LORD, TEACH ME TO PRAY.
“The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working.”—Jas. V. 16 (R.V.)
These many centuries after the heavens had received him, Elijah is still remembered by his prayers. And to-day he says to me—
“Pray, pray, pray—no help but prayer,
A breath that fleets beyond this iron world,
And touches Him that made it.”
I see that he brought definite requests to God; let me be like him. Too often my prayers are shot like arrows into the wide and vague expanse of the air; there is no mark set before them to which they are winged; they ask for nothing practical. But let me have my particular petitions which I plead before my God.
I see, too, that he made entreaty about temporal matters—sunshine and storm and harvest. Frequently I am told that prayer in connection with these things is useless and unscientific, and that the world is governed by iron laws which I cannot hope to modify. But God is mightier than the laws of His enacting and the forces of His guiding. He will hear and answer.
And I see that he prayed for others rather than for himself. In the devotions of the Church, at the altar of the family, in my secret retirement, do not let me confine my petitions to my own necessities. Interest in others will enlarge my heart, and will bring me into closer sympathy with God—God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not.
Elijah was a man of like passions with me, but his supplication availed much. If I practise his secret, I too shall conquer heaven by prayer.
Dr. Alexander Smellie.