“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God's Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord. . . .”
"It is interesting to remark how large a portion of Sacred Writ is occupied with the subject of prayer, either in furnishing examples, enforcing precepts, or pronouncing promises. We scarcely open the Bible before we read, “Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord;” and just as we are about to close the volume, the “Amen” of an earnest supplication meets our ear. Instances are plentiful. Here we find a wrestling Jacob—there a Daniel who prayedthree times a day—and a David who with all his heart called upon his God. On the mountain we see Elias; in the dungeon Paul and Silas. We have multitudes of commands, and myriads of promises. What does this teach us, but the sacred importance and necessity of prayer? We may be certain that whatever God has made prominent in his Word, he intended to be conspicuous in our lives. If he has said much about prayer, it is because he knows we have much need of it. So deep are our necessities, that until we are in heaven we must not cease to pray. Dost thou want nothing? Then, I fear thou dost not know thy poverty. Hast thou no mercy to ask of God? Then, may the Lord’s mercy show thee thy misery! A prayerless soul is a Christless soul. Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honour of a Christian. If thou be a child of God, thou wilt seek thy Father’s face, and live in thy Father’s love."And mine:
~ C H Spurgeon
I have a personal belief now, after many long nights of prayer, that there is no mystical way in which prayer benefits the Christian in spiritual growth. But I think I can finally understand how Spurgeon could make such a big deal out of it. Since God doesn't audibly talk back to us, the nature of a prayer conversation will begin with thankfulness and supplication, and progress to drawing on memorized Scripture passages (i.e. "meditating on the word") to "talk it out" with God, explaining your reasoning process and in that process coming to discoveries that refine your conduct of speech: you realize that how you were asking could have been wrong/fully motivated, so you alter your requests and acknowledge that He knows best and maybe you oughtn't get what you ask for. You "happenstance" come across new or more profound Theological truths than you had in mind before, simply by thinking about the truths you know. This lets you grow in spiritual wisdom. I think the strength of an active prayer life is an active thought life.
~ Rak Chazak