The Review and Herald

581/1902

June 9, 1891

Prayer and Faith

EGW

“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” Important lessons are presented to us in the experience of Elijah. When upon Mount Carmel he offered the prayer for rain, his faith was tested, but he persevered in making known his request unto God. Six times he prayed earnestly, and yet there was no sign that his petition was granted, but with strong faith he urged his plea to the throne of grace. Had he given up in discouragement at the sixth time, his prayer would not have been answered, but he persevered till the answer came. We have a God whose ear is not closed to our petitions; and if we prove his word, he will honor our faith. He wants us to have all our interests interwoven with his interests, and then he can safely bless us; for we shall not then take glory to self when the blessing is ours, but shall render all the praise to God. God does not always answer our prayers the first time we call upon him; for should he do this, we might take it for granted that we had a right to all the blessings and favors he bestowed upon us. Instead of searching our hearts to see if any evil was entertained by us, any sin indulged, we would become careless, and fail to realize our dependence upon him, and our need of his help. RH June 9, 1891, par. 1

Elijah humbled himself until he was in a condition where he would not take the glory to himself. This is the condition upon which the Lord hears prayer, for then we shall give the praise to him. The custom of offering praise to men is one that results in great evil. One praises another, and thus men are led to feel that glory and honor belong to them. They begin to feel as did Nebuchadnezzar when he walked around the palaces of his kingdom, exclaiming, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” God had warned the king of his danger in thus taking the glory to himself, but he did not heed the warning, and God sent his threatened judgment upon him, and Nebuchadnezzar was humbled. After he had learned his lesson, and had given honor to God, he was restored to his kingly state and power. Giving praise to men lifts them up in their own estimation, and they forget that their ability is of God, an intrusted capital put in their charge to be used for the glory of the Giver. Men are tested in the use of this earthly capital to see if they may be intrusted with the heavenly riches. When we are in a right condition before God, we shall realize that a great sacrifice has been made in our behalf, and we shall see our own human frailty and weakness, and offer praise to God, instead of to man. All the praise belongs to God. When great men are called upon to speak, it is too often the case that their words do not carry with them a solemn weight of conviction; for much of their address is given to win the applause of the people. They render praise to men, and fail to realize that all power and ability are from God, to whom all the glory belongs. When you exalt man, you lay a snare for his soul, and do just as Satan would have you. You should praise God with all your heart, soul, might, mind, and strength; for God alone is worthy to be glorified. If we should realize that our salvation cost the infinite price of the life of the Son of God, we should have more humble views of self. Our Saviour knew that there was no hope of redemption for us except through him, and he came to the world to be wounded for our transgression, to be bruised for our iniquities, to bear our chastisement, that through his stripes we might be healed. RH June 9, 1891, par. 2

In order to exalt the Lord as we should, we must have genuine faith, that will lead us to render obedience to the law of God. There are many who claim to have faith in God, but it is a faith that does not work, and the apostle says, “Faith without works is dead.” It is of like character with the faith possessed by the evil angels, for they “believe and tremble.” We must have the faith of the Bible,—the faith that works by love, and purifies the soul. RH June 9, 1891, par. 3

How are we to know that we have faith in God, that we are his children and have love for him? Is it by our profession? I once visited at the home of a minister who prided himself on his family government. His children made great outward demonstrations of affection, but when he asked them to do some errand for him, or perform some task, they paid no attention to his wants, and did not regard his request. I asked him how he could think that his children really loved him, when they paid no attention to his desires. He replied that he knew they loved him, because they showed such fondness for him; they clung to his neck and kissed him, and seemed eager to manifest their love. But without obedience, all outward profession of affection is a mere mockery. When we see children spring to obey the command of father or mother, manifesting cheerful love in their service, we know that they really love their parents. How do we know that we love our Heavenly Father? If a child loves his parents, he will obey their commands. If we love God, we shall keep his commandments. The apostle says, “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous.” RH June 9, 1891, par. 4

We must place our will on the side of God's will. It makes all the difference there is between the servant of God and the servant of the evil one, where the will is placed. If our will is on the side of self and Satan, we shall be transgressors of the Law of God; if our will is on the side of God, we shall be his obedient children. Jesus declared, “I have kept my Father's commandments,” and he bids us follow in his steps. John writes, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” The keeping of the commandments of God involves a cross. The Sabbath of the fourth commandment lies in the pathway of all those who would be faithful, obedient children of the Lord. Many excuse themselves from obedience to this holy precept, saying, “It is not convenient for me to keep this commandment. It will interfere with my business.” Does God ask you if it is convenient for you to keep his commandments? You think that it is a great crime to be dishonest with your fellow-men, but how much worse is it to commit robbery toward God! We should act like men and women of intelligence. God has commanded that the Sabbath day should be kept as a memorial of his creative power and work, and there is no power on earth that can change the precept of Jehovah. Jesus declared, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” RH June 9, 1891, par. 5

God has given us in his word a standard by which our love is to be tested, and we should inquire, What saith the Scriptures? Jesus says, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” If we follow him in humble obedience, we may claim the promises of God. But if the Lord does not immediately answer our petitions, shall we sink down in discouragement?—No; God has given us his word, and if we fulfill the conditions, he will make good his promise. We are to believe the word of God whether we have any manifestation of feeling or not. I used to ask God for a flight of feeling, but I do not do this now. I come to God with the naked promise, and say, “Lord, I believe thy word.” Like Elijah, again and again I press my petition to the throne of grace; and when the Lord sees that I realize my inefficiency and weakness, the blessing comes. RH June 9, 1891, par. 6

My soul has been hungering and thirsting for God, and I have been relying upon him. He lets his blessing rest upon me, not because I have any great wisdom, but because I believe his promises, and he honors my faith. My heart is humble before him, my soul is melted in grateful love as his light shines upon me. The child of God has to walk by faith, and thus he obtains a rich and deep experience in the things of God. When the enemy comes in with his temptations, the Christian can point to his experience, and boldly declare that the Lord has been his helper, and that he will still triumph through the grace of Christ. I have committed the keeping of my soul unto God as unto a faithful Creator, and I know that he will keep that which I have committed to him until that day. If we had living faith in God, our lips would be filled with his praise continually. How often we speak of our troubles, how seldom of the goodness and mercy of God! Christ says, “Ye are the light of the world.” O that we might be as a city set upon a hill, that cannot be hid! Jesus lives; he is not in Joseph's new tomb: he is risen, and pleads for us on high. We have a living Saviour. Let us praise him with heart and soul and voice. If any have lost faith, let them seek God today. The Lord has promised that if we seek him with the whole heart, he will be found of us. Turn unto him today; for he will abundantly pardon. RH June 9, 1891, par. 7