And he spoke a parable to them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;…
Prayer is natural to men. The knowledge of our own weakness is soon forced upon us, but with this conviction there comes another, the sense of dependence on One — great, loving, and wise. Out of these springs the necessity of prayer, which is the language of the frail to the mighty — the confession of need, and the instinct of trust. Every known religion attests this irresistible impulse to pray. Men, indeed, will be found to deny, or to undervalue the evidence of this instinct of prayer; but there are times which wring prayer from prayerless lips; times of danger, when all classes find prayer the most appropriate and natural utterance of their lips; times of heartfear, when the whole spirit sends up from the depths of confusion and darkness an exceeding bitter cry, wherein terror and doubt mingle with the unquenchable instinct of prayer; times when, perhaps, death is approaching, and the dark, unexplored confines of the other world begin to loom vast and vague upon an awakening conscience, and the firm citadel of stoutly maintained unbelief is swept away, and prayer rushes forth in such a despairing shriek as burst from the lips of Thistlewood — "O God, if there be a God, save my soul, if I have a soul!" It is not the approach of danger or the feeling of fear only which calls forth prayer. The irresistible disposition is experienced under the influence of feelings widely different from fear. The contemplation of the universe, and the incomprehensible Being who embraces all things, so wrought upon the mind of Rousseau that, in the restlessness of his transports, he would exclaim, "O great Being! O great Being!" The majesty and splendour of nature, brightening and kindling under the beams of the sun, rising upon the rocky heights of Jura, and circling the sky with flame, filled the soul of Voltaire with such awe that he uncovered his head, and, kneeling, he cried, "I believe — I believe in Thee! O mighty God, I believe!" If the language of prayer is thus natural to all men, and forced at times from reluctant lips, it is natural, with an inexpressible sweetness, to hearts accustomed to communion with God. The cultivated instinct becomes a rich enjoyment, and an unutterable relief. The high duty becomes the highest privilege.
(Bishop Boyd Carpenter.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;