“Pray ye therefore . . .” (Matt. 9:38).
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke 11:9).
Prayer is usually considered to be devotional and more or less unpractical in ordinary life. Our Lord in His teaching always made prayer, not preparation for work, but the work. Thank God for all the marvelous organization there is in Christian work, for medical missions and finely educated missionaries, for aggressive work in every shape and form; but these are, so to speak, but wards to the lock, the key is not in any of our organizations; the key lies exactly to our hand by our Lord’s instruction, “Pray ye therefore.”
When we pray for others the Spirit of God works in the unconscious domain of their being that we know nothing about, and the one we are praying for knows nothing about, but after the passing of time, the conscious life of the one prayed for begins to show signs of unrest and disquiet. We may have spoken until we are worn out, but have never come anywhere near, and we have given up in despair. But if we have been praying, we find on meeting them one day that there is the beginning of a softening in an enquiry and a desire to know something. It is that kind of intercession that does most damage to Satan’s kingdom. It is so slight, so feeble in its initial stages that if reason is not wedded to the light of the Holy Spirit, we will never obey it. It seems stupid to think that we can pray and all that will happen, but remember to Whom we pray, we pray to a God Who understands the unconscious depths of personality about which we know nothing, and He has told us to pray. The great Master of the human heart said, “Greater works than these shall he do . . . And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do.”—Oswald Chambers.
Can I neglect to pray, while there is one
Who needs the help my prayer can bring?
Can I ignore the cry of hearts as death
Draws near, when prayer can ease the sting?
Can I be blameless if I plainly see
Within the young and tender hearts
The stark bewilderment, the need, and breathe
No prayer against the evil darts?
Can I withhold from God the rarest alms,
And think that I have naught to give,
While someone needs a prayer to help him find
The way to Christ, that he might live?
—Pansy B. Menge.