1093) Simple Prayers

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By Richard Wurmbrand, 100 Prison Meditations, pages 65-66, 1982.

       The Bible is full of unanswered prayers.

     Paul wrote to the church in Rome that he was praying without ceasing to “have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you” (Romans 1:10, KJV).  Instead of a prosperous journey, he traveled as a prisoner in fetters and was shipwrecked.  Other examples abound throughout the Bible.

     Many requests in prayer show a lack of submission to what God in His wisdom and love has foreordained.  What would the world be like if God were required to follow man’s will and change His plan every time someone expressed a desire in prayer?

     The Talmud says that the Jewish high priest entered the most sacred place of the temple once a year to pray for the people, and always concluded his prayer with the words, “God, disregard the requests of wayfarers.”  This was wise because everyone who traveled on Monday asked that there be no rain on that day; likewise those who traveled on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, etc.  If God listened to them all, everyone would perish because of drought.

     The following story illustrates the best manner of prayer.  Two Christians each planted an apple tree in front of his house.  When the time for picking apples came, the first looked angrily at his tree:  it bore not even one apple.  When he approached his neighbor’s house, he became even angrier.  The branches of his neighbor’s tree were cracking under the weight of beautiful fruits.  He said to his neighbor, “Explain this to me.  We planted our trees at the same time, and we serve the same God.  How is it that He gave you so many apples and none to me?”  

     The other answered, “Perhaps you did not pray for your tree.”  

     “What!  Not pray?” said the first.  “I prayed every day:  ‘God, give rain; God, enough, now stop the rain.  God, sun is needed now; too much now, it might scorch my tree.’ I never neglected prayer, and it was all in vain.  How did you do it?”  

     The brother replied, “I am not so keen at prayer as you are.  I prayed only once, in the beginning, like this:  ‘Father, I have planted an apple tree and wish to have fruit in due time.  It is not for me to teach You how much sun and rain to give.  You are a more ancient gardener than myself.  You created Eden and all trees grow under Your direction.  Grant me apples in due time.'”

     We experience unanswered prayer because we ask for too many things without knowledge of their long-range results.  There is really only one Christian request:  “Here I stand, a sinner forgiven by grace and, at the end of my life, I pray to dwell in heaven with my beloved ones.  Teach me to serve You on earth as I journey toward Your heaven.”  Such a prayer never goes unheeded.

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Luke 18:13b  —  God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Psalm 51:10  —  Create in me a clean heart, O God.

Luke 23:42a  —  Jesus, remember me.

Luke 23:46b  —  Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.

Psalm 3:7  —  Deliver me, O my God.

Psalm 16:1  —  Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.

Isaiah 6:8b  —  Here am I.  Send me!

Luke 1:38b  —  Be it unto me according to thy word.

Psalm 4:8  —  In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lordmake me dwell in safety.

Isaiah 33:2  —  Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you.  Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.

Psalm 6:2b  —  Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.

Psalm 6:3b  —  How long, O Lord, how long?

Luke  22:42  —  Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.

Psalm 23:4a  —  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.

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Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a poor sinner.  Amen.

–Ancient Jesus Prayer

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