sceptic in the book of Job asked the disdainful question, "What
is the Almighty, that we should serve him, and what profit should we
have, if we pray unto him?"
The whole tone of the remark
shows that it is meant to be rhetorical. The doubter, believing the
question could have no answer, tossed it off contemptuously and turned
away, like Pilate, without waiting for a reply. But we have an answer.
God Himself has supplied it, and the universal consensus of the ages
has added an Amen.
In the eleventh chapter
of Hebrews we have a long list of benefits which faith brings to its
possessors: justification, deliverance, fruitfulness, endurance, victory
over enemies, courage, strength and even resurrection from the dead.
And everything that is attributed to faith might with equal truth be
attributed to prayer, for faith and true prayer are like two sides of
the same coin. They are inseparable.
Men may, and often do,
pray without faith (though this is not true prayer), but it is not thinkable
that men should have faith and not pray. The biblical formula is "The
prayer of faith." Prayer and faith are here bound together by the
little preposition of, and what God hath joined together, let not man
put asunder. Faith is only genuine as it eventuates into prayer.
When Tennyson wrote "More
things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of," he probably
uttered a truth of vaster significance than even he understood. While
it is not always possible to trace an act of God to its prayer-cause,
it is yet safe to say that prayer is back of everything that God does
for the sons of men here upon earth. One would gather as much from a
simple reading of the Scriptures.
What profit is there in
prayer? "Much every way." Whatever God can do faith can do,
and whatever faith can do prayer can do when it is offered in faith.
An invitation to prayer is, therefore, an invitation to omnipotence,
for prayer engages the Omnipotent God and brings Him into our human
affairs. Nothing is impossible to the man who prays in faith, just as
nothing is impossible with God. This generation has yet to prove all
that prayer can do for believing men and women.
It was a saying of George
Mueller that faith grows with use. If we would have great faith we must
begin to use the little faith we already have. Put it to work by reverent
and faithful praying, and it will grow and become stronger day by day.
Dare today to trust God for something small and ordinary and next week
or next year you may be able to trust Him for answers bordering on the
miraculous. Everyone has some faith, said Mueller; the difference among
us is one of degree only, and the man of small faith may be simply the
one who has not dared to exercise the little faith he has.
According to the Bible,
we have because we ask, or we have not because we ask not. It does not
take much wisdom to discover our next move. Is it not to pray, and pray
again and again till the answer comes? God waits to be invited to display
His power in behalf of His people The world situation is such that nothing
less than God can straighten it out. Let us not fail the world and disappoint
God by failing to pray.
The Set of The Sail, A.W. Tozer, chapter 8
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