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The-Christian-Martyrs-Last-Prayer by Jean-Leon Gerome

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? ~Romans 6:16

You are that one’s slave to whom you present yourself to obey. What is prayer but presenting yourself to obey someone?

Essentially, prayer is submission. The spirit of true prayer, in the biblical sense, is that of submission to the Creator God. Prayer is an vital part of worshipping God in our spirits. Your head can bow, your eyes can close, your tongue can speak–but if your heart is not bowing down in humility before God, you are not worshipping nor are you actually praying. Worship of God–and thus prayer, also–is not determined by one’s situation in time and space; it is determined only by the attitude of one’s spirit.

It is the one before whom we bow in true heart-humility that we shall serve. Do we honestly worship God in our spirits when we pray? Do we actually lift our praises to God in submission to his perfect will? Do we bend our thoughts to honestly desire and delight in holiness? Or do we withhold our hearts from him and act with lipservice towards the one who bought us?

One way to check ourselves to see whether or not our hearts are in submission to the Father of spirits is to look at our prayers. It may well be that we discover that our thoughts always wander off to serve another master even while our lips are towards the only true Lord–or it may be that we find our hearts more often concurring with the psalmist; “Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word!” (Psalm 199:169)