You need time in God’s presence to study and pray

For many years I have loved this quote about Hudson Taylor the famous missionary pioneer (I recently re-read it here),

To him, the secret of overcoming lay in daily, hourly fellowship with God; and this, he found, could only be maintained by secret prayer and feeding upon the Word through which He reveals Himself to the waiting soul. 

It was not easy for Mr Taylor to make time for prayer and Bible study, but he knew that it was vital. Well do the writers remember travelling with him month after month in northern China, by cart and wheelbarrow, with the poorest of inns at night. Often with only one large room for [laborers] and travelers alike, they would screen off a corner for their father and another for themselves, with curtains of some sort; and then, after sleep at last had brought a measure of quiet, they would hear a match struck and see the flicker of candlelight which told that Mr Taylor, however weary, was poring over his little Bible in two volumes always at hand. From two to four A.M. was the time he usually gave to prayer; the time when he could be most sure of being undisturbed to wait upon God. That flicker of candlelight has meant more to them than all they have read or heard on secret prayer; it meant reality, not preaching but practice.

The hardest part of a missionary career, Mr Taylor found, is to maintain regular, prayerful Bible study.Satan will always find you something to do, he would say, when you ought to be occupied about that, if it is only arranging a window blind. 

Howard Taylor, from, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret.