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Meditations on Prayer

By Bradley MacNamara

Effectual Prayer
No man will reach the kingdom without prayer, and prayer to be effectual must proceed from lips which are sincere and upright. God will not hear men who keep not His commandments. The prayers of the disobedient are worse than useless - they are an abomination in God's ears. Let us then examine ourselves, and pray simply, fervently, unceasingly.

Let us pay no heed to the objections of men who tell us that prayer is beneath the notice of a Great Creator, that it is superfluous, and, if answered, would mean a violation of Nature's laws. Until the Bible is demolished we can afford to let such objections severely alone.

The Bible is full of encouragement in the matter of prayer. Hannah prayed for a child, and got one, Abraham's servant prayed for a good wife for Isaac, and met with a favorable response. Hezekiah asked for longer life, and received it. Moses and David petitioned for the destruction of their enemies, and were answered. Therefore there is power in prayer. But someone may say, "I have often prayed, and obtained no reply". What of that? Has not God coupled with His promises an intimation that at times He will refrain from answering prayer? No prayer will be heeded which is opposed to His will.

Can we not trust God to pick and choose for us in the things that we are to have? Much that is beyond the power of finite man to see and grasp has to be taken into account before his prayer can be answered. We sometimes forget this when things do not go just as we would wish. Let us remember, too, that this is a day for walking by faith, and that all prayer is answered in harmony with this divine arrangement.

The Need for Prayer
Never was there a time when prayer was more called for than in these trying perilous, closing days of the Gentiles. Prayer is one of our most precious privileges. "Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest and causeth to approach unto Thee" It’s acceptability, however is conditional.

The teaching of the Spirit upon the subject is solemn and explicit. God delighteth in the prayer of the upright but the utterances of a sinner He abominates. For prayer to be efficacious it must be offered in the spirit of reverence, sincerity, humility, simplicity, confidence, scriptural enlightenment and in the name of God's exalted Son.

Let us be careful - let us not forget the consequences of the vain lip service of Israel. Let us engage heartily and intelligently in prayer, not thoughtlessly and mechanically. Before we address our Father in heaven let us try to place ourselves en rapport with Him - let us remember that we are not only speaking to One who can hear and answer, but One who is a "discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart".

Prayer is not a matter to be resorted to as a kind of last chance, with the hope that it will succeed when other means have failed. Neither is it to be engaged in with a doubtful or wavering mind. Assuming that we are acceptable worshippers, let us pray, and pray unceasingly. And what greater comfort could we have in this time of weakness and perplexity than to know that we have the ear and regard of the great and good God in heaven.