With that thought in mind let me this evening suggest a bit of how to pray. As simple a subject as that: how to pray: the how of method.
The first thing in prayer is to find God's purpose, the trend, the swing of it; the second thing to make that purpose our prayer. We want to find out what God is thinking, and then to claim that that shall be done. God is seated up yonder on the throne. Jesus Christ is sitting by His side glorified. Everywhere in the universe God's will is being done except in this corner, called the earth, and its atmosphere, and that bit of the heavens above it where Satan's headquarters are.
It has been done down here by one person—Jesus. He came here to this prodigal planet and did God's will perfectly. He went away. And He has sought and seeks to have men down upon the earth so fully in touch with Himself that He may do in them and through them just what He will. That He may reproduce Himself in these men, and have God's will done again down on the earth. Now prayer is this: finding out God's purpose for our lives, and for the earth and insisting that that shall be done here. The great thing then is to find out and insist upon God's will. And the "how" of method in prayer is concerned with that.
Many a time I have met with a group of persons for prayer. Various special matters for prayer are brought up. Here is this man, needing prayer, and this particular matter, and this one, and this. Then we kneel and pray. And I have many a time thought—not critically in a bad sense—as I have listened to their prayers, as though this is the prayer I must offer:—"Blessed Holy Spirit, Thou knowest this man, and what the lacking thing is in him. There is trouble there. Thou knowest this sick woman, and what the difficulty is there. This problem, and what the hindrance is in it. Blessed Spirit, pray in me the prayer Thou art praying for this man, and this thing, and this one. The prayer Thou art praying, I pray that, in Jesus' name. Thy will be done here under these circumstances."
Sometimes I feel clear as to the particular prayer to offer, but many a time I am puzzled to know. I put this fact with this, but I may not know all the facts. I know this man who evidently needs praying for, a Christian man perhaps, his mental characteristics, his conceptions of things, the kind of a will he has, but there may be some fact in there that I do not know, that seriously affects the whole difficulty. And I am compelled to fall back on this: I don't know how to pray as I ought. But the Spirit within me will make intercession for this man as I allow Him to have free swing in me as the medium of His prayer. And He who is listening above as He hears His will for this man being repeated down on the battle-field will recognize His own purpose, of course. And so that thing will be working out because of Jesus' victory over the evil one.
But I may become so sensitive to the Spirit's thoughts and presence, that I shall know more keenly and quickly what to pray for. In so far as I do I become a more skillful partner of His on the earth in getting God's will done.