Thomas Brooks was an English Puritan preacher who lived from 1608-1680. He wrote the book, The Secret Key to Heaven: The Vital Importance of Private Prayer. I have been slowly working my way through the Banner of Truth reprint version for awhile now. It is also available for free as a pdf. Part 4: Six Objections Stated And Answered (page 87ff) focuses on the objections people give for not being able to spare time to pray and wait upon the Lord.
He compares the responsibilities we have to those of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Daniel, Elijah, Nehemiah, Peter and Cornelius. He asks if what we have to do is really anything compared to theirs? If they could find time to pray, surely we can.
Then he makes the point that nobody’s work has ever prospered spiritually, who did not devote themselves to prayer. The Lord prospers and flourishes the work of those who seek him. If we want to see temporal mercies turned into spiritual benefits, we need to be much with God.
The next point Watson communicates is perhaps my favorite among them. He wrote, “It is ten to one but that the objector every day fools away, or fritters away, or idles away, or sins away, one hour in a day, and why then should he complain of a lack of time?” (page 89). He wrote this four hundred years before social media. Think what he would have to say today about this excuse! I busy myself in all sorts of things so surely prayer must be a priority.
Watson notes that no man “dares please this objection before the Lord in the great day of account” (page 90). There will be no excuses at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) for how we have spent our time. Since there will be no excuses then, there is no need for excuses now.
It is our responsibility to redeem the time (Colossians 4:2-3). Watson wrote of Ignatius, “When he heard a clock strike, used to say, ‘Now I have one more hour to answer for.’ Time is short and we cannot afford to waste it.
Finally, “the more worldly business lies upon your hand, the more need you have to keep close to your closet” (page 102). “Much business lays a man open to many sins, and to many snares, and to many temptations. Now, the more sins, snares, and temptations a man’s business lays him open to, the more need that man has to be much in private prayer, that his soul may be kept pure from sin, and that his foot may not be taken in the devil’s trap, and that he may stand fast in the hour of temptation” (page 102). The more we have to do, the more we need to pray!
Can we spare time for prayer? The answer is, emphatically, yes!