Tag Archives: Prayer

The man with the muck-rake

(J. R. Miller, “Life’s Byways and Waysides”)

“Only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better.” Luke 10:42

Paul prayed that his friends “may be able to discern what is best.” Philippians 1:10.

We must be always making choices in this world. We cannot take up everything that lies in our path–and we ought to choose the best things. Even among ‘right things’ there is room for choice, for some right things are better than others.

There are many Christians, however, who do not habitually choose the best things–but second-rate things. They labor for the food that perishes–when they might labor for the food that endures unto everlasting life. Even in their prayers, they ask for temporal blessings, when they might ask for spiritual treasures! Continue reading

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This is my Friend!

(James Smith, “The Pastor’s Morning Visit”)

“You are My friends!”
John 15:14

What infinite condescension in Jesus, to call us sinful worms–His friends! But He not only calls us so–but treats us as such! And expects us as His friends–to do whatever He commands us.

Is Jesus your friend?
Then visit Him often–let Him hear your voice in prayer and praise.
Then trust Him confidently–let Him see evidence of your faith in your dependence.
Then walk with Him in love–let Him enjoy much of your company.
Then expect Him to be your Friend . . .
in sickness and health,
in poverty and plenty,
in life and in death!

If Jesus is our Friend–we can never be destitute. If our father and mother forsake us–He will take us up and take us in. Continue reading

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me!

(J. R. Miller, “Miller’s Year Book–a Year’s Daily Readings”)

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me! But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you–for My power is made perfect in your weakness!’ ” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Many prayers which seem to be unanswered–are really answered. The blessing comes–but in a form we do not recognize. Instead of the very thing we sought–something better is given!

The burden is not lifted away–but we are sustained beneath it.

We are not spared the suffering–but in the suffering we are brought nearer to God, and receive more of His grace.

The sorrow is not taken away–but is changed to joy.

Our ignorant prayers are taken into the hands of the great Intercessor, and are answered in ways far wiser than our thought!

Instead of earthly trifles–heavenly riches!

Instead of things which our poor wisdom sought–things God’s infinite wisdom chose for us!

Instead of pleasure for a day–gain for eternity!

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He cannot love you more!

(James Smith, “The Pastor’s Morning Visit”)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

The Lord cares for His children!

He knows our needs–and has promised to supply them.
He knows our foes–and will deliver us from them.
He knows our fears–and will make us ashamed of them.

All creatures and things are in His hand, and at His disposal; all circumstances are under His absolute control. He . . .
directs the angel,
feeds the sparrow,
curbs the devil, and

manages the tempest! Continue reading

This Is Not An Easy Lesson To Learn!

(J. R. Miller, "The Law of Love")

Christ did not so much give rules for special cases–as principles to govern all conduct.

"I tell you who hear Me: Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you." Luke 6:27

Loving enemies is not a natural affection.

This is not an easy lesson to learn!

It is never easy to be a Christian.

The easy way does not lead toward heaven!

The lesson of love continues, "Bless those who curse you; pray for those who mistreat you." Luke 6:28

These counsels are intensely practical. In answer to men’s cursings, revilings and insults–we are to return words of peace, kindness and love. Those who mistreat us–we are to pray for, instead of uttering threats against them, or imprecations upon them.

Continue reading

If Our Lives Were As Good As Our Prayers

(J. R. Miller, “Living up to our Prayers” 1905)

If we only tried seriously to live up to our praying–it would have a powerful effect upon our character and conduct!

There is no prayer that most Christians make oftener–than that they may be made like Christ. It is a most fitting prayer, and one that we should never cease to make. But if we very earnestly wish to be transformed into Christ’s likeness–we will find the desire growing into great intensity in our daily lives, and transforming them. It will affect every phase of our behavior and conduct. It will hold before us continually, the image of our Lord, and will keep ever in our vision–a new standard . . .
of thought,
of feeling,
of desire,
of act,
of speech.

It will keep us asking all the while, such questions as these, “How would Jesus feel about this–if He were personally in my circumstances? What would Jesus do–if He were here today where I am?”

There is always danger of mockeries and insincerities in our praying for spiritual blessings. The desires are to be commended. God approves of them and will gladly bestow upon us the more grace we ask for:
the increase in love,
the greater faith,
the purer heart,
the new advance in holiness.

But these are attainments which are not bestowed upon us directly, as gifts from heaven. We have much to do in securing them. When we ask for spiritual blessings or favors, the Master asks, “Are you able to pay the price, to make the self-denial, to give up the things you love–in order to reach these attainments in holiness, in grace, in spiritual beauty?”
If our lives were as good as our prayers, we would be saint-like in character.

If we find that our prayers are beyond our living, our duty is not to lower them to suit the tenor of our living–but to bring our lives up to the higher standard of our praying!

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For Final Revision And Approval

(J. R. Miller, “Readings from the Psalms”, 1912)

“No good thing will He withhold, from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

This may seem to be a surprising statement at first glance. Does God withhold no good thing from His people? We must focus on the word “good”. It is not merely the things which we want–that God always gives. Nor is it not the things which we think are good–that God gives. Perhaps they are not really ‘good things’–as God sees them. We must always leave to Him–to decide whether they are good or not. He is wiser than we are–and knows just what effect on us, the things we crave would have. We must submit all our requests to Him–for final revision and approval, when we make them.

This is the teaching about prayer, so prominent in the New Testament, which bids us to add to all our most earnest pleadings: “Nevertheless not my will–but may Your will be done.” If the thing we ask for does not come–we must therefore conclude that in God’s sight, it is not a “good thing” for us. Thus it is–that God’s withholdings are as great a blessing to us–as His bestowings!

There is another phrase here, which we must study. It is “from those who walk uprightly” that God will withhold no good thing. It is only when we are walking obediently, in God’s ways–that we have a right to claim this promise. For, “if I regard iniquity in my heart–the Lord will not hear me!” Psalm 66:18

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