Great Texts of the Bible
Believe and receive
Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them.—Mark 11:24.
1. Here we have a summary of the teaching of our Lord on prayer. Nothing will so much help to convince us of the sin of our remissness in prayer, to discover its causes, and to give us courage to expect entire deliverance, as the careful study and then the believing acceptance of that teaching. The more heartily we enter into the mind of our blessed Lord, and set ourselves to think about prayer as He thought, the more surely will His words be as living seeds. They will grow and produce in us their fruit—a life and practice exactly corresponding to the Divine truth they contain.
2. Yet the promises to prayer in the twenty-third and twenty-fourth verses of this eleventh chapter of St. Mark are so wonderful, that we are almost compelled to fall back before them, and ask ourselves whether we can have heard, or can have understood, aright. At the first sound, they surround our imaginations as with an air of fairyland; they seem to be something out of relation with the severities of the things that are: something out of relation with the necessary stringencies of a moral life. Then, if we feel that there is in our first sense something wrong, and begin to limit, to qualify, to explain, often it is not merely any childish misunderstanding of the promise, it is the promise itself that is slipping away from us; the solemn declaration of Christ begins to mean—nothing very definite or distinguishable: or, worse still, men find ground for pleasant mockery at the hollowness of a religious aspiration so transparently unreal. Do the words mean what they say, or do they not? or what do they mean?
The words mean first of all that we are to pray and ask for things. Now this involves (1) the recognition of our need of them, and (2) the utterance of that need.
i. That we recognise our Need
1. This seems to be expressed in the text itself according to the Authorized Version—“What things soever ye desire, when ye pray.” There, however, the word “desire” is used in the sense of request, just as we find it again in John 12:21, where we are told that certain Greeks who came up to worship at the feast came to Philip, “and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus,” and as Shakespeare has it in The Merchant of Venice (IV. i. 402): “I humbly do desire your grace of pardon.” Yet the sense of need is undoubtedly one of the conditions of prayer, and Dr. Andrew Murray1 [Note: The Ministry of Intercession, 106.] is quite entitled to write as though the word “desire” in the Authorized Version were used in that sense. “What things soever ye desire,” he quotes, and then says: Desire is the secret power that moves the whole world of living men, and directs the course of each. And so desire is the soul of prayer, and the cause of insufficient or unsuccessful prayer is very much to be found in the lack or feebleness of desire. Some may doubt this: they are sure that they have very earnestly desired what they ask. But if they consider whether their desire has indeed been as whole-hearted as God would have it, as the heavenly worth of these blessings demands, they may come to see that it was indeed the lack of desire that was the cause of failure. What is true of God is true of each of His blessings, and is the more true the more spiritual the blessing: “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Of Judah in the days of Asa it is written, “They sought him with their whole desire” (2 Chronicles 15:15). A Christian may often have very earnest desires for spiritual blessings. But alongside of these there are other desires in his daily life occupying a large place in his interests and affections. The spiritual desires are not all-absorbing. He wonders that his prayer is not heard. It is simply that God wants the whole heart. “The Lord thy God is one Lord, therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.”
2. The best illustration that we are likely to find—and it is an illustration not only of this point but of the whole text—is furnished by the story of the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-14): “And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices, saying, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go and shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, as they went, they were cleansed.”
The facts to notice in this incident are these: (1) they knew that they were lepers and needed cleansing; (2) they asked Jesus to cleanse them; (3) when He said “Go and shew yourselves unto the priests,” although they felt and saw no difference in themselves, they took His word for it that they were cleansed, and acted upon it; (4) afterwards, as they were on the way to the priests, they knew that they were cleansed. That they did not know till they had gone some distance is evident, for we are told that one of them, as soon as he saw that he was healed, turned back, and thanked Jesus. We have reached as yet, however, only the first of these four facts—the recognition of a need.
We have wants, and we feel them: honest wants of body as of soul, wants personal, wants domestic, as well as all such aspirations as may seem to be of wider or higher scope. Are not these things true and proper subjects of prayer? “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven “is not, after all, the whole of the Lord’s Prayer. Is it not followed at once by the more material—“Give us this day our daily bread”? Yes, most true indeed. Every need for body or soul, for ourselves or our children, our friends or our neighbours, in all the detail and variety which belong to vivid personal interest; it is all most true and holy subject-matter for prayer.1 [Note: R. C. Moberly.]
All things whatsoever. At this first word our human wisdom at once begins to doubt and ask: This surely cannot be literally true? But if it be not, why did the Master speak it, using the very strongest expression He could find: “All things whatsoever”? And it is not as if this were the only time He spoke thus; is it not He who also said, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth”; “If ye have faith, nothing shall be impossible to you”? Faith is so wholly the work of God’s Spirit through His word in the prepared heart of the believing disciple, that it is impossible that the fulfilment should not come; faith is the pledge and forerunner of the coming answer.1 [Note: Andrew Murray.]
ii. That we give Utterance to it
1. The desire of the heart must become the expression of the lips. Our Lord more than once asked those who cried to Him for mercy, “What wilt thou?” He wanted them to say what they desired. To speak it out roused their whole being into action, brought them into contact with Him, and wakened their expectation. To pray is to enter into God’s presence, to claim and secure His attention, to have distinct dealing with Him in regard to some request, to commit our need to His faithfulness and to leave it there; it is in so doing that we become fully conscious of what we are seeking.
It may help to give definiteness to our thought, if we take a definite request in regard to which we would fain learn to pray believingly. Why should we not take as the object of desire and supplication the “grace of supplication,” and say, I want to ask and receive in faith the power to pray just as, and as much as, my God expects of me?2 [Note: Ibid.]
2. This is the second fact that we noticed in the story of the ten lepers. They asked for cleansing—“They lifted up their voices, saying, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Would they have been cleansed if they had not asked for it? At any rate, Jesus lays down the rule: “Ask, and ye shall receive.” And when Bartimæus was brought before Him, He insisted upon the blind man expressing his need, although it was perfectly evident what he needed. “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”
As God feeds “the birds of the heaven” (Matthew 6:26), not by dropping food from heaven into their mouths, but by stimulating them to seek food for themselves, so God provides for His rational creatures by giving them a sanctified common sense, and by leading them to use it. In a true sense Christianity gives us more will than ever. The Holy Spirit emancipates the will, sets it upon proper objects, and fills it with new energy. We are therefore not to surrender ourselves passively to whatever professes to be a Divine suggestion (1 John 4:1): “Believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God.” The test is the revealed word of God (Isaiah 8:20): “To the law and to the testimony! if they speak not according to this word, surely there is no morning for them.”1 [Note: Isaac Taylor, Natural History of Enthusiasm.]
I kindle a fire in my grate. I only intervene to produce and combine together the different agents whose natural action behooves to produce the effect I have need of; but the first step once taken, all the phenomena constituting combustion engender each other, conformably to their laws, without a new intervention of the agent; so that an observer who should study the series of these phenomena, without perceiving the first hand that had prepared all, could not seize that hand in any especial act, and yet there is a preconceived plan and combination.2 [Note: P. Janet, Final Causes.]
We are to believe that God has answered our prayer. This belief rests on three things: (1) Faith in God as a fountain of good; (2) the harmony of our request with His will; (3) His freedom in the use of ways and means.
i. Faith in God as the Source of all that is Good
1. In the first place we know that God is an ocean of boundless resources. And then we also know that prayer is His chosen channel for the application of those resources. This is everywhere the teaching of the New Testament, and it has been corroborated in the experience of the prayerful of every generation since. Lord Tennyson never had a truer thought given him from “the heavenlies” than this: “Prayer is like opening a sluice between the great ocean and our little channels; when the great sea gathers itself together and flows in at full tide.”3 [Note: Lord Tennyson: A Memoir, i.]
The summer before last I happened to be spending a part of my vacation in Scotland, and found my way up into the Highlands. At one point in the journey I came across a lovely little Highland loch, the name of which at this moment I forget. I noticed that some engineering works had been erected at the narrower end of the loch, so I inferred that the water was being made use of in some way, as indeed it was. My companion informed me that it had now become the drinking supply of a lowland town some distance away, and that the work had had to be done suddenly. It appears that during a season of severe drought there had been some danger of a water famine in the district referred to. All the wells ran dry. Neither the people in the houses nor the cattle in the fields could live without water, so it actually had to be carted from other districts at great expense. Then some one thought of the highland loch, many miles away. All difficulties were got over, and a tiny supply pipe was run the whole distance from the loch to the thirsty township. Later on, this temporary expedient for preventing disaster was replaced by works of a more efficient and costly character. But the interesting point about the matter is this: here was a whole population suffering for lack of something that was only waiting to be drawn upon, and had been in existence thousands of years before the township itself. Long before there was any thirst, the water was there to quench it. All that was required was the vision of the man who first conceived the project of bringing the water to the valley. After the vision came the labour—not to create but to distribute the life-giving element which flowed downward in obedience to its own law. Is not this a fairly apt figure of the dealings of God with His children? “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him.” But we have to ask before the gift can be part of ourselves.1 [Note: R. J. Campbell.]
In this same time our Lord shewed me a spiritual sight of His homely loving. I saw that He is to us everything that is good and comfortable for us: He is our clothing that for love wrappeth us, claspeth us, and all encloseth us for tender love, that He may never leave us; being to us all-thing that is good, as to mine understanding.2 [Note: Julian the Anchoress.]
2. The great reason of our lack of faith is our lack of knowledge of God and intercourse with Him. “Have faith in God,” Jesus said when He spoke of removing mountains. It is as a soul knows God, is occupied with His power, love, and faithfulness, comes away out of self and the world, and allows the light of God to shine on it, that unbelief will become impossible. All the mysteries and difficulties connected with answers to prayer will, however little we may be able to solve them intellectually, be swallowed up in the adoring assurance, this God is our God: He will bless us. He does indeed answer prayer. And the grace to pray which we are asking for He will delight to give.
To know God simply as an absolute Sovereign, bowing to His doings merely because they are His, receiving His commands merely because He commands, this is not to know God as a fountain of life. Unless the character of God, and not merely the fact that there is a God, be apprehended, there is nothing known of God upon which the soul can feed. See then what a fresh well-spring of life it is, that this is the very truth concerning God, that “He willeth all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”; that as God is good, He delights in men’s deliverance from evil; as He is holy, He delights in men’s deliverance from sin; as He is true, He delights in men’s deliverance from unbelief and ignorance and belief of a lie, for all unbelief is the belief of a lie.
Why does the man in charge of a Chinese temple bang the drum and pommel the bell morning and evening? And why do millions of Chinese in their houses tinkle a cast-iron pot when they worship? It is to call the god to attention. And when they pray for riches, sons, and long life (the “three manys” which sum up all their subjects of prayer, in most cases), it is to coax the god into willingness to help them. For those who thus worship, and call it “prayer,” know not of a majestic Mother-Love in the heavens, and around them, which always longs ever so much to help and to bless.1 [Note: W. A. Cornaby.]
One sunny morning, after a spell of dismal weather, a little girl of six came running up to some one I know, exclaiming: “Look, father, how bright it is! I prayed God last night to send us a bright morning sometime”—cautious child!—“and isn‘t it bright now?” The reply was: “Yes, indeed, my child, and you know it is bright every morning if we only go high enough. For the sun up yonder is always shining—always.”2 [Note: Ibid.]
Lord, what a change within us one short hour
Spent in Thy presence will prevail to make!
What heavy burdens from our bosoms take,
What parched grounds refresh as with a shower!
We kneel, and all around us seems to lower;
We rise, and all the distant and the near
Stands forth in sunny outline, brave and clear.
We kneel how weak! We rise how full of power!
Why, therefore, should we do ourselves this wrong,
Or others—that we are not always strong;
That we are ever overborne with care;
That we should ever weak or heartless be,
Anxious or troubled, when with us is prayer,
And joy and strength and courage are with Thee?1 [Note: R. C. Trench, Poems, 134.]
ii. Our Request must be in Harmony with the Will of God
1. It is plain that there is a manner in which we can not apply the words of St. Mark, a sense in which they would not be true. So much at least the rebuke of St. James says clearly, “Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss.” Christian prayer is not a thing wild, capricious, unlimited. Christian prayer, the genuine uplifting of the heart of a man to his God:—this cannot be as random or as reckless as all the random impulses of the mind of a man. It has limits; it has conditions; it has laws. There are things which may be asked in prayer, and there are things which may not. There are ways of asking aright, and there are ways of asking amiss. The mind that is really prayerful is a mind trained and disciplined. And we, too, if we would grasp the secret and blessing of prayer, must learn to conform ourselves to its conditions; we must rightly learn its spirit, its method, its rules; we must pray, in one word, not amiss, but right.
There is an old legend of two sheikhs of the desert. The one sheikh had many date palms. He insisted on having his own way with the trees. When the boughs seemed dry, he asked for rain, and the rain fell. When the boughs seemed too moist, he asked for sunshine, and the fierce heat came. When the trees seemed to bend under the wind, he asked for frost that the trunks might be strengthened. So what with much asking and changing the trees died. Fearing starvation the sheikh journeyed across the desert. One day he came to a grove of date palms, and found the owner thereof. The owner explained all by saying, “God has blessed my trees abundantly.” “But,” answered the discouraged sheikh, “I too have date palms. I asked God for rain, and He sent showers. I asked for sunshine, and He sent heat. I asked for frost, and He sent cold. Lo, all my trees are dead.” “And I,” answered the other, “said unto God, ‘For my date palms, Thou knowest what is best,’ and lo, the trees have brought forth fruit abundantly, and they live for your hunger.”
2. Prayer is not the effort of a man to bend or win to himself the will of God. There is in it no effort, no desire, no thought against, or apart from, God. Rather it is man’s most deliberate and perpetual effort, through the power of God the Spirit in the Name of God the Son—not against but towards—the realisation of the will and life of God. Make Thy will my will; and my will into Thy will! If the voice of prayer in its moment of supreme distraction reaches its simplicity only in tones which are wrung with anguish, “nevertheless not my will but Thine be done,” remember that the perfectness of prayer, not its cessation, is realised in fruition of perfect communion. In agony, or in victory, the perfectness of praying is the praying of the Son of God.
Do we ask for relief—for ourselves or for our dear ones—from sickness, from anxiety, from bereavement? Do we ask for strength, for livelihood, for guidance, for success? It is well. Yet we recognise that, if we could learn aright, our greater longing, even in these, would be for the perfectly unthwarted consummation of God’s divinely wise and loving will. In so far as these things, which in detail we ask for, are, or may be, within the divinely beneficent will of God; in so far as any tormenting influence of evil is, or may be, in the withholding of them, thwarting the highest perfectness of Divine benevolence; so far we entreat Him, by the uniting of our earnest will with His will for all good, to let us taste in these things His perfect love.
“Oh, Amma! Amma! do not pray! your prayers are troubling me!” We all looked up in astonishment. We had just had our Band Prayer Meeting, when a woman came rushing into the room, and began to exclaim like this. She was the mother of one of our girls.… Now the mother was all excitement, and poured out a curious story. “When you went away last year I prayed. I prayed and prayed, and prayed again to my god to dispel your work. My daughter’s heart was impressed with your words. I cried to my god to wash the words out. Has he washed them out? Oh no! And I prayed for a bridegroom and one came, and the cart was ready to take her away, and a hindrance occurred; the marriage fell through. And I wept till my eyes well-nigh dissolved. And again another bridegroom came, and again an obstacle occurred. And yet again did a bridegroom come, and yet again an obstacle; and I cannot get my daughter ‘tied,’ and the neighbours mock, and my Caste is disgraced”—and the poor old mother cried, just sobbed in her shame and confusion of face. “Then I went to my god again, and said, ‘What more can I offer you? Have I not given you all I have? And you reject my prayer!’ Then in a dream my god appeared, and he said, ‘Tell the Christians not to pray. I can do nothing against their prayers. Their prayers are hindering me!’ And so, I beseech you, stop your prayers for fourteen days—only fourteen days—till I get my daughter tied.”1 [Note: Amy Wilson-Carmichael, Things as they are, 267.]
iii. We recognise God’s right to answer Prayer in the way He sees to be best
Christ’s prayer, “Let this cup pass away from me” (Matthew 26:39), and Paul’s prayer that the “thorn in the flesh” might depart from him (2 Corinthians 12:7-8), were not answered in the precise way requested. No more are our prayers always answered in the way we expect. Christ’s prayer was not answered by the literal removal of the cup, because the chinking of the cup was really His glory; and Paul’s prayer was not answered by the literal removal of the thorn, because the thorn was needful for his own perfecting. In the case of both Jesus and Paul, there were larger interests to be consulted than their own freedom from suffering.
Be not afraid to pray—to pray is right.
Pray, if thou canst, with hope; but ever pray,
Though hope be weak, or sick with long delay;
Pray in the darkness, if there be no light.
Far is the time, remote from human sight,
When war and discord on the earth shall cease;
Yet every prayer for universal peace
Avails the blessed time to expedite.
Whate’er is good to wish, ask that of Heaven,
Though it be what thou canst not hope to see;
Pray to be perfect, though material leaven
Forbid the spirit so on earth to be:
But if for any wish thou darest not pray,
Then pray to God to cast that wish away.1 [Note: Hartley Coleridge, Poems, “Prayer.”]
We shall know that we have obtained what we asked—first, when we act on the belief that we have obtained it; and next, when we see that we have obtained it.
i. We act on the belief that we have obtained what we asked
So did the ten lepers. When Jesus said, “Go and shew yourselves to the priests,” they turned and went. They did not wait to feel that they were cleansed; they did not wait to see the signs of it in their hands and faces. They simply took Him at His word and went.
1. Faith is very far from being a mere conviction of the truth of God’s word, or a conclusion drawn from certain premises. It is the ear which has heard God say what He will do, the eye which has seen Him doing it, and, therefore, where there is true faith, it is impossible that the answer should not come. If we only see to it that we do the one thing that He asks of us as we pray: Believe that ye have received, He will see to it that He does the thing He has promised: “Ye shall have them.” The key-note of Solomon’s prayer (2 Chronicles 6:4), “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David,” is the key-note of all true prayer: the joyful adoration of a God whose hand always secures the fulfilment of what His mouth has spoken.
Signor Prochet, of the Waldensian Church, tells a story of a long-continued drought in the valleys of North Italy, which threatened to ruin the harvest. The pastor of one of the little congregations arranged to hold a special prayer-meeting to pray for rain to save the crops, and on the day of the meeting groups of people were seen wending their way along the valley, or clambering down the steep hillsides, to join the devotions. As the minister was nearing the church a little girl passed him. He was much struck by the size of the umbrella she was carrying, and laughingly called out: “I fear you will not have much need of your umbrella this weather.” “Oh, sir,” replied the child, “I brought it because we were going to ask God for rain to-day, and I will be sure to need it before I get home.” The minister pondered the words, and rebuked himself for his lack of faith. He had been going to pray for rain, but without any expectation that his prayer would be answered. The faith of the child put new life and power into the prayer-meeting. Before the close there was a sound of abundance of rain, and the minister was glad to share the shelter of the big umbrella on his way home.
2. Faith has to accept the answer, as given by God in heaven, before it is found or felt upon earth.—This point causes difficulty, and yet it is of the very essence of believing prayer, its real secret. Spiritual things can only be spiritually apprehended or appropriated. The spiritual heavenly blessing of God’s answer to your prayer must be spiritually recognised and accepted before you feel anything of it. It is faith that does this. A soul that not only seeks an answer, but seeks first the God who gives the answer, receives the power to know that it has what it has asked of Him. If it knows that it has asked according to His will and promises, and that it has come to and found Himself to give it, it does believe that it has received. “We know that he heareth us.”
There are eases in which the blessing is ready to break through at once, if we but hold fast our confidence, and prove our faith by praising for what we have received, in the face of our not yet having it in experience. There are other cases in which the faith that has received needs to be still further tried and strengthened in persevering prayer. God alone knows when everything in and around us is fully ripe for the manifestation of the blessing that has been given to faith. Elijah knew for certain that rain would come; God had promised it; and yet he had to pray seven times. And that prayer was no show or play; there was an intense spiritual reality in the heart of him who lay pleading there, and in the heaven above where it had its effectual work to do. It is “through faith and patience we inherit the promises.” Faith says most confidently, I have received it. Patience perseveres in prayer until the gift bestowed in heaven is seen on earth.1 [Note: Andrew Murray.]
In 1886, the China Inland Mission under the care of Dr. Hudson Taylor had a force of two hundred missionaries. In a conference for Bible study and united prayer these missionaries were led to unite in prayer that God would, within a year, send one hundred additional workers to their assistance. So great was the faith of this little band of faithful workers that, before the conference closed, one of them suggested that they hold a praise meeting thanking God for answering their prayer, for, said he, “We shall not be all able to come together for that purpose next year.” They did so. During the following year the Mission received no less than six hundred applications, and by the end of the year one hundred of these had been selected and sent out to Inland China.
3. The receiving from God in faith, the believing acceptance of the answer with the perfect, praising assurance that it has been given, is not necessarily the experience or subjective possession of the gift we have asked for. At times there may be a considerable, or even a long, interval. In other cases the believing supplicant may at once enter upon the actual enjoyment of what he has received. It is specially in the former case that we have need of faith and patience: faith to rejoice in the assurance of the answer bestowed and received, and to begin and act upon that answer though nothing be felt; patience to wait if there be for the present no sensible proof of its presence. We can count upon it: Ye shall have, in actual enjoyment.
I never was deeply interested in any object, I never prayed sincerely and earnestly for anything, but it came; at some time—no matter at how distant a day—somehow, in some shape, probably the last I should have devised—it came. And yet I have always had so little faith! May God forgive me, and while He condescends to use me as His instrument, wipe the sin of unbelief from my heart!2 [Note: Adoniram Judson.]
O soul, be patient: thou shalt find
A little matter mend all this;
Some strain of music to thy mind,
Some praise for skill not spent amiss.3 [Note: Robert Bridges.]
ii. We shall know that we have obtained our request
So did the lepers. It came to pass, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was cleansed, returned, and fell down at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks.
The work began when first your prayer was uttered,
And God will finish what He has begun.
If you will keep the incense burning there,
His glory you shall see, sometime, somewhere.1 [Note: Mrs. Browning.]
The question: “Does prayer really help you?” put to a prayerful Christian, is about as easy to answer as a certain question once put to a Chinese boatman of the river Han. The current was fairly strong, and, spite of much poling and rowing, we made little headway. Up to a certain point the journey was tediousness itself. Then, having performed a very simple operation, the boatmen sat at their ease, and we sped along grandly.
In a tone of innocent ignorance, I asked the skipper at the stern: “Does putting up that sail really help you to get along?” He made no reply, but grinned, wondering what was coming next. “I suppose you say it catches the power of something no one has ever seen—I believe you call it ‘wind’ or something like that. But how can an unseen power make this heavy wooden boat to move up-stream? That is what I want to know!” His broad grin exploded into thunderous laughter, and his two assistants said in confidence: “Foreign funny-words!”
But I had a purpose in view. “I say, old chum, have you heard that we Christians pray to an unseen God—an unseen God, mind you—to be made better men and women?”
“Aye, that I have, sir. I know that Christians are folks who believe in praying for that. Does it answer at all?”
“Now, old chum, be fair, you know! I just asked you a question easy to answer, and you only laughed at me. Suppose I just laugh at you now. I asked you in plainest Chinese: “Does your putting up that sail answer at all?”
“Well, sir, everybody knows it does, of course. Look how we’re going ahead!”2 [Note: W. A. Cornaby.]
“Well, everybody who knows God as a Father, the Lord Jesus as Rescuer, and who really puts up the sail of his heart—that’s what prayer really is—knows quite as surely that it does answer. Our prayers just catch hold of the unseen power of God, like a fair wind always blowing; and however the ‘world customs flow downwards,’ we need not be ‘down-drifting men.’ It helps our boat grandly up-stream.”
My sorrow pierced me through, it throbbed in my heart like a thorn;
This way and that I stared, as a bird with a broken limb
Hearing the hound’s strong feet thrust imminent through the corn,
So to my God I turned: and I had forgotten Him.
Into the night I breathed a prayer like a soaring fire;—
So to the wind-swept cliff the resonant rocket streams,
And it struck its mark, I know; for I felt my flying desire
Strain, like a rope drawn home, and catch in the land of dreams.
What was the answer? This—the horrible depth of night,
And deeper, as ever I peer, the huge cliff’s mountainous shade,
While the frail boat cracks and grinds, and never a star in sight,
And the seething waves smite fiercer;—and yet I am not afraid.1 [Note: A. C. Benson.]
Believe and Receive
Campbell (J. M.), Responsibility for the Gift of Eternal Life, 126.
Caughey (J.), Revival Sermons and Addresses, 42.
Cornaby (W. A.), Let us Pray, 85.
Ealand (F.), The Spirit of Life, 38.
Farquhar (J. W.), The Gospel of Divine Humanity, 90.
Finney (C. G.), Revivals of Religion, 74.
Hammond (E. P.), Early Conversion, 108.
James (J. G.), Problems of Prayer, 67.
Lockyer (T. F.), The Inspirations of the Christian Life, 83.
Moberly (R. C), Christ our Life, 142.
Murray (A.), The Ministry of Intercession, 104.
Murray (A.), With Christ, 78, 86.
Spurgeon (C. H.), New Park Street Pulpit, vi. No. 328.
Vaughan (J.), Sermons (Brighton Pulpit), ix. No. 763.
Christian World Pulpit, lxxiii. 248 (Campbell).
Clergyman’s Magazine, 3rd Ser., viii. 155; xvi. 61 (Heath).
Treasury, xvi. 76 (Murray).
The Great Texts of the Bible - James Hastings
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.