Steps to Christ
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 11: The Privilege of Prayer
< Prev T. of C.
Jesus said, "Ye shall ask in My name: and I say
not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
for the Father Himself loveth you." "I have chosen
you: . . . that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father
in My name, He may give it you." John 16:26, 27;
15:16. But to pray in the name of Jesus is something
more than a mere mention of that name at the beginning [p. 101] and the ending of a prayer. It is to pray in the
mind and spirit of Jesus, while we believe His promises,
rely upon His grace, and work His works.
God does not mean that any of us should become
hermits or monks and retire from the world in order
to devote ourselves to acts of worship. The life must
be like Christ's life—between the mountain and the
multitude. He who does nothing but pray will soon
cease to pray, or his prayers will become a formal
routine. When men take themselves out of social life,
away from the sphere of Christian duty and cross
bearing; when they cease to work earnestly for the
Master, who worked earnestly for them, they lose the
subject matter of prayer and have no incentive to
devotion. Their prayers become personal and selfish.
They cannot pray in regard to the wants of humanity
or the upbuilding of Christ's kingdom, pleading for
strength wherewith to work.
We sustain a loss when we neglect the privilege
of associating together to strengthen and encourage
one another in the service of God. The truths of His
word lose their vividness and importance in our minds.
Our hearts cease to be enlightened and aroused by
their sanctifying influence, and we decline in spirituality.
In our association as Christians we lose much
by lack of sympathy with one another. He who shuts
himself up to himself is not filling the position that
God designed he should. The proper cultivation of
the social elements in our nature brings us into
sympathy with others and is a means of development and
strength to us in the service of God.
If Christians would associate together, speaking
to each other of the love of God and of the precious [p. 102] truths of redemption, their own hearts would be
refreshed and they would refresh one another. We
may be daily learning more of our heavenly Father,
gaining a fresh experience of His grace; then we shall
desire to speak of His love; and as we do this, our
own hearts will be warmed and encouraged. If we
thought and talked more of Jesus, and less of self, we
should have far more of His presence.
If we would but think of God as often as we have
evidence of His care for us we should keep Him ever
in our thoughts and should delight to talk of Him
and to praise Him. We talk of temporal things
because we have an interest in them. We talk of our
friends because we love them; our joys and our
sorrows are bound up with them. Yet we have infinitely
greater reason to love God than to love our earthly
friends; it should be the most natural thing in the
world to make Him first in all our thoughts, to talk
of His goodness and tell of His power. The rich gifts
He has bestowed upon us were not intended to absorb
our thoughts and love so much that we should have
nothing to give to God; they are constantly to remind
us of Him and to bind us in bonds of love and gratitude
to our heavenly Benefactor. We dwell too near
the lowlands of earth. Let us raise our eyes to the
open door of the sanctuary above, where the light of
the glory of God shines in the face of Christ, who
"is able also to save them to the uttermost that come
unto God by Him." Hebrews 7:25.
We need to praise God more "for His goodness,
and for His wonderful works to the children of men."
Psalm 107:8. Our devotional exercises should not [p. 103] consist wholly in asking and receiving. Let us not be
always thinking of our wants and never of the benefits
we receive. We do not pray any too much, but
we are too sparing of giving thanks. We are the
constant recipients of God's mercies, and yet how little
gratitude we express, how little we praise Him for
what He has done for us.
Anciently the Lord bade Israel, when they met
together for His service, "Ye shall eat before the
Lord your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye
put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein
the Lord thy God hath blessed thee." Deuteronomy
12:7. That which is done for the glory of God should
be done with cheerfulness, with songs of praise and
thanksgiving, not with sadness and gloom.
Our God is a tender, merciful Father. His service
should not be looked upon as a heart-saddening,
distressing exercise. It should be a pleasure to worship
the Lord and to take part in His work. God would
not have His children, for whom so great salvation
has been provided, act as if He were a hard, exacting
taskmaster. He is their best friend; and when they
worship Him, He expects to be with them, to bless
and comfort them, filling their hearts with joy and
love. The Lord desires His children to take comfort
in His service and to find more pleasure than hardship
in His work. He desires that those who come to
worship Him shall carry away with them precious thoughts
of His care and love, that they may be cheered in all
the employments of daily life, that they may have
grace to deal honestly and faithfully in all things.
We must gather about the cross. Christ and Him [p. 104] crucified should be the theme of contemplation, of
conversation, and of our most joyful emotion. We
should keep in our thoughts every blessing we receive
from God, and when we realize His great love we
should be willing to trust everything to the hand that
was nailed to the cross for us.
The soul may ascend nearer heaven on the wings
of praise. God is worshiped with song and music in
the courts above, and as we express our gratitude
we are approximating to the worship of the heavenly
hosts. "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth" God. Psalm
50:23. Let us with reverent joy come before our
Creator, with "thanksgiving, and the voice of melody."
< Prev T. of C.