April 28: Austin Phelps: Faith in Prayer!

By 1890, this book was translated into six languages and over 200,000 copies. Charles Spurgeon even recommended it!

What profit should we have if we pray unto him?

Job 21:15

The great majority of us have little faith in prayer. This is one of those causes which may produce a habit of mind in devotion, resembling that of impenitent prayer, and yet distinguishable from it, and coexistent, often, with some degree of genuine piety. Christians often have little faith in prayer as a power in real life. They do not embrace cordially, in feeling as well as in theory, the truth which underlies the entire scriptural conception and illustration of prayer, that is literally, actually, positively, effectually, a means of power….

It has, and God has determined that it should have, a positive and an appreciable influence in directing the course of a human life. It is, and God has purposed that it should be, a link of connection between human mind and Divine mind, by which, through His infinite condescension, we may actually move His will. It is, and God has decreed that it should be, a power in the universe, as distinct, as real, and as uniform, as the power of gravitation, or of light, or of electricity. A man may use it, as trustingly and as soberly as he would use either of these. It is as truly the dictate of good sense, that a man should expect to achieve something by praying, as it is that he should expect to achieve something by a telescope, or the mariner’s compass, or the electric telegraph….

The want of trust in this scriptural ideal of prayer, often neutralizes it, even in the experience of a Christian….

If we suffer our faith to drop down from the loft conception of prayer as having a lodgment in the very counsels of God, by which the universe is swayed, the plain practicalness of prayer as the Scriptures teach it, and as prophets and apostles and our Lord himself performed it, drops proportionately; and in that proportion, our motive to prayer dwindles. Of necessity, then, our devotions become spiritless.

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