Excerpt from “Prayerless or Prayerful” by J. C. Ryle

“I will that men pray everywhere.” – 1 Timothy 2:8

There is not a single good reason that you can show for living without prayer.

It is useless to say you know not how to pray. Prayer is the simplest act in all religion. It is simply speaking to God. It needs neither leaning, nor wisdom, nor book-knowledge to begin with. It needs nothing but heart and will. The weakest infant can cry when he is hungry. The poorest beggar can hold out his hand for an alms, and [he] does not wait to find fine words. The most ignorant man will find something to say to God, if he has only a mind.

Is it useless to say you have no convenient place to pray in. Any man can find a place private enough, if he is disposed. Our Lord prayed on a mountain; Peter on the housetop; Isaac in the field; Nathanael under the fig tree; Jonah in the whale’s belly. Any place may become a closet, an oratory, and a Bethel, and be to us the presence of God.

It is useless to say you have no time. There is plenty of time, if men will only employ it. Time may be short, but time is always long enough for prayer. Daniel had all the affairs of a kingdom on his hands, and yet he prayed three times a day. David was ruler over a mighty nation, and yet he says, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray” (Psa. 55:17). When time is really wanted, time can always be found.

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