And he spoke a parable to them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;…
As to the so-called scientific challenge to prove the efficacy of prayer by the result of simultaneous petition. A God that should fail to hear, receive, attend to one single prayer, the feeblest or worst, I cannot believe in; but a God that would grant every request of every man or every company of men, would be an evil God — that is no God, but a demon. That God should hang in the thought-atmosphere, like a windmill, waiting till men enough should combine and send out prayer in sufficient force to turn His outspread arms, is an idea too absurd. God waits to be gracious, not to be tempted. "But if God is so good as you represent Him, and if He knows all that we need, and better far than we do ourselves, why should it be necessary to ask Him for anything?" I answer, What if He knows prayer to be the thing we need first and most? What if the main object in God's idea of prayer be the supplying of our great, our endless need — the need of Himself? What if the good of all our smaller and lower needs lies in this, that they help to drive us to God? Hunger may drive the runaway child home, and he may or may not be fed at once, but he needs his mother more than his dinner. Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need; prayer is the beginning of that communion, and some need is the motive of that prayer. Our wants are for the sake of our coming into communion with God, our eternal need. In regard, however, to the high necessities of our nature, it is in order that He may be able to give that God requires us to ask — requires by driving us to it — by shutting us up to prayer. For how can He give into the soul of a man what it needs, while that soul cannot receive it? The ripeness for receiving is the asking. The blossom-cup of the soul, to be filled with the heavenly dews, is its prayer. When the soul is hungry for the light, for the truth — when its hunger has waked its higher energies, thoroughly roused the will, and brought the soul into its highest condition, that of action, its only fitness for receiving the things of God, that action is prayer. Then God can give; then He can be as He would towards the man: for the glory of God is to give Himself. We thank thee, Lord Christ, for by Thy pain alone do we rise towards the knowledge of this glory of Thy Father and our Father.
(G. Macdonald, LL. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;