Some of you liked the story and six quotations about prayer from my earlier blog. So here’s six more, followed by a story.
The first two quotes come from two Puritans:
Richard Sibbes said, "God can pick sense out of a confused prayer."
Thomas Watson said, "The angel fetched Peter out of prison, but it was prayer that fetched the angel."
Abraham Lincoln said, "I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me seemed insufficient for the day."
This one's from John Bunyan, the imprisoned pastor who wrote Pilgrim’s Progress: “You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”
Robert Murray McCheyne said, "What a man is on his knees before God, that he is, and nothing more."
E. Stanley Jones said, "Prayer is surrender—surrender to the will of God and cooperation with that will. If I throw out a boathook from the boat and catch hold of the shore and pull, do I pull the shore to me, or do I pull myself to the shore? Prayer is not pulling God to my will, but the aligning of my will to the will of God."
And now the story, from the life of George Müeller:
Things looked bleak for the children of George Müeller's orphanage at Ashley Downs in England. It was time for breakfast, and there was no food. A small girl whose father was a close friend of Müeller was visiting in the home. Müeller took her hand and said, "Come and see what our Father will do." In the dining room, long tables were set with empty plates and empty mugs. Not only was there no food in the kitchen, but there was no money in the home's account.
Müeller prayed, "Dear Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat." Immediately, they heard a knock at the door. When they opened it, there stood the local baker. "Mr. Müeller," he said, "I couldn't sleep last night. Somehow I felt you had no bread for breakfast, so I got up at 2 o'clock and baked fresh bread. Here it is." Müeller thanked him and gave praise to God. Soon, a second knock was heard. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. He said that before the milk spoiled, he would like to give it to the children.
What a powerful reminder that prayer is never secondary, it's always primary. It's not the last recourse, when options run out; it's the first and best recourse.