How Long Has It Been?

How Long Has It Been?

Since our Singing with the Spirit workshop several weeks ago, I think many of us have focused more on the content of our hymns and the lessons they teach than we ever have before. One of my favorite songs is, regrettably, not in our book. And you might not even know it – I actually stumped Myron Bruce when I mentioned this one! It’s called, “How Long Has It Been?” by Mosie Lister. Consider the message it conveys:

How long has it been
Since you talked with the Lord,
And told him your heart’s hidden secrets?

How long since you prayed?
How long since you stayed
On your knees ‘til the light shone through?

How long has it been
Since your mind felt at ease?
How long since your heart knew no burden?

How long has it been
Since you knelt by your bed
And prayed to the Lord up in heaven?

How long since you knew
That He’d answer you
And would keep you the long night through?

How long has it been
Since you woke with the dawn
And felt that the day’s worth the living?

And the refrain repeated at the end of both verses:

Can you call him your friend?
How long has it been
Since you knew that He cared for you?

We have recently started a study on Wednesday evenings looking more deeply at prayer, inspired by the request the disciples made to Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.” This is an important topic, because I think most of us – myself included – probably do not avail ourselves of prayer as we ought.

That is a shame. Prayer is one of our greatest blessings, a privilege that we enjoy as children of God. And yet, we have the unfortunate tendency to become so lackadaisical with our praying. I think Jesus anticipated his followers would become slack in prayer. That’s why he told the parable of the unjust judge:

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? (Luke 18:1-8)

Do we really take advantage of prayer as we should? Or do we lose heart? How long has it been since you talked with the Lord? It really does change things!

I recall a story I once read of two women, sitting together on the front porch while they mended their husbands’ pants. One said, “You know, my John is so discouraged with the church. He just feels like quitting sometimes. No one seems to care.” The other lady said, “How strange! My James was saying just the other day how encouraged he was about the prospects for the future of the church. He feels really good about its direction and the positive attitude he sees in others.” They sat in silence, one as she patched the seat and the other as she pat


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