opened his ears to wait both with great gentleness and teachableness of soul, yearning for how the Father would choose to speak and teach him (Ibid., p. 179). Murray also sets forth that there needs to be a deep confession of the inability of each individual to worship God in a way that is pleasing to Him; we each must, with childlike teachableness, wait on God to instruct us (Ibid., p. 14).
In an effort to consciously be watching for how God was responding to his prayers, Andrew Murray kept a prayer journal. Of this journal he wrote that “It helps us to wait for the special answer, and to mark it when it comes (Ibid., p. 72). This type of journaling allows for the one who has teachably submitted himself to God to track God’s faithfulness. This record of God’s fidelity can be an immeasurable tool the next time God’s answer is “wait.”