Torch, Spring 1982

14 The Times and the Seasons by Pat Landers Dixon R ecently, I surveyed our college students about certain aspects of their prayer lives. Perhaps their replies will not differ too much from yours if you had been given the same questionnaire. A Student' s Prayer Life I . Who first taught you to pray? Mother was by far the reply to this question. But, Father, you were not too far behind. 2. Name two sources which have instructed you about prayer and your prayer life , e .g., books , tracts (give titles) , persons, courses, etc . Two books came to the front in this issue: Power Through Prayer by E. M. Bounds and John R. Rice's Prayer, Asking and Receiving . It was of interest to note that periodicals were least mentioned as a source of instruction. As one might think, certain college courses helped the students in their prayer lives too . I was somewhat surprised that pastors, Sunday School teachers, and youth directors were seldom mentioned. 3 . Do you use a prayer list? A few more than half of the replies checked yes to this question . 4. List two prayer promises on which you rely most often . Out of eighty-one different verses listed, these four proved the predominant ones in this order: Matthew 7:7 James 5 :16 Philippians 4:6, 7 John 5:14-16 I wonder: Have you committed any or all of these scriptures to memory? 5. Approximately how much time do you spend in prayer each day? Any of us all-American, average Christians would relate to their answer for this question: 5 to 15 minutes . About five percent of the students stated they "pray without ceasing ." Shouldn't we all say that? 6. Does this prayer time occur primarily in the morning? afternoon? evening? other? Most of the students pray in the evening . Realizing this fact, I thought of Robert Murray McCheyne, a young man who died in his twenties. He states: I ought to pray before seeing anyone. Often when I sleep long, or meet others early, it is eleven or twelve o'clock before I begin secret prayer. This is a wretched system. It is unscriptural. Christ arose before day and went into a solitary place . David says, "Early will I seek Thee" " ...Thou shalt hear my voice." I feel it is far better to begin with God ... to see His face first, to get my soul near Him before it is near another. 7. Where do you go to find privacy for prayer? Dormitory rooms proved to be the prayer closets for these queried students. 8. When was the Last time you experienced an answer to a specific prayer request? About fifty percent had a prayer answered within a day's time. The other half had prayers answered between a week and the past month. How many prayers are answered every minute? Our thankfulness for these answers is hardly mentioned to the One who daily loads us with benefits. 9. What are some of your persistent questions about prayer? Since the students retained anonymity, their prodding questions mirrored their hearts m significant responses: What are the correct methods in prayer? What should be the motivation to pray? Why pray to a sovereign God? How can I know God hears me? What does it mean to pray in faith? I 0. Give two prayer requests that are on your heart now . Not many percentage points separated the first three requests: Other people's problems or salvation Personal, consistent growth and witnessing Knowing God's will for life: immediate and long range Salvation of relatives Grades Could some of your questions and answers about prayer have been the same as our Cedarville College students? I saw some similarities. I pray that this issue of the TORCH will instruct you to pray more effectively and encourage you to share this perfecting prayer process with others. "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, 0 Lord, endureth forever: forsake not the works of thine own hands." Psalm 138:8