“But it is good for me to draw near to God.” Psalm 73:28
Suggested Further Reading: James 4:1-8
Draw near to God with living, loving prayer; present the promise, and you shall obtain the fulfilment. Many things I might say of prayer; our old divines are full of high praise concerning it. The early fathers speak of it as if they were writing sonnets. Chrysostom preached of it as if he saw it incarnate in some heavenly form. And the choicest metaphors were gathered together to describe in rapturous phrase the power, nay, the omnipotence of prayer. Would to God we loved prayer as our fathers did of old. It is said of James the Less, that he was so much in prayer that his knees had become hard like those of a camel. It was doubtless but a legend, but legends are often based on truths. And certain it is that Hugh Latimer, that blessed saint and martyr of our God, was accustomed to pray so earnestly in his old age, when he was in his cell, that he would often pray until he had no strength left to rise, and the prison attendants had need to lift him from his knees. Where are the men like these? Oh angel of the covenant, where can you find them? When the Son of Man comes shall he find prayer on the earth? Ours are not worthy of the name of supplication. Oh that we had learned that sacred art, that would draw near to God, and plead his promise. Cowper has put several things together in one hymn.
Prayer clears the sky; “Prayer makes the darkened cloud withdraw.”
Prayer is a heaven-climber; “Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw.”
Prayer makes even Satan quake; “For Satan trembles when he sees,
The weakest saint upon his knees.”
For meditation: Do you regard your prayer-life as a dead, boring routine? May God teach us to draw near to him and enjoy the relationship in a living and meaningful way (Luke 11:1-4).
Sermon no. 288
6 November (1859)