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cation for that very blessing which God had most plainly promised. And this was constantly our blessed Lord's example. He prayed for the safety of the disciples who were surely safe because the Father had given them to Him. And again, “He offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard,” although he knew well His Father had
promised to glorify His name in bringing Him through all His trials.
So, also, with regard to blessings promised the Israelites. Although God (Ezekiel xxxvi.) promises plainly to bless them in divers ways in the latter days, and says, “I the Lord have spoken it and will do it;" yet it follows directly after, (v. 37.) “Thus saith the Lord God, I will get for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.”
it is even followed by the promise in the very same verse, “I will increase them with men like a flock."
So then, must it be with us. Say not, I need not pray for this, because God's Word promises it, but rather say, I must be urgent in my prayers for this, for God has promised it. God can indeed, and does often, give blessings and gifts which we had not
thought of asking for. But His general way is to make the prayers of His children the channel through which their blessings are to come to theni. He has wise and gracious reasons for this. Among them are these —He is more glorified in this way. The saint is drawn nearer to God,-the exercise of prayer producing faith, and the answer to prayer, confirming His love. Thus, then, pray for what you want, and the more hopefully as you find a promise where with to back your request.
Secondly, Elijah is an example in praying for very hard things : that is, things far beyond the reach of man, things which man has not the least power over. first that it might not rain for three years and a half,—He prayed that it might rain, though the sky was perfectly clear and free from the smallest speck of a cloud, -He prayed that life might come into a dead child-He prayed that Elisha, his successor, might have a double portion of God's Spirit, so as to be able to work mighty miracles. And in each of these cases and others, he obtained his requests. Yet, he was “a man of like passions with us.”
Such instances, and others like them, are to encourage us to pray for and expect
hard things : things impossible with men, being things possible and easy with God.
Elijah brought up clouds heavy with rain to cover the clear blue sky of heaven. Samuel's prayer also brought up a tempest with terrific thunder and lightning, at a time most unusual for such a thing, in the midst of wheat harvest. Joshua stopped the sun in its course, by the power of
prayer. A barren woman, Hannah, became a happy mother of children through the prayers of faith. And what would seem à more difficult thing than to move a gigantic mass of earth, such as a mountain is, and plant it in the sea ? Yet, this is what our Lord chooses as the figure to show what the power of the prayer
of faith can effect as it flows from the lips of men like ourselves. It is with reference to prayer that Jesus says to us “Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea ; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass ; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say
What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
(Mark xi. 22, 23, 24.) This is indeed a most glorious promise. One that should never be far away from our minds. One that should be specially present when we engage in
prayer, or when our troubles are pressing on us, or when our wants seem many or great. A wonder indeed it is that God should so vouchsafe to open the door of heaven's treasury to us poor sinful beggars ; a wonder only accounted for in the great fact, that One in our nature, and yet also, in the Divine nature, by obeying and suffering in our stead, has made God as it were our debtor, so that while our unworthiness is no bar to His blessing us, the worthiness of Jesus the Son of His love, is the reason why He will withhold no good thing from His own people, but give them every thing they ask for.
O reader, avail yourself of this great privilege oftener than you have done. Pray for hard things. Pray believingly. So shall all your mountains be removed. Mountains of guilt, mountains of trouble, mountains of temptation, mountains of difficulty and trial.
But next, look at Elijah's perseverance in prayer. He went on praying all the while his servant kept going and looking for the
expected answer. He would not give over. He had no doubts about an answer coming ; the only thing he knew not, was the exact time it might please God to send it. So his one word to his servant, was “ go again seven times.” If a cloud had not appeared the seventh time, we cannot think he would have stopped praying: no, not for seventytimes seven. But seven was God's number, and so he had faith in the seventh time of looking out. Seven is the number of perfection. Probably it began to be counted as this and as God's number, from the fact of the seventh day being blessed by God. Hence it came to be a number greatly honoured of God. And as the seventh day was sanctified, so under the law the seventh week, and the seventh month, and the seventh year, and the seven seventh year, became periods appointed in certain feasts and observances. Some purifications too were effected by sprinkling some things with blood and with oil seven times. (Lev. xiv. 16 and 51.)
There is reason to expect that the seventh thousand
of the world's existence since the creation of man, will be that happy time spoken of in the Book of Revelation, when Christ and His saints shall reign over the