One of the crying things of our day
is for men whose faith, prayers, and study of the Word of God have been vitalized,
and a transcript of that Word is written on their hearts and who will give it
forth as the incorruptible seed that liveth and abideth forever. Nothing
more is needed to clear up the haze by which a critical unfaith has eclipsed the
Word of God than the fidelity of the pulpit in its unwavering allegiance to the
Bible and the fearless proclamation of its truth.
Without this the standard-bearer
fails, and wavering and confusion all along the ranks follow. The pulpit
has wrought its mightiest work in the days of its unswerving loyalty to the Word
In close connection with this, must we have men of prayer, men in
high and low places who hold to and practice Scriptural praying. While the
pulpit must hold to its unswerving loyalty to the Word of God, it must, at the
same time, be loyal to the doctrine of prayer which that same Word illustrates
and enforces upon mankind.
Schools, colleges, and education considered simply
as such cannot be regarded as being leaders in carrying forward the work of Gods
kingdom in the world. They have neither the right, the will, nor the power
to do the work. This is to be accomplished by the preached Word, delivered
in the power of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, sown with prayerful hands,
and watered with the tears of praying hearts. This is the divine law, and
so nominated in the bond. We are shut up and sealed to it - we would follow
Men are demanded for the great work of soul saving, and men must
go. It is no angelic or impersonal force which is needed. Human hearts
baptized with the spirit of prayer, must bear the burden of this message, and
human tongues on fire as the result of earnest, persistent prayer, must declare
the Word of God to dying men.
The Church, today, needs praying men to execute
her solemn and pressing responsibility, to meet the fearful crisis which is facing
her. The crying need of the times is for men, in increased numbers -- God-fearing
men, praying men, Holy Ghost men, men who can endure hardness, who will count
not their lives dear unto themselves, but count all things but dross for the excellency
of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Saviour. The men who are so greatly
needed in this age of the Church are those who have learned the business of praying,
learned it upon their knees, learned it in the need and agony of their own hearts.
men are the one commanding need of this day, as of all other days, in which God
is to have or make a showing. Men who pray are, in reality, the only religious
men, and it takes a full-measured man to pray. Men of prayer are the only
men who do or can represent God in this world. No cold, irreligious, prayerless
man can claim the right. They misrepresent God in all His work, and all
His plans. Praying men are the only men who have influence with God, the
only kind of men to whom God commits Himself and His Gospel. Praying men
are the only men in which the Holy Spirit dwells, for the Holy Spirit and prayer
go hand in hand. The Holy Spirit never descends upon prayerless men.
He never fills them, He never empowers them. There is nothing whatever in
common between the Spirit of God and men who do not pray. The Spirit dwells
only in a prayer atmosphere.
In doing Gods work there is no substitute
for praying. The men of prayer cannot be displaced with other kinds of men.
Men of financial skill, men of education, men of worldly influence -- none of
these can possibly be put in substitution for the men of prayer. The life,
the vigour, the motive power of Gods work is formed by praying men. A vitally
diseased heart is not a more fearful Symptom of approaching death than non-praying
men are of spiritual atrophy.
The men to whom Jesus Christ committed the
fortunes and destiny of His Church were men of prayer. To no other kind
of men has God ever committed Himself in this world. The Apostles were preeminently
men of prayer. They gave themselves to prayer. They made praying their
chief business. It was first in point of importance and first in results.
God never has, and He never will, commit the weighty interests of His kingdom
to prayerless men, who do not make prayer a conspicuous and controlling factor
in their lives. Men never rise to any eminence of piety who do not pray.
Men of piety are always men of prayer. Men are never noted for the simplicity
and strength of their faith who are not preeminently men of prayer. Piety
flourishes nowhere so rapidly and so rankly as in the closet. The closet
is the garden of faith.
The Apostles allowed no duty, however sacred, to
so engage them as to infringe upon their time and prevent them from making prayer
the main thing. The Word of God was ministered by apostolic fidelity and
zeal. It was spoken by men with apostolic commissions and whose heads the
fiery tongues of Pentecost had baptized. The Word was pointless and powerless
without they were freshly endued with power by continuous and mighty prayer.
The seed of Gods Word must be saturated in prayer to make it germinate.
It grows readier and roots deeper when it is prayer-soaked.
were praying men, themselves. They were teachers of prayer, and trained
their disciples in the school of prayer. They urged prayer upon their disciples
not only that they might attain to the loftiest eminence of faith, but that they
might be the most powerful factors in advancing Gods kingdom.
was the divinely appointed leader of Gods people, and no one thing in His life
proves His eminent fitness for that office so fully as His habit of prayer.
Nothing is more suggestive of thought than Christs continual praying, and nothing
is more conspicuous about Him than prayer. His campaigns were arranged,
His victories gained, in the struggles and communion of His all-night praying.
His praying rent the heavens. Moses and Elijah and the Transfiguration glory
waited on His praying. His miracles and His teaching had their force from
the same source. Gethsemanes praying crimsoned Calvary with serenity and
glory. His prayer makes the history and hastens the triumphs of His Church.
What an inspiration and command to prayer is Christs life! What a comment
on its worth! How He shames our lives by His praying!
Like all His
followers who have drawn God nearer to the world and lifted the world nearer to
God, Jesus was the man of prayer, made of God a leader and commander to His people.
His leadership was one of prayer. A great leader He was, because He was
great in prayer. All great leaders for God have fashioned their leadership
in the wrestlings of their closets. Many great men have led and moulded
the Church who have not been great in prayer, but they were great only in their
plans, great for their opinions, great for their organization, great by natural
gifts, by the force of genius or of character. However, they were not great
for God. But Jesus Christ was a great leader for God. His was the
great leadership of great praying. God was in His leadership greatly because
prayer was in it greatly. We might just well express the wish that we be
taught by Him to pray, and to pray more and more.
Herein has been the secret
of the men of prayer in the past history of the Church. Their hearts were
after God, their desires were on Him, their prayers were addressed to Him.
They communed with Him, sought nothing of the world, sought great things of God,
wrestled with Him, conquered all opposing forces, and opened up the channel of
faith deep and broad between them and heaven. And all this was done by the
use of prayer. Holy meditations, spiritual desires, heavenly drawings, swayed
their intellects, enriched their emotions, and filled and enlarged their hearts.
And all this was so because they were first of all men of prayer.
who have thus communed with God and who have sought after Him with their whole
hearts have always risen to consecrated eminence, and no man has ever risen to
this eminence whose flames of holy desire have not all been dead to the world
and all aglow for God and heaven. Nor have they ever risen to the heights
of the higher spiritual experiences unless prayer and the spirit of prayer have
been conspicuous and controlling factors in their lives.
The entire consecration
of many of Gods children stands out distinctly like towering mountain peaks.
Why is this? How did they ascend to these heights? What brought them
so near to God? What made them so Christ-like? The answer is easy
-- prayer. They prayed much, prayed long, and drank deeper and deeper still.
They asked, they sought, and they knocked, till heaven opened its richest inner
treasures of grace to them. Prayer was the Jacobs Ladder by which they
scaled those holy and blessed heights, and the way by which the angels of God
came down to and ministered to them.
The men of spiritual mould and might
always value prayer. They took time to be alone with God. Their praying
was no hurried performance. They had many serious wants to be relieved,
and many weighty pleas they had to offer. Many large supplies they must
secure. They had to do much silent waiting before God, and much patient
iteration and reiteration to utter to Him. Prayer was the only channel through
which supplies came, and was the only way to utter pleas. The only acceptable
waiting before God of which they knew anything was prayer. They valued praying.
It was more precious to them than all jewels, more excellent than any good, more
to be valued than the greatest good of earth. They esteemed it, valued it,
prized it, and did it. They pressed it to its farthest limits, tested its
greatest results, and secured its most glorious patrimony. To them prayer
was the one great thing to be appreciated and used.
The Apostles above everything
else were praying men, and left the impress of their prayer example and teaching
upon the early Church. But the Apostles are dead, and times and men have
changed. They have no successors by official entail or heirship. And
the times have no commission to make other apostles. Prayer is the entail
to spiritual and apostolical leadership. Unfortunately the times are not
prayerful times. Gods cause just now needs very greatly praying leaders.
Other things may be needed, but above all else this is the crying demand of these
times and the urgent first need of the Church.
This is the day of great
wealth in the Church and of wonderful material resources. But unfortunately
the affluence of material resources is a great enemy and a severe hindrance to
strong spiritual forces. It is an invariable law that the presence of attractive
and potent material forces creates a trust in them, and by the same inevitable
law, creates distrust in the spiritual forces of the Gospel. They are two
masters which cannot be served at one and the same time. For just in proportion
as the mind is fixed on one, will it be drawn away from the other. The days
of great financial prosperity in the Church have not been days of great religious
prosperity. Moneyed men and praying -- men are not synonymous terms.
in the second chapter of his First Epistle to Timothy, emphasizes the need of
men to pray. Church leaders in his estimation are to be conspicuous for
their praying. Prayer ought and must of necessity shape their characters,
and must be one of their distinguishing characteristics. Prayer ought to
be one of their most powerful elements, so much so that it cannot be hid.
Prayer ought to make Church leaders notable. Character, official duty, reputation
and life, all should be shaped by prayer. The mighty forces of prayer lie
in its praying leaders in a marked way. The standing obligation to pray
rests in a peculiar sense on Church leaders. Wise will the Church be to
discover this prime truth and give prominence to it.
It may be laid down
as an axiom, that God needs, first of all, leaders in the Church who will be first
in prayer, men with whom prayer is habitual and characteristic, men who know the
primacy of prayer. But even more than a habit of prayer, and more than prayer
being characteristic of them, Church leaders are to be impregnated with prayer
- men whose lives are made and moulded by prayer, whose heart and life are made
up of prayer. These are the men - the only men - God can use in the furtherance
of His kingdom and the implanting of His message in the hearts of men.
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.