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PRAYER 



Jart-K 




THIRD BDITION 

16th 'Thousand 



1906 

Published by Fred. Kelker 

p. O. BOX 216, HARRISBURG, PA. 
U. S. A. 






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Copyright, 1905 

BY FRED. KELKER 

Harrisburg, Pa. 



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This hook is sent you free, li will also be sent 
free to the address of any friend whom you believe 
it would help. The only fund for its circulation 
is the voluntary offerings of its readers who may 
desire to join us in passing it on to others. 

Such free-will offerings will be gratefully re- 
ceived and applied to the printing, postage and 
distribution of this book and kindred literature. 



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I. 

THE CALL TO PRAYER. 



"Pray k-"— Matt. 9:38. 

* * * * 

The Word of the Father is a call to Prayer. 

Everywhere in His Word God calls His chil- 
dren to the prayer life. "Ask, and ye shall re- 
ceive." "And He spake a parable unto them that 
men ought always to pray and not to faint." 
"Pray, that ye enter not into temptation." "En- 
ter into thy closet, shut the door and pray to thy 
Father." "After this manner therefore pray ye." 
"Pray ye the Lord of the Harvest." "Pray with- 
out ceasing." "Brethren, pray for us." "I will 
therefore that men pray." "Is any afflicted, let 
him pray." 

* * * * 

The example of the Son is a Call to Prater. 

Christ's earthly life was one of unceasing 
prayer. He prayed at His baptism. He prayed 
before sending out His disciples. He prayed at 
the grave of Lazarus. He prayed for Peter that 

his faith might not fail. He prayed on the Mount 



8 , PRAYER. 

of Transfiguration. He prayed when they would 
have made Him King. He prayed at the last 
supper. He prayed in Gethsemane. He prayed 
on the cross for His enemies. 

H Christ, the only sinless man who ever walked 
the earth, lived a life of constant communion 
with the Father through prayer, how much must 
we weak, fleshly, earth-bound mortals need it. 
And not only was His life here on earth one of 
unceasing prayer, but that now when He has 
ascended into the glory we are told "He ever 
liveth to make intercession." Though we may 
slumber, and forget, and grow careless In inter- 
cession, never in the almost two thousand years 
that have passed since He went up into the 
heavenlies, has He for one moment ceased to 
make intercession for His people and His King- 
dom. If Jesus tlie Son of God is living in the 
glory in ceaseless intercession, surely we poor 
earthlings dare not belittle nor disobey His call 

to us to live with Him the life of prayer. 

* * * * 

The Drawing 0*" the Spirit is a Call to Prayer. 
A godly railroad engineer was starting out 
with his train for the nightly run. The road on 
which he was running was single track, and at 
a point about mid-way of his trip he was to meet 
and pass another train. As his engine plunged 
fonyard into the inky darkness he b^an to think 
of the oncoming train. Straightway he found 
himself under a great burden of prayer for the 
safety of his crew and himself. Try as he would 



PRAY YB. 9 

he Gould not shake off the impression of danger 
nor the burden of prayer for deliverance from 
it. "Lord, care for us. Deliver us from any per- 
il that may be threatening us, though unseen," 
was his petition. All the way from his starting 
point to the first station, earnestly and trustfully 
he kept crying to God. Then the burden of sup^ 
plication changed to one of joy and assurance 
and he found himself singing as his train swept 
on. By and by he drew near to the point at 
which he was to pass the other train. To his 
surprise the signal for him to stop was not dis- 
played, but instead the white light of safety 
shone upon the track. Speeding on past the 
passing station a half hour's run brought him 
face to face with a glaring danger signal. Enter- 
ing the telegraph office he foimd the operator 
white with fear, and was greeted with the ques> 

tion, "Why did you not stop at A ?" naming^ 

the station at which he was to have met the other 
train. "Because there was no signal for me to do 

so," was his reply." "Well, H ," said the 

operator, "You have had a desperately narrow 
escape from death sure." And then the grateful 
engineer learned that the operator at the station 
where he was to have met the other train had 
fallen asleep, and failed to signal his train to 
stop ; that for a half hour the engineer had been 
running over a piece of track on which the othef 
train was long over-due; but that by a remark* 
able providence this latter train was delayed in 
starting long enough to prevent the deadly col- 



10 PRAY BR. 

lision which would otherwise have taken place. 
The same Spirit of God who foresaw the danger 
had laid upon the heart of His child the burden 
of prayer concerning it, and then in response to 
that petition had delivered him from it. 

Never disobey this drawing of the Spirit to 
prayer. It is a special call of God to the individ- 
ual who is conscious of it. ' God sees some peril, 
or great need, in the life or service of one of His 
own. He chooses some other child to cry to Him 
concerning it. Tremendous issues may hang up- 
on obedience to that call to prayer. Sad as any 
neglect of the call to prayer is, the failure to 
obey this one seems an especial abuse of the g^ace 
of God who has honored us by choosing us as His 
intercessors in such a crisis. Wherefore when 
you find in your heart this subtle drawing of the 
Spirit to prayer, steal away and pray it out with 
God. Some day, even if not in this life, you will 
see what it meant to God's Kingdom, to some 
dear friend in need, and to your own spiritual 

life. 

* * * * 

Bvery Need is a Call to Prayer. 

"For He shall deliver THE NEEDY."— Ps. 72: 12. 

"It is the needy whom God hears in Prayer. To 
approach the throne of an eastern king with a 
petition, one must needs bear costly gifts to win 
his favor. But ours is a God of grace. "Like 
as a father pitieth his children^ so the Lord piti- 
eth them that fear Him." He asks no gift of 
gold or gems. But bending down to us in infi- 



PRAY YB. II 

nite love He says : "My child how needy are you? 
What heavy burden is upon you? What grievous 
sorrow is darkening your faith? What fear of 
future ill is shadowing your pathway ? What 
spiritual thirst do you want slaked ? What bar- 
renness of soul enriched? How hungry, how 
helpless, how faint, how hopeless are you ? What 
do you need this hour? For I will deliver the 
needy." And so the very need that burdens, dis- 
pirits and perplexes us is at once the condition 
and pledge of His blessing. God's clouds pour 
refreshing showers upon the sun-parched fields 
because of their need. God's sun quickens the 
seed, feeds the plant, and paints the flower be- 
cause of need. "He shall deliver the needy * * 
and him that hath no helper." Have you reached 
a crisis in life where the gloom is so dense, the 
guidance so uncertain, the burden so heavy, that 
you have come to the end of all your own re- 
sources? You have studied and planned, striven 
and sought, until baffled at every turn you sink 
in utter defeat and moan, "There is no help 
for me ; I must give up the fight." a Then under- 
stand that you are just the man God is looking 
for — just the one who is ripe for deliverance — 
just the special individual to whom His promise 
is made. "For He shall deliver the needy * * and 
him that hath no helper." Do not be too afraid 
of getting into the spot where you have no help- 
er, for that is the spot where, like Jacob, you will 
meet a delivering God. Do not be too anxious to 
be free from needs, unless you want to be free 



12 PRAY BR. 

from prayer-power. Accept them just as God 
sends them or permits them. The moment you 
come to a need, remember also that you have 
come to a promise. "He shall deliver the 
needy." To miss a need may be to miss a 
miracle. As soon as one appears in your life, do 
not begin to worry because it is there, but praise 
God because it is to be supplied. 
"For He shall deliver the needy when he 

CRIETH." 

It is not enough for the soul to be in need. 
The soul must also cry unto God. Need alone 
is the begetter of despair. But need with crying 
is the birth-place of prayer. The very distresses 
the soul is in are the birth-throes of such prayer. 
"In my distress I cried unto the Lord." As out 
of our sorrow we weep, and out of joy, smile, so 
God means that out of our need we should cry 
to Him. He does not say He will deliver the 
needy when he frets, and worries, and schemes 
— ^there is no promise for that — but when *he 
cries. Are you daily crying to God? Is prayer 
the instinctive habit of your soul in need? In 
distress is the first impulse of your soul to brood? 
or to cry? Yield not to that, but to this. For 
that is begotten of the flesh; this bom of God. 
The instant your soul begins to fed the stress 
of a need, fly to prayer as you would to the well 
in thirst, or the loaf in hunger. The sign at the 
railroad crossing is "Stop, look and listen !" So 
God's sign, set up the moment a need crosses 
your life's pathway is, cry I ' 



I 

PRAY YB. 13 

When trouble comes, then "Call upon me in the 
day of trouble." Ps. 1:15. When in distress, 
then "In my distress I cried Unto my God." Ps. 
18 ; 6. When conscious of weakness, helplessness 
and poverty, then "This poor man cried and the 

Lord heard * * and saved." Ps. 34:6. 

* *- * * 

Every Anxiety is a Call to Prayer. 

Why does our Lord admonish us here against 
anxiety? And why does He set prayer over 
against it and warn us : — Be anxious in nothing, 
but in all things — ^pray? 
^Because Anxiety hinders our Faith in God. 

For faith is simply looking unto Jesus. It is 
the helpless, needy, tempted soul, conscious of 
its own weakness and utter inability to cope with 
the difficulties all about it, and therefore looking 
away from all these things to God alone as its 
source of strength and deliverance. Faith thus 
looks to God. But anxiety looks to things. Anx- 
iety turns the soul's gaze away from God to the 
circumstances about us. It causes us to plan and 
brood about the multitude of things wljich seek 
to harass us. In so doing we get our eyes off of 
God. And this is to lose the attitude of faith. 
When we look to God, we trust. When we look 
to things, and circumstances, and surroundings, 
we g^ow anxious. "The beginning of anxiety 
is the end of faith," says Andrew Murray. When 
we begin to g^row anxious faith languishes. "My 
eyes are ever unto the Lord, and He will pluck 
my feet out of the net," says the wise Psalmist. 



14 PRAYER. 

So long as he keeps looking unto God, God will 
take care of the nets and pitfalls which are spread 
in his pathway. This is the walk of faith. But 
when he himself begins to try to manage the nets 
and pitfalls, and look away from God he begins 
to be filled with anxious care, and this is ruinous 
to faith. 

Anxiety hinders the Power of God. 
For faith is the channel through which God's 
power is poured out upon His children, and in 
taking us out of the attitude of faith anxiety clogs 
the downflow of God's power and blessing into 
our lives. Witness the hindering of Christ's pow- 
er at Nazareth. We are told that "He could 
there do no mighty works." And in the literal 
rendering of this sentence the truth is still more 
Striking: — "He was there not able to do any 
mighty work." What was it that the Son of God 
could not do, and why could He not do it ? Why 
was it that He was hindered and baffled in His 
desire to do the mighty deeds, as was His wont, 
here at His own Home? The answer of the 
Word reveals the secret — "Because of their un- 
belief." There was something in them that hin- 
dered Him. For there is a condition upon our 
side to Christ's doing mighty deeds for us, and 
that is that we be in the attitude of faith. Any- 
thing which hinders that faith hinders Christ's 
work. If we are not looking to Him and trust- 
ing in Him, the channel through which His pow- 
er flows to us is closed and He is not able to help 
us, even though He longs so to do. We wonder 



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PRAY YB. IS 

sometimes why God does not succor us in our 
straits. We fear He has left us to ourselves. We 
are grieved by the seeming hiding of His face. 
But we do not see that in allowing "The cares 
of this world" to possess us, we barricade the 
only pathway over which the power of God trav- 
els from heaven to earth to deliver His children. 
It is not that God is not willing to help us. He 
is always ready, yea, eager to do that. But He 
is not able to help us because anxiety had throt- 
tled faith, along which alone God is able to act 
in our behalf. 

Anxiety hinders the Peace of God. 
In hindering our faith, anxiety not only bars 
the power of God, but also the peace of God. 
For peace as well as power comes through faith. 
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind 
is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.*' 
Peace is here the "because" of trust. And when 
anxiety attacks trust it banishes peace. Peace 
is a gentle dove which sits and broods in restful 
quiet in the heart of the trustful soul. Anxiety 
is a fierce vulture which tears the heart of its 
victim with cruel beak zuid talon until he bleeds 
away his very life with anxious care. When the 
vulture of anxiety enters, the dove of peace takes 
flight. Since the anxiety hinders our faith in 
God, breaks the power of God and mars our faith 
in God, is it any wonder that ,God calls upon us 
to hasten to prayer as soon as anxiety looms 
upon our spiritual horizon? Every anxiety be- 
comes a prayer-signal from God. It is like the 



V5j? 



i6 PRAY BR. 

railroad man's red light. It flashes a warning 

of danger across our pathway. When anxious 

care begins to creep into our heart God cries out 

to us : "Stop ! You are going to lose your faith. 

You are going to shut off my power from your 

life. You are going to mar my peace in your 

soul. Beware! There is danger ahead. Fly to 

prayer. *Be anxious in nothing, but pray, and 

my peace shall keep your hearts free from this 

dread foe of anxious care.' " 

* * * * 

Every Temptation is a call to prayer. 
"Watch and pray that ye enter not into temp- 
tation." Matt. 26:41. What an awful trio of 
foes is arrayed against the Christian in tempta- 
tion. There is the world; the flesh; and the 
devil. The world — ^the foe about us : the adversary 
— the foe beside us: the flesh — ^the foe within 
us. All of these, combine in fierce assault upon 
the believer. Take first the World. How many 
of God's children are swept off their feet by the 
flood of Worldliness about them. They resist 
manfully the temptation to the greater sins. They 
shrink from blasphemy, profanity, or impurity. 
They would scorn the open allurements of the 
dram shop, or the house of shame. But myriads 
of them fall easy and unconscious victims to the 
ever present worldliness which is the subtlest en- 
emy of the church of Christ to-day. Then think 
of the power of Satan. How David fell a victim 
of his wiles. How Peter was charged by our 
lyord with being an instrument in Satan's hands 



PRAY YB. vj 

to try to lure Christ from the path of duty. How 
fierce was the same adversary's attack upon Job 
to draw him away from his God. On all sides 
we see multitudes going down in shameful de- 
feat before the Prince of Evil. No child of God 
in his Qwn strength is able for one instant to 
cope with this crafty foe. Only through Christ 
can he meet him. Dread foes indeed are these 
two — the world and the prince of this world. But 
almost more humiliating than either of these is ^ 
the foe within the fortress, — ^the Flesh. The out- 
ward enemies are bad enough, but when a traitor 
within betrays us the shame of defeat is but the 
greater. To feel the scorching breath of the 
tempter in his fierce onset; to know the swoon 
of the soul under the awful assault; and then 
above all to be conscious of that within ourselves 
which goes out toward sin and reveals to us the 
hideousness of the Flesh life; all this makes 
temptation an awful experience for the soul. And 
in it all there is but one resort. We must fly to 
our Lord in prayer. None else but Him has 
ever overcome this trinity of foes embattled 
against us. Only in His power, through prayer, 
can we prevail. And mark too that the soul needs 
to fly to Him immediately. Do not first try to 
meet the enemy in your own strength, and then 
call on Christ afterwards. Some argue thus: — 
"God helps those who help themselves. Do the 
best you can and then call on the Lord when you 
have failed." A beautiful lesson comes to us 
from Proverbs 30:26, concerning the danger of 



.!'rfM:i^x. 



i8 PRAYER. 

such a course. "The conies are a feeble folk, 
yet they make their houses in the rocks." The 
cony is a weak, timid little animal like our rabbit 
or hare. He has no means of defense in himself, 
so when his foes, the vulture or the eagle, come in 
sight the cony does not turn at bay and do all he 
can to defend himself ere he flees. If he did he 
would be torn to pieces in an instant by his fierce 
enemies of the air. Nay, the cony has learned a 
wiser course than this. He knows he is a "feeble 
folk." So he rushes straight to ^'The Rocks." 
He lets the rocks defend him without attempting 
any defence whatever in his own strength, which 
is but weakness. Likewise is it with us. We are 
a feeble folk. We are tio match against this 
triple alliance of the World, the Flesh and the 
Devil, in temptation. If we would seek to do 
'The best we can" in our own strength, we will 
soon go down in shameful defeat. Our only 
course is to learn the cony lesson ; to fly straight 
to our Rock, Christ Jesus, in prayer, and trust 
the Rock to keep us. 

3|C 3|C 3|C i|C 

Every vision of the world's Unsolvable Prob- 
lems is a Call to Prayer — Prayer for the com- 
ing of our Lord. 

"Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Rev. 22 : 20. 
Where is the Christian man or woman who 
has not suffered keenest agony from the vision of 
the unsolvable problems of this poor suffering 
World. You go forth to minister among lost 
men. You do all you can to better their sad 



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PRAY YE. tg 

estate. You point them to the Christ who taketh 
away the sin of the world. You show them the 
pathway of Hght in which they may walk. You 
counsel them in their perplexities, comfort them 
in sorrow, strengthen them in weakness. But 
when you have done your best, and given your- 
self, your time, your talent, your all, you are 
still face to face with problems which are utterly 
beyond your solution. You stand before them 
overwhelmed with the consciousness of your own 
utter helplessness. Your sympathy, your tears, 
your earnest desire to help, are of no avail. The 
keenest suffering of the servant of God comes 
from this vision, of the ills which he himself 
cannot in any way touch or lighten, much less 
banish from this poor world. There is Death. 
It enters the home and takes away the dearest 
object of our heart's affection. It fills the world 
with woe unspeakable. It breaks the tenderest 
ties that link human hearts in one. It spares 
not our closest flesh and blood. It is the last 
great enemy yet to be overcome. Before it the 
bodies of God's most devoted and faithful chil- 
dren, however busy and successful in His service, 
must go down into the darkness and corruption 
of the grave. Even the holiest yield this last 
tribute to its ravages. Then there is sin. What 
an awful enemy is here. Think of the broken 
hearts ; the wrecked lives ; the fathers and moth- 
ers who mourn over wayward sons and daugh- 
ers; the bleeding wounds that all time cannot 
heal; the burden of care and grief and shame, 



ff^f^.-- 



20 PRAYER. 

which has been piHng up since the first day when 
man broke the law of God and the sentence of 
death fell upon him for sin. Then we can point 
men to the blood which takes away the guilt of 
Sin. But what can we do with the problem of 
Sin in itself, and its existence here? 

Ag^in there is Satan. What a subtle and 
dreadful foe is he. He goeth about like a roaring 
lion, tempting, deceiving, devouring. How fierce 
are his onsets ; how terrible his power ; how cru- 
el and relentless his pursuit of the objects of his 
wrath and hatred. And then who shall banish 
cruel oppression? Who shall drive savage War, 
with all its horrors, from the face of the earth? 
Who shall stay the ravages of famine, pestilence, 
and disease ? Who shall free this sad world from 
murder, suicide, hatred, crime? We might al- 
most picture the aged John, in the lonely island of 
his exile, looking up toward his departed Lord 
and crying out in his sorrow : "Lord, I can en- 
dure thine own absence in the flesh, for I shall 
soon see Thee face to face. I can bear the sepa- 
ration from all I loved, for soon I shall be with 
them. I can endure the loneliness, the suffering, 
the sadness of it all, for soon my pilgrimage 
shall end and I shall pass into the glory. I can 
bear the scorn and contumely of men for these 
are but part of the tribulation Thou hast promised 
as my lot here upon earth. But alas for the moan 
of the world's agony which comes to me as the 
surge of the sea which breaks upon this lonely 
shore. Alas, O Lord, for the sorrow, and sin. 



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PRAY YB. 21 

and suffering which all our efforts cannot undo, 
all our sympathy cannot banish. What canst 
Thou do for these in our helplessness, O Lord ?" 
And can we not hear our Lord's whisper from 
the skies above, to His beloved disciple: — "I am 
coming, John, and when I come all these myster- 
ies shall be solved. When I, the Prince of Peace, 
shall come, wars shall cease. When I, to whom 
the Kingdom belongs, shall come, oppression shall 
end, for the Government shall be upon my shoul- 
ders and of the increase of righteousness and 
peace there shall be no end. When I come the 
power of Sin shall be broken. When I come the 
last enemy, Death, shall be put under my feet 
When I come Satan shall be bound in darkest 
dungeon. When I come the darkness shall flee 
away; the sorrowing shall be comforted; the 
meek exalted to reign ; the broken-hearted healed ; 
the glory of God fill the earth as the waters 
cover the sea." And with the vision of the 
glorious triumph of His coming Lord over the 
evil, and sin, and gloom, and pain, and of His 
triumphant solution of all those awful problems 
which well nigh break the heart of His children 
who serve Him here, is there any wonder that, in 
an ecstasy of joy at the blessed promise "Lo I 
come quickly," John should breathe the last great 
prayer of the Word of God : — 

"Even So, Come, Lord Jesus." 



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11. 

THE CERTAINTY OF PRAYER. 



"Every one * * receiveth." — Matt j-.j, 8, 1 1 ; Matt. 

6:8. 

* * * * 

As we hear the call of God and enter into the 
closet of prayer, the first g^eat truth with which 
He confronts us is that of the Certainty of 
Prayer as set forth in the words : — 

"every one that asketh receiveth/' 

Notice at the very outset that Christ does not 
say everyone that asketh receiveth the very thing 
he asks for. We read this into it, but Christ does 
not say it. For it is not true. 

It is not true in our experience. Many a time 
we have asked for things which we have not re- 
ceived. And often have we been sorely puzzled 
and made to stumble by the seeming clash be- 
tween this verse and our own failure to get every- 
thing for which we asked. Neither is it true in 
the Word of God. Notice how guarded our 
Lord is against saying, in this passage, that ev- 
eryone who asks receives the very thing he asks 
for. He does say, "Everyone that asks receives" 
— but there He stops. And "He that seeketh 
findeth" — ^but again He pauses. And why does 
He, in His wisdom, stop short of saying that 

23 



24 PRAYER. 

the asker receives the thing he asks for, and the 
seeker the very thing for which he seeks? Let 
us note in answering, that our Lord is here in- 
structing beginners in the prayer life. He is 
teaching the A B C of prayer. He is giving His 
first great lesson to those who sit upon the pri- 
mary benches in this great school of prayer. And 
the worst thing which could happen to a beginner 
in the prayer life would be to teach him that he 
would receive everything he asked for. 
How clear this is with the earthly child. Here 

comes the little one and asks papa for the knife, 

or the razor. He knows what he wants, but he 
does not know what is best; he does not know 
that these would mean mutilation and suffering 
for him. He asks all. amiss when he asks for 
them, and his father, knowing this, does not give 
them. To give a boy all the money he wants, 
just the companions he wants, and as little edu- 
cation as he wants, would be the surest way pos- 
sible to wreck his life. The most ruinous thing in 
the world is for a parent to give a son everything 
he desires. Some call that parental love, whereas 
it is only parental weakness mistaking indulgence 
for love. Real love, such as God's, gives not 
always what is wanted, but what is best We 
ought to be just as grateful to the God who does 
not give us everjrthing according to our will as 
we are to the God who does g^ve us ever)rthing 
according to His will. Is not that true in the life 
of your child at the be^nning? Is it not true in 
our life? What we want to have and what God 






BVERY ONE RECBIVETH. 25 

wants to give meet in beautiful harmony when we 
come to live our lives in the will of God. For 
then we desire only what God wills, and then God 
can and does give gladly to us "all things what- 
soever we desire." But at the beginning of our 
Christian life we are not thus wholly in the will 
of God. There is much of self-will and selfish 
desire in us, and it would be ruinous for God to 
give us everything we asked while our life was 
under the mastership of self. Thus it is that our 
Lord in His first great teaching of the truth of 
the prayer-life, while He does say that "Every- 
one that asks receives/' carefully guards Himself 
against saying that he always receives the thing 
he asks for. 

Observe also that Christ does not say 
anything about asking according to the 
will of God. He does not mention the 
great promise of John's Gospel, that 
if we ask an)rthing according to God's will we 
will get that very thing. Or that if we abide in 
Him, and He in us, we shall ask whatsoever we 
will and it shall be given. All this is true. But 
it is not what Christ is teaching here. It is not 
the truth for beginners in the life of supplication. 
And why ? Because a child whose receiving was 
conditioned upon always asking according to the 
will of his father or mother, would soon become 
discouraged thereat. He might well say, "If I 
can only receive from God when I know His 
will, then I cannot enter into the prayer-life.- 
For often God's will is a mystery, and often I 



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g^^r. 



26 PRAYER. 

come to God not knowing that will. And there- 
fore if prayer has blessing for me only when 1 am 
praying according to God's will, I am afraid it 
is not until I get to be a far more mature Chris- 
tian that I can begin to pray." What then is our 
Lord here teaching? Simply this, that 

Every one that asks receives — something. 

He is teaching the certainty of all prayer. He 
is teaching that not only the man who is asking 
according to the will of God receives the thing he 
asks for, but that every child of God who prays 
receives something in the place of prayer. He is 
teaching that all prayer brings blessing. In the 
profoundest sense there is no unanswered prayer. 
The closet of prayer is God's distributing sta- 
tion. He turns no one away empty-handed. En- 
tirely apart from the question of receiving the 
thing we ask for, there are general blessings in 
prayer which God gives to everyone who comes 
into the place of prayer. 

It is as though a little lad came to mamma and 
said, "Mamma, whenever I come to papa he does 
not always give me the thing I ask for, but he 
always gives me something. And he tells me to 
always come to him in my troubles and that he 
will always help." Now is not this just the lesson 
the beginner in the prayer-life needs? Our Fath- 
er is saying: "Come, my child, into the closet of 
prayer. For everyone who comes there shall re- 
ceive. Though you may not yet knew how to 
ask* according to My will, yet you shall receive. 
Though you may not yet have learned how to 



EVERY ONE RECEIVETH. 27 

abide in Me, yet you shall receive. Though you 
may not yet knew how to pray as you ought, you 
shall receive — something. Every time you come 
I am here to give." What an encouragement 
this promise is to the child of God who, as a be- 
ginner in prayer, is weak, or timid, or ignorant. 
It is the very promise above all others that would 
encourage him to enter into the Uessed school of 

prayer to which a loving Father is inviting him. 

* * * * 

Everyone that asks receives — good things. 

"How much more shall your Father which is 
in heaven give good things to them that ask 
Him?" (Matt. 7: 11.) That is, apart from the 
particular petition we may put up in prayer, God 
has a store of general blessings and gifts, of 
"good things" which He gives to all who pray, 
even where they may not get the special thing for 
which they ask. It is as though we come to a 
store and ask the merchant for something. He 
refuses, saying he does not have it for us. But 
then and there he loads us up with the choicest 
silks and satins, gold and silver and jewels and 
precious stones, and sends us away with our 
hands full of richest gifts. Have we not received 
from him ? Although he may not have given us 
the thing we asked for, he has given us good 
things, worth, perhaps, a great deal more than 
that for Avhich we asked. So whether we get the 
thing we asked for or not — which we will do 
when we come to abide in Him — God always 
gives "good things." So used have we been to 



26 PRAYER. 

thinking that the only answer in prayer is to get 
the exact thing we ask, that we have overlooked 
-^ the preciousness of these general blessings of all 
prayer. Let us now note some of these "good 
thing^." In the first place in prayer, God gives : 

Light. 

"Call unto Me * * and / will show thee ( Jer. 
33- 3)- The closet of prayer is a chamber of 
revelation. Nowhere else do we receive light 
from God as there. For there we hear voices 
heard not elsewhere. Here are outflashings of 
truth as nowhere else. Here the Spirit illumines 
some passages of Scripture for our guidance as 
in no other place. It is like going into an unlight- 
ed room where every object is veiled in darkness. 
You know not where or how to walk. But pres- 
/ ently you touch a little button, and straightway 
from every nook and corner in the room shines 
forth the light of the incandescent lamps hidden 
therein. So when in darkness and perplexity you 
are seeking guidance, it is as you pray that the 
light flashes upon you and the way is made clear. 
How dark was the way to Peter, with his mind 
dominated by Jewish prejudices, and not know- 
ing that God wanted the Gospel given to the 
Gentiles. It was as he was praying on the house- 
top that God opened the heavens and gave him 
the light of that great vision. It was as Paul 
was praying that God said, "Arise, go into the 
city, and it shall be shown thee." It was as he 
was praying again that Ananias came to him and 



^jr*^^r''r^«^r^,i^^75^'*^^:«!»:^=j«pnT??^ 



UVBRY ONE RUCEIVBTH. ^ 

touched his eyes, and he received his sight. It 
was as CoraeHus prayed that God gave him the 
guidance that finally brought him into the light 
of the gospel of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 
When Christian and Hopeful fell into Doubting 
Castle, they lay there for four days in darkness 
and despair. Then it suddenly came to Christian, 
"Let us go to prayer." And the narrative tells 
us that as they prayed on until near the morning, 
it flashed upon Christian, "Why, I have a key 
that will let us out," and, taking it from his 
bosom, in a few minutes they were in the place 
of deliverance. It was when they prayed that 
light came, and not before. 
- Again in prayer (2 Cor. 12:8, 9) God gives 

Submission. 

Sometimes we ask for something which is not 
according to God's will. Then as we pray, it is 
in the midst of our prayer that we are led to 
give up our own will, and come into humble sub- 
mission to God's better will. That was so with 
Paul. He prayed three times and God did not 
give the thing he asked for, but God gave sub- 
mission to His will and abounding grace for the 
weakness which remained. We do not under- 
stand the mystery of Gethsemane, and dare hard- 
ly comment on it. But we do see this, that at 
the beginning there was a "Thy will" and "My 
will," for He said, "Not My will but Thine." 
At the end there was only "Thy will be done." 
What is the tnysterr^oT our Lord's struggle 



30 PRAY UK. 

there ? We do not know, but where its beginning 
was petition, its end was submission. You and 
I have gone into the place of prayer with the Hfe 
of some loved one trembling in the balance. How 
hard it was for us to ask anything else than that 
God might spare that loved one. We prayed on 
and on, and as we prayed we saw that this might 
not be His will. But as we saw that, instead of 
rebellion, we found God pouring out upon us 
a conscious spirit of submission. Then and there 
we said, "Thy will be done." If we had no other 
blessing in prayer, this atone would be enough. 
For there is no more precious blessing in all life 
than that of a will wholly yielded to God. And 
this comes in prayer, whether we receive the 
specific thing we are asking for or not. 

Another one of the "good things" God gives 
in prayer is: 

Peace. 

Recall here the familiar passage of Philippians 
4:6, 7, "In nothing be anxious ; but in every- 
thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiv- 
ing, let your requests be made known unto God. 
And the peace of God * * * shall guard your 
hearts." God does not say, "Be anxious for 
nothing, but bring all things to Me with prayer 
and supplication, and I will give you just what 
you ask." But what does He say? "The peace 
of God shall guard your hearts and your 
thoughts in Christ Jesus." 

What is the Lord teaching us here? Simply 
this. Our anxious care about burdens is due to 



HFiii^F OiV£ RECBIVETH. 31 

our bearing them ourselves. But if we take these 
burdens to God in prayer and lay them upon 
Him, He will give us peace. This then is one 
of the great general blessings, one of the "good 
things" of prayer — ^that it brings us peace in our 
very habit of bringing to, and laying upon anoth- 
er, even God, the burdens and anxieties which 
have been robbing us of peace because we were 
carrying the load ourselves. The chamber of 
prayer is the birthplace of Peace. 

Too often we think the peace of God some 
ecstatic blessing which falls out of heaven with- 
out any fulfilled condition on our part. And we 
wonder why it does not con^e to fill us all the 
time. But there is a human side to this, and it 
is that we are to take all things to God in prayer. 
As the little child's habit of running to mamma 
with every anxiety however trifling is what gives 
it peace, so the child of God finds the peace of 
God through coming, to Him in the same way. 
If we are to have the peace of God at all times 
we must come to Him in prayer with all things. 
And what then is the promise? The peace of 
God shall "garrison" — that is the word in the 
Greek — our hearts. How beautiful! The army 
in the field camps, one night here, and is gone 
the next day, miles away. It camps again and 
the next day flits to another spot, moving hither 
and thither. But a garrison settles down in a 
fort and stays there all the time. Now if we will 
bring to God everything in prayer the peace of 
God will garrison our hearts; it will stay, it will 



32 PRAYER. 

abide there. The habit of prayer will bring 
abidingness of Peace. 

Then again, and lastly, in prayer God gives : 

The Holy Spirit. 

"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good 
gifts unto your children, how much more shall 
your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to 
them that ask Him" (Lu. 11:13). Not that 
God's children have not received the Holy Spirit 
at regeneration. They surely have, for "if any 
man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of 
His." But it is not enough for a child to receive 
life at birth. There must also be daily food for 
the sustaining of that life. And so the fact that 
God here says "children" proves that He is talk- 
ing of those who have already received His gift 
of life in the Spirit. And the words "fish," 
"bread" and "egg," food for the daily supply of 
needs, seem to plainly show that He is speaking 
of that daily refreshing and anointing by His 
Spirit which every child of His needs, as much 
as he needs the daily food to sustain his physical 
life. "One baptism; many anointings," is the 
dual truth here. It is one thing to have the 
Spirit in us. It is another thing for us to be 
daily and hourly "in the Spirit" And this is 
just what prayer does for us. It brings the 
anointing, the unction, the daily touch of the 
Spirit of God upon our lives. If there is one 
thing we are conscious of when we rise from 
our knees at prayer it is that the Spirit of God 



Wf 



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BVBRY ONB RBCBIVBTH. 33 

has touched us. Prayer puts us "in the Spirit" 
as nothing else does. And what greater blessing 
could it bring than that? For when we are in 
the Spirit we will not speak harsh or caustic 
words: in the Spirit we will not rebuke people 
except in love: in the Spirit we will not walk in 
the lusts of the flesh: in the Spirit we will^o 
the works of the Spirit; will bear the brand of 
the Spirit; will be filled with the love, joy and 
peace of the Spirit; will be led and guided and 
comforted by the Spirit. There is no greater 
blessing that prayer could bring to us than to 
put us in the Spirit, and when Christ gives us 
this passage, "How much more shall your Heav- 
enly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that 
ask Him," He utters it as though that were the 
gift in prayer that took in all else, the supreme 
equivalent of all the other "good things" which 
everyone that asks receives. 

* * * * 

Everyone that asks receives — th^ v^ry thing 

hB needs. 

"For your Father knoweth what things ye 
have need of before ye ask Him" (Matt 6:8). 
Not only as we ask does God give us something, 
not only does he give us "good things," but He 
gives us the very thing we need. "Your Heav- 
enly Father knoweth what things ye have need 
of before ye ask Him." "My God shall supply 
all your need." God always gives us the very 
thing that we need in prayer, whether we get the 



s« 



34 PRAYER. 

thing we ask for or not. What more could we 
want than this ? Prayer is the soul's cry to God 
to meet some great need. The particular petition 
put up is only the soul's interpretation of that 
need. But the soul may be mistaken in this 
interpretation, for it is often conscious of need, 
but fails in coming to God in prayer to rightly 
translate that need into petition. So God looks 
deeper than the words upon the lips and meets 
the secret need of the life, which is the real, even 
though unconscious, cry of the heart. That cry 
of the heart is real prayer. The word of the lip 
is often only our mistranslation of it. We know 
not how to pray as we ought. Thus there may 
be unanswered petition, but in the profoundest 
sense there is never any unanswered prayer. 

We close with an illustration: Several sum- 
mers ago, with body broken in health, we were 
spending the vacation time on the shores of the 
great lakes. On account of physical weakness 
sailing was the only recreation possible. Day af- 
ter day we sailed the beautiful bay and under the 
blessing of God were slowly regaining the lost 
strength. One day when sailing in the midst of 
the bay the wind suddenly died out. Our boat 
was utterly becalmed, with not a breath of air 
astir. The surface of the bay was like a mirror, 
so still and motionless. The hot rays of the Au- 
gust sun beat down upon the weak body, and we 
knew that unless help soon came we would be in 
desperate straits indeed. We had come out with 
a stiff, fresh breeze, and naturally we began to 



EVERY ONE RECEIVETH. s& 

pray for a breeze to take us back. We prayed and 
prayed for an hour for a breeze, but none came. 
The bay still lay like a mirror, motionless, the 
water not roughened by a single ripple. But by 
and by over toward the shore we espied a black 
speck creeping around the point that projected 
out into the channel from the village whence we 
had started. It came nearer and nearer and soon 
disclosed the bent form and the whitened head of 
the old fisherman host with whom we were stay- 
ing. As he drew near we greeted him with, 
"Well, Grandfather, I am glad to see you. What 
brought you here anyhow?" "Well," he said, 
"I knew you were not strong and could never row 
that great boat in to shore, so I felt as though I 
ought to come out and search for you, and here 
I am." He got into the boat, and bending his 
sturdy form to the ash oars, in twenty minutes 
we were safe in the quiet of our own room. 
Then and there the Lord taught us a lesson. We 
had prayed for a breeze. Qod had denied the 
words of our petition, but the real prayer of our 
heart was for Deliverance, and that God had 
heard and signally answered. Let us be thank- 
ful for the God who always gives when it is best. 
Let us be grateful also for the God who refuses 
when it is not best. We would not have any 
other kind of a God if we could. We could not 
trust any other kind of a God if we would. 
Thank God that though we may make mistakes 
in asking, God never makes any mistakes in giv- 
ing. He may fail to give us the thing we ask. 



36 PRAY BR. 

but He never fails to give us something. And 
if that something is better than we ask, and al- 
ways the very thing we most need, what more 
could we desire? Would we have it otherwise? 
Behold, even for the veriest beginner, the cer- 
tainty of all prayer in these great promises of 
God. 

"Everyone that asketh receiveth" — something. 

Everyone that asketh receiveth — good things. 

Everyone that asketh receiveth — the very thing 
he needs. 

Everyone that asketh according to God's will — 
receiveth the very thing he asks for. 



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III. 

THE GREAT PROMISE. 



If ye shall ask anjrthing in my name I will do it. 
(John 14: 14.) 

T* ^T "r ^F 

How often a verse of Scripture seems to be a 
sealed treasure. You read it again and again but 
it is padlocked against you. No light breaks from 
its recesses as you search. But some day, all 
unexpectedly to yourself, it suddenly opens and 
discloses its beauties, even as a jewel casket 
might unclose under the touch of a secret spring 
and lay bare in an instant all the radiance and 
loveliness of the priceless gem that lies within. 
Just so as you let the Spirit of truth lift out from 
the heart of this passage the condition "/n my 
name" note the precious jewel of truth which is 
laid bare thereby. Not that this condition is not 
needful. It is always and absolutely so. For no 
suppliant can come to God and be heard in prayer 
save as he comes in the name of our Lord. But 
assuming now that this condition is fulfilled in 
our petition and that we are asking in His name 
and for that which is according to His will. 
Then there stands forth from the heart of this 
verse these wpodrous words 

37 



38 PRAY BR. 

"if ye ask I WILL do/' 

Consider the wonderfulness of this Promise. 
Many and precious are the other promises 
which God gives to His praying children. He 
tells us that as we pray and receive our joy shall 
be full, ( Jno. i6 : 24) ; that if we bring all things 
to Him in prayer His own unspeakable peace 
shall possess and keep our hearts in Christ Jesus, 
(Phil. 4:7); that of all who ask from Him not 
one shall be turned away ; that to any who knock 
at His door it shall without fail be opened, (Matt. 
7:7, 8). Familiar enough and gracious too is 
His truth that as we ask He gives. So says His 
Word again and again: "Ask and it shall be 
given you;" "Every one that asketh receiveth;" 
"How much more will your Heavenly Father 
give good things to them that ask Him." But 
here in the heart of this great chapter, we come 
upon the greatest promise God has ever given 
to His praying children. Presuming that the 
child of God is asking in His name, or according 
to His will, the wondrous statement is here made 
that not only as we pray does God give, but that 

AS WE PRAY GOD WORKS. 

God, the eternal God of the universe, stands, 
as it were, like an almighty servant and says : "If 
you, my child, will only pray I will work; if you 
Will only be busy with asking I will see to the 
doing." Not only does He bestpw at our cry, but 
He atts. Not only does our praying evoke His 
bounty, it sets in motion His omnipotence. Where- 



IP YE ASIC, i WILL DO. 30 

fore, as we enter into the secret chamber of pray- 
er, nothing will so stir us to mighty intercession, 
nothing will so soon make us master-pleaders 
with God for a lost world, as to whisper to our 
own soul, again and again, this wonderful truth, 
"While I am praying God is really doing that 
which I am asking!" 

Thus to a child of God bowed in prayer that 
the gospel may be sent to the dark lands, though 
he may not see it, yet as he prays God baffles 
the powers of darkness; as he prays God moves 
the hearts of kings ; as he prays God breaks down '~ 
the barriers to evangelization; as he prays God 
loosens the bands of superstition; as he prays 
God opens up the pathways to forbidden lands; 
as he prays God unclasps the purses of His chil- 
dren; as he prays God raises up and thrusts 
forth the gospel messengers to the whitened 
harvests. As he is praying God is doing. This 
is explicitly asserted. "Search my word," says 
our Lord. Find out clearly in it what my will is 
concerning the world. Pray according to that 
will. Then as you pray "Lord thrust forth la- 
borers into the harvest," I thrust them forth! 
As you pray "Lord break down the obstacles," 
/ hrealz them down! As you pray "Lord stir 
men's hearts to give," / stir them! , Whatsoever 
ye ask in my name, I do." Beloved, what a tre- 
mendous responsibility is ours ! What a unique 
privilege! That all the power of an omnipotent 
God is ready and waiting to be put into triumph- 
ant, irresistible action at the prayer of one of 



40 PRAYER. 

His children ! That the very hosts of heaven are 
marshalled against the powers of darkness at that 
importunate call of yours which is according to 
the will of God! He declares that all power in 
heaven and earth is His, and then, as it were, 
places Himself at our disposal and says, "Now 
my child you pray and / will work; you ask and 
/ will do." As an engineer might suffer a child, 
powerless in itself, to call forth mighty power, 
not its own, by opening the throttle of his great 
machine, so God says to us weaklings, "All pow- 
er is mine, but unto you it is given to call it forth 
by prayer," If it be true, then, that God's omnip- 
otence is placed at our disposal, we are as respon- 
sible for its exercise through prayer as though 
we possessed it ourselves. Behold here the shame 
of an unevangelized world, of two thousand 
years delay, of our cowardice and faltering in 
the presence of difficulties. For though we have 
had no power to do, yet the mighty God, linking 
Himself with us as a real yoke-fellow and co- 
worker, has said 

"Ilf YE ASK I WILL DO." 

^r ^n ^h ^F 

Consider the need of this Promise. 

Notice the working of God in human hearts, 
in answer to prayer, as the great secret of power 
in the apostolic church. It was God who poured 
out the Holy Spirit upon the waiting multitude; 
it was God who wrought conviction in the three 
thousand which made them cry out in agony of 



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heart "Men and brethren, what shall we do ?" It 
was the Lord which added to the church dailv 
such as were being saved; it was the Lord who 
healed the lame man through the word of Peter : 
"In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise 
up and walk" were the words with which Peter 
greeted him. It was the Lord who stretched 
forth His hand to heal and to do signs and won- 
ders in the name of His holy child Jesus" ; it was 
the Lord to whom Ananias and his wife are said 
to have lied and not to men; it was the angel of 
the Lord who opened the prison and brought 
forth the disciples; it was the Lord who sent 
Philip down into the desert ; it was the Lord who 
said, "Go near and join thyself to the chariot;" 
it was the Lord who met Saul in the road, and 
his word was, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to 
do?" And again, when Ananias came to him 
he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord hath sent me." 
Notice the Lord working with Peter and Cor- 
nelius. He fairly manipulates them as one might 
manipulate figures upon a stage. It was the Lord 
who drew Peter aside to prayer ; it was the Lord 
who let down the sheet from heaven and spoke 
to him; it was the Lord who said, "Go with the 
men fearing nothing," and it was the Lord who 
fell upon the waiting multitude at the house of 
Cornelius as they listened to Peter's message. 
So also in our own day. Charles Finney so real- 
ized the need of God's working in all his serv- 
ice that he was wont to send the godly Father 
Nash on in advance to pray down the power of 



42 PRAYER. 

God into the meetings which he was about to hold. 
David Brainerd prayed eight days in the wilder- 
ness for the working of God's Spirit among the 
Indians, and hundreds were brought to Christ in 
answer to his asking. In the great Irish revival 
of a half century ago, the most striking feature 
was the working of God's Spirit in the hearts 
of men. Conviction fell upon men in street, field, 
and forest, and the church stood in awe at the 
wonderful work of God in the hearts of lost men. 
And all this in answer to the prayers of His 
children. l 

How we need this same mighty doing of God 

in our own midst to-day. We need it in the pul- 
pit ; we need it in the mission field ; we need it in 
the hearts of the unsaved ; we need it in our own 
lives as God's servants. We need it in the church 
of Jesus Christ as much as of old. Revivals are 
sadly infrequent. Strong conviction in the hearts 
of men bowing them down with deep contrition 
of soul is almost a thing of the past. The form 
of godliness without the power thereof is more 
and more prevalent. The clang of machinery is 
heard everywhere in the church's work, but not 
the sound of the rushing mighty wind. There 
are many tongues of utterance but the tongue of 
fire is rare. The church is the most highly organ- 
ized machine in existence. But "a machine is an 
instrument for the transmission of power." If 
there is no power, of what avail is the machine? 
"Power belongeth unto God." It flows down 



IF YE ASK, I WILL DO. 43 

from God to us through prayer. Therefore pray- 
erlessness is powerlessness. 

"We may appoint the evangelistic meeting; 
call the evangelist ; train the great choir of voices ; 
organize and equip the meeting in every detail; 
advertise the service; crowd the auditorium with 
listeners to the preached Word — ^but, if the pow- 
er of God does not fall upon preacher and people, 
if the Spirit of God does not work in the hearts 
of the lost ; if the presence of God is not seen and 
felt in the assembled multitude our efforts are in 
vain. God's power alone is equal to the crisis 

which every lost soul confronts in the time of de- 

cfsion which follows the preaching of His Word. 
"Why could not we cast him out?" said the dis- 
ciples to our Lord concerning the demon who 
possessed the suffering child. And so we find 
ourselves saying: Why cannot we cast out the 
demons of drink and impurity from men ? Why 
cannot we accomplish mighty results in the sphere 
in which God has placed us? The answer is 
found in the very terms of the question — ^because 
"we" are trying to do it in our own power. We \ 

think it is our energy ; our plans and efforts ; our 
wisdom; our power that is to bring things to 
pass. And some day we waken up to find the 
power gone and the fruitfulness missing and the 
blessing lost from our lives, and we say as the 
apostle said, Why cannot we do these things? 
And back to us comes the same answer our Lord 
gave to the failure of His disciples, "Have faith 
in GOD." As though He said : "YOU cannot 



44 PRAYER. 

cast out devils, nor do anything else, in your own 
strength. It is GOD alone who can do these 
things. But if you will learn the secret of the 
prayer life and come to Him, then, though you 
yourselves cannot do and are never, in your own 
strength, meant to do. He- fulfils His great prom- 
ise : "if_ye— ask— I— will— do." 

* 4c 4e * 

Consider the privilege of this Promise. 

If you were weary and despondent and wished 
to be soothed and cheered by the sweet influence 
of music, what a privilege you would consider it 
to have a Mozart, a Beethoven, or a Liszt soothe 
your tired nerves with ravishing melodies simply 
because you had asked them. If you had some 
dear friend, the memory of whose face you 
wished to treasure upon canvass, what a privi- 
lege you would reckon it, at your merest request, 
to have a Raphael, or a Reynolds, or a Van Dyke 
paint that face with masterful skill. To have 
such masters come and do for you because you 
had asked would indeed be accounted a rare and 
gracious privilege. 

But who is it here who offers to do for us, if 
we will only ask? It is no untried apprentice, no 
bungling worker accustomed to failure. It is 
God Himself. It is the mightiest doer in the 
universe who says "I will do, if you ask." Un- 
rivalled wisdom, boundless skill, limitless power, 
infinite resources are His. Think a moment who 
it is that promises. He who shrouded the land 
of Egypt in awful darkness ; He who turned her 



'm^SBiasm^ii?^^-- 



■ ! 
IF YB ASK, I WILL DO. 45 

streams of water to streams of blood; He who 
laid His hand upon her first-born and filled her 
borders with mourning ; He who broke the stub- 
bom will of her impious king ; He who led forth 
His people Israel, with mighty arm and out- 
stretched hand; He who parted the great sea, 
and made the glassy walls of water to be bul- 
warks of safety to them, and swift avalanches of 
death to their pursuing foes ; He who, when His 
children cried for water, sweetened the bitter 
wells to quench their thirst; He who, when they 
hungered sent them bread from heaven ; He who, 
when they marched about Jericho in utter self- 
helplessness, leveled its towering walls by the 
word of His power; He who walked with His 
three children in the fierce, fiery furnace, yet kept 
them even from the smell of scorching garments ; 
He who stilled the tempest, walked on the seas, 
cast out devils, healed the living and raised the 
dead — it is this same mighty doer who says He 
will do for me, if I ask! This omnipotence is the 
very same omnipotence whose doing is awaiting 
my praying! 

Yea the God who holds the sea in the hollow 
of His hand ; the God who swings this ponderous 
globe of earth in its orbit more easily than you 
could swing a child's toy rubber ball; the God 
who marshals the stars and guides the planets 
in their blazing paths with undeviating accuracy ; 
the God of Sinai, and of Horeb ; the heaven-cre- 
ating, devil-conquering, dead-raising God, — it is 
this very God who says to you and to me : 



46 ' PRAYER. 

If ye ask I WII.L DO. 
* * * ♦ 

Consider the sureness of the Promise. 

God does not say "If ye ask perchance I shall 
do" ; or, "If ye ask I may do" ; but "If ye ask I 
WILL do." It is Satan alone who tempts us to 
question this "I will" of God's prayer promise: 
to doubt whether God will really hear and an- 
swer us as He has answered others in times past. 
Just so did he tempt Adam and Eve to doubt 
God's word : "In the day thou eatest thereof thoa 
SHALT SURELY die." But God's "I will" of 
promise to us is just as sure as God's "Thou 
SHALT" of punishment was to them. Over 
against Satan's subtle lies let us ever place the 
eternal certainty of these blessed words of prom- 
ise "I WILL do." Steadfast and sure is His 
word of promise. "Though it seems to you diffi- 
cult, yea impossible, to be done, yet if ye ask I 
will do. Though for reasons of love and child- 
training I long delay, yet if ye ask / will do. 
Though Satan resists with fierce and desperate 
opposition, yet if ye ask / will do. Though ye 
are in dire need, / will supply that need 
if ye but ask. Though ye walk in darkness and 
know not the way before you, yet / will guide 
you if ye but ask. Though the obstacles are 
many, and the hearts of my children slow to 
obey, yet / -will thrust forth laborers into the 
dark lands if ye but ask in faith." 

In all ages God has made this word "If ye ask 
I will do" to be true to His children. How sure 



IP YB ASK, I WILL DO. 47 

it was with Peter when the young church prayed 
for his deUverance from the hand of Herod. 
How they must have feared as they prayed ; how 
they must have thought of the iron-bound gates, 
the massive walls, the vigilant and ever present 
guards. Yet God's word was true. When they 
prayed, God did. When they asked, the gates 
swung open to an unseen hand, the prison was 
shaken by an unseen power, and the astonished 
disciple was led forth by a ministering angel from 
the God Himself who did as His people asked. 
Perhaps Elijah trembled at the thought of clos- 
ing the doors of heaven by his own petitioning. 
Yet God's word was sure to him too. When he 
asked, God did for him, and the skies became as 
brass over the parched and rainless earth. Again 
he asked and still God did, and the -heavens 
were opened and flooded that same earth with 
showers of blessing. Daniel asked and God did 
by showing him the wondrous vision of His peo- 
ple's coming King. Hezekiah asked and God did 
by driving back the host of the Syrians, smiting 
thousands of them by the hand of his death angel. 
The disciples asked for boldness and God did 
by pouring out the Holy Spirit in abundant pow- 
er, "And they spake the Word with boldness.'* 
Charles Finney asked and God did, by smiting 
men with heart-searching conviction under the 
mighty power of His servant's messages. George 
MuUer asked and God did, by building orphan- 
ages ; supporting thousands of parentless children 
through faith alone, and sending in all over thirty 



^ 1. 



48 PRAYER. 

thousand answers to prayer to this godly servant. 
Hudson Taylor asked and God did, by founding, 
sustaining and marvelously blessing one of the 
greatest missionary enterprises the world has 
ever seen, through the power of believing prayer 
alone. John G. Paton asked and God did in all 
the record of his deliverances and blessings among 
the savages of the New HelDrides. Jacob Cham- 
berlain asked in the jungles of India, in deadly 
peril from rising flood, and God whispered words 
of guidance to his inmost soul, led him to the 
banks of the flooded Godavari, loosed a boat from 
its moorings ten miles above, and gave passage 
and deliverance to his servants by a veritable 
miracle in the heart of India. In all ages has our 
God been true to this blessed prayer promise. 

No word of His has ever failed nor ever shall. 
When Elijah prayed for rain it was just as sure 
as when the waiting heavens began to pour forth 
their torrents. When the church prayed for 
Peter's deliverance it was as sure as when the 
barred gates clanged open and the angel of deliv- 
erance was walking by his side. Let these won- 
drous words "I wii.lv do" ring in our ears day 
after day until deep down in our heart of hearts 
we shall have no shadow of doubt that an omnip- 
otent God stands pledged and ready to work 
mighty deeds for us if we will but bellevingly 
ask that which is according to His divine will. 

3^ 3^ ^^ ^^ 

Consider the simplicity of the Promise. 
God does not say to us: "If ye win my favor 



IP YB ASK, I WILL DO. 49 

by good works I will do"; or, "If ye bring sac- 
rifices or burnt offerings to my altar I will do" ; 
or, "If ye make me rich gifts of silver and gold 
I will do." But simply, "If ye ask I will do." 
The way to get a thing which is sold is to pay 
for it; the way to get a thing which is earned 
is to work for it; the way to get a thing which 
is given is to ask for it. We live in an age of 
grace. God's method of blessing His children is 
not to sell but to give. God's plan for them to 
receive, is not to buy nor to earn, but only to ask. 
The very simplicity of this causes us to stumble. 
We are like Naaman the leper. When told to go 
and wash in Jordan, he was insulted and refused. 
"Why does not the prophet come forth and do 
some great thing? Why does he not stretch forth 
his hand and bid the disease depart? Why does 
he ask me to do so simple an act as to go wash 
in the Jordan ? Are there not rivers in Damascus 
far better than this?" And he was about to de- 
part in a rage. Then wise advisers counseled him 
thus: "If the prophet had bidden thee do some 
great thing, would'st thou not have done it? Why 
not go wash then in the Jordan ?" And he went, 
and washed and was made clean. Just so with 
us. If God's blessings came to us by purchase, 
we would work day and night for the gold and 
silver wherewith to buy them. If they came to us 
through our own deeds of merit we would climb 
many a St. Peter's staircase, and toil our weary 
way to many a distant Mecca to win them. But 
because God's mighty doing for us is condition- 



so PRAYER. 

ed on our simple asking we stumble thereat, and 
fail to find the blessing he has in store for those 
who simply ask. 

Dr. Gordon tells of a little child in one of the 
New England States who fell and broke her arm. 
Her father ^vas a physician, and after he had set 
the broken member, the little one said to him, 
"Papa, can you cure it forme?" "No, my child, 
I cannot do any more for it." "Well, papa, I am 
going to ask Jesus to cure it," to which the father 
gave a smiling, but doubtful assent. That night 
the little one in her evening prayer, put up a 
simple request to the Lord Jesus to heal the 
broken arm. The next morning she came in tri- 
umph to her astonished and awe-stricken father 
and showed him her arm made perfectly whole. 
Would not our Lord have more of such simple 
fatlh in us His children ? We who know so much 
that we would not do a thing like this, is not our 
wisdom that wisdom of men which is foolishness 
with (5od ? We have grown so wise we have for- 
gotten how to trust. We are so self-dependent 
that we do not know the power and blessing of 
utter dependence on God. "Except ye become as 
little children ye cannot enter into the kingdom 
of God." Except we live like such we cannot 
know the secrets of its blessedness. God wants 
us to go in and out before Him as a little child 
goes in and out of its father's house, asking for 
what we need and for what will glorify God in 
the most artless and childlike faith that God will 
surely give it. So doing our service for Him 



IF YU ASK, I WILL DO. 51 

may not be so fussy, pretentious and feverish as 
much of modern religious activity is, but it will 
have the fragrance, simplicity and divine anoint- 
ing that can flow only from Him who lives 
a life of prayer and childlike trust in God his 
Father, and who trusts implicitly in His great 
promise: 

"If ye ASK I will do." 
* * * * 

Consider the personai,ne;ss of this Promise. 

In James 5:17, the Word of God, after telling 
us of the wonderful prayer-life of EHjah: how 
he had through prayer shut up the heavens until 
they were as brass, and then how by the same 
simple faith in God he had opened them so that 
they poured forth rain in floods upon the drouth- 
smitten earth, goes on to use these words : "Eli- 
jah was a man of like nature (R. V.) with us." 
And what is it that is meant here? Simply this, 
The Holy Ghost who wrote this book, knew that 
when we read the narrative of the wondrous 
deeds wrought by Elijah through prayer, we 
would, in the weakness of our faith, be saying: 
*-Ah, yes; it is all right for a man like Elijah to ~^ 
expect wonderful answers to his prayers; but I 
am not an Elijah, and 1 cannot expect God to au 
great things for me in the prayer life." And so 
God puts in this narrative those striking words of 
rebuke to our unfaith. He says in effect : "Elijah 
was a flesh and blood man just like you, and if 
you come to me with the same simple faith I will 
I do wondrous things for you as well as for him. 



52 PRAYUR. 

Not only when Elijah, or Moses, or Paul, asked 
did I do, but if ye ask I will do for you. There 
was not anything in the nature of Elijah different 
from yours. It was not that Elijah himself was 
a wonderful man. But he trusted in a wonderful 
God. And if you do the same and ask with the 
same faith I will do great things for you." 

A godly woman, mother of six children, had 
come into a place of great stress. Her husband, 
absent in a distant city earning the livelihood, had 
been unfortunate; the needed remittances had 
failed to come to the wife and family, and their 
last -loaf of bread had been eaten at the evening 
meal. The next morning, without a morsel of 
food in the house, the trustful mother set the ta- 
ble with seven plates, and gathering the children 
about her, said : "And now children we must ask 
God to supply our need." As she finished her pe- 
tition for help one of the little ones cried out, 
"There is the baker at the door." Immediately 
his knock was heard, and entering, he said, "I 
was stalled in the snow this morning and thought 
Iwould come in to get warm. By the way do you 
need any bread this morning?" "Yes," said the 
mother, "but we have no money to buy any." 
"What?" said the baker, as he glanced at the 
empty plates and took in the situation, "do you 
mean to say you have no bread for these chil- 
dren?" "Not a morsel," said the mother. "Well, 
you shall soon have some," said the kindhearted 
man, and going out quickly to his wagon he re- 
turned with seven loaves of bread and laid one 



IP YB ASK, I WILL DO. 53 

at each plate. Thereupon, one of the little chil- 
dren, picking up a loaf in his arms, dancing around 
the room, crying out, "Mamma, / prayed for 
bread and God heard me, and sent me bread." 
"And me!" "And m£!" chorused the rest of the 
glad-hearted little folk. Each one of the little 
ones felt that God heard him personally and sent 
a loaf to him directly and individually. And was 
it not true ? 

Even so does our Father in heaven deal with 
us His children if we but trust Him. He does 
not say "It is only the great ones of the kingdom 
of heaven whom I hear and answer; only the 
Elijahs and Daniels, the Elishas and Pauls. But 
in His great promise of prayer to us He puts 
that little word "YE," and says it to all His chil- 
dren who will believe Him. "FH" pastors whose 
work must be a failure without the convicting 
power of God upon your people ; who need your- 
self the anointing of God's Spirit for the mighty 
preaching of the Word; who are deeply con- 
scious of the need of God's working through 
prayer if your work is not to be fruitless. "YB" 
missionaries who are contending against the aw- 
ful powers of darkness in heathendom; meeting' 
the fierce wrath of the adversary at every turn; 
conscious of his deadly assaults upon your own 
inner life; seeing the sin and blackness of the 
human heart as none of the rest of us do ; face to 
face with problems which only God can solve. 
"YB" who have loved ones outside of Christ, 
who are daily resisting His call; who are going 



54 PRAYER. 

down to eternal death unless God works in their 
hearts through prayer. "YE," who serve the 
Lord and realize the need of His quickening pow- 
er in all that you say and do. YE, who are bur- 
dened with anxious care ; YE, who walk in dark- 
ness and have no light ; YE, who are high or low, 
rich or poor, learned or ignorant, it matters not; 
to all you His children. He' says 



'If YE ask I will do for you 



ft 



i"'»>»Fi3^»-wisE!i>^»g55^i^a^»^^»w«g!SiH5w^!'?W^S8^ 



IV. 
THE SWEEP OF PRAYER. 



"If ye shall ask anything in my name I will do it" 
— ^Jno. 14 : 14. 

* * * * 

// we ask, God will do in our ne^ds. 
A striking ilustration of this recently came un- 
der our notice. Walking one evening in the park 
of a great health resort we met a Christian wo- 
man in great distress of soul, who, opening her 
heart, poured out this story of her trouble. "I 
am," said she, "the only daughter of a widowed 
mother, wholly dependent upon me for support. 
All these years it has been my privilege and joy 
to care for her and minister to her modest needs. 
A few months ago my health failed and I was 
driven to this sanitorium in the hope of restor- 
ation. The little store of money I had with me 
has melted away, and I do not have enough to 
pay the bills now due. Moreover, day after to- 
morrow I must pass through a critical operation 
which may mean death. I am not concerned 
about myself, for my peace with God is made. 
But if I should die under this operation there is 
not one soul in all this world to care for the 
mother whom I love more than I love my own 
life," and then she burst into tears and sobbed 

55 



56 PRAYER. 

out her agony of sorrow and apprehension over 
the dart and uncertain future before her. We 
tried to comfort her by God's word of promise 
that He would hear her prayer and supply her 
need if she but called upon Him and looked trust- 
fully to Him to answer, quoting to her the prom- 
ise "My God shall supply all your need." "Ah," 
she said, "I know nothing about that. I have al- 
ways been accustomed to earning my own living 
with my own hands and brain. Now that I have 
come to the end of myself, such a thing as God 
answering prayer and supplying my need, direct 
from His own heart of love for a helpless child 
of His, is an unknown experience. Why, my 
dear friend, I have never known what it was to 
have a direct answer to prayer from God, such 
as you say He will give if I call upon Him in 
faith." We earnestly pressed upon her the truth 
that God was her loving Heavenly Father, and 
that He would not only supply her needs through 
the labor of her hands, but was pledged to supply 
them when she was disabled from using her own 
efforts if she would only commit her way unto 
the Lord," and call upon Him in the trust of a 
little child. At last she yielded to the truth and 
the drawing of God's Spirit in her own heart. 
She committed to Him the dark ominous future ; 
the dreaded operation with its possible outcome 
of death; the beloved mother, her own pressing 
needs, yea, her very self and all that concerned 
her in time or eternity. And then we called on 
God concerning her urgent financial needs, plead- 



i»a-ra'<..-T?^y;)r!g!i^j»ggj^^!fr;^^»^ .<j;«B^ 



ANYTHING. 57 

ing His promise "My God shall supply all your 
need;" and "If ye ask, I will do;" and parted. 

Two days later, on the morning of the opera- 
tion, we were hastening to our room to fulfil the 
promise made to hold her up in prayer at the mo- 
ment of her supreme crisis. Passing through the 
lobby of the sanitorium, two Christian business 
men, sitting there in conversation, called us to 
them with the question, "Where were you at such 
a time?" naming the evening of the incident 
above mentioned. "Praying with a child of the 
Lord, who in a few moments will pass through 
a critical surgical operation," was the response. 
"I wonder if her financial needs are all met ?" was 
the instant reply from one of them. L/ike a flash 
it came to us, "Our Father is working in answer 
to our asking." As the kind-hearted questioner 
kept pressing his inquiry, we replied: "Well, to 
tell the truth, her bills at the office are not even 
paid." Putting his hand in his pocket he drew 
forth a roll of notes and said, "Here are twenty- 
five dollars. Take it and use it for that purpose." 
Five dollars more were added to it, and, with the 
sum in our hand, we hastened to the ante-room 
of the surgical ward, and were g^ven access to 
our friend. "See ! Without a single human ap- 
peal, the Lord Himself has sent you thirty dol- 
lars toward the supply of your needs." Again 
her eyes filled with tears, but this time with tears 
of joy; and she said, tremulously, "How can I 
ever doubt Him again!" ^id passed into the 



58 PRAYER. 

dreaded operation room with a smile of joy upon 
her countenance. 

It should be said here that she did not know 
the amount of her account at the office, nor did 
we. We had simply prayed God to supply her 
need, and this sum of thirty dollars had come. 
We now hastened to the office and asked for a 
transcript of Miss A.'s account. The clerk hand- 
ed it to us. It was for twenty-nine dollars and 
seventy-six cents! We took it, and writing on 
the back of it: "My God shall supply all your 
need," put it in her letter box that it might be 
the first message which would greet her when 
she came back from the blessed swoon of pain- 
lessness which ether gives to all sufferers. She 
did come back and with marvelous rapidity. In 
four weeks she was entirely restored and start- 
ing for her distant home and the loved mother to 
whom God had given her back. But as we look- 
ecf into her happy face and said good bye, we 
were saying it to a transformed woman — a wo- 
man who, as never before, knew the reality of 
prayer and the faithfulness of God in His deliv- 
erance from the darkest crisis of her life. 

i^ * * * 

"If we ask, God mill do in our service." 
Concerning those things that only God can do 
we naturally betake ourselves to prayer. For, 
knowing that we, ourselves, can not do them, we 
find our hope only in that asking which brings 
God's doing. But let us remember, too, that our 
own personal service, in the things which we 



! 



«'w">i^s»*'^?>^*^^'TT-7-7»^y-5^w^K^Ki5igf5eE««'w!wi^^ ^5s'?«?p^K5^g?!w^^!^K5^!^B«sig^aq?j|g5P^p^ljj9^ 



ANYTHING. 59. 

can do, needs also that asking which will bring 
God's doing into it. Do we realize that every- 
thing we do needs to be saturated with the spirit 
of prayer that God may be the real doer, the real 
worker in the things which we are busily doing? 
Yet this is a mighty truth : "If ye ask, I will do" 
applies to your own service as well as your in- 
tercession for others. 

Have you ever toyed with the key of a tele- 
graph instrument while the circuit was closed? 
If so you have noted this fact : On that key you 
may write a complete message, from address to 
signature. Upon it every telegraph character 
may be perfectly formed; every condition of 
expert operating may be fulfilled. But it matters 
not how skilful an operator you are, so long as 
the electric circuit is closed, all your efforts are 
simply sounding brass and clattering platinum 
Not a single spark of electric life do you trans- 
mit ; not a single message of good or ill, of bane 
or blessing, is conveyed to the waiting listener at 
the other end of the line. Why? Becattse the 
battery is not working. And all your working is 
effort without result, activity or power. But 
now you open the little brass lever which connects 
your key to the battery hidden beneath the table. 
Immediately every letter you form fills with life, 
every word you write flashes a living message 
into the mind and heart of the far-away receiver. 
Through your work, dead and mechanical in 
itself, the electric battery is now pouring forth its 
vital stream, flooding with life and power every 



6o PRAYER. 

deft motion of your flying fingers. The lesson 
is plain. It is in spiritual telegraphy as in ma- 
terial. If the battery is not working the message 
is mere clatter. WE may do, but if God is not 
doing through us, then all our doing is naught. 
If we work in our own fleshly strength we will 
but effect fleshly results only, for "Whatsoever 
is bom of the flesh is flesh." God alone is spirit- 
ual life. God is the only begetter of life. 

The supreme service for a believer is to be a 
transmitter of divine life. He is the channel be- 
tween dead men and a life-givipg God. Prayer- 
less, the channel is clogged and no life is linked 
to his touch upon men. Prayerful, the channel 
is wide open and God's life can flow unhindered 
through him to those so sorely needing it. "It 
is the Spirit that quickeneth," and if the believer 
is not, through prayer, in such an attitude that 
this same Spirit can work through him, his works 
are "dead works" and the life and power of God 
are absent from them. 

It is a glorious privilege to stand as a messen- 
ger or minister between a life-giving God and 
dying men. But it is awful failure to be, through 
prayerlessness, so out of connection with that 
God that His life cannot flow through us to such 
souls in need of it. For eloquence is mere clam- 
or, and rhetoric a supreme impertinence, when 
they thrust themselves forward as substitutes for 
the life of God flowing through the Spirit-filled 
man or woman, who through touch with Him by 
prayer and communion, offer Him an open chan- 



ANYTHING. 61 

nel for the forth-flowing of His quickening pow- 
er to others. 

From the chamber of prayer you come fortli 
to men with the unction, the subtle power, the 
thrill of God's own life upon you, and as you 
touch them in speech, deed or prayer, "virtue 
goes forth from you," for then it is not you, but 
God that worketh in you. As you keep asking 
Gpd keeps doing. When you grow prayerless, 
your deeds grow jxjwerless. Lead no meeting 
without asking that God may be the real leader 
through you; speak no message without asking 
that He may speak through you; begin no work 
without asking that God may work through you. 
For 

"If ye ask, I will do." 

* :ti * * 

If we ask, God will do in our impossibilities. 
If we ask, God will do things which we our- 
selves cannot do. Here stands a heavy freight 
train upon a steep and difficult grade. A hun- 
dred stalwart men come forth and seek to move 
it. Putting their shoulders to the cars they tug 
and strain to the utmost limits of their strength, 
but they cannot stir the great train one inch. At 
last they give up the task in despair, as one hope- 
lessly beyond their own power. And now comes 
along a little lad. He makes no attempt to move 
the train, for he knows it is hopeless. But he 
walks quickly to the head of the train, where a 
quiet man sits in the cab of the engine. Looking 
up into the face of the engineer, the lad says, 



62 - PRAYER. 

"Engineer, will you please move this train." And 
the engineer turns around, lays hold of a little 
steel lever, gives it one pull, and behold the 
great train starts up the mountain under the 
power of the gigantic locomotive with perfect 
ease. What a hundred men had failed in with 
all their doing, one weak child had accomplished 
by his simple asking. 

When Lazarus died, how little could the loved 
ones in the home at Bethany do for him. They 
could not bring back the flush of life to his pallid 
brow. They could not give strength and health 
to the loved one lying cold and still in death. 
But what they could not do, Christ could do for 
them, and when they sent for him the dead was 
raised at His simple word. There were five thou- 
sand hungry men on the green sward that day 
listening to His message. The disciples could 
not feed them. But Christ could. And when 
they asked He did. The disciples were helpless 
that night when the storm arose upon the sea. 
They toiled at the oars, but the night grew dark- 
er and the storm fiercer. They could do nothing 
to quell it. But when they called upon Him He 
did, and at His word of "Peace, be still," the tem- 
pest was stilled. 

Think a moment of that unsaved loved one for 
whom all these years you have been doing. You 
have pleaded, argued and expostulated in vain. 
You have preached Christ ; you have tried to live 
Christ; you have exhausted every device and 
means that love, faith or hope could conceive. 



ANYTHING. 63 

Now that all your doing has failed how won- 
drous it would be to bring into that life His 
doing through your asking. 

What an unheard of privilege would you count 
it to have Jesus Christ Himself deal in person 
with a soul you loved ! To have Jesus Christ 
work — not indeed in the body, but in the Spirit — 
in your home, your church, your community; to 
have Jesus Christ give secret messages to yout 
lost loved ones; to have Jesus Christ speak, woo 
and win, as none else could ; to have Jesus Christ 
with all His tact, wisdom, winsomeness, patience, 
gentleness, compassion, following on with un- 
wearied zeal and tenderest love to bring back to 
God that soul for whom He had died. What a 
promise ! and yet this is exactly what prayer will 
accomplish, for He explicitly says "If ye ask I 
will do." 

Hear Him speak: "My child you know not 
how convict of sin, but I, who work as you 
pray, can bow down that soul in a very agony of 
conviction. You know not when to woo, and 
when to reprove, but I, who work as you ask, 
know just when to pour in the balm of love, and 
when to let fall the sharp quick blow of needed 
judgment. You cannot follow a soul in daily 
unbioken pursuit, for you are finite and must 
eat, rest, and sleep, but I who do as you ask, fol- 
low that soul day and night with sleepless vigi- 
lance, through every second of his existence, now 
comforting, now troubling; now giving dark- 
ness, now light ; now sending prosperity, now ad- 



64 PRAYER. 

versity; now using the knife, now the healing 
balm; chastening, troubling, bereaving, blessing; 
tending, breaking, making, yea I can do all 
things needful to be done to bring that wanderer 
to himself and cause him to cry "I will arise and 
go unto my Father." 

Even thus, if we ask, God will do things which 
we ourselves cannot do. Are there obstacles in 
your life which are insurmountable to you ? But 
they are not so to God, if you but ask. Is there 
darkness veiling the pathway of life which 
seems to you impenetrable ? But God will pierce 
iiie gloom if you but come to Him in believing 
prayer. Are there heart-breaking' burdens which 
are too heavy for you to bear? God will bear 
them and in due time lift them, if you will but 
ask Him. Never be deterred from prayer by the 
difficulty of the thing to be done. Ask yourself 
only this one question : "Is it God's will to deliver 
me at this point ?" If so, it matters not how hard 
the thing is from a human standpoint. God does 
not say "If ye ask, I will help you to do," but 
"If ye ask, I will do." That is, the answers to 
our prayers are the deeds of God. Therefore we 
should not be surprised if they bear the stamp of 
God's omnipotence. Is an omnipotent act any 
harder for an omnipotent God than a weak 
act for a weak human agent? Let us ever 
remember this: It is easy for God to do 
hard things. "Is there anything too hard 
for the Lord?" was the question the Holy 
Spirit put to Sarah's unfaith. And the 



j^-tJfwmiiv^m^^ 



AlNYTHING. 6s 

i 

answer comes back from that same Holy Spirit, 
"There is nothing too hard for Thee, O Lord." 
It is as easy for God to do a miracle, if He so 
wills, as it is for you and me to draw a breath, 
yea, a good deal easier. With God there are no 
such things as difficulties. Let us therefore bring 
the hard things, the insurmountable things, the 
impossible things to Him, and then things which 
we ourselves could not possibly do, He Himself 
says I 

Vf ye ask I will do." 

4: 4e 4e 4c 

// we ask God will do in our helpi«ESSness. 

"What a message is this for God's children who, 
through years of pain and affliction as invalids 
and "shut-ins," have meumed because cut ott 
from the active service in which others are busy 
for God. Beloved sufferers, be comforted. Bless- 
ed as is the ministry of doing, there is no higher, 
holier calling under heaven than that asking 
which calls forth God's doing in the lives of oth- 
ers. Your Master, Jesus Christ, through every 
second of His eternal, heavenly life, is pouring 
out Ifils soul in unceasing asking ("He ever liv- 
eth tohiake intercession.") What an honor that 
God slrould call you to that same eternal ministry 
to whichTIis great Son now unceasingly gives 
Himself! Covet no other if this be thine. To 
enter into a needy life with your own doing is 
indeed precious, but to have God enter it through 
your asking, is it not greater by so much as God's 
doing is greater than thine? 



66 PRAY BR. 

One of the greatest spiritual writers of the 
age has said, "I am not sure but that God is not 
doing more through our praying than through 
our working." As you think of the doers in 
God's kingdom, as you contrast your own help- 
lessness your heart grows heavy at the thought 
of how little you are accomplishing for Him and 
His kingdom. But, beloved, it is not more doers 
that are needed to-day, but more pray-ers. The 
church has a multitude who know how to work 
in their own power. But it has but few who 
know how to bring down God's power through 
prayer. The church is so busy doing its own 
work that it has no time to pray for God to work f 
So the only way God can get some of us to pray- 
ing for His working is to lay us aside from our 
own. "If I were only well and strong," you say, 
"how much I could do for God." Yes, and if 
you were well and strong you would likely be like 
so many more strong ones — working away in- 
dependently, of God. But now, in your weak- 
ness, you are thrown upon God as the strong are 
not, and you may bring down such blessing into 
God's vineyard as none of the strong ever will. 

Hear Him speak to you. "O child of mine, 
laid upon a bed of helplessness and suffering, 
cease to repine because thou canst not busy thy- 
self with thine own doing, as others. For I tell 
thee that as in the silence of the night watches 
thou dost cry unto me for a, lost world, I am 
doing what of my will thou art asking. Would'st 
thou not rather call forth mine omnipotent doing 



r^w^ il »<g^. » tiy)^,!B.i»j^ jB><i ! y! »js'' jggj?wi^^ 'j*?3'!5?»Hf*rn?«?'«*r?'f??f'a^B^^»p5?«?^^ 



ANYTHING. 



67 



by thine asking, if to this I have called thee, than 
even to be busy with thine own doing? For if 
THOU shalt ASK (according to my will) I will 
DO." And let your glad answer be, "Lord, I re- 
joice. Though, shut within these four walls, I 
cannot touch men, yet Thou, who hast promised 
to do for me, wilt touch and quicken them if I 
but ask. Though I am all the day weary and 
helpless, yet Thou, who hast promised to do for 
me, art in Thy doing tireless and omnipotent. 
Though I cannot raise a hand nor stir a foot, yet 
Thou, who hast promised to do if I ask, will move 
lieaven and earth to bless those for whom I pray. 
Though my human asking must soon end with 
my passing away, yet Thy mighty doing called 
forth by my asking, will go on through all time, 
yea through eternity itself. Yea, Lord, since I 
can pray down Thy mighty doing into the lives 
I love, shall I longer mourn because I am shut 
out from MY doing? What though / cannot do, 
if Thou, who dost work at my asking can do 
miracles f So, Lord, though I can do nothing, 
help me to remember with new joy and hope Thy 
blessed promise, I 

V ye ask, I will do.' " 



/^ 






'^^rrr'^^W?sr'->^^^j^^^S?^f?^^^r^^^ 



^?^^P^^^^^^^^?^^^^i^PP?^ 



V. 
THE GREAT CONDITION. 



"// we ask anything according to His wnx He hear- 
eth us." — I Jno. 5 : 14. 

* * * * 

If answer is sure for all prayer that is accord- 
ing to His will, how eager we should be to learn 
that will if possible. But "we know not what we 
should pray for as we ought/' Do we not rush 
into God's presence with our plans all prepared 
and importune Him to approve of them instead 
of waiting on Him to know His will for our 
life and then ask according to that will? Do we 
not try to win God over to yield to our desires 
instead of yielding to Him and praying according 
to His desires for us? We are cautious about 
doing things according to His will. Are we 
equally careful about asking things according to 
His will ? We send up hosts of petitions to Him 
without the slightest confidence of answer, be- 
cause we have not sought the "according to His 
will," which alone gives us confidence. Herein 

we are like children who, in capricious sport, 
launch their chip boats by the score upon the swift 
/flowing river with no expectation of their return. 
Whereas we should be like thoughtful ship- 
owners sending out fewer crafts, but confidently 

. 69 _^ ■ 



70 PRAYER. 

looking for their rich-laden return because a defi- 
nite cargo has been promised in the distant port 
to which they are sailing. There is an immature 
prayer life as surely as their is an imma- 
ture Christian walk. In our earlier ex- 
perience we make prayer a mere means 
of obtaining our own desires. In our later it be- 
comes, as it should be, a mighty instrument for 
carrying out the will of God. Then we put up 
more petitions ; now we get more answers. Then 
we sow more seed; now more of it comes up. 
The hound that hath a sure trail runs with con- 
fidence, while his doubting companion stands bay- 
ing aloft in disappointed perplexity. The Chris- 
tian that hath through the Spirit a keen scent 
(Isa. 11:3, Margin) to detect the will of God, 
prays with an assurance and power unknown to 
him who knows not what to pray for as he ought. 
It is only as we ask according to the will of God 
that we can have this confidence or as- 
surance in prayer. ^ 

For "This is the confidence that we have in 
Him, that if we ask an)rthing according to His 
will He heareth us." If we are not asking in 
His will, this assurance of answer cannot be 
present. 

Therefore seek so far as possible to know God's 
will concerning the object of your prayers. 

Suppose you go to .a man to borrow a sum of 
money. You know he is able to lend it. You 
know also that you sorely need it. But you do 
not know whether it will be convenient for him 



ACCORDING to HIS WILL. ft 

to give it; or whether he thinks you really need 
it ; or will to be able to repay it. In short you do 
not know his will in the matter. Therefore, while 
you have hope, yet you have no certainty or con- 
Udence that the money will be forthcoming. While 
you have all faith in him, yet you do not know 
his will, and therefore must continue in doubt 
and uncertainty as to the result until you hear 
from him. But now suppose you have a letter 
from him in which he states that he has heard 
you are in need and promises if you call upon a 
certain day he will pay you a certain sum. You 
now come to him with more than faith. You 
come with absolute, unquestioning confidence, 
that you will get the money desired. You do not 
need to inquire as to his will for that is already 
revealed in the promise made to you. You now 
simply ask according to that will perfectly as- 
sured that you will receive. Exactly thus is it 
in prayer. We desire something. Coming to 
God as to a loving father we ask. But if we are 
not certain that our wish is His will in the mat- 
ter, we can only say "if it be thy 'will," and leave 
the matter with Him- We may be trustful, and 
hopeful, but we cannot be confident if not asking 
according to His will. For our trust rests in the 
person of God and cannot be disturbed by ig- 
norance of His will at some point. But our con- 
Mence of a certain specific answer to our prayer 
must rest in the fact that we are praying award- 
ing to God's will, since we have no right to ex- 
pect that He will gfive us that which is contrary 



7^ PRAY BR. 

to His will. Therefore when we pray in line 
with His will we are in the place of power. We 
wait quietly, trustfully, confidently. The thing 
asked for must come to pass, for He has willed 
^t and nothing can frustrate it. 

How then shall we come to know His will in 
order that we may pray according to it, and so 
have Him do for us that which we ask? 

There are three means by which we may know 
God's will, namely : 

By The Word. 

By Circumstances. 

By The Spirit. 

I. By The Word. 

Plainly, we may know His will first through 
His Word. For His Word is the revelation of 
His will for us and for the world, both now and 
hereafter. As we search for it, let us see clearly 
what His will is, and then definitely plead that 
will in prayer. Hence the value of knowing the 
promises of God in our prayer-life. When we 
find such a definite promise, it becomes the very 
base-stone of ouV confidence in prayer. We rest 
upon it with absolute certainty. We do not say, 
"if it be thy will," but "Lord, this is thy will, 
clearly revealed, and praying according to that 
will, I know I shall be heard." Think, for in- 
stance, of the words, "My God shall supply all 
your need." The promise is clear, not that God 
will supply luxuries, but that" He will supply 
His children's needs. There are things in life 
such as food, raiment, and the like, of which 



■;:^^'?*^K*rt^TW3«fs*'?-?5i!^^5ii^p^;^^ 



ACCORDING TO HIS WILL. 73 

Christ said, "Your heavenly Father knoweth that 
ye have need of these things." Therefore, when 
a child of God comes to his Father in prayer 
concerning these things, he is not to pray, "Fath- 
er, if it be Thy will," but to plead, "Father, Thou 
hast clearly revealed that it is Thy loving will to 
supply all my needs, and therefore I pray ac- 
cording to that will with the greatest boldness 
and confidence, knowing that if I ask anything ac- 
cording to Thy will Thou wilt do it." There- 
fore, search the Word carefully for the explicit 
promises of God. Equipped with these, we have 
a supply of ammunftion that never fails in oui 
battles with the evil one. It was because Christ 
could say "it is written," that He thrust at Satan 
with such confidence and success. 

But even as the very lighthouse whieh has 
oftenest guided a ship into the harbor would 
be the one which a foe would seek to 
blind, destroy, or misplace, if he wanted 
to lure that ship to destruction, so the 
very fact that the . Word of God is what the 
Christian is depending upon for gfuidance, is what 
makes mis-quoted, mis-applied, or distorted 
Scripture thq most dangerous instrument the ad- 
versary can use to mislead the believer as to the 
real will of God. It was this Word which Satan 
used when he tried to lead our Lord astray. And 
every error, or false doctrine, which men propa- 
gate, owes its dangerous influence to the mis- 
applied Scripture which is cited in support of it. 
Therefore it behooves the believer to search the 



74 PRAYER. 

Word with greatest care lest the adversary may 
be using this subtlety to deceive him in this re- 
gard. Let him be sure that the word which men 
quote in support of their doctrines is God's Word 
and not the opinion of men with regard to that 
Word. 

Be sure of the Translation. — ^The Word of God 
as we have it, being a translation from another 
language, needs to be searched for the new light 
that its newer translation may bring to us. Wit- 
ness the passage in Acts 19 : 3. In the Author- 
ized Version it reads, "Have ye received the 
Holy Ghost since ye believed?" This has g^ven 
rise to the insistent teaching by many that the 
Spirit of God is not received at regeneration, but 
at some stage subsequent to it because the Word 
says "since ye believed." But when we turn to 
the Revised Version we find this passage reading, 
"Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye be- 
lieved?" which g^ves it an utterly diflFerent mean- 
ing, and shows that the Holy Spirit was expected 
to be received at, and not after, regeneration. So 
in I Thess. 4:15, we read that the living in 
Christ shall not "prevent" the dead. This trans- 
lation fills the verse with darkness and confusion, 
because the word "prevent" which now means to 
"hinder" meant, when the Bible was first trans- 
lated, to "precede." Immediately that we sub- 
stitute as in the Revision this word "precede" the 
meaning becomes perfectly clear, and utterly dif- 
ferent from the King James translation. Many 
other passages might be cited to show the need 



ACCORDING TO HIS WILL. 75 

of our being sure as to the translation of the 

Word. •.:. i,:- .. ^ : •- ..Ir;,-.: :,, 

. Be sure also of the Context. — ^There is no mis- 
reading of the Word more common and none 
more fruitful of error than to read it without its 
context. Many, for example, quote i Jno. i : 7, 
"The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us 
from all sin," as proving that by one definite 
act of faith the believer may be cleansed, by the 
blood of Christ, from the sinful nature within 
him. But mark the context, — "If we walk in 
the light, as He is in the light/' the blood cleans- 
eth, or keeps cleansing, etc. In other words the 
cleansing is a daily, continuous cleansing, con- 
ditioned on the believer's walking in Christ. But 
if he does not thus keep walking, the blood will 
not keep cleansing. Without the context the 
verse can be, and is, wrested to mean an instan- 
taneous work of the blood of Christ through an 
act of faith. But with the context the verse re- 
fers to the continuous work of the blood of 
Christ through the daily walk of faith, to the 
abiding of the believer, not to his standing. The 
condition is not "If we believe" but "If we 
walk." The result is not "cleanseth" by an act, 
but "keeps cleansing," by a process, as the word 
means. To tear a passage from its needed con- 
text in this fashion, is like catching a single sen- 
tence from the words of a passer-by without 
knowing the subject matter whereof he speaks. 
^ The process is as unfair to the speaker as it is 
fatal to the truth. Again: — . . . . >*. 



i^fcL-ii^l-i:iS?rTSfisbI--.«rj'.^^:r;. 



76 PRAYER. 

Be sure of the Application. — Many texts of 
Scripture are true for the especial individuals to 
whom they were written, but do not have appli- 
cation to God's people at large. There is a vast 
mass of prophecy for example, which was writ- 
ten for the Jew, and has no application whatever 
to the Church, save for such general spiritual 
lessons as all may draw from it. There are prom- 
ises to the Church on the other hand which are 
not applicable to Israel. Therefore, as we search 
the Word of God to know His will, it behooves 
us to ask, concerning any specific statement, 
"Does this apply to all, and therefore to me, or 
was it written to special persons or classes of 
persons only? Take for example the precious 
truth of the coming again of our Lord as proph- 
esied in such passages as i Thess. 4:13-18. 
Many apply this to a coming at the death of the 
believer, arguing that Christ so comes at that 
time. The most casual study of the context can 
scarcely fail to show the glaringness of such a 
mis-application. Then too such a beautiful chap- 
ter as Isaiah 11, is "spiritualized" and made to 
refer to the glory of the Church in this Holy 
Ghost age, whereas a careful reading of it shows 
clearly and fully its reference to the restoration 
of Israel, and the conditions of peace and right* 
eousness which dwell upon the earth in the Mil- 
lennial reign of our Lord, and never until then. 
We vividly recall the case of a recruit in an army 
camp during the war with Spain who came to 
our tent in g^eat trepidation of spirit because he 



ACCORDING TO HIS WILL. 77 

was assured, from a chance reading of Romans 
15 : 28, that he would surely be assigned to 
Spain -before the war was finished. Scarcely 
less grotesque than this are the misapplica- 
tions of God's Word made by many, by tongue 
and pen. The worst feature of errors of this sort 
is the serious injury to the faith of the person 
deceived. He pleads some promise of God from 

the Word, as he thinks, and then because God 
does not make it true in his life he loses faith 
in God and in the reality and power of prayer, 
whereas the failure to receive from God has been 
due purely to the fact that he has not been pray- 
ing according to God's will, but according to his 
own false conception of it. 

Be sure of your Inference. — Another common 
experience of misguidance in the truth of the 
Word is this. A speaker or writer quotes a text 
of Scripture and quotes it correctly. But straight- 
way he proceeds to deduce an inference of his 
own from the text, and presently the reader, if 
not very careful, is accepting that human infer- 
ence as the Word of God. Most of the absurd 
teachings of Christian Science find their lodg- 
ment and their power of beguilement from this 
cause. Its victims, all unconsciously to them- 
selves, are accepting weak, absurd, illogical state- 
ments of men as the very Word of God itself, 
whereas they are only subtle htmian inferences 
inwoven with the text. Safeguarding ourselves 
then against these errors by the above simple 
precautions we shall find the Word of God a safe. 



78 PRAYER. 

and infallible guide for the revelation of His will 
in our prayer life. 

Again, God reveals His will to His children 
n. By Circumstanchis. 

A man's life may be so hedged by circum- 
stances that they become a clear means of guid- 
ance to him upon points which the Word of God 
may not specifically touch. Thus the Word of 
God may call a man to go into all the world and 
preach the gospel. But to what part of the world 
that servant is to go, whether India, Africa, 
China or elsewhere, must be determined largely 
by circumstances outside of that Word. A man 
without a right arm would not be called by God 
into a work requiring the use of such. A man 
upon whom God had clearly laid the support of 
others who could not go into the foreign field 
could not go himself until God' had changed those 
circumstances. God leads both by shutting 
doors of circumstance, and by opening them. 
Sometimes the clear closing or opening of the 
way by a circumstance becomes the chief sign we 
have of God's will in the matter at stake. The 
gifts which one possesses for Christian service, 
the joy he finds in doing it, the seal of success 
which God sets upon it may all be very definite 
circumstances to lead a man to the mind of God 
concerning his call to it. It must be noted, how- 
ever, that circumstances alone are not usuallv 
the safe or the only means of guidance as to 
God's will. And the safe course here is always to 

Confirm Circumstances by the Spirit of God. 



ACCORDING TO HIS WILL. 79 

That is, in all eases of any dcubt as to God's 
will, wait upon God in prayer until assured in 
the Spirit that the course to which circumstances 
seem to point is the one to be taken. In 
other words, there is sometimes a speciousness, 
a plausibleness in circumstances which may lead 
us astray unless tested and confirmed by the 
Spirit of God. Who of us has not had the ex- 
perience of having all things seem to point in a 
certain direction, to a certain course of action, 
yet there has been a slight hesitancy of spirit, a 
lack of perfect liberty to so act. We delayed. 
And then as we waited in prayer the circum- 
stances changed, or lost their weight with 
us, and we came to see clearly that we would 
have been mistaken in following them. This 
plausibleness of circumstances is well illustrated 
in the ninth chapter of Joshua. The Gibeonites 
were a part of the old inhabitants of the promised 
land who were to be destroyed, or driven forth 
by Joshua and the Israelites. Knowing the fate 
which would meet them if they were rec- 
ognized as dwellers in the land, they came to 
Joshua feigning to be ambassadors from a dis- 
tant country, and showing in proof thereof their 
bread, dry, musty and moldy from their pretend- 
ed long and weary journey. Joshua and the Is- 
raelites were deceived by a circumstance — ^the dry 
and musty bread. In the graphic language of the 
text (Josh. 9 : 14) "They received the men by rear 
son of their victuals (margin) and asked not 
counsel at the mouth of the Lord" The infer- 



8o PRAYER. 

ence is plain that if they had waited upon the 
Lord and taken counsel of Him He would have 
unmasked the guile of the Gibeonites and shown 
Joshua that the circumstances were false and 
deceptive. Even so Satan is ever ready to 
mislead God's children by all sorts of trickery 
and will bait his traps with any device where- 
with he may ensnare theni. The only safe course 
for us is always to "take counsel at the mouth of 
the Lord," and have Him confirm for a certainty 
all that is doubtful or even plausible in circum- 
stances. 

HI. By the Spirit. 
We may know the will of God also through the 
Spirit of God. For there are many emergencies 
in our lives in which neither the Word of God 
nor Circumstances can convey to us the mind of 
God, and unless there is a guidance by the Spirit 
of God His children must walk in darkness. The 
Word of God, for example, may call us to prayer 
for the sick, but there is nothing in that Word, 
nor in circumstances, which reveals to us whether 
it is, or is not, the will of God to raise up or to 
take to Himself the one for whom we may pray. 
And it is only as we wait upon God in prayer 
that we can receive, by the Spirit of God, the 
assurance of His will to heal or to take. The 
Word of" God bids us to go forth into all the 
world and preach the gospel to every creature. 
But there is nothing in that Word which tells us 
into what particular part of the world a man so 
called is to go, and with nothing particular in the 



ACCORDING TO HIS WILL. 8i 

circumstances to guide he may be thrown entirely 
upon the leading of the Spirit of God for light. 
Indeed there are hundreds of details in our lives 
in which we need the guidance of God to keep 
us from going astray, and in which being glided 
directly neither by the Word nor Circumstances, 
the Spirit becomes the supreme, final and only 
revealer of God's will in the matter at issue. And 
why should it be thought impossible for the God 
who is a Spirit to guide those who have that 
same Spirit within them as a gift from Him? 
Yea, it is by the Spirit of God that the things of 
God are revealed. And does not our demal, or 
skepticism as to the guidance of the Spirit rather 
prove our lack of perception than His lack of 
guidance? The fact that no voice comes to us 
over a telephone does not prove that there is no 
such voice. It may only mean that we have not 
heard it. That we do not hear the voice of the 
Spirit does not prove the silence of God, but only 
the dullness of our spiritual hearing. It is not 
that God is mute, but that we are deaf. Let us 
not deny the fact of the Spirit's inner voice to 
the soul merely because we are too fleshly to 
hear it The Word of God clearly proves that 
He spoke to men by the voice of His Spirit. Of 
Paul and Silas it is said. Acts i6 : 7, that they as- 
sayed to go into Bith)mia but "the Spirit suffered 
them not." Of Philip that same word says that 
the Spirit said to Philip "Go near, and join thy- 
self to this chariot." (Acts 8:29.) So we are 
told that Agabus spoke to Paul "by the Spirit." 



82 PRAYER. 

Acts 2i: II. As the disciples at Antioch fasted 
and prayed we are told that "The Holy Ghost 
said, 'Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the 
work whereunto I have called them.' " (Acts 13: 
2.) Likewise does God speak by His Spirit to 
His children in these days. 

There are three lessons we need to learn con- 
cerning the revelation of God's will through the 
Spirit. These are: 

WlLIv. 

"If any man will to do His will he shall know." 
To know the will of God we must will the will 
of God. Self-will is the surest and densest veil 
which hangs between us and the knowledge of 
God's will. To approach God in the spirit of 
self-will is like the plunge of a railroad train 
into a great tunnel — darkness and gloom are the 
sure result. It is through the heart, rather than 
through the head, that we discern the will of God, 
and rebellion or failure of submission in the 
heart means darkness upon the path. If we ask 
ourselves "Am I just as willing to have God re- 
fuse this petition of mine if it be His will, as to 
grant it ?" we will find a sure test for unmasking 
self-will. And we will be amazed, as we apply 
this test, to discover how much of our prayer life 
is an effort to win God over to assent to, and carry 
out, our own will rather than an asking according / 
to His will. To come to God then in the spirit 
of absolute submission to His will is a supreme 
essential to the knowing that will. 



i:'?y-v-srt?rSi'Kr''«'''^7^^^:*^^'^"^=='-^^ 



ACCORDING TO HIS WILL. 83 

Wait. 

Haste is the parent of nine-tenths of our mis- 
takes concerning the will of God. The man who 
hurries has many mis-steps to wearily retrace, 
where the man who waits has but few. Wait- 
ing on God is a kind of spiritual filter. The sed- 
iment of darkness and error precipitates for the 
man who waits, and the clear and luminous truth 
remains. Do not allow yourself to be driven to 
inconsiderate decisions under any pretext of haste. 
When you are in doubt you have a sure 
call to wait. It is astonishing how the mist will 
clear away and the light shine forth for the man 
who waits. The spirit of haste, on the other 
hand, is born of the flesh and i*- results cannot 
fail to be of the same. 

Wai^k. 

God is a Spirit. If we would receive the mes- 
sages of the Spirit we must learn to walk in the 
Spirit. 

Suppose from a loved onfe who has gone be- 
fore a promise came that sometime to-morrow a 
message would come to you from that other land. 
Suppose, too, that since that message was to be 
from a spiritual being you yourself must needs 
be walking in the Spirit if you would hear it. 
When to-morrow dawned how careful would you 
be lest you miss it. How careful about waiting 
on God ; how careful to have your ear attuned to 
the coming tidings ; how guarded lest the clamor 
and boisterousne^s of every-day life might dull 
your spiritual hearing. How much time would 



84 PRAY BR. 

you spend in quietness in the chamber of 
prayer, waiting and listening in the silence. How 
earnestly would you seek to be iti the Spirit when 
that message came from your loved one on the 
other shore, so that you might receive, hear and 
know it. Just this should be our continual atti- 
tude toward God. We should strive just as earn- 
estly to be in the Spirit to hear God's messages 
to us as we would be to receive the message of an 
absent loved one, if such a thing were possible. 

Neither let us lose heart if we are slow about 
learning how thus to so walk in the Spirit that 
we may recognize the inner voice when He 
speaks to us. For this selfsame thing is the 
highest test of the closeness of our walk with 
God. We can afford to yield a costly tribute of 
time and patience here in return for so precious 
a blessing. More than a century ago godly Pas- 
tor Blumhardt was wondrously used of God in 
prayer for the sick. His power in this ministry 
depended, as does all power in prayer, upon pray- 
ing according to the will of God. He testified 
that at the first wKen he began this ministry of 
intercession, he would spend many hours in pray- 
er before he could ascertain the will of God as 
to the afflicted one. But after about two years 
he came to be so familiar with the inner voice of 
God that often he would scarcely have lifted his 
heart to God in communion ere the mind of God 
in the matter was clearly revealed to him. With 
us, even as with him, God is willing if we are 
but patient, prayerful, and trustful, Here, as 



ACCORDING TO HIS WILL. 85 

elsewhere, the Lord will give us the desire of our 
heart, and in kind, if not in degree, shall it be true 
of us. His own children, that "The Father loveth 
the Son and showeth him all things which He 
Himself doetb." 



''■?«^f-^-sEii*'JB!*»sn^«5^*'->*^^ ■ ' ■■■■■-•;:-.->_- -^SS^-'^'t^-'f^i?^^^ 



VI. 
THE PRACTICE OF PRAYER. 



"Ask/— Matt. 7:7. 

^P T* ^P ^F 

The way to get a thing which is purchasable 

is to pay for it. The way to get a thing which 

is to be earned is to work for it. The way to get 

a thing which is to be given is to ask for it. The 

Christian in receiving from God has neither to 
pay nor to earn. What he gets from God comes 
by gift, and the way to receive it is simply to 
ask. In Matthew 7 : 7, God says, "Ask and ye 
shall receive." In Matthew 7:11, "How much 
more shall your Father which is in heaven give 
good things to them that ask him.'* In John 14T 
II, "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name." In 
John 14 : 14, "If ye ask 1 will do." Since 
then the definite blessing in prayer comes from 
our simple asking, the first great lesson is : — 

I. Begin to Ask. — When we come to a place 
of crisis or stress in our life we betake ourselves 
to everything but this. We worry, we fret, we 
brood, but we do not ask. But God does not 
say "If ye chafe, or scheme, or plan I will do, but 
if ye ask I will do." Does some one say here : "I 
do not know how to ask. I do not understand 
the mysteries of God's will. I do not know how 
to live this prayer life." The answer is simple. 

87 



88 PRAYER. 

The way to learn to do is to begin to do. This 
is true of all effort. It is also true of prayer. 
The trouble is not that we do not know how to 
ask, but that we are not asking. God can help 
the man who can not pray. The Holy Spirit 
will teach him. But God cannot help the man 
who imll not pray, for he g^ves God no chance. 
God does not expect us to know all the secrets 
of prayer before we enter into the school of 
prayer. He asks us to begin: to take our seat 
on the primary bench : to learn first the A, B, C, 
of this life. And then as we go on praying, we 
keep on learning. The responsibility of teaching 
to pray is with God. But the responsibility of 
praying is with us. It is not our ignorance of the 
prayer life, but our woful neglect of it that most 
grieves the heart of God. 

2. Be instant in Asking. — ^That is, ask before 
you do anything else. Men say here, "God helps 
those who help themselves. Do the best you can 
and when you can do no more call on God for 
help." This sounds wise, but it is a specious wis- 
dom. We ourselves have no power to meet the 
wiles of Satan, and if we essay to do so alone, 
we will be overpowered. Therefore go first to 
God in prayer. Go to Him first that you may 
have His guidance. Go to Him first that you 
may have light from His Word. Go to Him first 
that you may be strengthened by His Spirit. Go 
to Him first that you may be kept from mis- 
takes, the correction of which may take many 
long and weary days. A beautiful example of 



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iw^PSSPPilWW" 



ASK. 89 

so going first to God in prayer is found in the 
second chapter of Nehemiah. Nemehiah's heart 
was burdened for the rebuilding of his beloved 
city, for the restoration of his people. He came 
into the presence of the king with a sad counte- 
nance. The king seeing it said, "Why^ art thou 
sad of countenance to-day ? For what dost thou 
make request?" And Nehemiah answered, and 
said, "If it please the king that thou would send 
me unto the city of my fathers that I may build 
it." But note that in the brief instant which 
elapsed between the question of the king and the 
answer of Nehemiah occurs this remarkable sen- 
tence, "So I prayed to the God of Heaven," 
Nehemiah in answering the question of the king, 
did not dare trust his own wisdom, but even in 
the few seconds of time that were his he lifted 
up his heart to God in prayer and cried to God 
for wisdom in his reply. Some one has called 
this "ejaculatory prayer," from the Latin word, 
"jaculum," meaning a javelin or dart. That is, 
Nehemiah sent up, as it were, a little 
arrow of prayer to God for help. There 
is a precious lesson for us in this. A 
great crisis comes into our life: a g^eat 
need is present there. We do not have time to 
go apart into our closet and commune with God, 
for the emergency is too sudden. But we can do 
as Nehemiah did. We can be one of God's. "Min- 
ute men" in prayer. Just where we are, on the 
street, in the place of business, in the very midst 
of the rush and pressure of daily affairs, we can 



90 PRAYER. 

send up one of these little arrows of prayer: — 
"Lord help me; Lord guide me; Lord give me 
wisdom in this crisis." This habit of being in 
instant, momentary prayer-touch with God in 
the busy rush of life is as precious in its way 
as the longer periods of communion which come 
to us in the quiet and retirement of the closet. 

3. Keep on Asking. — "Pray without ceasing," 
says the apostle in i Thess. 5:17. Just what 
does the Spirit mean here? Hardly that we 
should spend every moment of our lifes in ac- 
tual, audible prayer. But probably, first, that 
we should constantly be in an attitude of prayer 
to God amid all the circumstances of life: that 
the atmosphere of our life should be one of pray- 
erfulness. Added to this is also the thought that 
we are to pray, as it were, "without ceasings," 
that is, without great gaps and interruptions in 
our prayer Hfe. We know the evil of constant 
breaks, and interruptions in our daily tasks. The 
lad who is in school one week and stays away 
the next will never become a scholar. The mu- 
sician who is faithful to his practice for a time, 
and then wholly neglectful of it, will never be- 
come master of his art. So if we pray to-day 
and forget to pray to-morrow ; if we cry to God 
this week and are silent next, our prayer life will 
suffer in the same way. We pray with ceasings, 
with interruptions, and we lose power in so do- 
ing. God wants us to pray without cessations, 
without gaps and intervals in our intercession. 
"Pray without ceasing" then is a warning against 



ASK. gi 

fitfulness, and remittingness in prayer. It is a 
call to habitual, rather than to never-ceasing 
prayer. It is the daily, regular, habitual holding 
on to God that brings things to pass in the king- 
dom of prayers. To such a petitioner there comes 
a sense of grip; a feeling that he is prevailing: 
a consciousness of effectiveness in prayer which 
is not present where inconstancy and remitting- 
ness mar the prayer life. If we stay our lips 
and hearts from the daily practice of prayer we 
shall as surely fail of success, as the apprentice 
who ofttimes slacks his hand from the cunning 
of his trade will fall short of becoming a master- 
workman therein. 

Again we are not only to pray without ceasing 
but also to pray without fainting. "And He 
spake a parable unto them, that men ought always 
to pray and not to faint." (Luke i8: i) The first 
is a warning against fitfulness in prayer, the sec- 
ond against lackjof perseverance therein. For this, 
like that, ensnares many. No temptation in the 

life of intercession is more common than this of 

failure to persevere. We begin to pray for a cer- 
tain thing; we put up our petitions for a day, a 
week, a month, and then, receiving, as yet, no 
definite answer, straightway we faint, and cease 
altogether from prayer concerning it. This is a 
deadly fault. It is simply the snare of many be- 
ginnings with no completions. It is ruinous in 
all spheres of life. The man who forms the 
habit of beginning without finishing has simply 
formed the habit of failure. The man who be- 



92 PRAYER. 

gins to pray about a thing and does not pray it 
through to a successful issue of answer has 
formed the same habit in prayer. As in everything 
else so it is in prayer. To faint is to fail. Then 
defeat begets disheartenment, and unfaith in the 
reality of prayer, which is fatal to all success. It 
were better to put up fewer prayers and get 
more answers than to have on hand a host of 
unfinished petitions, with all the spiritual de- 
moralization that flows therefrom. 

More than a half century ago George Muller 
that prince of intercessors with God, began to 
pray for a group of five personal friends. After 
five years one of them came to Christ. In ten 
years two more of them found peace in the same 
Saviour. He prayed on, for twenty-five years, 
and the fourth man was saved. For the fifth he 
prayed until the time of his death, and this friend 
too came to Christ a few months afterward. For 
this latter friend Mr. Muller had prayed almost 
fifty-two years ! When we behold such persever- 
ance in prayer as this we realize that we have 
scarcely touched the fringe of real importunity 
in our own intercessions for others. 

But some one says here : "How long shall we 
pray ? Do we not come to a place where we may 
cease from our petitions and rest the matter in 
God's hands? There is but one answer. — Pray 
until the thing you pray for has actually been 
granted, or until you have the assurance in your 
heart that it will be. Only at one of these two 
places dare we stay our importunity. For prayer 



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is not only a calling upon God, but also a conflict 
with Satan. And inasmuch as God is using our 
intercession as a mighty factor of victory in that 
conflict, He alone, and not we, must decide when 
we dare cease from our petitioning. So we dare 
not stay our prayer until the answer itself has 
come, or until we receive the assurance that it will 
come . In the first cases we stop because we see. 
In the other we stop because we believe. And 
the faith of our heart is j[ust as sure as the sight 
of our eyes, for it is faith from, yea the faith OF 
God, within us. More and more as we live the 
prayer life shall we come to experience and 
recognize this God-given assurance, and know, 
when to rest quietly in it, or when to continue our 
petitioning until we receive it. 

4. Ask in ALi, THINGS. — "Be anxious in nothing 
but in everything by prayer," etc. (Phil. 4:6). 
We go to God in prayer when some great need 
or crisis comes into our life, but in the little 
things which fill up those lives we forget to pray. 
But God wants us to be prayerful in all things. 
And the reason is clear. For prayer brings the 
peace of Gcid. Hence when we bring a worri- 
ment or anxiety to God we shift the burden of it 
from ourselves to God, and this brings us peace. 
Now if we only bring to God, and lay upon God 
in prayer, the great burdens of life, then we have 
peace only concerning these. But the most of 
our life is made up of little things, of every- 
day happenings, of a multitude of seeming tri- 
fles. Wherefore so far as we keep these 



94 ^RAYER. 

out of our prayers, we keep peace out from 
our lives. And this is why our peace is fitful in- 
stead of perfect. It is because our prayer life is 
only partial instead of all-inclusive. If we prayed 
about all things we would have peace about all 
things. Wherever prayer is missing peace is ab- 
sent. Stonewall Jackson, speaking of this truth, 
said: "When I write a letter I ask God to go 
with it. When I speak a word I ask Him to 
bless it. When I do anything for Him I ask His 
presence in it. In all things I try to come to Him 
in prayer." Even thus would God have all His 
children live the life of prayer. 

S. Ask and ye shall know God. — Manasseh, 
wandering from God, lost his throne, and was 
carried away captive. In his distress he cried 
unto the Lord, and the Lord heard, and restored 
him. "Then Manasseh knew that the Lord He 
was God (2 Chron. 33:13). An answer to 
prayer is a personal introduction to God. To 
see the artist paint before your eyes until the can- 
vass glows with beauty makes painting very real. 
To see the sculptor chisel and carve a rare statue 
while you watch makes sculpture very real. To 
cry to God in trouble, and to see the very thing 
you asked for come into your life exactly as you 
asked for it, makes the Lord wondrously real. 
It was when Manasseh cried and the Lord heard 
that then Manasseh knew God as never before. 
It is like hearing the voice, touching the hand, 
and looking into the eyes of a friend whom you 
before only knew by reputation. "Hereby shall 



g*^-' JU Wf JUfsihi'H* '*- V 



ASK. 95 

ye know that the living God is among you," 
said Joshua to the Israelites (Josh. 3 : lo.) That 
is the mighty works which God would do for 
them would make God real and tangible to them. 
Perhaps you are a student, a worker at the desk. 
Some day you go away leaving your table in 
confusion and disarray. When you return you 
find it in perfect order. Your books are neatly 
piled; your scattered papers are orderly ar- 
ranged ; every article has found its proper place ; 
a rose, or sprig of heliotrope adds beauty and 
fragrance to it all. You recognize the presence 
and thoughtfulness of a loved one. You see and 
know the hand by these traces of its ministry. 
Thus is it in prayer. To the man who cries to 
God in prayer the doing of God which comes in 
reply to that asking makes God so real and prac- 
tical in his life that you cannot possibly convince 
him these things are chance, or accident, or 
anything else than the personal presence of his 
Lord working mighty works and deeds in his own 
life. He knows God as the prayerless man can 
never know Him, because he thus sees His direct 
and loving touch upon every interest of his life. 
6. Ask — ^AND YOUR JOY SHALi* BE i^ULL. — There 
are many kinds of joy pictured in God's Word. 
There is the joy of salvation. "Rejoice not in 
this, but rejoice that your names are written in 
heaven," said Christ to the seventy. (Luke 10: 
20.) There is the joy of seeing a soul brought 
to Christ, a sight which fills the hearts of even 
the angels of heaven as they behold. (Luke 15 ; 



g6 PRAY BR. 

y.){ There is the joy of being wholly yielded up 
to God to do His will, which is the very joy 
of Christ himself in us, and which makes our joy 
to be full. (John 15: ii.) Of like preciousness 
is the joy of answered prayer. "Ask and ye shall 
receive that your joy may be full/' says our 
Lord. (John 16:24.) Very wondrous indeed is 
the gladness which fills our hearts when a great 
answer to prayer comes into our life. To pray 
amid darkness, and have God send great light: 
to pray in the face of a great barrier, and see 
God tear it down before our very eyes: to cry 
amid a dire need and have God swiftly and won- 
drously supply it — ^what joy floods the heart at 
the moment God sends such answers ! The very 
joy of heaven itself enters into our life in such 
an experience. It is bom of God, and no human 
joy can match it. What a constant stream of 
joy keeps flowing through the life of a child be- 
cause of the gifts which his father gives at his 
asking. Would not this same river of joy burst 
forth in the lives of many of God's children who, 
now joyless and unhappy, if they only knew this 
secret of the joy of answered prayer and prac- 
ticed it? 

7. Ask — ^BECAUSE THERE IS A GIVING BY GOD 

WHICH COMES ONLY FROM OUR ASKING. — Prayer 
is a power. Through prayer God does things 
which would not otherwise be done. When He 
says — "If ye ask, I will do." He very clearly 
hints that if we do not ask there will be some 
lack of Hi§ doing^. This is a great mystery, but 



?^p?^'^?^*^=55?^*-!>'""^^ 



ASK. 37 

■ • 

it is also a gjreat fact. When Hezekiah, in dis- 
tress, prayed to God for deliverance from the 
Assyrian host, and God sent His angel who 
smote one hundred and eighty-five thousand of 
them, the reason for that victory was stated in 
these words — "Thus saith the Lord (to Heze- 
kiah), Whereas thou hast prayed to me." The 
deliverance came because he had prayed. (Isa. 
37: 21.) Christ, too, speaking of the friend who 
came at midnight for bread, said, "Though he 
will not rise and give him because he is his 
friend, yet because of his importunity he will 
rise and give him as many as he needeth." (Luke 
11:8.) Christ here clearly teaches that some 
things which God does not give simply from the 
fact of being a God of gfrace, and because He 
is "our friend," He does give because of our im- 
portunity." God indeed gives many things sim- 
ply because He is God, and a God of grace. He 
sends His rain on the just and the unjust. He 
has general blessings which He pours out wheth- 
er we pray or not But there are g^eat and 
special bounties which He holds in reserve for 
those who pray, which he bestows because of our 
importunity. It is like this. Here are the heav- 
ens overarching us. They are always full of the 
moisture which is ready to descend in the form 
of rain. That rain is always, as it were, hanging 
over the heads of the children of men. But it 
does not descend in the form of rain until a cool 
current of air meets the moisture laden clouds 
and condenses them into showers at that partic- 



98 PRAY BR. 

ular point.. So these special gifts of God 
are, as it were, His clouds hung over us big with 
promise waiting for our stream of prayer to rise 
and condense them into showers of blessing, but 
if we pray not they float by leaving us unvisited, 
unrefreshed. We have a beautiful illustration of 
J:his truth in Samson's life (Judges 15:18, 19). 
Samson had just won a great victory in the 
slaughter of a thousand of his enemies. He finds 
himself weary, and sore athirst. God looks down 
upon him and sees his condition but there is no 
deliverance recorded until Samson "called on 
the Lord." Then God's hand clave the earth and 
the living water gushed forth to revive and save 
the earnest petitioner. Wherefore Samson names 
the place "En-hakkore," that is: "The well of- 
him that cried." "In that name he clearly tes- 
tifies that the thing which most impressed him 
in this wonderful deliverance was that it was 
given when he cried. It was when he became a 
crier that God opened the well. And as the years 
rolled by and men quenched their thirst at the 
living spring its name was a constant reminder 
that God had opened it because some one had 
cried to Him." 

How true this is in our lives! We come into 
some place of stress in life. The gloom is thick ; 
the burden is heavy; the voice of hope is faint; 
the vision of faith is dimmed. While we are sore 
athirst God is waiting — waiting for our cry to 
Him. The very ground beneath our feet is 
throbbing with the pulse of the thirst-slaking 




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5^??«?^S^PIHfP^BS 



ASK. 99 

fountain that is ready to spurt forth when we 
cry. But if we do not cry we have no well, for 
it is "the well of him that cries." Sometimes 
men shoot an oil well with a cartridge that 
spurts the fluid into the air by its force. So 
prayer is God's well opener. When we cry, the 
earth cleaves and the fountain bursts forth. 
Prayer is the passage-way from spiritual thirst 
to spiritual refreshing. "He was sore athirst — 
HE CALLED — and his spirit came again/* It is 
the bridge that bears us from distress to de- 
liverance: — "In my distress — I cried — and He 
delivered." Some know only the thirst, only the 
distress, because they use not the way out of 
both^ the cry. God does not mean us to live in 
a permanent state of need or a perma- 
nent condition of distress, but out of the 
need and out of the distress to cry and have a 
well opened. One man says, pointing to the past 
"Here came a great affliction to me: — ^here a 
great temptation — ^here a grevious sorrow — ^here 
a serious loss. My life has been a constant ex- 
perience of distress and need." Another says 
"True, I have been through the same tribula- 
tions. But see: — Here God opened for me a 
cooling well — ^here a sparkling fountain — here a 
bubbling spring — ^here a refreshing stream. Life 
is sad for you because you know only its need — 
joyous for me because I know also the deliver- 
ance: — "for He shall deliver the needy when he 
crieth." Who is there, buffeted, dispirited, weary 
unto death, who has not cried unto Him in 



loo PRAYER. 

their distress aiid, in the quiet inflow of peace, 
comfort, and rest, been as conscious that He had 
opened a stream of refreshing in their souls as 
though their ears heard its musical flow, their 
parched lips tasted its sweet running waters. 

What a searching word, to the same effect, is 
that of the Holy Spirit in James 4 : 2, "Ye have 
not, because ye ask not." If you do not pray some, 
laborer will not go forth into the harvest field ; if 
you do not pray some darkened soul in China or 
Africa may not receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ ; 
if you do not pray father, or sister, or loved 
friend may not be convicted of sin ; if you do not 
pray some door that God would have opened 
may remain closed forever; if you do not pray 
some barrier may stand till Jesus comes that God 
might have hurled down if you had prayed. If 
you do not pray only eternity will reveal what 
God has lost and what you have lost and what 
the universe has lost because of your failure in 
asking. 

Child of God, to-day there are obstacles in 
your life which seem to doom you to utter failure 
of God's highest purpose for you. You have 
planned, worried, toiled and failed. Despair is be- 
ginning to settle down upon you, and hope is fad- 
ing away from your life, for all your doing has 
been thwarted. Try now the asking which brings 
His doing. Begin to live the prayer life. Ask, 
ask, ASK, and then out of all the failure of your 

doing look unto Him who says "If ye ask, / will 

do." Pray — and He will soften hearts which 



-,+ • 

ASK. loi 

all your doing could never touch ; pray — and He 
will heal that cruel estrangement which is slowly 
crushing you; pray — and He will meet your 
needs, both temporal and spiritual; pray — and 
He will weave all the tangled threads of your 
life which seem beyond hope of disentanglement 
into the single golden strand of His great pur- 
pose for you; pray — and unto your life, fresh 
from the failure and disappointment of your 
doing, He will bring miracles of His doing which 
will some glad day fill your lips with songs of 
praise; pray — and He will work changes un- 
thought of, and bring about providences un- 
dreamed of; pray — ^and He will overturn and 
overturn, until darkness changes to light, bond- 
age to liberty, bridgeless chasms to safe high- 
ways, granite walls to webs of gossamer, because 
a miracle working God has fulfilled His promise 

"// ye ASK, I wiLi, DO." 



I .. 



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VII. 
PRAYER AND HEALING. 



"And the prayer of Faith shall save the sick." — 

Jas. 5 : IS. 

* * * * 

The truth concerning this important phase of 
prayer may be best considered under four heads, 
namely : 

Is God able to heal ? 
- Does God ever heal? 

Does God always heal ? 

Does God use means in healing? ' 

Is God ABLE to heal? 

We need not tarry here. There can be but one 
answer. The omnipotent God who made the 
body can just as easily heal it, if it be His will. 
There is no limit to His power, and to any child 
of His who believes in the omnipotence of God, 
there can be no difference of view here. Pass- 
ing on then: 

* * * * 

Does God ever heal? 
Here, too, there will be but little divergence of 
view. -The Word of God plainly records the ex- 
ercise of God's power in the healing of the sick. 
And not only was this true in the time of our 
Lord upon earth, but also even in all the cen- 
turies which have elapsed since He left it. There 

103 



104 PRAYER. 

are too many authentic cases of the exercise of 
God's healing power in these latter days for any 
fair-minded man to deny the fact that He does 
still so exercise that power. But we approach 
a much more important and mooted question in 
the next point to be considered, and that is : 

Is it AivWAYS the will of God to heal? 

There is a large class of God's children who 
answer this question by an emphatic affirmative. 
They earnestly contend that it is the will of God 
to heal all sickness; that it is Only our unbelief, 
our failure of appropriating faith, which keeps 
us from being healed in case of sickness, and 
that all who will really trust the Lord for healing 
and claim the same in Him, shall realize it in 
fact. This is one of the most important and vital 
teachings upon the whole theme and as it reaches 
the heart of the whole matter, the arguments of 
its advocates are worthy our most careful and 
prayerful attention. And first they claim that i 

Healing is in the Atonement. — ^This js true 
in that every spiritual deliverance comes to us 
from the atonement. But it must be remembered 
that the atonement of Christ covers the Millen- 
nial age to fom.e as well as this age in which we 
now live. And it does not follow that because 
the children of God are to be delivered from all 
disease and sickness that deliverance is for now 
instead of hereafter when "the inhabitants of Je- 
rusalem," (that is, the dwellers in the Millennial 
age,) "shall no longer say *I am sick.' " For it 



HEALING. 105 

is clear that there are many blessing^ in the 
atonement, the fullness of time for the enjoyment 
of which has not yet arrived. Thus deliver- 
ance from death is covered by the atone- 
ment of Christ. Yet it is not ours in this 
age, but in an age yet to come after the coming 
of our Lord. So too it is argued that Christ was 
made a curse for us and that we are therefore 
made free from all the curse of the law, and that 
under this is included sickness. But that we are 
not made free now from all the curse of the law 
is clear in that the curse upon the earth is clearly 
not removed until our Lord comes, aiid in Rom. 
8 : 19-23 we see the wholie creation groaning un- 
der this bondage and looking forward to another 
age for deliverance from its thralldom. Thus we 
see plainly that we cannot claim in this age all 
that is included under the atonement of Christ, 
and therefore cannot claim universal exemption 
from sickness on the ground that it is in the 
.atonement of our Lord. _ 

■.'^ Sickness is of Satan, it is furthermore said, 
and therefore it must be ttie will of God to take '{ 

it away. But in an'sViffer to this it may be said 
that 'there are many things which atre of Satan, 
which God yet permits to exist until His time for 
their removal has come. Thus, as seen above, 
death is of Satan, yet God permits it for the 
present. Sorrow and suffering are of Satan, yet 
God suffers them for the present. Temptation 
is surely of Satan, yet God permits His children 
to be so assailed. So sickness may be an assault 



io6 PRAYER. 

of the adversary upon our bodies, yet God may 
permit it. God clearly permitted Satan to attack 
His servant Job. So too Paul's thorn in the 
flesh is clearly declared to have been "a messen- 
ger of Satan," yet God did not remove it. That 
it is not always God's will to heal seems clear: 
By the Experience of His children. — After all 
is it not a fact of every-day observation that God 
does use physical affliction for the chastening and 
purification of His children, and that He suffers 
it to remain until He has accomplished His pur- 
pose of love and child-training with them. Sure- 
ly this is the case in the lives of myriads of His 
godliest saints. Who is there of us who has not 
seen a strong, perhaps rebellious, life go into the 
crucible of affliction of all kinds, bodily included, 
and come forth strengthened and purified as no 
other dealing of God seemed hitherto able to 
accomplish. We recall the case of one of the 
most devoted and successful workers in the 
Lord's vineyard. For sixteen years she lay a 
helpless invalid, suffering keenly much of the 
time. At the end of all these long and weary 
years she awoke one midnight to the conscious- 
ness that she had never been wholly submitted 
to the will of God in her illness ; that deep in her 
heart there had always been a root of bitterness, 
a spirit of rebellion that God should permit her 
thus to suffer. Then and there, with the vision 
of her rebellious will vividly before her, she 
yielded that will wholly and unconditionally to 
her Father in heaven, to patiently bear not only 



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HEALING. 107 

what He might send, but also all that 
He might permit to come into her life in 
the way of bodily affliction. She was as 
she expressed it, just as willing to lie 
there a thousand years, if it were God's will, 
or to be raised up to health if that were His will. 
Within a week she was marvelously, yea mirac- 
ulously, healed by the power of God. All those 
years God had permitted her to stay under this 
bodily affliction to bring her into that place of 
absolute submission to His will, without which 
He never could have used her for the glorious 
work to which he was calling her. And do we 
not see Him permitting others of His own thus 
to be afflicted not only for years, but for a whole 
lifetime, without the ensuing healing which came 
in this case? And as we mark the Christ-like 
patience, gentleness, and long-suffering which are 
wrought out in these lives in the chamber of af-* 
fliction, must we not confess that for some reason 
God is suffering it to be thus? And dare we as- 
sert that the only reason such godly souls are 
not healed of their diseases is because they do not 
have faith in God ? Such an inference is incred- 
ible to those who know the saintliness of many 
such lives. In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews 
we have a striking lesson along this : line of 
truth. There we are told of some who ^'Obtained 
promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched 
the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the 
sword," and, in general, received mighty deliver- 
ance at the hands of their God. But we are also 



io8 PRAYER. 

told that "others were tortured, had trial of cruel 
mocking^ and scourg^ngs, were stoned, were 
sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the 
sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and 
goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented." 
What was the difference in these two classes? 
Were those who escaped delivered because they 
had faith in God, while the others were not deliv- 
ered through lack of the same ? Surely not For 
we are distinctly told that they "all obtained a 
good report through faith.'* They all had exactly 
the same faith in God. That is, the "others" who 
were afflicted, destitute, and tormented were so 
not because of lack of faith in God, but because, 
in His inscrutable wisdom, God's will for them 
was different than for those who were delivered 
from the same perils and persecutions. Do we 
not often see God acting in precisely the same 
mariner with those diseased and afflicted in body ? 
Some He heals marvelously, miraculously. Oth- 
ers, for some cause best known to Himself, He 
permits to stay in the place of infirmity and af- 
flictibn. It seems clear that it is not because 
these lack faith to be healed, if God will, but that 
it is not His will to heal. 

We siee again that it is not always God's will 
to heal : 

Because df the silence of God's Word. — ^If, as 
many claim, it is the will of God that all should 
be healed, and those who fail of this do so 
through lack of faith in Him, then it seems 
strange that so wondrous and important truth as 



HBAUNG. 109 

this should not be very clearly taught in the 
Word of God, and especially in the epistles, in 
which God gives special light and teaching for 
His church. And yet all through these epistles 
there is a notable and significant silence concern- 
ing any such teaching. True there are such pas- 
sages in the Gospels, as Matt. 8: 16, 17, in which 
we are told : "He healed all that were sick, that 
it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias 
the prophet, saying. Himself took our infirmities, 
and bare our sicknesses." Yet this seems to be 
a foreshadowing of the time to come when all 
sickness and infirmity shall be taken away rath- 
er than for the present period in which we live. 
For Paul, we are told in 2 Tim. 4:20, left 
Trophimus at Miletum with one of these very 
"sicknesses" ; and Paul himself continued to bear 
one of these self-same "infirmities" which was 
certainly not taken away in his case. 2. Cor. 
12 : 7-9. If the deliverance from sickness and 
infirmities is so sweeping as is claimed, why 
should these and others be left under their pow- 
er? But while the same epistles are so signifi- 
cantly silent as to the will of God tb heal all sick- 
I ness, they do set forth clearly and simply what 
God's own mind is upon this subject when they 
say in James 5 : 15, — 
"The PRAYER of FAITH shall heal the sick." 
What is taught here ? Clearly, that sickness 
comes under the sphere of prayer. We are to 
come to God in prayer in sickness exactly as we 
come to Him in prayer concerning anything else 



no PRAY BR. 

in our lives. Therefore being brought by God 
into the sphere of prayer it is subject to precisely 
the same conditions and the same great laws of 
prayer as anything else that falls within its do- 
main. And one of the supreme and unchangeable 
laws of prayer is that only when we are praying 
according to God's will can we expect Him to 
hear and grant our petition. And that brings 
us to note the next point in the teaching of this 
passage in James, to wit, that:— 

The prayer of faith shall save the sick. In 
other words the mere bringing the sick to God in 
prayer does not insure their healing. The mere 
praying to God and claiming healing does not 
bring that healing. There must be a certain kind 
of prayer, and only that kind of prayer, which is 
here called the prayer of faith, can insure the 
healing by the Lord of the one prayed for ; only 
then "the Lord shall raise him up." It becomes 
then of supreme importance to answer aright the 
question "What is the Prayer of Faith?" 

Note first that the faith of the prayer of faith, 
the only kind that bHngs healing, is not a forced 
faith. It is not that kind of faith which says, 
"If I ask for healing, all I have to do is to believe 
I am healed, and I shall be." Such a faith is 
spurious and man-made. It is not true that 
"whatever we ask of God we would get if we 
only had faith enough," as we sometimes put it. 
Such a conception of prayer is crude in the ex- 
treme. All true faith rests not upon its own 
daring and rashness, hut upon the revealed will 



r'^x^i^^yr/^if^^'PTTJ'Kf.P'ii 



HEALING. Ill 

of God. We have no right to trust God for that 
which is not His will for us. The same Christ 
who trusted Him in the hunger of the wilderness 
did not dare to trust Him to keep Him in hurling 
Himself from the pinnacle of the temple — a thing 
which was not according to His will. God was 
just as able to do the latter as the former, but 
it was not His will. So that is not great faith 
which, without seeking to know His will, sets 
hard, rash things for God to do, and calls on Him 
to work up to them. But that is great faith 
which, waiting on God to know His will, when 
that will is once seen, rests without a quiver 
upon His eternal promise as sure that the prayer 
has been heard as though the thing prayed for 
were already in hand. "This is the confidence 
that we have in Him that if we ask anything 
according to His will he heareth us * * and we 
know that we have the petitions that we desired 
of Him." God does not expect us to believe ex- 
cept upon evidence from Him. He gives us that 
evidence, as we saw in the preceding chapter, 
either through His Word, Providences, or inner 
witness of His Spirit. If, as we have seen, 
we have no revelation in His Word of universal 
healing, and none in His providences, then we 
have no right to believe save upon the one re- 
maining evidence, namely the revelation of God 
to us by the inner witness of the Spirit. 
The Prayer of Paith, then, is the prayer in which 
God Himself gives the petitioner an inward as- 
surance by His Spirit 4hat the thing he prays for 



112 PRAYER. 

is according to God's will and has been granted. 
The prayer of faith can thus only be prayed in 
that which is according to God's will. If the pe- 
tition is not according to His will God withholds 
this assurance. The al)sence of this assurance 
therefore is proof that it is not the will of God 
to heal the sickness concerning which we pray— 
unless indeed such lack of assurance is due 
not to God's unreadiness to g^ve but our failure 
to spiritually discern the same through our im- 
familiarity with the inward witness of God in 
prayer. But, barring this, we must have this con- 
fidence and assurance bom of the Spirit of God, 
and not of our own imaginings, as the evidence 
that God has answered our prayer for the sick. 
No other prayer than this prayer of faith heals 
the sick, and if we do not have it we cannot claim 
the healing of which it is the only divine witness. 
Our claims to healing if not thus founded may 
be only coimterfeit, bom of our own presumption 
and wilfullness instead of the inward witness of 
God by which "we know that we have the peti- 
tion we have asked for." The general faith that 
God will heal because He is able to heal ; or be- 
cause He has healed others, or us at other times; 
or because Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday, 
to-day, and forever," is not sufficient faith for 
healing. It must be a specific faith, given by 
God, for the individual case as we pray concern- 
ing it. This alone is the prayer of faith. This 
alone is the faith of God which brings healing 
as distinguished from our own self-efforts at 



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HEALING. 



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113 



faith, which brings only disappointment, self de- 
ception, and false claims to that which we have 
not really experienced. We recall an illustration 
of this truth which some years ago came under 
our own notice. A number of friends had gath- 
ered at the call of one of the group, to pray for 
a fellow friend who w^ lying at the point of 
death in a distant mission field. As we prayed 
with increasing earnestness there came into our 
hearts a marked, conscious spirit of assurance and 
confidence that our prayer had been heard and 
answered. One month after came the tidings by 
letter that although the family of the sick man 
had gathered at his bedside several times, to see 
him die, yet a short time after the day on which 
we had received the assurance from God of his 
recovery he had been suddenly restored to 
health and was then about his usual duties. Not 
long after we were called to the room of a young 
friend whose eyes were also turned toward the 
foreign field, but who was being hindered by ill- 
ness. We prayed, again and again for him. At 
last, after an hour of supplication on his behalf, 
we arose from our knees without a shadow of 
assurance concerning his recovery. We could 
get no liberty save in resting in submission to 
God's will, whatever that might be. In one week 
the young man had gone home to be with the 
Lord. We had all faith in God's ability to heal 
the last named friend as well as the first. But we 
had no assurance of faith from God that He 
would do so. The lesson seemed clear. In one 



114 - PRAYER. 

case it was God's will to heal : in the other it was 
not. 

The supreme truth therefore which must be 
writ large over this whole question of healing 
is — the Sovereignty of God. If, when we come 
to Him in prayer for healing, it be His will to 
heal. He will give us the. assurance of the same 
and enable us to offer the prayer of faith, which 
faith, being given by Himself, is at oiice the 
promise and pledge of answer. But if it is not 
His will to so heal, then, as in all prayer, it is 
simply ours to suffer patiently whatever He per- 
mits to come, and to miss none of its blessing 
through failure of submission. 

A word as to the anointing with oil mentioned 
in this same passage in James. The oil is plain- 
ly the symbol of the Holy Spirit, as the sole 
agent in healing. The formal anointing of the 
sick honors God in acknowledging Him as the 
healer as well as creator of the body. Doubtless 
it pleases Him to have His children, when so 
led, give this testimony to Him, in sickness. On 
the other hand the many cases in which He heals 
without this rite show that anointing is but the 
shadow of which the Holy Spirit is the sub- 
stance. And just as God baptizes with the Holy 
Spirit, without the water baptism with which He 
usually associates it in the Word, so does He heal 
myriads without the anointing here named. We 
are evidently to use it when the Holy Spirit leads 
us to it. We are plainly not to be in bondage to 
it as having any efficacy in itself apart from the 






HEALING. IIS 

Holy Spirit it typifies. The same interpretation of 
the Spirit, rather than the letter of this passage, 
would lead us to believe that where, for any 
reason, the elders of the church were not availa- 
ble, the calling of godly friends who knew the 
Lord in prayer, would satisfy all needful condi- 
tions as to the persons who were engaged in 

this fellowship of prayer for the sick. 

* * * * 

Does God use means in healingf 

There are two classes of believers who are in 
error here: — 
- Those who look to God and rule out means. 

Those who look to means and rule out God. 

Let us consider them in their order: — 
I. Those who look to God and ignore means. 

Two principles may be laid down here con- 
cerning healing: — 

First, there are three forms of healing: — 

The Supern<itural. — ^This explains itself. It 
is that form of healing in which God Himself, 
without the use of means, and by the direct touch 
of His own omnipotence, heals the body. 

The Natural. — ^Where health returns through 
rest, sleep, nourishing food, change of scene, and 
a ceasing from the violation of those natural laws 
by the transgression of which health has been 
lost, and through the observance of which it 
again returns. 

The Remedial. — Where remedies and means, 
either medical or surgical, are concerned in the 
restoration to health. 



ii6 PRAYER. 

Second, all healing is divine healing; Ged alone 
heals. No physician will claim that medicines 
or remedies heal. They furnish a means upon 
which the healing life force within lays hold and 
uses in the process of healing, but they them- 
selves do not heal. And back of all such life is 
the God of life, who alone heals, for only He who 
is the creator of life can restore and renew it 
when impaired. Thus, whether healing is super- 
natural, natural, or remedial, it is God who is 
back of it all, and working through it all. There- 
fore if God is thus back of, and makes use of, all 
these forms of healing it is for God alone and not 
us to decide which form He shall use. // is 
not for me, the patient, hut for God, the physician, 
to decide whether means shall he used or not. 
Wherefore no Christian man dare say "I will 
not use means," lest he may be thereby saying, 
"I will not obey God." To look to God only and 
refuse all means, is to confine God to the su- 
pernatural and rule Him out of the natural. But 
God will not have it so. For what we call the 
natural, is simply God working through the nat- 
ural. And for us to condemn the natural and 
insist upon the supernatural in the answers to 
our prayers for the body is simply to dictate to 
God that He shall act in one way and not in 
another. The natural is God's ordinary way of 
working, the supernatural His, extraordinary way 
of working. If it is wholly a matter for God as 
to whether He will heal, it must be wholly for 
God to choose how He will heal. It is not for 



^yn^y^^^^^^^s^;^'?'^';^^ 



HEALING. 117 

us to choose what we shall do, but to do what 
God shall choose. 

What then shall we do here? Simply this. 
Suppose God gives us, in prayer, assurance of 
His will to heal. Then let us vslait upon Him in 
prayer and communion until He shows us by 
His Spirit what He would have us to do. Then 
"Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it." If He 
leads us to trust Him for supernatural deliver- 
ance without the intervention of men, or means, 
let us so do. If He guides us to some human 
instrument or means let us receive it as from Him 
and trust Him in the natural as well as the super- 
natural. It is for God to choose. It is for us to 
trust and obey. And in it all if our expectation 
is from Him we shall never be disappointed. 

2. Those who look to means only and ignore God. 

Why is this a mistake? And why should we 
go to God in prayer concerning sickness? 

I. Because of Obedience. — "Is any among you 
afflicted ? let him pray. Is any among you cheer- 
ful? (R. V.) let him sing psalms. Is any sick 
among you? let him," etc. Just as the cheerful 
were to sing praises, so the sick and afflicted 
were to pray. "The body is for the Lord, and 
the Lord for the body." Therefore it honors God 
and pleases Him for us to bring to Him in 
prayer everything which concerns that body. It 
is a simple step of obedience to the Word of 
God: A simple conformity to the command of 
God that "in all things with prayer and suppli- 



^a 



n8 PRAYER. 

cation, we should make, known our requests unto 
God." 

2. Because of Teaching. — The body is the tem- 
ple of the Holy Ghost, the dwelling place of God, 
and should be regarded and used as such. Yet 
how many believers fail to so treat it. We are 
daily transgressing the laws which are created 
for its good. We live to eat, instead of eating 
to live; we over-work and under-rest; we chafe 
and fret ; we abuse in numberless ways the won- 
derful temple in which God dwells. "For this 
cause, says Paul, speaking of like transgressions, 
"many are weak and sickly among you." 
(i Cor. II : 30.) Much of our sicki^ss is due to 
abuse of our bodies in various ways; is the nat- 
ural result of violation of its laws. God would 
teach us His own lessons concerning these things, 
and have us walk in physical as well as spirit- 
ual obedience and holiness. Then, too, there are 
lessons of submission, of purification, and of pa- 
tience to be learned in this selfsame school. It 
is for this reason that He calls us to come to Him 
in prayer, in sickness, that we may see and learn 
and obey these lessons and "perfect our holiness 
in the fear of the Lord," both in the body and in 
the Spirit. 

3. Because of Healing. — ^The man who looks 
to means only, and ignores God m sickness, may, 
by neglect of prayer, be losing one of the great- 
est blessings of his life. To miss prayer may be 
to miss a miracle of healing. For it may be God's 
will to heal by supernatural touch, instead of 



' •'^^^:!*?>i'-il- 



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I 

HEALING. 119 

means. This, as we have seen, is for God to 
decide. And we can only learn His will, aad 
know His omnipotent power in healing, as we 
come to Him in prayer. The church of God is 
losing much here. Because of the erroneous 
teaching concerning divine healing, she has 
swung to the other extreme and is practically 
and daily den3ring the power of God to heal at 
all in these latter days. But God is the same 
mighty God as of old. The days of miracles are 
not any more past than the days of His omnipo- 
tent power are past. 

„ It is surely a symptom of waning faith that so 
many of God's own children should scout the 
bare thought of God healing by supernatural 
power in these days. Yet such mighty deeds at , 

His hands are as much needed to-day as the 
ever were, both to strengthen the faith of 
children, and, as a sign, to attest His omnipotent 
power to an unbelieving world. H God's chil- 
dren always came to Him in prayer concerning 
sickness there would be many more cases of 
marvelous healing to the glory of His name than 
the church now sees. Granted that the man who 
trusts God only, and rules out all means is in 
error. Yet the Christian who trusts means only \ 
and rules out God is just as much in error. If 
the first man confines God to the supernatural, 
the second limits Him to the natural. He insists 
that God work through second causes only. He 
comes to see only the means and is blind to the 
God back of the means. To neglect God's teach- 




/ 



I20 PRAYER. 

ing concerning divine healing, because men's 
teaching is marred by error, may be to miss un- 
told blessing from our lives, and to fall into a 
trap which has been set for us by no less an ad- 
versary than the ^^vay of our souls himself. 



^^^T^^^p^^W!^ 



PRAYER AND COMMUNION 

* * * * 

Through Communion the Spirit of God 

ANOINTS us WITH THE LIFE OF GOD. 

With that point is knit up closely our descrip- 
tion of communion, and that is the daily looking 
unto Jesus for the continuous inflow of His Di- 
vine life. 

Life comes through looking. Have you ever 
noticed the beautiful connection between the 
story of the Israelites in the wilderness, bitten 
with serpents, and looking for life to that ser- 
pent, and John 3 : 14, 15, in which our Lord com- 
ments upon the same? As we read the story of 
the dying Israelites, we are told that they were 
bidden to look unto the serpent, and they would 
receive life, f.nd that as they looked the life came. 
Now, the Holy Ghost, in speaking of regenera- 
tion, takes up this illustration, and goes on to 
say that "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the 
wilderness even so must the Son of Man be 
lifted up, that whosoever" — ^you would think 
from the illustration that what would follow 
would be "that whosoever looketh unto Him" — 
because that is the picture of the wilderness il- 
lustration. But instead of that the Divine writer 
by a quick turn of the metaohor says "that who- 

121 ^ 



122 PRAYER. 

soever believeth in Him should receive eternal 
life." What is the suggestion, what is the 
thought here? That believing in Jesus in simply 
looking unto Jesus for life. And the simplest 
thought concerning faith, and the most beautiful 
description of it for your mind and mine, is 
simply that thought of the Israelite expectantly 
looking unto the serpent for life. That is what 
faith is. Faith is not a thing. Faith is not an 
emotion. Faith is an attitude, a posture. Faith 
is looking unto Jesus for life. 

Now, as by the act of faith we receive life; 
by the daily, continuous attitude of faith by 
which we mean communion, we constantly re- 
ceive the inflowing life of the Lord Jesus Christ 
, Just as at the moment we expectantly look 
unto Jesus Christ in faith, we receive life, so all 
through our life we are to continue looking to 
Jesus Christ in the place of communion for the 
continuous anointing with the life of God. "Ex- 
cept a man drink My blood, he has no life." 
And what was His blood? "The blood is the 
life," And Jesus meant that just as a man was 
refreshed and life came unto him day by day by 
constant drinking, so a man in his spiritual walk 
mtlst be constantly drinking of the life of Jesus 
Christ, in the secret place of prayer, of com- 
munion. 

This simple thought of looking unto Jesus is 
the core thought of communion with our Lord. 
As men who are spiritually dead in ourselves, 
that is, in our old nature, and who are dependent 



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'^^z?^f^^i^^^s^^^^?^^&^s^m. 



COMMUNION. 123 

on the life of Jesus Christ down-flowing from 
heaven, we are to be looking unto our living 
Jesus in these moments of communion in the 
solitude of our own closet, and keep drinking 
His life, as a man drinks water to refresh his 
soul. 

Here is a man who has an endorser upon 
his note. The man who has given the note fails, 
and becomes bankrupt. His creditors begin to 
threaten him. One day there comes to him the 
rich man who has endorsed his note and says: 
"Now, don't trouble; don't be concerned; just 
look to me to pay that note when it matures. 
You have no funds ; you have no resources ; you 
are helpless. All I ask is. that you keep looking 
unto me." Henceforth that man is simply look- 
ing to his endorser, and when the note comes 
due, with nothing to meet it, and himself utterly 
helpless, it is paid. This is a picture of our need 
of communion. In ourselves we are spiritual 
bankrupts. While we receive the life of God at 
conversion, yet in ourselves we are utterly de- 
pendent upon Jesus Christ moment by moment 
for the anointing of His life, and as we look to 
Him in the place of communion, His life does 
somehow flow into us. We, as God's children, 
will acknowledge that of all the things of which 
we are conscious after the hour of prayer, and 
in the hour of prayer, the consciousness of the 
presence of God's Spirit in our hearts is the most 
real and blessed. In prayer, as nowhere else, do 
we realize His presence, and out from the place 



124 PRAYER. 

of prayer, anointed and refreshed by His pres- 
ence, we come forth feeling that the life of the 
Lord has really touched our souls. 

This, then, is the blessedness of communion — 
that in communion we really, as Christ says, 
drink His spiritual life. You may say it is mys- 
tical. True, all life is mystical, nor can we un- 
derstand it. But you know it is a fact; you 
know that your own soul is quickened and re- 
freshed by communion, and Christ interprets 
that quickening when He says that it is His life, 
the life of His Spirit, that thus touches and re- 
freshs us. 

* * * * 

Through Communion the Spirit of God reveals 

TO us THE MIND OF GOD. 

In Rev. 1:10, we read : "I was in the Spirit 
on the Lord's Day, and I heard a voice." Why 
did John hear the voice ? Because he was in the 
Spirit. Because John was in the place of com- 
munion, the place of waiting upon God, and be- 
cause being in the Spirit, anointed with the Spirit, 
the Spirit of God who takes of the things 
of God and reveals them unto us, could show 
them unto John. 

It is in the place of prayer and the place of 
communion that the Spirit of God is able to 
show us the things of God. "I was in the Spirit," 
and — ^"I heard a voice." Do we not often lack 
the knowledge of God's will? And is it not be- 
cause we do not put ourselves into that atmos- 



'■^'^^^T'^'^y^irT^mv^ 



COMMUNION. 125 

phere in which the Spirit of God alone can re- 
veal Himself; because our spiritual ears are not 
attuned by communion to hear the voice by 
which the Spirit of God would speak to us ? Do 
we not miss much of the revelation of God's will 
because we are not in the place above all other 
places where God reveals that will — ^the place of 
prayer, the place of communion? We cannot 
hear the voice because we do not shut ourselves 
apart in the only place where we can hear it. 

On the shores of Lake Huron, one day, last 
summer, a little group of us were standing on 
the dock awaiting the arrival of the steamer. All 
about us was a babel of voices. Presently the 
young clerk said : "Come into the fish house." 
(It was a fishing village, and there was a little 
warehouse where they packed their fish.) We 
went in with him, and he shut the door, and 
said: "Listen!" As we stood there we could 
plainly hear the sound of the approaching boat— ^ 
the peculiar intermittent beating of the paddles 
of a side-wheel steamer. Then we walked out of 
the door to the wharf where the people were 
talking, and again the sound of the approach- 
ing steamer vanished. Again with a friend we 
went into the room, and again we heard it clear- 
ly and plainly. We were in the place of still- 
ness. There were no voices about to distract, or 
disturb, or break the silence, and there we could 
distinctly hear the approaching steamer. We 
went out and sat down upon the wharf, and in 
a few minutes the smoke from her fimnels arose 



126 PRAYER. 

above the island. "What a lesson !" we thought. 
When we get alone in the chamber of communion 
with God, we can hear the voice of God ; God can 
reveal His mind to us as nowhere else. But we 
miss that mind, and we miss that guidance, and 
we fail to hear that voice, because in the hubbub 
and distraction of life we are in surroundings 
where the Spirit, who speaks with a still, small 
voice, cannot make known to us His will. Who 
of us is not familiar with this fact of the out- 
flashing of truth upon the mind in or after pray- 
er? Is there a man who has ever prayed for 
guidance and has not been conscious that this 
guidance came in or after prayer? Something 
would flash upon us, some word of God, some 
incident in our life that would suddenly open 
to us the guidance we wanted, and say to us: 
"This is the path ; walk ye in it." And when we 
came to find out where that guidance came, 
it was in prayer, or after prayer. It is in com- 
munion that God flashes upon us the light of His 
own will, the revelation of His own mind. 

We remember meeting a friend, after his re- 
turn from South Africa, where he had been vis- 
iting one known the world over for his close walk 
with his Lord. "What is the secret of his great 
power?" His reply was: "Communion. He 
seems always to be in communion with God." 
He said : "I will illustrate : When I went to see 
him, a minister from this country handed me a 

New Testament, saying : 'Will you ask Mr. 

to write a sentiment in that Testament for me?* 



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COMMUNION. 127 



After I had been there a few days I stated the 

request of the ministerial brother. Mr. took 

the New Testament and said: 'Well, I must 
go aside awhile.' He walked over into the comer 
of the room and sat down in an alcove, waiting 
on the Lord. Then I saw him write, and when 
he came back to me, the verse on the flyleaf of 

the Testament was : 'The Son can do nothing of 

Himself, but what He seeth the Father do.' I 
took that book home, and by the grace of God 
that minister's life was well nigh transformed 
from that simple verse — 'The Son can do nothinof 
of Himself.'" 

"Ah, we thought, there is the secret. We 
would have taken the book and written down the 
ftrst sentence whicH came into our mind, but this 
man who knows the Lord, as few men do, and 
knows the mind of the Lord as revealed in com- 
munion and prayer, went apart to get that 
mind. Then when he wrote the sentence it was 
the Lord's sentence, and went home to the heart 
and the life of the man who received it. God 
help us to wait in communion to get the mind of 
God, that the words we give to men may be the 
words of God, and give birth to the blessed life 

of God in them. 

* * * * 

Through Communion the Spirit of G^oc/ trans- 
forms us INTO THE IMAGE OF GoD. 

Notice the reference in 2 Cor, 3:18. Opposite 
that verse in our Bible are these words: "God's 
photograph gallery." You who know something 



128 PRAYER. 

of photography, know there are three things 
needful in it. First, there is the object which is 
to be photographed. Second, there is a sensitive 
plate that must look toward that object and re- 
ceive the impression of it. Third, there is the 
sunshine which transfers the object to the sen- 
sitive plate. As we read that verse one day we 
thought: "Surely it is God's photograph gal- 
lery." Listen to it : "But we all with open face" 
— there is the sensitive plate turned toward the 
Lord. We all with open face "beholding as in a 
glass the glory of the Lord." There is the ob- 
ject to be photographed : — "He hath foreordained 
us t©-Jt»e conformed into the image of His Son.'* 
Listen a^ain: "We all with open face beholding 
as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed" 
— ^there i$ the process — "from glory to glory." 
In what way? "Even as by the Spirit of the 
Lord." There like the sunshine is the marvelous 
power that transfers the image to you and to me. 
Transformed through beholding; transformed 
through "looking unto Jesus.." What a wonder- 
ful thought it is ! And it is in this place of com- 
munion, as we look unto Him, that this trans- 
formation takes place. 

You have heard the story of the sea and the 
cloud. The sea looked up into the heavens and 
saw the beauty of the great white summer clouds, 
and longed to become a cloud. So it struggled, 
and strove, and tossed itself into the air, and 
dashed itself against the rocks, but all to no pur- 
pose. And then the Sim looked down upon the 



COMMUNION. 129 

sea, and said: "Be quiet; be still; and just look 
unto me." And then the tossing sea grew qiiiet, 
and ceased its strivings, and lay there with open 
face beholding the glory of the sun. And as 
it did so, the sun steadily, moment by moment, 
drew, and changed, and transformed the sea, un- 
til bye and bye, in the heavens was another cloud 
in all its beauty. What the sea could not do 
with all its striving, the sun did, simply through 
the sea's looking unto it. And so too we strug- 
gle and strive, and work to become like Jesus, 
but somehow — ^we do not know how ; we do not , 
understand any more than we understand how 
that beautiful picture is transferred from the 
landscape to the plate — as we look unto Jesus in 
the place of prayer ; as we look unto Him in the 
place of communion; as our souls cease their 
strivings and their vain struggles to make the 
old flesh life like Him — which can never be, — 
and just look, helplessly, to I"m, somehow we 
are changed into the image of the Lord Jesus 
Christ. As we look unto Jesus we come to look 
like Jesus. Those who wait upon Him shine 
with His glory. When Moses came out of the 
mountain, his face was shining with the glory of 
God. Why? Because he had gazed into the 
face of God for forty days. And when he came 
down, he stood a transfigured man before the 
people, with the image of God in his face, so that 
he had to cover it, for they could not bear look- 
ing upon it. How beautiful then is it that as we 
look unto Jesus, we are transformed into th^ 






130 PRAYER. 

image of Jesus. That even down here in the 
dark night of faith, somehow or other, we grow 
Uke Him. The moment a man perfectly sees 
Jesus, that moment a man is going to be per- 
fectly like Jesus. "When He shall appear, we 
shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" 
— "we shall be like Him, for, we shall see Him." 
Through the imperfect glass of faith, the likeness 
is imperfect. With the perfect face-to-face vis- 
ion, the image shall be perfect. Here the picture 
is being taken in a cloudy day, "through a glass 
darkly." It takes long time-exposures, and the 
work seems to be slow. Then it will be an in- 
stantaneous flash, and "we shall be like Him." 
In an instant, "in a moment, in the twinkling of 
an eye"-:-the Lord, the glory, the likeness! 
Thanks be unto God. We are waiting for that 
glad moment. The instant we see Jesus Christ 
face to face, that instant we will be changed into 
the glory of Jesus Christ. And just so far as we 
see Him now in communion, so far are we made 
like Him^ even down here. 

^F ^r ^^ ^F 

Through Communion the Spirit of God ifiTS 
US FOR THE SERVICE OF GOD. 

Do we say communion is passive ? Do we say 
a busy man has no time to spend in communion? 
You may live along the line of a g^eat railroad 
for many years and yet notice that it does not 
make any difference how the fright yards are 
congested with traffic, or how occupied the train 
mm arc with their various duties, those great 



COMMUNION. 131 

freight and passenger engines are never too busy 
to stop for coal and water. And why? Because 
fuel and water mean power. So the man who 
says he is too busy to spend time in communion 
with God simply says he is too busy to have 
power with God. And as that whole great rail- 
road system would be tied up with helpless, 
"dead" locomotives, as the railroad men call 
them, if they did not stop long enough to get 
power, even so a great deal of our Christian work 
is tied up with helpless, lifeless Christians, be- 
cause they do not stop long enough to get the 
power of God. 

We are told of Gabriel, that when he came to 
Zacharias, he said : "I am Gabriel, which stand 
in the presence of God, and / am sent." Do we 
say that it is a passive life to wait before God in 
communion? It is those that wait before Him 
who are sent by Him. No man is fitted to look 
into the face of men in service until he has looked 
into the face of God in communion. And we are 
told (Rev. 8.:2), that to the seven angels that 
stood before God the trumpets vere given. "Pas- 
sive business," we say, just standing there before 
God, these seven angels looking into His face!" 
But it was to these that the execution of His 
will was committed. Oh, when we re- 
member that looking unto iHim in com- 
munion, as we have seen, reveals His mind, 
impresses His image, fills with His life, and gives 
His power, then, who is so fitted to go forth and 
take the messapfes of God and do the service of 



132 PRAYER. 

God as the man who is transformed into the 
image of God, filled with the life of God, and 
knows the will of God ? That is why communion 
fits us for the service of God. 

When David Brainerd had spent eight days in 
the heart of the forest praying to God to pour 
out His life upon the benighted savages, among 
whom he was laboring, he came forth to speak 
the Word of God. He did not know the language 
and had therefore to speak through an interpre- 
ter. To his distress he found that this interpreter 
was intoxicated. And yet through that drunken 
interpreter the power of God was so poured out 
through His anointed servant, that scores of those 
savages came to Jesus Christ under the power 
of his ministry. Ah! If we would be used to 
touch men with the power of God, we must be 
much in the place of communion with God. And 
by His grace as we go forth into the world, shall 
we not live the higher Life in the best sense of 
the worTl, and the Spirit of God will surely fill 
us with the life of God; reveal to us the will 
of God; transform us into the image of God; 
and send us forth with the power of God. 



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^ass ft Hlong 

[If you wish to write the names of a list of friends 
upon this page and let this copy of "Prayer" pass 
from one to another in the order written, we will 
gladly send you another copy for your own personal 
use, on application.] 



"The Surrendered Life," a companion 
volume by the same author, sent to any 
address on application, upon the same 
conditions as "The Three Fold Secret of 
the Holy Spirit." ' 



Leaflets by the Same 
Huthov 

SuSSENDeK 

The YiSLDfiD lyiPB 
Prayer 

The Coming op Christ as a 
Comforting Truth 



Other writings of the author appear from 
time to time in "Hearing and Doing," the 
organ of the Africa Inland Mission. This 
journal will be sent free on application to 
any desiring it, by addressing, 

"Hearing and Doing," 
West Park Statibn, 
Philadelphia, Pa., U. S. A. 



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