Elder F. L. Austin,
Editor of the Restitution Herald 1924
The Restitution Herald, Oregon, IL Vol. 14 No. 1, Oct 7, 1924, Pg. 9, 16
There are those who call themselves Christian that are more concerned with the outer manifestations of the Christian life than with its inner experiences. Comparatively few take advantage of the sacred privilege of secret fellowship with God. Should this attitude continue, communion with the Father— except to the select few—will become one of the lost arts of the great Christian church. The world continually is growing more efficient in the art of communicating with one another. Time and space practically are annihilated, and we are in instantaneous communication with men in all parts of the world. To live twenty-four hours without the telegraph, telephone, or wireless telegraph would be a calamity to the world. Still a great many so-called Christians seem to get along without the family altar, private prayer chamber, thanksgiving at meals and the church prayer meeting, which are the offices of the telegraph, telephone and wireless telegraph, keeping us in constant communion with our Father which art in heaven, the source of all good and infinite love.
We are living in an age of great activity. The daily occupation seems to claim more time than ever, and the few hours left for relaxation must be generously divided with the passion for amusement; so between business on the one hand, and amusement on the other, private prayer is nearly crowded out of the home.
The Bible is full of prayers. Some were successful and others were not. The publican cried, “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner”; the dying thief, “Lord, remember me”; David, “Lord, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.” All these prayers, for example, were successful. Then there were those that apparently were not successful. Moses prayed to enter the Promised Land, but his request was refused. The prophet Habakkuk said. “Oh, Jehovah, how long shall I cry and thou wilt not hear?” Paul repeatedly prayed that “a thorn in the flesh” might be removed. Christ implored God that he might be released from the cup.
Perhaps the one thing that tests our faith more than anything else is the fact that so many of our prayers appear to be unsuccessful. Seeing that God has not promised to give us all the things for which we ask, we should be prepared for refusals. Our relationship to God is quite similar to a child’s relationship to a loving parent. Think for one moment what appalling results would follow if the child received a favorable reply to all of its prayers and clamoring. God withholds from us the things that are hurtful because he loves us.
Some of our prayers are successful in a way that we do not at the time detect. Christ requested to God that he might remove the cup from him. God refused to do this, but gave him strength to drink it. Paul prayed for removal of his physical infirmity. God denied him, but gave him grace sufficient for all his needs. How often have we gone to the mercy seat with our special request and felt that God did not hear us, but after the dawn had broken, we could see clearly the hand of God in the management of our affairs.
Again, there are times when God answers our prayers by saying no, because we ask amiss. Again, he often tells us to wait. He will answer our prayer when the proper time arrives. The secret of success is to continue with our prayers, if we feel that our request is in keeping with the will of God.
Christ taught that prayer is a power to be used in cooperation with other powers. He told his disciples to watch and pray, to work and pray. He made it plain that prayer is efficacious only within certain limits. God will not do our work for us, and it is a good thing for all concerned, that everything cannot be accomplished by prayer.
If we pray and work, using prayer as a power working in conjunction with other powers rather than a substitute for work, and other God-given faculties, we shall go forward as individuals and churches, defying every power and hindrance set against us.