Prayer Forced by Trouble
Isaiah 26:16
LORD, in trouble have they visited you, they poured out a prayer when your chastening was on them.

One of the commonest, and often one of the most painful, of human experiences. The scoffer bends the knee when life is placed in sudden peril. The prayerless cry mightily when death stares them in the face. Prayerlessness is only a fair-weather attainment. Like the children who do not seem to care for mother when health abounds, but run to her at once when the head is aching; so we can bravely do without God while the sun shines, but want him when the black thunder-clouds come creeping up against the wind. Let the cholera come into our midst, and almost abjectly the nation begins to ask for days of humiliation and prayer. As this subject is a somewhat familiar one, the following divisions may give some freshness to the treatment of it.

I. A SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCE IS NOURISHED BY PROSPERITIES AND SUCCESSES. The ordinary man does not feel the need of God when all goes well with him. He does not need prayer, for he is not conscious of anything to pray for. If man can stand alone, why should we seek God? And the Christian man, who believes in prayer, is under grave and serious temptation to neglect prayer when he is successful, and free from care. As soon as we become satisfied with ourselves we begin to lose our "first love." The spirit of independence and the spirit, of prayer never did, and- never can, dwell together. Ivy is a poor thing if it grows up independently. Its beauty unfolds only when it leans on another - on one who has independent strength.

II. A SPIRIT OF DEPENDENCE IS NOURISHED BY CALAMITIES. In a thousand forms they come to us, but their message is always the same. They say to us, "See, you cannot, by yourself." Life is not all sunshine and prosperity. We must take it as a whole, take it as it is. We must reckon for trouble. And for life as a whole we need God; we ought to be dependent; we should be happy in our dependence. Jacob, in his anxiety at meeting Esau, was forced to dependence and prayer. Joshua, discomfited before At, was forced to prayer. Jehoshaphat, threatened by national foes, flies to prayer. Hezekiah, stricken with disease and facing death, turns his face to the wall, and prays. Then impress the graciousness of the Divine ways with us. Watching over our eternal interests, God saves us again from the perils of independence, and calls us back to dependence, by putting trouble into our lives, and we learn to say, "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now will I keep thy Word." - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them.

WEB: Yahweh, in trouble they have visited you. They poured out a prayer when your chastening was on them.

God a Harbour of Refuge
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