The Word of Jesus on Prayer

They ought always to pray.

— St. Mark. 18:1

Every gift of God is but a harbinger of his greatest and only sufficing gift—that of himself. No gift unrecognized as coming from God is at its own best; therefore many things that God would gladly give us, things even that we need because we are, must wait until we ask for them, that we may know whence they come; when in all gifts we find him, then in him we shall find all things.

Sometimes to one praying will come the feeling rather than the question, “Would he not be better pleased if I left matters altogether to him?” It comes, I think, of a lack of faith and childlikeness. Such thoughts have no place with St. Paul; he says, “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you;” “In everything making your request known unto him.” It may even come of ambition after spiritual distinction. In every request, heart and soul and mind ought to supply, “Thy will be done;” but the making of any request brings us near to him, into communion with our Life. Doe it not also help us to think of him in all our affairs, and learn in everything to give thanks? Anything large enough for a wish to light upon, is large enough to hang a prayer upon: the thought of him to whom that prayer goes will purify and correct the desire. To say, “Father, I should like this or that,” would be enough at once, if the wish were bad, to make us know it and turn from it.  Surely it is better to tell him all without fear or anxiety. Was it not thus the Lord carried himself towards his Father when he said, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me?”

Commentary

by Dale Darling

"They ought always to pray."

Always. All things. First.

Seek first the kingdom of God and righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.

All things work together for good, for those called according to His purposes in Christ.

The directive, seek first, and promise, work together for good, are plenty to pray Thy will be done. In presenting our body a living sacrifice, we will not be conformed to the world, but be transformed with God's greatest and only sufficing gift: that of Himself. In prayer, He reveals, makes apparent the power of the resurrection: our hope.

MacDonald makes clear that any prayer, like the request of a child at their instant need, must be said, made tangible, with real request to Father. And, like any childish thing eventually outgrown in the climb to maturity, a cry for the absurd, like give me more of the world, is cast off in the presence of the Creator, Sustainer, and Hope of all things. In the midst of our tyranny at present observation, His Light shines and calls us to endure.

His mercy endures forever. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ my Lord.