THE SET OF THE SAIL
What Profit in Prayer?
The sceptic in the book of Job asked the disdainful question, What is the Almighty, that we should serve him, and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?
The whole tone of the remark shows that it is meant to be rhetorical. The doubter, believing the question could have no answer, tossed it off contemptuously and turned away, like Pilate, without waiting for a reply. But we have an answer. God Himself has supplied it, and the universal consensus of the ages has added an Amen.
In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews we have a long list of benefits which faith brings to its possessors: justification, deliverance, fruitfulness, endurance, victory over enemies, courage, strength and even resurrection from the dead. And everything that is attributed to faith might with equal truth be attributed to prayer, for faith and true prayer are like two sides of the same coin. They are inseparable.
Men may, and often do, pray without faith (though this is not true prayer), but it is not thinkable that men should have faith and not pray. The biblical formula is The prayer of faith. Prayer and faith are here bound together by the little preposition of, and what God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Faith is only genuine as it eventuates into prayer.
When Tennyson wrote More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of, he probably uttered a truth of vaster significance than even he understood. While it is not always possible to trace an act of God to its prayer-cause, it is yet safe to say that prayer is back of everything that God does for the sons of men here upon earth. One would gather as much from a simple reading of the Scriptures.
What profit is there in prayer? Much every way. Whatever God can do faith can do, and whatever faith can do prayer can do when it is offered in faith. An invitation to prayer is, therefore, an invitation to omnipotence, for prayer engages the Omnipotent God and brings Him into our human affairs. Nothing is impossible to the man who prays in faith, just as nothing is impossible with God. This generation has yet to prove all that prayer can do for believing men and women.
It was a saying of George Mueller that faith grows with use. If we would have great faith we must begin to use the little faith we already have. Put it to work by reverent and faithful praying, and it will grow and become stronger day by day. Dare today to trust God for something small and ordinary and next week or next year you may be able to trust Him for answers bordering on the miraculous. Everyone has some faith, said Mueller; the difference among us is one of degree only, and the man of small faith may be simply the one who has not dared to exercise the little faith he has.
According to the Bible, we have because we ask, or we have not because we ask not. It does not take much wisdom to discover our next move. Is it not to pray, and pray again and again till the answer comes? God waits to be invited to display His power in behalf of His people The world situation is such that nothing less than God can straighten it out. Let us not fail the world and disappoint God by failing to pray.