Prayer the Want of the Soul
The soul is in want. Man is conscious of a lack, of a “missing link,” of something outside of himself and higher than himself. He is internally conscious of having sunk below his level and of being unable of himself to rise. He looks and longs and prays for help. Music awakens feelings in the mind of an idiot and a moanful cry from his heart as though he longed for something higher. The inspiring voice of nature pours into the soul of man a melody which awakens in him a consciousness that beyond him is a nobler, higher plane of life. Within man there lies a self-slumbering instinct of a lost union with a purer, holier realm; and the falling of a leaf, it may be, or the whispering of the breeze, the beauty and fragrance of a flower, the song of a bird or the music of the rippling brook, the broad plain or the lofty mountain, the expanse of ocean or the azure vault of heaven decked with glittering stars, awakens that instinct and declares to him that he was born for something higher—and he prays.
Could you ascend to some height and observe the behavior of man, what would you see? You would see him praying. You would see the African bowing down before his fetish. You would hear the muezzin notifying the Muslims of the hour of prayer. You would see the Parsi endeavoring to satisfy his soul’s want in the Zend-Avesta. You would see the Tartar prostrating himself before the Grand Lama. You would see the countless number paying their devotion to the bird, the cow, the crocodile, the sun, Jupiter, and to the many wooden gods and gods of stone. You would see the Arabian before the Black Stone of Mecca, which, says a legend, was white when the angel gave it to Abraham, but was turned black by the sins of man. You would see the Indian with his Manitou, the devotee of the Roman Catholic Church counting her rosary. You would see a Nathaniel under his fig-tree or a woman pleading for a crumb. Among all these gods, including the true God, some men fear they have not found the god that can meet the soul’s demand, so they worship the Unknown God.
Thus men pray. Everywhere man seeks for something to meet the want of the soul. The Christian has found the God—and the only one—that can satisfy the heart. He has found the one, true God—He who through His Son restores the missing link, and brings man again into blissful union with Himself. This union which man finds with God meets all the wants of the soul, satisfies all its longings. When God is found, the soul sinks into perfect rest. There is no want to those who fear the one, true God. He supplies all man’s need. He leads him into green pastures and into quiet resting places. He restores his soul. Amid the many gods to whom men pray, the Christian has found the true God—the one, and the only one, that actually hears and answers prayer, lifts man to his proper plane and sphere, and gives him rest, joy, and peace. He is all in all to the Christian.
In this little book we deal only with the Christian’s prayer—the prayer that avails and brings the blessings of the skies to the heart of man.
Oh! this is blessing, this is rest.
Into Thine arms, O God, I flee;
I hide me in Thy faithful breast,
And pour out all my soul to Thee.
There is a host dissuading me,
But all their voices far above
I hear Thy words, “Oh, taste and see
The comforts of a Savior’s love”;
And hushing every adverse sound,
Songs of defense my soul surround,
As if all saints encamped about
One trusting heart pursued by doubt.
O tenderness! O truth divine!
Lord, I am altogether Thine.
I have bowed down; I need not flee.
Peace, peace is mine, in trusting Thee.