I’ve recently read a book by AW Tozer about the “Praying Plumber from Lisburn” (Thomas Haire).
While I’ve heard about Thomas Haire’s prayer life, I’ve been captivated afresh by his utter devotion to communion and intimacy with God. Here’s a snippet of how Tozer describes the prayer life of this Irish plumber:
“The two characteristics that mark Tom Haire as unusual are his utter devotion to prayer and his amazing spiritual penetration. Three months after his conversion, when he was sixteen years old, he formed the habit of praying four hours each day. This practice he followed faithfully for many years. Later he added one all-night prayer session each week. In 1930 these weekly all-night prayer times were increased to two, and in 1948 he settled down to the habit of praying three nights of every week. He gets along on very little sleep. In addition to the three nights each week that he stays awake to pray he is frequently awakened in the night seasons by a passage of Scripture or a burden of prayer that will not let him rest. ‘And almost always,’ he says, ‘the Lord
Now before you compare your prayer life to Thomas Haire, remember that the Lord deals with individuals … well, individually.
Yes, we are all called to prayer. And each of us should have a greater desire for deeper intimacy and communion with our precious Savior – but that doesn’t mean we must emulate Thomas Haire tomorrow.
I hear about Haire’s prayer life and I’m pressed and convicted. And simply, I want the kind of relationship he had with Jesus. So while I desire it, will I allow Jesus to build me into such a man of prayer? And I need to remember that such transformation will likely take some time.
If my lifestyle has been unhealthy and I suddenly want to get in shape, the best thing to do is not buy a gym membership and spend five hours the first day in the gym … the likelihood is that I’d never go back. It would be better to start small and take a season working up to the long gym workouts and an overall healthier lifestyle.
Yes, there may be a radical shift (even tomorrow), but as I read Christian history, the prayer life of Tom Haire looks different than John Hyde or George Müller or Rees Howells.
So let’s not make excuses about why our prayer lives may be flabby (and let us thus press into prayer) … but let us also not immediately try to mimic the prayer lives of men like Haire, Ravenhill, Hyde, and others. Rather, let us press into Jesus Christ, with a passionate desire to know Him more through spending time with Him in prayer—and allow Him to increase the time and richness spent with Him.
Who knows, maybe your prayer life will look similar to Thomas Haire … or perhaps it will look completely different. Either way, I do know God longs to spend time with us in prayer and through His Word—not 15 minutes in the morning to check off our devotional time, but He longs to have constant intimacy, communion, and relationship with us all throughout the day.
May I encourage you to go spend time with Jesus today? You don’t have to start with three hours, but perhaps start with setting aside 30 minutes and use the time to wait upon the Lord (see Psalm 46:10 and Isaiah 40:31).
Cheering you deeper into intimacy and communion with our Lord and King!