I use that word |business| in this connection thoughtfully and reverently. I know there is a sacredness, a hallowedness about prayer that never or rarely enters into business matters. We keep the two things apart in our thoughts; reckoning the one a common thing, and the other a holy thing. And I would increase, if I could, that sense of reverence in prayer. But there is a great advantage in using the familiar language of business in thinking of the results of our praying.
Prayer is doing business for God. It gives a practicality, a something-you-can-touch-and-feel feeling to think in that way. Shall we not make plans at once to increase our foreign correspondence?
You can have a simple schedule or memorandum to guide your praying. I do not mean a slavish hard-and-fast system, or set of rules, set down to be followed, with a feeling that you have been untrue if you forget. Nothing of that sort at all. But merely a simple something to glance at each day, and so serve as a reminder to guide your thoughts.
A little memorandum can be made running through the days of the week. It can be so planned as to run around the world during the week. The little schedule which I use is divided into the days of the week, Sunday to Saturday. There is a daily page containing notes, catch-words, about personal affairs, and home, and friends, and church, and appointments, and such items. Then each day of the week has a page, and on it is marked home-land items and foreign items.
In marking out the weekly world journey I had to begin somewhere. The Master told the disciples to begin at Jerusalem and work out. So I followed that rule, and Sunday is marked Turkey and the lands grouped with it, Arabia and Persia. The memorandum moves east, following the compass-line of greatest need. Monday is India day, including Ceylon and the lands and islands lying adjacent. Tuesday is China day; Wednesday, Japan, the island kingdom; and the island world of the Pacific.
This brings me across the Pacific, and so Thursday is marked South America, including Central America and Mexico. The easterly line takes me across the Atlantic again to Africa on Friday. Saturday takes an upward turn to the papal lands of Europe, and to Russia, completing the world-journey for that week. The matters for prayer here in the home-land are noted through the days of the week in the same way. Each page has certain home and certain foreign items.
A little prayer-book of that sort grows under constant use. Your reading of missionary news leads to the making of fresh notes. Names of persons are added, and dates of coming conferences, and so on, and verses of Scripture that stand out in the daily reading. So the book becomes to you a very precious little batch of leaves, lying inside the precious Book of God.
It should be accompanied by a map of the world. For a good while I used the one which was inserted in one of Dr. A. T. Pierson's mission books. That copy has long since been replaced by others, larger, giving more information. It is an immense help to glance at the map daily, and look at the part marked for the day. The lands get fixed in mind in that way without special effort. Gradually they stand out more and more clearly, and come to be very real to you.
That map may become dear to you, for it suggests the field that you are influencing. It is your prayer sailing-chart. It becomes fragrant with memories. Experiences you have had alone with God over His Word, and over this map of His World, come back to refresh and sweeten.