Sayfadaki görseller

Wherein do untrained natural prayer instincts fall short? Why are the prayers of a Christian often really pagan in character ?

What were the distinctive elements in Daniel's prayer? in the prayer of Ephesians 3: 14-19?

Can spasmodic and untrained prayer be unselfish?

How can prayer be trained ? What determines the limit of the development of prayer in any individual? For instance, what process is necessary to develop the turning of a prayer wheel into a prayer like Stephen's?


Prayer as Communion with God


First Day, Second Week

The thought of prayer as a natural function in human life ought to be of this practical service to us: it should keep us from yielding too easily to disbelief or discouragement when we have difficulty with prayer in our individual experience. At least, so one of the psalmists felt.

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the

words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou answerest not;
And in the night season, and am not silent.
But thou art holy,
O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
Our fathers trusted in thee:
They trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
They cried unto thee, and were delivered:
They trusted in thee, and were not put to shame.

-Psalm 22: 1-5.

with prayer.

Note the three troubles which this psalmist has been having

He cannot make God seem real to him; his prayer brings him no relief in his difficulties; and even persistency in prayer accomplishes nothing. Then he remembers that prayer is not something with which he, for the first time in history, is experimenting. “Our fathers trusted in thee ... and thou didst deliver them.” He sees that the accumulating testimony of his fathers in all ages bears witness to the power of prayer. He therefore sensibly concludes

that he would better not pit a few months of individual failure in praying against the general experience of the race. In view of what prayer has meant to all peoples, he sees that probably the trouble is with himself and not with prayer. He sets himself therefore to understand prayer if he can, and in the 22nd verse of the Psalm, he begins the recital of the victorious outcome: “I will declare thy name unto my brethren: In the midst of the assembly will I praise thee." May God make us as sensible as this psalmist and give us as real a triumph!

no end.

O God, who art, and wast, and art to come, before whose face the generations rise and pass away; age after age the living seek Thee, and find that of Thy faithfulness there is

Our fathers in their pilgrimage walked by Thy guidance, and rested on Thy compassion; still to their children be Thou the cloud by day, the fire by night. In our manifold temptations, Thou alone knowest and art ever nigh: in sorrow, Thy pity revives the fainting soul; in our prosperity and ease, it is Thy Spirit only that can wean us from our pride and keep us low. O Thou sole Source of peace and righteousness! take now the veil from every heart; and join us in one communion with Thy prophets and saints who have trusted in Thee, and were not ashamed. Not of our worthiness, but of Thy tender mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.James Martineau (1805-1900).

Second Day, Second Week

Let us consider this week some of the practical reasons for our failure to make the most out of our power to pray. To that end read these verses representing two aspects of the Master's life:


We must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no can work. -John 9:4.

In the morning, a great while before day, he rose up and went out, and departed into a desert place, and there prayed.—Mark 1:35.

Which of these two emphases in the Christian life do we appreciate the better? Is it not clear that all the charac

teristic enthusiasms of our day cluster around work? In the churches, service is the popular note, and the favorite hymns are “The Son of God goes forth to war," "Soldiers of Christ arise," and their kind. Our failure in prayer is partly due to the prevailing temper of our generation, which in its splendid enthusiasm for work has neglected that culture of prayer, on which in the end the finest quality of spirit and the deepest resources of power must depend. Is not this one reason why keen observers note that our generation is marked by practical efficiency and spiritual shallowness? May we not hope to keep in ourselves the best gains of this efficient age and at the same time recover the “practice of the presence of God”?

Almighty Father, enter Thou our hearts, and so fill us with Thy love, that, forsaking all evil desires, we may embrace Thee, our only good. Show unto us, for Thy mercies' sake, O Lord our God, what Thou art unto us. Say unto our souls, I am thy salvation. So speak that we may hear. Our hearts are before Thee; open Thou our ears; let us hasten after Thy voice, and take hold on Thee. Hide not Thy face from us, we beseech Thee, O Lord. Enlarge Thou the narrowness of our souls, that Thou mayest enter in. Repair the ruinous mansions, that Thou mayest dwell there. Hear us, O Heavenly Father, for the sake of Thine only Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.-St. Augustine (354-430).

Third Day, Second Week

Failure to cultivate our power of prayer goes back in many to childish ideas of prayer's meaning, which, never altogether outgrown, hamper us and make our praying seem unreasonable and futile. There are some who still think of prayer in terms of childish supplications to a divine Santa Claus. Let us note the two aspects of truth set forth in these two passages :

And he sat down, and called the twelve; and he saith unto them, If any man would be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all. And he took a little child, and set

him in the midst of them: and taking him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such little children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever receiveth me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.Mark 9:35-37

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things.—I Cor. 13:11.

When Christ sets as our ideal the childlike qualities of sincerity and humility, he is not asking us to be childish. Many foolish prayers are offered by the well-meaning but unintelligent with the excuse that they are childlike in their simple trust. But we are grown-up children, and have an obligation to exercise our intelligence, to outgrow infantile ideas of prayer that belittle it, and to enlarge our conceptions of the significance which fellowship with God may have for life. To pray to God as though he were Santa Claus is childish; but a man may still be childlike in his faith and range up into another sort of praying :

“Thou Life within my life, than self more near,
Thou Veiled Presence infinitely clear;
From all illusive shows of sense I fee
To find my center and my rest in Thee.”

O Heavenly Father, the Author and Fountain of all truth, the bottomless Sea of all understanding, send, we beseech Thee, Thy Holy Spirit into our hearts, and lighten our understandings with the beams of Thy heavenly grace. We ask this, O merciful Father, for Thy dear Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.-Bishop Ridley (1500-1555).

Fourth Day, Second Week

Childishness in prayer is chiefly evidenced in an overweening desire to beg things from God, and a corresponding failure to desire above all else the friendship of God himself. The same growth ought to take place in our relationship with God which occurs in a normal fellowship between a child and his parents. At first the child wants the parents' gifts, and thinks of the parents largely in terms of the things which

« ÖncekiDevam »