Prayer is the soaring of the soul towards God, an appeal to His mercy, an homage to His greatness. how seriously it behooves us to perform this duty in a proper manner! In this life, while man is assailed by so much suffering, so many anxieties, and endures so much misery and sorrow, whence can he seek aid and consolation? Can his fellow-man, his companion in weakness and impotence, be his comforter? As. child in his grief appeals instinctively to his parent, so man in his distress appeals to his heavenly Father, Who alone can aid him. Anxieties and misery attack us in vain, when we resist them by seeking consolation from Him Who knows our sorrows.. Towards the mountains. raise my eyes,” says the Psalmist,. thence will come my aid.”
What cannot fervent prayer obtain? When the sentence of condemnation is borne to the heavenly tribunal, let us pray, and God may revoke it. Moses, prostrate at the summit of Sinai, stayed by prayer the arm of the Eternal, already raised to exterminate guilty, idolatrous Israel.
I. We will not fear then, loaded though we be with sin, we will not fear to offer our repentance to the Lord. we will pray for ourselves and others, and hope, though we fear; for. day or. night not begun or ended with prayer, might be. fatal one to us, or to one dear to us, the last day or the last night.
2. Prayer would, indeed, be imperfect, did it lead us towards God only when in trouble or in fear, or had it no other motive than that our wants should be supplied. Besides supplication, is it not just and proper that we should offer our thanks and gratitude to our merciful Father, for the daily blessings He bestows, and the miracles He renews for our preservation, our sustenance, and our existence?
But prayer does more than this. When the mind is imbued with the idea of God, we contemplate His greatness and wonders, and then. sentiment is awakened within us of veneration and delight at His glory, His omnipotence. His wondrous works; this divine joy, tJiis soaring of the soul, find vent in words of blessing and praise, as expressed in the divine harmony of the Psalms..How wondrous are thy works, Lord! how profound are thy thoughts.”
3. But how should we pray.
To move the lips mechanically, without feeling prayer in the heart, is an offence to God. To pray mentally, without. devout attitude, is to fail in respect towards the Great Being with whom we desire to hold communion.
Above all we should take heed lest prayer become an act of routine,. duty fulfilled hastily, amid noise, irreverence, and disturbance. we should attune our hearts to devotion. retire to some silent spot, assume an humble,. contemplative posture, and resign our souls to God; then only can we hope to be in communion with Him.
But to present ourselves humbly before God is not all; we must bring faith. faith that gives life to prayer and warms the heart; and, above all, prayer must proceed from purity of intention, the desire to do that which is pleasing in the sight of God, and also from filial submission to His will.
4..Oh! that our minds could be fully impressed with the glory of God, or that we could duly reflect on His holiness! Faith teaches us that our God, of whose majesty even Moses could not bear the glorious presence, is near us when we pray. He sees and hears us. He knows every thought of the soul, every secret of the heart. Yes, He, the Holy God, is near. and should we, Who bow with respect and humility before. mortal somewhat above us in rank and power, not watch over our words and deeds in the presence of the King of kings, before whom terrestrial monarchs are as. grain of dust.. how dare we in His presence give ourselves up to levity of any kind.
5. Let us, then, strictly observe the duty of prayer, for it is the life of the soul. early in the morning let us appear before the Lord, offer Him the first-fruits of the day. the purity of our actions may depend on the fidelity with which we fulfill this first duty. But, before praying, let us examine ourselves. remember what we are, and reflect on the nature of God before whom we appear. then will our hearts be filled with sentiments of humility, respect, and devotion, and thus we shall become worthy of addressing the Creator of the universe.
A day should not pass without returning thanks for the favors God has granted. before retiring to rest we should recall to mind every event of the day, and repent of any unworthy act we may have committed. and thus reconciled to God, we may be able to invoke His protection, for ourselves and others, from the dangers of the night.
Not alone during the stated times of prayer, but in every circumstance of life. in joy, as in sorrow. should we have God in our hearts and in our thoughts.
6. Yes, Lord! it is to You I turn to pour put my grief and anguish. it is to You I render homage for the happy days it pleases You to bestow.. If affliction assail me, teach me to bear it according to Thy will. if joy be my portion,. will say, It is God Who gives it.
Meditations and Prayers for Every Situation and Occasion in Life