2005-04-26 - A Lesson on Prayer
Matthew 14:23, "And after He had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone."
It was the habit of Christ to get alone by Himself and pray to His Father. Scripture gives numerous instances of this. Two more examples can be found in Mark 1:35 and Luke 5:16. It is a good example for us to emulate. We ought to set aside time, get alone and pray. I remember reading of an old divine who walked in his study as he prayed. He walked the same path, back and forth, and after many years he had walked that course so much in his study, that he had worn a deep crevice into the wood floor.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, we are admonished to "Pray without ceasing." I would like to reproduce a short story here that is fairly old. It holds a great lesson on how to pray without ceasing. If you take some time and think about it, there are lessons here that go beyond prayer.
A number of ministers were assembled for the discussion of difficult questions; and among others, it was asked, how the command to "pray without ceasing" could be complied with. Various suppositions were started, and at length, one of the number was appointed to write an essay upon it, to be read at the next meeting. Which being overheard by a female servant, she exclaimed, "What! a whole month waiting to tell the meaning of that text? It is one of the easiest and best texts in the Bible." "Well, well!" said an old minister. "Mary, what can you say about it? Let us know how you understand it. Can you pray all the time?" "Oh, yes sir!" "What! When you have so many things to do?" "Why, sir, the more I have to do, the more I can pray." "Indeed! Well, Mary, do let us know how it is; for most people think otherwise."
"Well, sir," said the girl, "when I first open my eyes in the morning I pray, 'Lord, open the eyes of my understanding. While I am dressing, I pray that I may be clothed with the robe of righteousness, and when I have washed, I ask for the washing of regeneration. And, as I begin to work, I pray that I may have strength equal to my day. When I begin to kindle up the fire, I pray that God's work may revive in my soul, and as I sweep out the house, I pray that my heart may be cleansed from all its impurities. While preparing and partaking of breakfast, I desire to be fed with the hidden manna and the sincere milk of the word, and as I am busy with the little children, I look up to God as my Father, and pray for the spirit of adoption, that I may be His child, and so on all day. Every thing I do furnishes me with a thought for prayer."
"Enough, enough," cried the old divine: "these things are revealed to babes, and often hid from the wise and prudent. Go on, Mary," he said, "pray without ceasing; and as for us, brethren, let us bless the Lord for this exposition, and remember that He has said, 'The meek will He guide in judgment.'" After this little event, the essay was not considered necessary.
There is a lot we could say here, but I think I will let you draw the inferences for yourself. Rather, I would like to lighten it up a bit and end with a funny antidote on prayer. "Pa," asked a little boy, "does the Lord know every thing?" "Yes, my son," replied the father; "but why do you ask that question?" "Because," replied the boy, "our preacher, when he prays, is so long telling Him every thing, I thought He wasn't posted."
Soli Deo Gloria,