Cyrus Brown’s Prayer
“The proper way for man to pray,”
Said Deacon Lemuel Keyes,
“And the only proper attitude,
Is down upon his knees.”
“No, I should say, the way to pray,”
Said Rev. Dr. Wise
“Is standing straight with outstretched arms
And rapt and upturned eyes.”
“Oh, no, no, no!” said Elder Slow,
“Such posture is too proud;
A man should pray with eyes fast closed
And head contritely bowed.”
“It seems to me his hands should be
Austerely clasped in front.
With both thumbs pointing toward the ground,”
Said Rev. Dr. Blunt
“Las’ year I fell in Hodgkin’s well
Head first,” said Cyrus Brown
“With both my heels a-stickin’ up,
My head a-pintin’ down;
“An I made a prayer right then an’ there ---
Best prayer I ever said,
The prayin’est prayer I ever prayed,
A-standin’ on my head.”
Sam Walter Foss
At times our prayers may sound somewhat precipitous to God for he hears our words while He knows our hearts. Only His grace can look beyond this at times. To dialogue with someone who forgets that you know the truth and lies in the face of this knowledge is very difficult for most of us to handle. Sometimes pain and adversity have a way of showing us the things that really are important and purifying our hearts.
Jesus – on the night that he was betrayed – prayed into the night awaiting the chain of events to unfold. He was on death row – so to speak and he had all appeals denied. There was no route of escape. He never struggled with sleep. He was wide awake.
Prayed with intensity and sincerity before major events or decisions.
Prayer of David in Psalms 51
Prayer of the Publican
In the midst of this great coldness toward God there are some, I rejoice to acknowledge, who will not be content with shallow logic. They will admit the force of the argument, and then turn away with tears to hunt some lonely place and pray, "O God, show me thy glory." They want to taste, to touch with their hearts, to see with their inner eyes the wonder that is God.
I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.
n From Pursuing the Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer
What should we pray about? Take a look at an excerpt from the prayers of Samuel Logan Brengle, an evangelist of the Salvation Army at the beginning of our century:
"Keep me, O Lord, from waxing mentally and spiritually dull and stupid. Help me to keep the physical, mental, and spiritual fiber of the athlete, of the man who denies himself daily and takes up his cross and follows Thee. Give me good success in my work, but hide pride from me. Save me from the self-complacency that so frequently accompanies success and prosperity. Save me from the spirit of sloth, of self-indulgence, as physical infirmities and decay creep upon me."
In 1540 Luther's good friend and assistant, Friedrich Myconius, became sick and was expected to die within a short time. From his bed he wrote a tender farewell letter to Luther. When Luther received the message, he immediately sent back a reply: "I command thee in the name of God to live because I still have need of thee in the work of reforming the church -- the Lord will never let me hear that thou art dead, but will permit thee to survive me. For this I am praying, this is my will, and may my will be done, because I seek only to glorify the name of God."
Those words seem harsh and insensitive to modern ears, but God apparently honored the prayer. Although Myconius had already lost the ability to speak when Luther's reply came, he soon recovered. He lived six more years and died two months after Luther.
See: Jam 5:16
Illustration of the Gettysburg address – Chuck Swindoll