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ETERNAL LIFE SERIES.
Selections from the writings ofwell-hnoivn religious authors'
works, beautifully printed and daintily bound in leatherette
with original designs in sillier and ink.
PRICE, 25 CENTS PER VOLUME.
ETERNAL LIFE, by Professor Henry Drummond.
LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY, by Rev. Andrew Murray.
GOD'S WORD AND GOD'S WORK, by Martin Luther.
FAITH, by Thomas Arnold.
THE CREATION STORY, by Honorable William E.
THE MESSAGE OF COMFORT, by Rt. Rev. Ashton
THE MESSAGE OF PEACE, by Rev. R. W. Church.
THE LORD'S PRAYER AND THE TEN COM-
MANDMENTS, by Dean Stanley.
THE MEMOIRS OF JESUS, by Rev. Robert F. Horton.
HYMNS OF PRAISE AND GLADNESS, by Elisabeth
DIFFICULTIES, by Hannah Whitall Smith.
GAMBLERS AND GAMBLING, by Rev. Henry Ward
HAVE FAITH IN GOD, by Rev. Andrew Murray.
TWELVE CAUSES OF DISHONESTY, by Rev. Henry
THE CHRIST IN WHOM CHRISTIANS BELIEVE,
by Rt. Rev. Phillips Brooks.
IN MY NAME, by Rev. Andrew Murray.
SIX WARNINGS, by Rev. Henry Ward Beecher.
THE DUTY OF THE CHRISTIAN BUSINESS MAN,
by Rt. Rev. Phillips Brooks.
POPULAR AMUSEMENTS, by Rev. Henry Ward
TRUE LIBERTY, by Rt. Rev. Phillips Brooks.
INDUSTRY AND IDLENESS, by Rev. Henry Ward
THE BEAUTY OF A LIFE OF SERVICE, by Rt.
Rev. Phillips Brooks.
THE SECOND COMING OF OUR LORD, by Rev. A.
THOUGHT AND ACTION, by Rt. Rev. Phillips Brooks.
THE HEAVENLY VISION, by Rev. F. B. Meyer.
MORNING STRENGTH, by Elisabeth R. Scovil.
FOR THE QUIET HOUR, by Edith V. Bradt.
EVENING COMFORT, by Elisabeth. R. Scovil.
WORDS OF HELP FOR CHRISTIAN GIRLS, by
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EXPECTATION CORNER, by E. S. Elliot.
JESSICA'S FIRST PRAYER, by Hesba Stretton.
507, 500, 511,513 Cherry Street, Philadelphia.
; , -
Lord, Teach Us
Lord, Teach Us
Murrav ;' : ; |
Philadelphia . > v-
-r T 7
u * *
Copyright, 1896, by HENRY ALTEMUS.
LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY
THE ONLY TEACHER.
THE disciples had been with Christ, and seen Him
pray. They had learnt to understand something
of the connection between His wondrous life in pub?
lie, and His secret life of prayer. They had learnt
to believe in Him as a Master in the art of prayer
none could pray like Him. And so they came to
Him with the request, 'Lord, teach us to pray. ' And
in after years they would have told us that there were
few things more wonderful or blessed that He taught
them than His lessons on prayer.
And now still it comes to pass, as He is praying in
a certain place, that disciples who see Him thus en-
gaged feel the need of repeating the same request,
'Lord, teach us to pray.' As we grow in the Chris-
6 LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.
tian life, the thought and the faith of the Beloved
Master in His never-failing intercession becomes
evermore precious, and the hope of being Like Christ
in His intercession gains an attractiveness before un-
known. And as we see Him pray, and remember
that there is none who can pray like Him, and none
who can teach like Him, we feel the petition of the
disciples, 'Lord, teach us to pray,' is just what we
need. And as we think how all He is and has, how
He Himself is our very own, how He is Himself our
life, we feel assured that we have but to ask, and
He will be delighted to take us up into closer fel-
lowship with Himself, and teach us to pray even as
Come, my brothers ! Shall we not go to the Blessed
Master and ask Him to enrol our names too anew in
that school which He always keeps open for those
'Who long to continue their studies in the Divine 'art
of prayer and intercession ? Yes, let ns this very day
say to the Master, as they did of old, 'Lord, teach us
to pray. ' As we meditate we shall find each word of
the petition we bring to be full of meaning.
'Lord, teach us to prayS Yes, to pray. This is
what we need to be taught. Though in its begin-
nings prayer is so simple that the feeble child can
pray, yet it is at the same time the highest and
holiest work to which man can rise. It is fellowship
with the Unseen and Most Holy One. The powers
THE ONLY TEACHER. 7
of the eternal world have teen placed at its disposal.
It is the very essence of true religion, the channel of
all blessings, the secret of power and life. Not only
for ourselves, but for others, for the Church, for the
world, it is to prayer that God has given the right to
take hold of Him and His strength. It is on prayer
that the promises wait for their fulfilment, the king-
dom for its coming, the glory of God for its full reve-
lation. And for this blessed work, how slothful and
unfit we are. It is only the Spirit of God can enable
ns to do it aright. How speedily we are deceived
into a resting in the form, while the power is wanting.
Our early training, the teaching of the Church, the
influence of habit, the stirring of the emotions how
easily these lead to prayer which has no spiritual
power, and avails but little. True prayer, that takes
hold of God's strength, that availeth much, to which
the gates of heaven are really opened wide who
would not cry, Oh for some one to teach me thus to
Jesus has opened a school, in which He trains His
redeemed ones, who specially desire it, to have power
in prayer. Shall we not enter it with the petition,
Lord ! it is just this we need to be taught! teach
us to pray.
'Lord, teach us to pray.' Yes, us, Lord. We
have read in Thy "Word with what power Thy believ-
ing people of old used to pray, and what mighty
8 LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.
wonders were done in answer to their prayers. And
if this took place under the Old Covenant, in. the
time of preparation, how much more wilt Thou not
now, in these days of fulfilment, give Thy people this
sure sign of Thy presence in their midst. We have
heard the promises given to Thine apostles of the
power of prayer in Thy name, and have seen how
gloriously they experienced their truth : we know for
certain, they can become true to us too. We hear
continually even in these days what glorious tokens
of Thy power Thou dost still give to those who trust
Thee fully. Lord ! these all are men of like passions
with ourselves; teach us to pray so too. The prom-
ises are for us, the powers and gifts of the heavenly
world are for us. teach us to pray so that we may
receive abundantly. To us too Thou hast entrusted
Thy work, on our prayer too the coming of Thy
kingdom depends, in our prayer too Thou canst
glorify Thy name; 'Lord, teach us to pray.' Yes,
us, Lord; we offer ourselves as learners; we would
indeed be taught of Thee. 'Lord, teach us to pray.'
'Lord, teach us to pray.' Yes, we feel the need
now of being tauglit to pray. At first there is no
work appears so simple; later on, none that is more
difficult; and the confession is forced from us: We
know not how to pray as we ought. It is true we
have God's Word, with its clear and sure promises;
but sin has so darkened our mind, that we know not
THE ONLY TEACHER. 9
always how to apply the "Word. In spiritual things
we do not always seek the most needful things, or
fail in praying according to the law of the sanctuary.
In temporal things we are still less able to avail our-
selves of the 'wonderful liberty our Father has given
us to ask what we need. And even when we know
what to ask, how much there is still needed to make
prayer acceptable. It must be to the glory of God,
in full surrender to His will, in full assurance of
faith, in the name of Jesus, and with a perseverance
that, if need be, refuses to be denied. All this must
be learned. It can only be learned in the school of
much prayer, for practice makes perfect. Amid the
painful consciousness of ignorance and unworthiness,
in the struggle between believing and doubting, the
heavenly art of effectual prayer is learnt. Because,
even when we do not remember it, there is One, the
Beginner and Finisher of faith and prayer, who
watches over our praying, and sees to it that in all
who trust Him, for it their education in the school of
prayer shall be carried on to perfection. Let but the
deep undertone of all our prayer be the teachableness
that comes from a sense of ignorance, and from faith
in Him as a perfect teacher, and we may be sure we
shall be taught, we shall learn to pray in power.
Yes, we may depend upon it, HE teaches to pray.
'Lord, teach us to pray.' None can teach like
Jesus, none but Jesus; therefore we call on Him,
10 LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.
*LOBD, teach ns to pray.' A pupil needs a teacher,
who knows his work, who has the gift of teaching,
who in patience and love will descend to the pupil's
needs. Blessed be God ! Jesus is all this and much
more. He knows what prayer is. It is Jesus, pray-
ing Himself, who teaches to pray. He knows what
prayer is. He learned it amid the trials and tears of
His earthly life. In heaven it is still His beloved
work: His life there is prayer. Nothing delights
Him more than to find those whom He can take with
Him into the Father's presence, whom He can clothe
with power to pray down God's blessing on those
around them, whom He can train to be His fellow-
workers in the intercession by which the kingdom is
to be revealed on earth. He knows how to teach.
Now by the urgency of felt need, then by the confi-
dence with which joy inspires. Here by the teaching
of the Word, there by the testimony of another be-
liever who knows what it is to have prayer heard.
By His Holy Spirit, He has access to our heart, and
teaches us to pray by showing us the sin that hinders
the prayer, or giving us the assurance that we please
God. He teaches, by giving not only thoughts of
what to ask or how to ask, but by breathing within
us the very spirit of prayer, by living within us as the
Great Intercessor. "We may indeed and most joyfully
say, 'Who teacheth like Him?' Jesus never taught
His disciples how to preach, only how to pray. He
THE ONLY TEACHER. 11
did not speak much of what was needed to preach
well, but much of- praying well. To know how to
speak to God is more than knowing how to speak to
man. Not power with men, but power with God is
the first thing. Jesus loves to teach us how to pray.
What think you, my beloved fellow-disciples!
would it not be just what we need, to ask the Master
for a month to give us a course of special lessons on
the art of prayer? As we meditate on the words He
spake on earth, let us yield ourselves to His teaching
in the fullest confidence that, with such a teacher, we
shall make progress. Let us take time not only to
meditate, but to pray, to tarry at the foot of the
throne, and be trained to the work of intercession.
Let us do so in the assurance that amidst our stam-
merings and fears He is carrying on His work most
beautifully. He will breathe His own life, which is
all prayer, into us. As He makes us partakers of His
righteousness and His life, He will of His intercession
too. As the members of His body, as a holy priest-
hood, we shall take part in His priestly work of
pleading and prevailing with God for men. Yes, let
us most joyfully say, ignorant and feeble though we
be, 'Lord, teach us to pray.'
'LOED, TEACH US TO PKAY. J
Blessed Lord ! who ever livest to pray, Thou canst
teach me too to pray, me to live ever to pray. In
12 LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.
this Thou lovest to make me share Thy glory in
heaven, that I should pray without ceasing, and ever
stand as a priest in the presence of iny God.
Lord Jesus ! I ask Thee this day to enrol my name
among those who confess that they know not how to
pray as they ought, and especially ask Thee for a
course of teaching in prayer. Lord! teach me to
tarry with Thee in the school, and give Thee time to
train me. May a deep sense of my ignorance, of the
wonderful privilege and power of prayer, of the need
of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of prayer, lead me
to cast away my thoughts of what I think I know,
and make me kneel "before Thee in true teachableness
and poverty of spirit.
And fill me, Lord, with the confidence that with
such a teacher as Thou art I shall learn to pray. In
the assurance that I have as my teacher, Jesus, who
is ever praying to the Father, and by His prayer
rules the destinies of His Church and the world, I
will not be afraid. As much as I need to know of
the mysteries of the prayer-world, Thou wilt unfold
for me. And when I may not know, Thou wilt teach
me to be strong in faith, giving glory to God.
Blessed Lord! Thou wilt not put to shame Thy
scholar who trusts Thee, nor, by Thy grace, would
he Thee either. Amen.
'IN SPIEIT AND TBUTH;'
THE TEUE WOESHIPPEES.
'The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers
shall worship the Father in spirit and truth : for such doth
the Father seek to be His worshippers. God is a Spirit :
and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit
and truth. 'JOHN iv. 23, 24.
npHESE words of Jesus to the woman of Samaria
-L are His first recorded teaching on the subject of
prayer. They give us some wonderful first glimpses
into the world of prayer. The Father. seeks worship-
pers: our worship satisfies His loving heart and is a
joy to Him. He seeks 'true worshippers, but finds
many not such as He would have them. True wor-
ship is that which is in spirit and truth. TJie Son
lias come to open the way for this worship in spirit
and in truth, and teach it us. And so one of our first
lessons in the school of prayer must be to understand
what it is to pray in spirit and in truth, and to know
how we can attain to it.
14 LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.
To the woman of Samaria our Lord spoke of a
threefold -worship. There is, first, the ignorant wor-
ship of the Samaritans : ' Ye worship that which ye
know not. ' The second, the intelligent worship of
the Jew, having the true knowledge of God: 'We
worship that which we know ; for salvation is of the
Jews.' And then the new, the spiritual worship
which He Himself has come to introduce: 'The hour
is coining, and is now, when the true worshippers
shall worship the Father in spirit and truth.' From
the connection it is evident that the words in spirit
and truth' do not mean, as is often thought, ear-
nestly, from the heart, in sincerity. The Samaritans
had the five books of Moses and some knowledge of
God; there was doubtless more than one among them
who honestly and earnestly sought God in prayer.
The Jews had the true full revelation of God in His
word, as thus far given; there were among them
godly men, who called upon God with their whole
heart. And yet not 'in spirit and truth,' in the full
meaning of the words. Jesus says, ' The hour is com-
ing, and now is : ' it is only in and through Him that
the worship! of God will be in spirit and truth.
Among Christians one still finds the three classes
of worshippers. Some who in their ignorance hardly
know what they ask: they pray earnestly, and yet
receive but little. Others there are, who have more
correct knowledge, who try .to pray with all their
THE TRUE WORSHIPPERS. 15
mind and heart, and often pray most earnestly, and
yet do not attain to the full blessedness of worship in
spirit and truth. It is into this third class we must
ask our Lord Jesus to take us; we must be taught
of Him how to worship in spirit and truth. This
alone is spiritual worship; this makes us worship-
pers such as the Father seeks. In prayer everything
will depend on our understanding well and practising
the worship in spirit and truth.
'God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must
worship Him in spirit and truth. ' The first thought
suggested here by the Master is that there must be
harmony between God and His worshippers; such as
.God is, must His worship be. This is according to a
principle which prevails throughout the universe: we
look for correspondence between an object and the
organ to which it reveals or yields itself. The eye
has an inner fitness for the light, the ear for sound.
The man who would truly worship God, would find
and know and possess and enjoy God, must be in har-
mony with Him, must have a capacity for receiving
Him. Because God is Spirit, we must worship in
spirit. As God is, so His worshipper.
And what does this mean? The woman had asked
our Lord whether Samaria or Jerusalem was the true
place of worship. He answers that henceforth wor-
ship is no longer to be limited to a certain place:
'Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh when neither in
1C LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.
this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship
the Father.' As God is Spirit, not hound by space
or time, but in His infinite perfection always and
everywhere the same, so His worship would hence-
forth no longer he confined by place or form, but
spiritual as God Himself is spiritual. A lesson of
deep importance. How much our Christianity suffers
from this, that it is confined to certain times and
places. A man who seeks to pray earnestly in the
church or in the closet, spends the greater part of
the week or the day in a spirit entirely at variance
with that in which he prayed. His worship was the
work of a fixed place or hour, not of his whole being.
God is a spirit: He is the Everlasting and Unchange-
able One; what He is, He is always and in truth.
Our worship must even so be in spirit and truth : His
worship must be the spirit of our life; our life must
be worship in spirit as God is Spirit.
'God is a Spirit : and they that worship Him must
worship Him in spirit and truth.' The second
thought that comes to us is that this worship in the
spirit must come from God Himself. God is Spirit :
He alone has Spirit to give. It was for this He sent
His Son, to fit us for such spiritual worship, by giv-
ing us the Holy Spirit. It is .of His. own work that
Jesus speaks when He says twice, 'The hour cometh,'
and then adds, 'and is now.' He came to baptize
with the Holy Spirit; the Spirit could not stream
THE TRUE WORSHIPPERS. 17
forth till He was glorified (John i. 83, vii. 37, 38,
xvi. 7). It was when He had made an end of sin,
and entering into the Holiest of all with His blood,
had there on our behalf received the Holy Spirit
(Acts ii. 33), that He could send Him down to us
as the Spirit of the Father. It was when Christ had
redeemed us, and we in Him had received the posi-
tion of children, that the Father sent forth the Spirit
of His Son into our hearts to cry, 'Abba, Father. '
The worship in spirit is the worship of the Father in
the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Sonship.
This is the reason why Jesus here uses the name of
Father. We never find one of the Old Testament
saints personally appropriate the name of child or
call God his Father. The worship of the Father is
only possible to those to whom the Spirit of the Son
has been given. The worship in spirit is only pos-
sible to those to whom the Son has revealed the
Father, and who have received the spirit of Sonship.
It is only Christ who opens the way and teaches the
worship in spirit.
And in truth. That does not only mean, in sin-
cerity. Nor does it only signify, in accordance with
the truth of God's Word. The expression is one of
deep and Divine meaning. Jesus is 'the only-begot-
ten of the Father, fu ttof grace and truth.' 'The law
was given by Moses; grace and -truth came by Jesus
Christ.' Jesus says, 'I am the truth and the life.'
18 LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.
In the Old Testament all was shadow and promise;
Jesus brought and gives the reality, the substance, of
things hoped for. In Him the blessings and powers
of the eternal life are our actual possession and ex-
perience. Jesus is full of grace and truth ; the Holy
Spirit is the Spirit of truth ; through Him the grace
that is in Jesus is ours indeed, and truth a positive
communication out of the Divine life. And so wor-
ship in spirit is worship in truth; actual living fel-
lowship with God, a real correspondence and har-
mony between the Father, who is a Spirit, and the
child praying in the spirit.
"What Jesus said to the woman of Samaria, she
could not at once undertand. Pentecost was needed
to reveal its full meaning. "We are hardly prepared
at our first entrance into the school of prayer to grasp
such teaching. We shall understand it better later
on. Let us only begin and take the lesson as He
gives it. We are carnal and cannot bring God the
worship He seeks. But Jesus came to give the
Spirit : He has given Him to us. Let the disposition
in which we set ourselves to pray be what Christ's
words have taught us. Let there be the deep con-
fession of our inability to bring God the worship that
is pleasing to Him; the childlike teachableness that
waits on Him to instruct us; the simple faith that
yields itself to the breathing of the Spirit. Above
all, let us hold fast the blessed truth we shall find
THE TRUE WORSHIPPERS. 19
that the Lord has more to say to us about it that
the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God, the revela-
tion of His infinite Fatherliness in our hearts, the
faith in the infinite love that gives us His Son and
His Spirit to make us children, is indeed the secret
of prayer in spirit and truth. This is the new and
living way Christ opened up for us. To have Christ
the Son, and The Spirit of the Son, dwelling within,
us, and revealing the Father, this makes us true,
* LORD, TEACH US TO PEAT. '
Blessed Lord ! I adore the love with which Thou
didst teach a woman, who had refused Thee a cup of
water, what the worship of God must he. I rejoice
in the assurance that Thou wilt no less now instruct
Thy disciple, who comes to Thee with a heart that
longs to pray in spirit and in truth. my Holy
Master ! do teach me this blessed secret.
Teach me that the worship in spirit and truth is
not of man, but only comes from Thee; that it is
not only a thing of times and seasons, but the 'out-
flowing of a life in Thee. Teach me to draw near to
God in prayer under the deep impression of my ig-
norance and my having nothing in myself to offer
Him, and at the same time of the provision Thon,
my Saviour, makest for the Spirit's breathing in my
'jw LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.
childlike stammerings. I do bless Thee that in Thee
I am a child, and have a child's liberty of access:-
1 V *
that in Thee I have the spirit of Sonship and of wor-
ship of truth. Teach me, above all, Blessed Son of
the Father, how it is the revelation of the Father
that gives confidence in prayer; and let the in-
finite Fatherliness of God's Heart be my joy and
strength for a life of prayer and of worship. Amen.
PRAY TQ THY FATHER WHICH IS
ALONE WITH GOD.
'But thou, when fchou prayest, enter into thine inner
Chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father
which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret
shall recompense thee. ' MATT. vi. 6.
A FTER Jesus had called His first disciples He
*- gave them t-heir first public teaching in the
Sermon on the Mount. He there expounded to them
the kingdom of God, its laws and its life. la that
kingdom God is not only King, but Father; He not
only gives all, but is Himself all. In the knowledge
and fellowship of Him alone is its blessedness. Hence
it came as a matter of course that the revelation of
prayer and the prayer-life was a part of His teaching
concerning the New Kingdom He came to set up.
Moses gave neither command nor regulation with re-
gard to prayer: even the prophets say little directly
of the duty of prayer; it is Christ who teaches to
22 LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.
And the first thing the Lord teaches His disciples
is that they must have a secret place for prayer;
every one must have some solitary spot where he can
be alone with his God. Every teacher must have a
schoolroom. We have learnt to know and accept
Jesus as our only teacher in the school of prayer.
He has already taught us at Samaria that worship is
no longer confined to times and places; that wor-
ship, spiritual true worship, is a thing of the spirit
and the life ; the whole man must in his whole life he
worship in spirit and truth. And yet He wants each
one to choose for himself the fixed spot where He
can daily meet him. That inner chamber, that soli-
tary place, is Jesus' schoolroom. That spot may be
anywhere; that spot may change from day to day
if we have to change our abode ; but that secret place
there must be, with the quiet time in which the pupil
places himself in the Master's presence, to be by Him
prepared to worship the Father. There alone, bul;
there most surely, Jesus comes to us to teach us to
A teacher is always anxious that his schoolroom
should be bright and attractive, filled with the light
and air of heaven, a place where pupils long to come,
and love to stay. In His first words on prayer in the
Sermon on the Mount, Jesus seeks to set the inner
chamber before us in its most attractive light. If
we listen carefully, we soon notice what the chief
ALONE WITH GOD. 23
thing is He has to tell us of our tarrying there.
Three times He uses the name of Father: 'Pray to
thy Father;'' ''Thy Father shall recompense thee;'
6 Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of.'
The first thing in closet-prayer is: I must meet my
Father. The light that shines in the closet must be:
the light of the Father's countenance. The fresh air
from heaven with which Jesus would have filled the
atmosphere in which I am to breathe and pray, is:
God's Father-love, God's infinite Fatherliness. Thus
each thought or petition we breathe out will be
simple, hearty, childlike trust in the Father. This is
how the Master teaches us to pray: He brings us into
the Father's living presence. What we pray there
must avail. Let us listen carefully to hear what the
Lord has to say to us.
First, Pray to thy Father which is in secret. ' God
is a God who hides Himself to the carnal eye. As
long as in our worship of God we are chiefly occupied
with our own thoughts and exercises, we shall not meet
Him who is a Spirit, the unseen One. But to the
man who withdraws himself from all that is of the
world and man, and prepares to wait upon God alone,
the Father will reveal Himself. As he forsakes and
gives up and shuts out the world, and the life of the
world, and surrenders himself to be led of Christ into
the secret of God's presence, the light of the Father's
love will rise upon, him. The secrecy of the inner
24 LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.
chamber and the closed door, the entire separation
from all around us, is an image of, and so a help to,
that inner spiritual sanctuary, the secret of God's
tabernacle, within the veil, where our spirit truly
comes into contact with the Invisible One. And so
we are taught, at the very outset of our search after
the secret of effectual prayer, to remember that it is
in the inner chamber, where we are alone with the
Father, that we shall learn to pray aright. The
Father is in secret: in these words Jesus teaches
us where He is waiting us, where He is always to
be found. Christians often complain that private
prayer is not what it should be. They feel weak
and sinful, the heart is cold and dark ; it is as if
they have so little to pray, and in that little no faith
or joy. They are discouraged and kept from prayer
by the thought that they cannot come to the Father
as they ought or as they wish. Child of God ! listen
to your Teacher. He tells you that when you go
to private prayer your first thought must be: The
Father is in secret, the Father waits me there. Just
because your heart is cold and prayerless, get you
into the presence of the loving Father. As a father
pifcieth his children, so the Lord pitieth yon. Do
not be thinking of how little you have to bring God,
but of how much He wants to give you. Just place
yourself before, and look up into, His face; think
of His love, His wonderful, tender, pitying love.
ALONE WITH GOD. 25
Just tell Him how sinful and cold and dark all is:
ib is the Father's loving heart -will give light and
warmth to yours. do what Jesus says: Just shut
the door, and pray to thy Father, which is in secret.
Is it not wonderful? to he able to go alone with God,
the infinite God. And then to look up and say : My
1 A nd tliy Father, which seetJi in secret, will recom-
pense ihee. ' Here Jesus assures us that secret prayer
cannot be fruitless : its blessing will show itself in our
life. We have but in secret, alone with God, to en-
trust our life before men to Him ; He will reward us
openly ; He will see to it that the answer to prayer be
made manifest in His blessing upon us. Our Lord
would thus teach us that as infinite Fatherliness and
Faithfulness is that with which God meets us in se-
cret, so on our part there should be the childlike
simplicity of faith, the confidence that our prayer
does bring down a blessing. 'He that cometh to
God must believe that He is a rewarder of them that
seek Him. ' Not on the strong or the fervent feel-
ing with which I pray does the blessing of the closet
depend, but upon the love and the power of the
Father to whom I there entrust my needs. And
therefore the Master has but one desire: Eemember
your Father is, and sees and hears in secret; go there
and stay there, and go again from there in the confi-
dence: He will recompense. Trust Him for it; de-
26 LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.
pend upon Hi in : prayer to the Father cannot be vain ;
He will reward you openly.
Still further to confirm this faith in the Father-love
of God, Christ speaks a third word: * Your Father
knoweth what things ye have need of "before ye ask
Him.' 1 At first sight it might appear as if this
thought made prayer less needful: God knows far
better than we what we need. But as we get a
deeper insight into what prayer really is, this truth
will help much to strengthen our faith. It will
teach ns that we do not need, as the heathen, with
the multitude and urgency of our words, to compel
an unwilling God to listen to ns. It will lead to a
holy thoughtfulness and silence in prayer as it sug-
gests the question : Does my Father really know that
I need this? It will, when once we have been led
by the Spirit to the certainty that our request is in-
deed something that, according to the "Word, we do
need for God's glory, give us wonderful confidence to
say, My Father knows I need it and must have it.
And if there be any delay in the answer, it will teach
us in quiet perseverance to hold on : FATHER ! THOU
KTTOWEST I need it. the blessed liberty and sim-
plicity of a child that Christ our Teacher would fain
cultivate in us, as we draw near to God : let us look
up to the Father until His Spirit works it in us.
Let us sometimes in our prayers, when we are in
danger of being so occupied with our fervent, urgent
ALONE WITH GOD. 27
petitions, as to forget that the Father knows and
hears, let us hold still and just quietly say: My
Father sees, my Father hears, my Father knows ; it will
help our faith to take the answer, and to say : We know
that we have the petitions we have asked of Him.
And now, all ye who have anew entered the school
of Christ to he taught to pray, take these lessons,
practise them, and trust Him to perfect you in them.
Dwell much in the inner chamber, with the door
shut shut in from men, shut up with God; it is
there the Father waits you, it is there Jesus will
teach you to pray. To be alone in secret with THE
FATHER: this be your highest joy. To be assured
that THE FATHER will openly reward the secret prayer,
so that it cannot remain unblessed : this be your
strength day by day. And to know that THE FATHER
knows that you need what you ask, this be your lib-
erty to bring every need, in the assurance that your
God will supply it according to His riches in glory in
' LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY. '
Blessed Saviour ! with my whole heart I do bless
Thee for the.appointment of the inner chamber, as
the school where Thou meetest each of Thy pupils
alone, and revealest to him the Father. my Lord!
strengthen my faith so in the Father's tender love
and kindness, that as often as I feel sinful or trou-
28 LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.
bled, the first instinctive thought may be to go where
I know the Father waits me, and where prayer never
can go unblessed. Let the thought that He knows
my need before I ask, bring me, in great restfulness
of faith, to trust that He will give what His child
requires. let the place of secret prayer become to
me the most beloved spot on earth.
And, Lord! hear me as I pray that Thou wouldest
everywhere bless the closets of Thy believing people.
Let Thy wonderful revelation of a Father's tender-
ness free all young Christians from every thought of
secret prayer as a duty or a burden, and lead them
to regard it as the highest privilege of their life, a joy
and a blessing. Bring back all who are discouraged,
because they cannot find aught to bring Thee in
prayer. give them to understand that they have
only to come with their emptiness to Him who has all
to give, and delights to do it. Not, what they have
to bring the Father, but what the Father waits to
give them, be their one thought.
And bless especially the inner chamber of all Thy
servants who are working for Thee, as the place where
God's truth and God's grace is revealed to them,
where they are daily anointed with fresh oil, where
their strength is renewed, and the blessings are re-
ceived in faith, with which they are to bless their
fellow-men. Lord, draw us all in the closet nearer
to Thyself and the Father. Amen.
<AFTEK THIS MANNER PEAT; '
THE MODEL PEAYER.
'After this manner therefore pray ye : Our Father which
art in heaven. ' MATT. vi. 9.
T?VERY teacher knows the power of example. He
*-^ not only tells the child what to do and how to do
it, but shows him how it really can be done. In con-
descension to our weakness, our Heavenly Teacher
has given us the very words we are to take with us
as we draw near to our Father. "We have in them a
form of prayer in which there breathe the freshness
and fulness of the Eternal Life. So simple that the
child can lisp it, so divinely rich that it comprehends
all that God can give. A form of prayer that becomes
the model and inspiration for all other prayer, and
yet always draws us back to itself as the deepest
utterance of our souls before our God.
f Our Father which art in heaven I ' To appreciate
this word of adoration aright, I must remember that
30 LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.
none of the saints had in Scripture ever ventured .to
address God as their Father. The invocation places
us at once in the centre of the wonderful revelation the
Son came to make of His Father as our Father too.
It comprehends the mystery of redemption Christ
delivering us from tlae curse that we might become
the children of God. The mystery of regeneration
the Spirit in the new birth giving us the new life.
And the mystery of faith ere yet the redemption is
accomplished or understood, the word is given on
the lips of the disciples to prepare them for the
blessed experience still to come. The words are the
key to the whole prayer, to all prayer. It takes time,
it takes life to study them; it will take eternity to
understand them fully. The knowledge of God's
Father -love is the first and simplest, but also the last
and highest lesson in the school of prayer. It is in
the personal relation to the living God, and the per-
sonal conscious fellowship of love with Himself, that
prayer begins. It is in the knowledge of God's
Fatherliness, revealed by the Holy Spirit, that the
power of prayer will be found to root and grow. In
the infinite tenderness and pity and patience of the
infinite Father, in His loving readiness to hear and to
help, the life of prayer has its joy. let us take
time, until the Spirit has made these words to us
spirit and truth, filling heart and life : 'Our Father
which art in heaven. ' Then we are indeed within
THE MODEL PRAYER. 31
the veil, in the secret place of power where prayer
''Hallowed be TJiy name. 1 There is something here
that strikes us at once. "While we ordinarily first
bring our own needs to God in prayer, and then think
of what belongs to God and His interests, the Master
reverses the order. First, Thy name, TJiy kingdom,
Thy will; then, give us, forgive us, lead s, deliver
us. The lesson is of more importance than we think.
In true worship the Father must he first, must be alL
The sooner I learn to forget myself in the desire that
HE may be glorified, the richer will the blessing be
that prayer will bring to myself. No one .ever loses
by what he sacrifices for the Father.
This must influence all our prayer. There are two
sorts of prayer : personal and intercessory. The latter
ordinarily occupies the lesser part of our time and
energy. This may not be. Christ has opened the
school of prayer specially to train intercessors for the
great work of bringing down, by their faith and
prayer, the blessings of His work and love on the world
around. There can be no deep growth in prayer
unless this be made our aim. The little child may
ask of the, father only what it needs for itself; and
yet it soon learns to say, Give some for sister too.
But the grown-up son, who only lives for the father's
interest and takes charge of the father's business,
asks more largely, and gets all that is asked. And
32 LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.
Jesus would train us to the blessed life of consecration
and service, in which our interests are all subordinate
to the Name, and the Kingdom, and the Will of the
Father. let us live for this, and let, on each act
of adoration, Our Father! there follow in the same
breath, Thy Name, Tliy Kingdom, Tliy Will; for
this we look up and long.
''Hallowed be Thy name.'' What name? This new
name of Father. The word Holy is the central word
of the Old Testament; the name Father of the New.
In this name of Love all the holiness and glory of God
are now to be revealed. And how is the name to be
hallowed? By God Himself: ' 1 will hallow My
great name which ye have profaned.' Our prayer
must be that in ourselves, in all God's children, in
presence of the world, God Himself would reveal the
holiness, the Divine power, the hidden glory of the
name of Father. The Spirit of the Father is the
Holy Spirit: it is only when we yield ourselves to be
led of Him, that the name will be halloived in our
prayer and our lives. Let us learn the prayer: 'Our
Father, hallowed be Thy name.'
1 Tliy kingdom come. ' The Father is a King and
has a kingdom. The son and heir of a king has no
higher ambition than the glory of his father's king-
dom. In time of war or danger this becomes his
passion ; he can think of nothing else. The children
of the Father are here in the enemy's territory, where
THE MODEL PA YER. 33
the kingdom, which is in heaven, is not yet fully
manifested. What more natural than that, when
they learn to hallow the Father-name, they should
long and cry with deep enthusiasm : ( Thy kingdom
come.' The coming of the kingdom is the one great
event on which the revelation of the Father's glory,
the blessedness of His children, the salvation of the
world depends. On our prayers too the coming of
the kingdom waits. Shall we not join in the deep
longing cry of the redeemed : 'Thy kingdom come'?
Let us learn it in the school of Jesus.
"Tliy will te done, as in heaven, so on eart/i.' This
petition is too frequently applied alone to the suffer-
ing of the will of God. In heaven God's will is done,
and the Master teaches the child to ask that the will
may be done on earth just as in heaven : in the spirit
of adoring submission and ready obedience. Because
the will of God is the glory of heaven, the doing of
it is the blessedness of heaven. As the will is done,
the kingdom of heaven comes into the heart. And
wherever faith has accepted the Father's love, obedi-
ence accepts the Father's will. The surrender to,
and the prayer for a life of heaven-like obedience, is
the spirit of childlike prayer.
' Give us this day our daily "bread. ' When first the
child has yielded himself to the Father in the care
for His Name, His Kingdom, and His Will, he has
full liberty to ask for his daily bread. A master
34 LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.
cares for the food of his servant, a general of his sol-
diers, a father of his child. And will not the Father
in heaven care for the child who has in prayer given
himself up to His interests? We may indeed in full
confidence say: Father, I live for Thy honor and Thy
work ; I know Thou carest for me. Consecration to
God and His will gives wonderful liberty in prayer
for temporal things: the whole earthly life is given
to the Father's loving care.
* And forgive vis our debts as we also have forgiven
onr debtors. ' As bread is the first need of the body,
so forgiveness for the soul. And the provision for
the one is as sure as for the other. We are children,
but sinners too; our right of access to the Father's
presence we owe to the precious blood and the for-
giveness it has won for us. Let us beware of the
prayer for forgiveness becoming a formality: only
what is really confessed is really forgiven. Let us in
faith accept the forgiveness as promised: as a spirit-
ual reality, an actuaL transaction between God and
us, it is the entrance into all the Father's love and
all the privileges of children. Such forgiveness, as a
living experience, is impossible without a forgiving
spirit to others: as forgiven expresses the heavenward,
so forgiving the earthward, relation of God's child.
In each prayer to the Father I must be able to say
that I know of no one whom I do not heartily love.
''And lead us not into temptation, l>ut deliver us
THE MODEL PRA YER. 35
from the mil one. ' Our daily bread, the pardon of our
sins, and then our being kept from all sin and the
power of the evil one, in these three petitions all our
personal need is comprehended. The prayer for
bread and pardon must bo accompanied by the sur-
render to live in all things in holy obedience to the
Father's will, and the believing prayer in everything
to be kept by the power of the indwelling Spirit
from the power of the evil one.
Children of God ! it is thus Jesus would have us
to pray to the Father in heaven. let His Name,
and Kingdom, and Will, have the first place in our
love; His providing, and pardoning, and keeping
love will be our sure portion. So the prayer will
lead us up to the true child-life: the Father all to
the child, the Father all for the child. We shall
understand how Father and child, the Thine and the
Our, are all one, and how the heart that begins its
prayer with the God-devoted THINE, will have the
power in faith to speak out the OUE too. Such prayer
will, indeed, be the fellowship and interchange of
love, always bringing us back in trust and worship to
Him who is not only the Beginning but the End:
* FOE THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWEE, AND
THE GLOEY, FOE EVEE, AMEN. ' Son of the Father,
teach us to pray, c OUE FATHEE.'
'LOBD, TEACH US TO PEAT.'
36 LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.
Thou who art the only-begotten Son, teach us,
we beseech Thee, to pray, 'OuE FATHER.' We
thank Thee, Lord, for these Living Blessed Words
which Thou hast given us. We thank Thee for the
millions who in them have learnt to know and worship
the Father, and for what they have been to us.
Lord ! it is as if we needed days and weeks in Thy
school with each separate petition ; so deep and full
are they. But we look to Thee to lead us deeper into
their meaning: do it, we pray Thee, for Thy Name's
sake ; Thy name is Son of the Father.
Lord! Thou didst once say: 'No man knoweth
the Father save the Son, and he to whom the Son
willeth to reveal Him.' And again: ' I made known
unto them Thy name, and will make it known, that
the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in
them.' Lord Jesus! reveal to us the Father. Let
His name, His infinite Father-love, the love with
which He loved Thee, according to Thy prayer, BE
IN us. Then shall we say aright, 'OuR FATHER!'
Then shall we apprehend Thy teaching, and the first
spontaneous breathing of our heart will be: 'Our
Father, Thy Name, Thy Kingdom, Thy Will. ' And
we shall bring our needs and our sins and our temp-
tations to Him in the confidence that the love of such
a Father cares for all.
Blessed Lord! we are Thy scholars, we trust Thee;
do teach us to pray, 'OUR FATHER.' Amen.
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