Quotes from E.M. Bounds about humility – “The Essentials of Prayer” chapter 2
- To be humble… is to be modest, lowly, with a disposition to seek obscurity. Humility keeps itself from the public gaze. It does not seek publicity or hunt for high places – and it does not care for prominence… It never exalts itself.
- It is willing to take the lowliest seat and prefers those places where it will go unnoticed. The prayer of humility is as follows
Never let the world break in
Fix a mighty gulf between
Keep me humble and unknown
- The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18) – The Pharisee… exalts himself, gives himself over to self-praise, and is self-centered. Because of this, he goes away unjustified, condemned, and rejected by God. The Tax Collector sees no good in himself, is overwhelmed with self depreciation, far removed from anything that would take any credit for any good in himself… smites himself on his breast and cries out, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” He went… to his house justified. He realizes how poor in spirit he is, and how utterly devoid of anything like righteousness, goodness, or any quality that would commend him to God. His pride is completely blasted and dead, and he falls down with humiliation and despair before God, uttering a sharp cry for mercy for his sins and his guilt.
- That which brings the praying soul near to God is humility of heart.
- Pride, self-esteem and self-praise effectively shut the door of prayer.
- Humility is a rare Christian grace, of great price in the courts of heaven, entering into and being an inseparable condition of effective praying. It gives access to God when other qualities fail… It’s full portrait is only found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Humility is born by looking at God and His holiness, and then looking at self and human unholiness.
- Humility loves obscurity and silence, dreads applause, esteems the virtues of others, excuses their faults with mildness, easily pardons injuries, fears contempt less and less, and sees the baseness and falsehood in pride.
- Neither pride nor vanity can pray.
- Humility springs from a lowly estimate of ourselves and what we deserve.
- Humility is feeling little because we are little.
- Humility is realizing our unworthiness because we are unworthy.
- It is feeling and declaring ourselves to be sinners because we are sinners.
- Kneeling shows the attitude of prayer, because it speaks of humility.
Almighty God in Heaven,
May we each prostrate ourselves before You and tremble in awe, reverence and fear of You. May we see the greatness of Your majesty and holiness. May we begin to grasp just how powerful, awesome, worthy, perfect, wise, loving and infinite You are. May we begin to grasp just how small, tiny, weak and desperate we are for Your mercy, grace and the blood of Christ to cover our massive sin debt that we owe to You. Praise GOD that You, Lord Jesus, were willing to take on flesh and bear the full wrath of God for our sins in our place. We deserved hell and condemnation. We are all most wretched sinners. You alone deserve heaven. Yet You took on the punishment we deserved and earned and exchanged Your life and reward that we might experience a right relationship with God and know You. Just to know You – that IS eternal life.
We live in such prideful culture. We are all so prone to pride, exactly like Satan. We want to put ourselves up as equal to You, thinking we are worthy of worship or that You should bow down to us and do what we want You to do and that You ought to submit to our demands. How foolish and deceived and blinded we are! Sometimes, we even put ourselves ABOVE You in our hearts, thinking we know better than You do and that our wisdom is wiser than Yours and that we don’t need to obey Your Word or tremble in fear before You. Forgive us for our stubborn pride! Cleanse us from every trace of sin. Cleanse us from our rebellious spirit.
Let us fall before You in contrition, in humility, in awe, in worship and understand who You are and who we are properly. We want to humble ourselves before You, Lord. For everyone that exalts himself will be laid low, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
It is in humility that we approach Your throne and ask for Your Spirit to move mightily in our midst. Let Your Spirit fall on Your people here, Lord. Bring a Great Awakening to us. We cannot even open our own eyes. We are totally dependent on Your Spirit. We beg You, don’t forget this wicked generation of ours. We deserve Your wrath. But, please give us instead a spirit of repentance and contrition before You. Let us see our sin clearly and be willing to humble ourselves and turn from our wicked ways and turn to You that You might heal our land and that we might be a faithful, holy, godly generation for Your glory!
Let every woman here submit to You as LORD of her life. Let us hold nothing back. Let us lay everything we have and all that we are and all that is to come before You and let us give up trusting ourselves as if we are powerful and sovereign and wise. We are not! We are small, impotent and weak! We are but dust! Let us fully surrender our lives to You. Let us trust You from this day forward. Thank You that You are able to cast out every fear as we trust You, that Your perfect love drives out all fear. Thank You that You are able to give us new hearts and minds and You are able to regenerate our souls by the power of the Holy Spirit. We can’t change ourselves. On our own, we are evil and sinful. Our greatest attempts at righteousness look like “dirty, bloody menstrual rags” in Your holy sight. Isaiah 64:6.
We need You! We can do nothing without You! We don’t need programs. We don’t need fancy campaigns. We don’t need new methods of evangelism. We don’t need self-help books. We don’t need money. We need You, Jesus! Your church, that You love so deeply, is so very sick. It seems our wound is incurable. We think we are so modern and intelligent and wise – but our souls are very sick, almost to the point of death. Do whatever it takes to wake us up, Lord. If we need to go through refining fire – we will accept that. If the gangrene that is destroying us means that we need to have an amputation spiritually, we will accept that. Rid us of our filth and sin. All of it! Let us become the holy people of God that You command us to be! Let us throw away our friendship with the world and its ungodly ideas and let us embrace You alone! Let us be faithful to You! Show us our idols. Let us tear them all out by the roots! Show us our pride, our self-righteousness, our lust, our gossip, our jealousy, our adultery, our hatred, our murder, our unforgiveness, our bitterness, our resentment, our apathy towards those who are lost, our apathy towards Your Word, our apathy towards those who are in need, our excessive interest with greed and entertainment and pleasure. We are so very spiritually sick! We don’t even know it. You are the Great Physician. Heal each of our spirits by Your power. Bring us to Yourself. Heal Your church in America and around the world. We need You so much right now – if You do not move among us – we will spiritually die as a people! We are already building up such wrath of God against us as nations for our sin.
Bring our husbands to Yourself, also. Bring healing to our marriages. Help us to study and embrace Your wisdom and Your design for marriage, for masculinity, for femininity, for faith and for families. We seek only Your will and Your glory, Lord!
In the Name and power and will of Christ,
A fantastic example of praying with contrition and humility:
King David’s Prayer of Repentance after He Committed Adultery with Bathsheba and Had Her Husband Killed in Battle – Psalm 51
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.