"When a man is speaking to God he is at his very acme (acme is the highest point; summit; peak). It is the highest activity of the human soul, and therefore it is at the same time the ultimate test of a man's true spiritual condition. There is nothing that tells the truth about us as Christian people so much as our prayer life. Everything we do in the Christian life is easier than prayer. It is not so difficult to give alms...you can have a true spirit of philanthropy in people who are not Christian at all...The same applies also to the question of self-discipline-refraining from certain things and taking up particular duties and tasks. God knows it is very much easier to preach like this from the pulpit than it is to pray. Prayer is undoubtedly the ultimate test, because a man can speak to others with greater ease than he can speak to God. Ultimately, therefore, a man discovers the real condition of his spiritual life when he examines himself in private, when he is alone with God...have we not all known what it is to find that, somehow, we have less to say to God when we are alone than when we are in the presence of others? It should not be so; but it often is. So that it is when we have left the realm of activities and outward dealings with other people, and are alone with God, that we really know where we stand in a spiritual sense, it is not only the highest activity of the soul, it is the ultimate test of our spiritual condition."
O the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God,
I commune as friend with friend
The outstanding characteristic of al the most saintly people that the world has ever known has been that they have not only spent much time in private prayer, but have also delighted in it...The more saintly the person, the more time such a person spends in conversation with God. Thus it is a vital and ail important matter...
This has been true in the experience of God's people throughout the centuries. We find it recorded in the Gospels that John the Baptist had been teaching his disciples to pray. They obviously had felt the need of instruction, and they had asked him...And John had taught how to pray. Our Lord's disciples felt exactly the same need... 'Lord, teach us how to pray.' Undoubtedly the desire arose in their hearts because they were conscious of this kind of natural, instinctive, initial difficulty of which we are all aware; but it must also have been greatly increased when they watched His own prayer life. They saw how He would arise 'a great while before dawn' and go up into the mountains to pray, and how He would spend whole nights in prayer. And sometimes, I have no doubt; they said to themselves, 'What does He talk about? What does He do?' They may have also thought, 'I find after a few minutes in prayer that I come to the end of my words. What is it that enables Him to be drawn out in prayer? What is it that leads to this ease and abandonment?' 'Lord,' they said, 'teach us how to pray.' They meant by this... 'We wish we knew God as You know Him. Teach us how to pray.' Have you ever felt that? Have you never felt dissatisfied with your prayer life, and longed to know more and more what it is truly to pray? If you have, it is an encouraging sign."
-From Martyn Lloyd-Jones's Writings A First Book Of Daily Readings Selected by Frank Cumbers Published by Eerdmans Publishers Grand Rapids, Ml 1970 Pages 59, 68.