“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” –Jesus, Revelation 3:20
July 1st marked the beginning of our “31 Days of Prayer,” an effort within our congregation to unify the Body of Christ at Holy Cross as well as an attempt to listen to the Lord and anticipate His moving among us to His glory and for our good. It was a soft rollout with the hope that as we go along, we’ll pick up participants along the way. But when thinking of prayer, are there any writers who come to mind? Perhaps Oswald Chambers or Richard Foster? Maybe Sara Young or Stormie Omartian? There is a long list of Christian authors, living and dead, who’ve written on the importance of prayer, but have you ever heard of Olle Hallesby? My guess is probably not. He seems to be one of those people who was well-known while they were alive but disappeared into obscurity after death. O. Hallesby was a Norwegian Lutheran pastor who published a book in 1931 titled “Prayer” and the book has been a standard by which I personally think all other books on prayer should be measured. He wrote this about prayer:
“To pray is to let Jesus come into our hearts. This teaches us, in the first place, that it is not our prayer which moves the Lord Jesus. It is Jesus who moves us to pray. He knocks (Revelation 3:20). Thereby He makes known His desire to come in to us. Our prayers are always a result of Jesus’ knocking at our hearts’ doors. This throws new light upon the old prophetic passages: “Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24). Yea, verily, before we call, He graciously makes known to us what gift He has decided to impart to us. He knocks in order to move us by prayer to open the door and accept the gift which He has already appointed for us. From time immemorial prayer has been spoken of as the breath of the soul.”
Prayer as the “breath of the soul.” I like that. I also like how Hallesby reminds us that the initiative is with Christ and even when our prayer life falters or skips a beat, Jesus has not abandoned us or forsaken us, but continues to knock, knowing that prayer is good for our soul. It is a reminder that Jesus is with us.
What does your soul need right now? If you were to put pen to paper or finger tips to keyboard, what would be the content of your prayers to Jesus? A few words or pages and pages? Doesn’t matter—either works.
Let me share one last quote from Hallesby:
“To pray is nothing more involved than to let Jesus into our needs. To pray is to give Jesus permission to employ His powers in the alleviation of our distress. To pray is to let Jesus glorify His name in the midst of our needs. The results of prayer are, therefore, not dependent upon the powers of the one who prays. His intense will, his fervent emotions, or his clear comprehension of what he is praying for are not the reasons why his prayers will be heard and answered. Nay, God be praised, the results of prayer are not dependent upon these things! To pray is nothing more involved than to open the door, giving Jesus access to our needs and permitting Him to exercise His own power in dealing with them.”
Will you open the door and give Jesus access to your needs? Will you join with your Church family and friends and permit Him to exercise His own power in your life? Behold, He stands at the door and is knocking! Let’s pray!
For a free PDF copy of O. Hallesby’s book, click here:
With you in prayer,