True prayer is the language of an earnest soul breathing after God, and a knowledge of his will. The praying spirit is a search for the presence of God, and a continued craving for a conscious blessing from Him. “ Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not thyself from my supplication.” “O Lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee; let my prayer come before thee; incline thine ear unto my cry; for my soul is full of troubles.” “Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness; thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.” These are the cries of a dependent, trusting, and enriched heart. They show the natural disposition of troubled man to fly to God for succor and relief.
Man has always prayed. He cannot help it. He is made so. His prayers may not always be prompted by the right motive, nor couched in acceptable phraseology, nor offered in the proper spirit. “Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss.” But man will pray. He must pray. The very nature of his earthly life demands prayer. He may rebel against his environments, scoff at the necessity for supplication, for years neglect his duty, yet sooner or later, secretly or openly, he will call upon a higher power for that aid which earthly help can not render.
There is no substitute for prayer. Praise is excellent, and good works are noble, but prayer is indispensable. “Ask and ye shall receive,” has its counterpart in, Ask not and ye shall receive not. The prayerless life is a barren life. Jesus said: “Men ought always to pray.” He set a glorious example ” Sit ye here while I go and pray yonder.” His human life was the grandest life ever lived, yet It was a life of conscious dependence upon God, and constant supplication for His aid and blessing.
Prayer is successful when offered in faith and with obedience. No man can expect God to bless him while conscious of willful and unrepented sin. “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” “If I regard (cherish) iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Man knows that his heart must be emptied of Satan, if it is to be filled with God. Just in proportion as his life is straight and pure, will his trust take hold upon the Infinite. “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Mark you, “a righteous man.” An unrighteous man may pray much and avail little.
Whatever tends to encourage the praying habit, should be itself encouraged. That a carefully selected list of incidents and statements, showing the beauty, power and success of prayer, will in itself encourage further devotion, we most candidly believe. Such a list is to be found in the following pages. Every incident may not be in complete harmony with the exact facts. Scientific accuracy is impossible, in gleaning so large a fund of matter from so many and varied sources. Yet the collection as a whole is both creditable and credible. It shows diligence and painstaking care on the part of the author, and illustrates unmistakably the efficacy and utility of true prayer. Let the book be widely read, and let us hope that every reader may receive an abundant blessing while he peruses these attractive pages.
JAMES H. POTTS.
Editorial Rooms of the
“Michigan Christian Advocate,” Detroit, Mich.