I’ve been thinking a lot about the way J. C. Ryle explained the lack of fervency in prayer. I believe what he wrote applies more widely to the whole life of the follower of Jesus Christ.
“How is it that many true believers often pray so coldly? What is the reason that their prayers are so feeble, wandering and lukewarm, as they frequently are? The answer is very plain: their sense of need is not so deep as it ought to be. They are not truly alive to their own weakness and helplessness, and so they do not cry fervently for mercy and grace. Let us remember these things. Let us seek to have a constant and abiding sense of our real necessities. If saints could only see their souls as the ten afflicted lepers saw their bodies, they would pray far better than they do.” ~ J.C. Ryle Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Luke volume 2 , [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1986], 232.
This is the core problem in our overall lack of spiritual focus and love for God. We need “a constant and abiding sense of our real necessities.” Our ”sense of need is not so deep as it ought to be.” We are not “truly alive to our own weakness and helplessness.” Why is it that we do not “cry fervently for mercy and grace”?
Why is it that circumstances must often become the tool to remind us of what should be self-evident? Why do we forget how desperate we are without God’s sustaining grace and interventions of mercy? Why do we tend to focus mostly on the things which are seen and lose sight of the things which are not seen? Why do we seem to so easily to set our affections on things on earth and not things in heaven?
How would Ryle’s recommendation be a cure for these tendencies?