Steps to Christ
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 11: The Privilege of Prayer
< Prev T. of C.
If we take counsel with our doubts and fears, or
try to solve everything that we cannot see clearly,
before we have faith, perplexities will only increase [p. 97] and deepen. But if we come to God, feeling helpless
and dependent, as we really are, and in humble, trusting
faith make known our wants to Him whose knowledge
is infinite, who sees everything in creation, and
who governs everything by His will and word, He
can and will attend to our cry, and will let light
shine into our hearts. Through sincere prayer we are
brought into connection with the mind of the Infinite.
We may have no remarkable evidence at the time
that the face of our Redeemer is bending over us in
compassion and love, but this is even so. We may
not feel His visible touch, but His hand is upon us in
love and pitying tenderness.
When we come to ask mercy and blessing from
God we should have a spirit of love and forgiveness
in our own hearts. How can we pray, "Forgive us
our debts, as we forgive our debtors," and yet indulge
an unforgiving spirit? Matthew 6:12. If we expect
our own prayers to be heard we must forgive others
in the same manner and to the same extent as we hope
to be forgiven.
Perseverance in prayer has been made a condition
of receiving. We must pray always if we would grow
in faith and experience. We are to be "instant in
prayer," to "continue in prayer, and watch in the
same with thanksgiving." Romans 12:12; Colossians
4:2. Peter exhorts believers to be "sober, and watch
unto prayer." 1 Peter 4:7. Paul directs, "In everything
by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your
requests be made known unto God." Philippians 4:6.
"But ye, beloved," says Jude, "praying in the Holy
Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God." Jude 20, 21. [p. 98] Unceasing prayer is the unbroken union of the soul
with God, so that life from God flows into our life;
and from our life, purity and holiness flow back to
There is necessity for diligence in prayer; let
nothing hinder you. Make every effort to keep open the
communion between Jesus and your own soul. Seek
every opportunity to go where prayer is wont to be
made. Those who are really seeking for communion
with God will be seen in the prayer meeting, faithful
to do their duty and earnest and anxious to reap all
the benefits they can gain. They will improve every
opportunity of placing themselves where they can
receive the rays of light from heaven.
We should pray in the family circle, and above
all we must not neglect secret prayer, for this is the
life of the soul. It is impossible for the soul to flourish
while prayer is neglected. Family or public prayer
alone is not sufficient. In solitude let the soul be laid
open to the inspecting eye of God. Secret prayer is
to be heard only by the prayer-hearing God. No
curious ear is to receive the burden of such petitions.
In secret prayer the soul is free from surrounding
influences, free from excitement. Calmly, yet fervently,
will it reach out after God. Sweet and abiding will
be the influence emanating from Him who seeth in
secret, whose ear is open to hear the prayer arising
from the heart. By calm, simple faith the soul holds
communion with God and gathers to itself rays of
divine light to strengthen and sustain it in the conflict
with Satan. God is our tower of strength.
Pray in your closet, and as you go about your
daily labor let your heart be often uplifted to God. [p. 99] It was thus that Enoch walked with God. These
silent prayers rise like precious incense before the
throne of grace. Satan cannot overcome him whose
heart is thus stayed upon God.
There is no time or place in which it is inappropriate
to offer up a petition to God. There is nothing
that can prevent us from lifting up our hearts in the
spirit of earnest prayer. In the crowds of the street,
in the midst of a business engagement, we may send
up a petition to God and plead for divine guidance,
as did Nehemiah when he made his request before
King Artaxerxes. A closet of communion may be
found wherever we are. We should have the door
of the heart open continually and our invitation
going up that Jesus may come and abide as a heavenly
guest in the soul.
Although there may be a tainted, corrupted atmosphere
around us, we need not breathe its miasma,
but may live in the pure air of heaven. We may close
every door to impure imaginings and unholy thoughts
by lifting the soul into the presence of God through
sincere prayer. Those whose hearts are open to
receive the support and blessing of God will walk in a
holier atmosphere than that of earth and will have
constant communion with heaven.
We need to have more distinct views of Jesus and
a fuller comprehension of the value of eternal realities.
The beauty of holiness is to fill the hearts of God's
children; and that this may be accomplished, we
should seek for divine disclosures of heavenly things.
Let the soul be drawn out and upward, that God
may grant us a breath of the heavenly atmosphere.
We may keep so near to God that in every unexpected [p. 100] trial our thoughts will turn to Him as naturally as the
flower turns to the sun.
Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your
cares, and your fears before God. You cannot burden
Him; you cannot weary Him. He who numbers the
hairs of your head is not indifferent to the wants
of His children. "The Lord is very pitiful, and of
tender mercy." James 5:11. His heart of love is
touched by our sorrows and even by our utterances
of them. Take to Him everything that perplexes the
mind. Nothing is too great for Him to bear, for He
holds up worlds, He rules over all the affairs of the
universe. Nothing that in any way concerns our peace
is too small for Him to notice. There is no chapter
in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is
no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel. No
calamity can befall the least of His children, no
anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer
escape the lips, of which our heavenly Father is
unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest.
"He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their
wounds." Psalm 147:3. The relations between God
and each soul are as distinct and full as though there
were not another soul upon the earth to share His
watchcare, not another soul for whom He gave His
< Prev T. of C.