“when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words:” (MatT. 6: 8).
There is but one Lord of the future, and therefore our only real and lasting control of the future is through prayer. The modern world is lapsing into complete forgetfulness of this fact. In the words of Hugh Redwood:- “Where has Christ come in up to now? So far as official records show, His name, in all these anxious weeks, has never once been mentioned. There is no ground for supposing that of all the international talks any one was opened with prayer, or that prayer for help in the cause of peace was ever marked a Cabinet meeting.” “The wicked shall be turned into hell - [i.e., Heb. ‘Sheol’= Gk. ‘Hades’ – the place of the dead in the underworld. See Gen. 37: 35; Lk. 16: 19: 31; Ps. 16: 8-11. cf. Acts 2: 27, 31.] - and all the nations that forget God” (Ps. 9: 17).
* * *
A day of really national prayer can
be extraordinarily effective the moment it is officially decided upon by a
nation. Mr. G. C. Cossar points out in the Christian
(Feb. 15, 1940) that on July 17, 1918, the then Prime Minister (Mr. Lloyd
George) announced in the House of Commons that August 4 would be a National Day
of Intercession. Count Hertling, ex-Chancellor of
* * *
“I want you to spend fifteen minutes every day praying for foreign missions,” said a leader of God’s people to his young folk. “But beware how you pray, for I warn you that it is a very costly experiment.” “Costly?” they asked in surprise. “Aye, costly,” he cried. “When Carey began to pray for the conversion of the world, it cost him himself, and it cost those who prayed with him very much. Brainerd prayed for the dark-skinned savages, and after two years of blessed work it cost him his life. Be sure it is a dangerous thing to pray in earnest for this work; you will find that you cannot pray and withhold labour, or pray and withhold your money; nay, that your very life will no longer be your own when your prayers begin to be answered.”
* * *
TRIUMPH OVER TRAGEDY
… After an exceptionally hard year, my children fell sick. The oldest one developed double pneumonia with a temperature of 105. 5! Almost too late, we managed to get a doctor. But my child was so near to death, the doctor had no hope of recovery. A nurse was sent out, too. They did their best, but we could see they never expected the child to live. This was on Good Friday morning. Saturday night the child lay as dead; so ghastly he looked, my heart almost stopped in dread. As I stood at the bedside there came over me suddenly and queerly a strange impulse to test the truth of prayer to Christ. Never before had I had so strange and strong a feeling. I made the nurse lie down while I watched beside my child. Then I knelt at the bedside, put my hands gently on that hot tossing little head, and prayed. I asked that my child might be allowed to live. I told Jesus that I wanted to believe in Him. I asked Him to help me believe. I told Him I had faith in His existence, His love and His power in spite of all that had happened to me. And thus I prayed, earnestly and quietly.
Then I went to the bedside of my second child and prayed. After that I sat quietly beside the bed of my dying child. This was about midnight. Strangely enough, not for a single instant did I doubt that Christ had heard - a feeling I cannot explain to you came over me. It was as though some divine presence were within me, pacifying my mind and heart. My husband came into the room, and the tears ran down his cheeks as he looked at our little lad. He sobbed. “He is dying, look at him.” And I replied, “He is going to live, pray for him.” My husband went on his knees and said, “Jesus Christ, let him live.” That’s all. When the nurse returned, my husband and I went to lie down.
At 9 a.m. Sunday morning she called us into the room. She was astounded! Our child’s temperature suddenly dropped to normal and each hour he got stronger. When the doctor came he was speechless! “Remarkable! Wonderful!” he kept saying. In three days my child fought us with an amazing strength to get out of bed and play! To-day he is running about healthier and stronger than I have ever known him to be. So is the other child. Each time the doctor sees them in the street he passes remarks on their marvellous recovery. No one over expected the oldest child of mine to live, so near to death he was. Some refer to it as sheer luck; others, as a proof that the “trash” (meaning the poor) can live through anything. And my own belief? That Jesus Christ heard and answered me. That through the suffering of my own child, He revealed Himself to me. Something has happened to me that I cannot explain. Life has a new meaning.
* * *
PRAYER THAT PREVAILS
Seek entirely to depend on God for everything. Put yourself and your work into His hands. When thinking of any new undertaking, ask, “Is this agreeable to the mind of God? Is it for His glory?” If it is not for His glory, it is not for your good, and you must have nothing to do with it. Mind that! Having settled that a certain course is for the glory of God, begin it in His name, and continue it to the end. Undertake it in prayer and faith, and never give up! Pray, pray, pray! Do not regard iniquity in your heart. If you do, the Lord will not hear you. Keep that before you always. Then trust in God. Depend only on God. Wait on Him. Believe on Him. Expect great things from Him. Faint not if the blessing tarries. Pray, pray, pray! And, above all, rely only on the merits of our ever-adorable Lord and Saviour, that, according to His infinite merits, and not your own, the prayers you offer and the work you do will be accepted.
- GEORGE MULLER.
* * *
A LAST PRAYER
These lines were written in the autumn of 1892 shortly before the Poet’s death.
Steel me with patience, soften me with grief,
Let blow the trumpet strongly while I pray,
Till this embattled wall of unbelief
My prison, not my fortress - fall away,
Then, if Thou willest, let my day be brief,
So Thou wilt strike Thy glory thro’ the day.
‑ ALFRED TENNYSON.
* * *
The Ford factory at Dagenham is pitched on land bought, many years ago, by a Member of Parliament Mr. John Ward. Among his papers was found this prayer:-
“O Lord, Thou knowest I have
mine estates in the City of
THE PRAYER HOUR
Meet weekly, at a convenient hour. Be regular in attendance. Let nothing keep you from your meeting. Pray
in secret before going. Let your prayers
in the meeting be formed as much as possible upon what you have read in the
Bible. You will thus learn variety of
petition, and a Scriptural style. Pray that you may pray to God, and not for
the ears of man. Feel His presence
more than man’s. Pray for the outpouring of the Spirit on the
- ROBERT MURRAY McCHEYNE.
* * *
“No matter how much we pray, the command to ‘pray without ceasing’ is always just ahead of us. Every earnest, believing act of intercession affects the situation towards which it is directed so vitally as to create a new situation”
- G. S. STEWART.
* * *
PRAYER IN EXTREMIS
We were once in a mission
- - C. H. PRIDGEON.
* * *
“…You pray,” - “FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM.”
O’er all God’s creations in heaven above,
O’er all on the earth below;
As wide as the universe, broad as His love
His kingdom extendeth, we know.
The kings of the earth shall acknowledge His Reign;
Shall see that their strivings against Him are vain!
“And the Power.”
Unlimited power is His to command!
The winds and the waves must obey.
His law is a force which no foe can withstand;
They fall, though in battle array!
Their armies are crushed when He moves in His might,
And powers of darkness are scattered in flight!
“And the Glory.”
The glory is Thine, O Thou God of all grace,
Thy wisdom and strength never fail.
Thy mercy and love we can everywhere trace;
The truths of Thy Word shall prevail.
For man, sinful man, is redeemed from the Fall;
All glory to Thee! Thou art God over all!
Unchangeable God! Thou art ever the same:
For ever Thy truth shall abide.
Though mountains remove, we can trust in Thy name;
Trust Thee, as our God and our guide.
For ever the same Thine unchangeable love;
With Thee, we shall dwell in bright mansions above!
Our Father! Amen. Do Thou help us to live,
To live in this world as we pray.
Forgive, Lord! forgive, as we also forgive;
Give strength to our conflicts each day.
Amen, and Amen! Let us triumph o’er sin;
O’er temptations without, and temptations within!
- JOHN M. MORSE.
* * *
MAXIMS ON PRAYER
By ARTHUR T. PIERSON, D.D.
1. Before making definite choice of an object in prayer consider well whether the Spirit of all prayer lays it as burden on your heart. That being clear, “pray without ceasing”, till you have the answer, or, at least, the assurance of answer.
2. Those who deliberately choose for themselves the part of supplicator and intercessor will study to meet all the conditions of a true channel of blessing, removing all known obstacles either to the inflow or outflow of the Holy Spirit’s fullness. All privileges have their price.
3. Prayer is the very breath of piety. There is therefore no surer index of what you are spiritually, than what, in your inmost self, you most desire and yearn for; and of this the true prayer habit is the natural and necessary expression.
4. “Come boldly unto the throne of grace.” The rent veil has opened to all believers the way to the mercy seat. God is more willing to answer than we are to ask. Let us not interpret beseeching as though it were besieging. We have only to ask and receive.
5. Believers have never reached the limits to the possibilities of prayer. Whatever has been attained or achieved has touched but the fringe of the garment of a prayer-hearing God. We honour the riches, both of his power and love, only by large demands.
6. Do not measure the blessing of prayer by feelings. When you feel least like praying you need it most. Satan uses discouragement and despondency to break up habits of supplication; but a traveller might as well give way to drowsiness and inaction when in danger of freezing!
7. Prayer is an all-inclusive duty. The injunction to “pray” is, at least, a sevenfold command: it means “Acquaint thyself with God,” “Keep thyself in his love,” “Study to show thyself approved unto God,” “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” “Walk by faith, not by sight,” “Be anxious for nothing,” and be a co-worker together with him.
True prayer is seeking first the
9. There is a great advantage in united prayer, it makes intercession more unselfish. We are prone to give undue emphasis to what personally affects us and our narrow circle of sympathies and interests. To join with other devout souls in prayer enlarges its range and scope and refines its spirit.
10. God uses intercessory prayer to comfort and sustain others in great crises. A missionary being reproached for “burying himself in China”, calmly responded that he always felt, in any danger or difficulty, “the prayers of two thousand converts holding him up”.
11. A prayerless disciple is an obstacle in the way both of God and man. The barrier to the conversion of men may, in God’s sight, be found not more in their evil hearts of unbelief than in the unbelief of his own children who have no grip on his promises or power.
12. Time is not a necessary factor in prayer. Yet it is necessary to take time to pray. A ruffled lake cannot reflect the starry heavens, and a disturbed and restless soul gets little vision of God. We need to wait before him, get calm and quiet. Then when we realize his presence, praying becomes natural, as the child asks of his father who is before him.
13. There are Scriptural terms of prayer, mainly seven: abandonment of known sin, a forgiving spirit, unwavering faith, spirituality of motive, in Jesus’ name according to the will of God, and importunity. Compare Psalm 66: 18; Mark 11: 25 ; James 1: 6, 7; 4; 3; John 14: 13, 14; 1 John 5: 14, 15 ; Luke 18: 1.
14. Keep before you the grand leading promises to the prayerful; God’s immediate help, the possibilities of faith, and of abiding union with Christ, God’s infinite power and riches in glory, rest from anxious cares, and the special promise to those who are in agreement. Compare Isaiah 65: 24; Mark 9: 23; John 16: 27; Ephesians 3: 20; Philippians 4: 6, 7, 19 and Matthew 18: 19.
15. Be encouraged by Scriptural examples of intercession such as that of
O thou hearer of prayer, thyself “teach us to pray” show us that path of the life which leads straight up the shining way to the throne of grace, and develop in us this crowning grace of intercession. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
A correspondent writes:- “I will be 72 in June, and at 72 I can’t have very long to go. Do you consider that it would be profitable both for now and for eternity to cease from business and resolutely devote say one to two hours forenoon and the same in the afternoon to prayer and intercession?
In the Bible of the late Thomas E. Stephens, the founder of the Great Commission Prayer League, these words are written: - “On Saturday morning, August 3, 1918, I was deeply impressed with the following sentences which I read in R. E. McAdam’s little leaflet entitled Maxims on Prayer, as I rode to the office: ‘No praying man or woman accomplishes so much with so little expenditure of time as when he or she is praying. If there should arise, it has been said - and the words are surely true to the thought of the Lord Jesus Christ in all his teaching on prayer - if there should arise one utterly believing man, the history of the world might be changed. Will you not be that one in the providence and guidance of God our Father?
The foregoing burned itself into my very soul, and my heart immediately responded:- ‘Yes, Lord, utterly unworthy as I am, yet by thy grace, if this statement is indeed true, and if this is God’s call to me, I’ll be that one. I’ll let Him, the great Intercessor himself, be that one in me and through me. And I’ll give, and do now give, myself unreservedly to him for the one supreme work of intercession in the Holy Ghost. I do, Lord, all there is of me. Possess and use me utterly for this one great work - thy cleansed and hidden temple of intercession.’”
* * *
THE BLESSINGS OF PRAYER
Ding Li Mei (of whom Dr. J. R. Mott says those who know him best will tell you that the dynamic secret of his life is the central place which he gives to intercession) has enumerated the following ten out of the uncounted blessings which he himself has experienced in the practice of this habit:
1. I am so much with the Lord that he seems my closest Friend.
2. My spiritual life is refreshed like the sprouting grain with rain.
3. Justice, peace and joy constantly fill my soul as the light fills the heavens and I get uncommon strength.
4. When I study the Bible I seem to see Heaven opened, and realize that I am having communion of heart with Christ himself.
5. When I talk about the Gospel in private or in public I have an unshakable confidence that the hand of the Lord is supporting me.
6. My love has been steadily expanded until I now am conscious of no man in the universe whom 1 cannot love.
7. When I fall into sin, whether secret or open, whether great or small, I experience an immediate rebuke of conscience, which drives me at once to confession and repentance.
8. In all my work for the Lord, although the results are not alike evident or immediate, I do not know of any effort that has been in vain.
9. Intercessory prayer has greatly enlarged my circle of friends among God’s co-workers, and through the Lord’s kind care these friendships will never cease, but will continue to grow, thus far excelling the friendships of the world.
10. And best of all, I am not the only one who is trying to persevere in intercession. Others in my own and in other Christian organizations, both men and women, in church and school and ministry, have likewise been banded together in similar covenants of prayer these same twenty years. I am personally acquainted with not less than ten who have their individual lists for prayer besides the cycles prepared for the use of groups. They are unanimous in their testimonies to the blessings of this habit.
Intercessors who can bring the nations into touch with God at this juncture are the greatest asset they possess. No praying man or woman accomplishes so much with so little expenditure of time as when he or she is praying. If there are limitations, they are not in God, but in ourselves. It has been well said that “God is brooding over this unhappy world with a passion of love, with an infinitude of power. He is seeking with all the intensity of his nature to save and redeem man!” If only he might find some men or women who believe in that love, who believe in that power, who are prepared to count upon it, to depend upon it, to stake their all upon it, that love and power would be released in a marked degree for the redemption of the world. Shall we be among those men and women? “If there should arise,” it has been said - and the words are surely true to the thought of the Lord Jesus Christ – “one utterly believing man, the history of the world would be changed!”
- The Bible for
* * *
AN APPEAL TO OUR POLITICIANS FOR PRAYER*
[* What a contrast is this is to the thoughts, attitude and most recent practice of our British politicians today! Will they take to heart the godly advice and warning and repent? If not, then only grave circumstances must, in the near future, be expected to develop! – Ed.]
Mr. Sidney Collett has issued an appeal, copies of which have been sent
to all Members of Parliament, on the present grave situation. How solemnly (he says) the Word of God is
being verified:- “Ye cannot prosper
because ye have forsaken the Lord” (2 Chron. 24: 20). Oh, the anxiety, disappointment and shame we
might have been saved if we had but heeded the following gracious words of
Heavenly Wisdom:- “There is no King saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty
man is not delivered by much strength” (Psalm
33: 16). Therefore, “It is
better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put
confidence in Princes” (Psalm
118: 8 and 9), for “Except the Lord keep the city
the watchman waiteth but in vain” (Psalm
127: 1). Whenever
* * *
It is sometimes contended that the Sermon on the Mount is to be in force during the Millennial Reign of Christ. But we can gather from the Sermon itself the character of the age for which it is intended.
Corruption is widespread - for they are to act as salt for the preservation of society.
Moral darkness covers the people - for they are to be light in the world.
Mammon competes with God for the allegiance of men - for they are warned that it is not possible to serve both.
The Lord is absent - for they are fasting.
‘world-rulers of this darkness’ are in control; the
The contrast between the age to which the Lord spoke and the age of His Millennial Reign could not be set in sharper contrast, nor can we fail to recognize in it the characteristics of our own.
- C. F. HOGG.
* * *
at the wealth of Christians in
- G. F. PENTECOST, D.D.
* * *
“Among the earliest traditions of the Church is a compound saying, ascribed to our Lord: “Ask for the great things, and the small shall be added unto you”; and “Ask for the heavenly things, and the earthly shall be added unto you.”* This is an echo of a recorded utterance of our Lord, made in the course of the Sermon on the Mount: “Seek ye first His Kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things [the things of daily need] shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6: 33). The order is that of the Lord’s Prayer, in which the Name, the Kingdom, and the Will of our Heavenly Father, come before the detailing of human needs as to bodily sustenance, spiritual pardon, and moral protection.
* Handed down by Origen. See Ropes, art. “Agrapha,” in Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible, extra vol., p. 349.
Manifestly the strength and comfort of disciples of Christ are involved, and that in no small degree, in the appropriation of this Divine lesson. And assuredly we may conclude that, styled as it has rightly been, “a regulator by which all ages should set their devotions,” the Prayer not only points the true sequence of petitions such as God will approve, but also expresses in acceptable words the common desires and continual requirements of all who pray “Thy Kingdom come.”