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Sunday, August 15, 2010

MAN'S DIFFICULTY CONCERNING PRAYER

This week while I was flying to DC, I read some of George MacDonald's Unspoken Sermons. I read two of them and I thought these quotes were very deep.


MAN'S DIFFICULTY CONCERNING PRAYER.

'—and not to faint.'—ST. LUKE xviii. 1.

"There are some who would argue for prayer, not on the ground of any possible answer to be looked for, but because of the  good to be gained in the spiritual attitude of the mind in praying...Theirs is a better way than that of those who, believing there is a God, but not believing that he will give any answer to their prayers, yet pray to him; that is more foolish and more immoral than  praying to the No-god. Whatever the God be to whom they pray, their prayer is a mockery of him, of themselves, of the truth."

"There are moods of such satisfaction in God that a man may feel as if nothing were left to pray for, as if he had but to wait with patience for what the Lord would work; there are moods of such hungering desire, that petition is crushed into an inarticulate crying; and there is a communion with God that asks for nothing, yet asks for everything. This last is the very essence of prayer, though not petition. It is possible for a man, not indeed to believe in God, but to believe that there is a God, and yet not desire to enter into communion with him; but he that prays and does not faint will come to recognize that to talk with God is more than to have all prayers granted—that it is the end of all prayer, granted or refused. And he who seeks the Father more than anything he can give, is likely to have what he asks, for he is not likely to ask amiss"

To give us the spiritual gift we desire, God may have to begin far back in our spirit, in regions unknown to us, and do much work that we can be aware of only in the results; for our consciousness is to the extent of our being but as the flame of the volcano to the world-gulf whence it issues: in the gulf of our unknown being God works behind our consciousness. With his holy influence, with his own presence, the one thing for which most earnestly we cry, he may be approaching our consciousness from behind, coming forward through regions of our darkness into our light, long before we begin to be aware that he is answering our request—has answered it, and is visiting his child.

THE WORD OF JESUS ON PRAYER.

'They ought always to pray.'—ST. LUKE xviii. I.

"If you knew God, you would leave that to him. He is not mocked, and he will not mock. But he knows you better than you know yourself, and would keep you from fooling yourself. He will not deal with you as the child of a day, but as the child of eternal ages. You shall be satisfied, if you will but let him have his way with the creature he has made. The question is between your will and the will of God. He is not one of those who give readiest what they prize least. He does not care to give anything but his best, or that which will prepare for it. Not many years may pass before you confess, 'Thou art a God who hears prayer, and gives a better answer.' You may come to see that the desire of your deepest heart would have been frustrated by having what seemed its embodiment then."

" 'But if God is so good as you represent him, and if he knows all that we need, and better far than we do ourselves, why should it be necessary to ask him for anything?'

"I answer, What if he knows prayer to be the thing we need first and most? What if the main object in God's idea of prayer be the supplying of our great, our endless need—the need of himself?"

"Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need; prayer is the beginning of that communion, and some need is the motive of that prayer."

"The true child will not fear, but lay bare his wishes to the perfect Father. The Father may will otherwise, but his grace  will be enough for the child."
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