Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)
Ms 146, 1902
“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California
August 2, 1902
This manuscript is published in entirety in 20MR 271-274.
This morning my prayer to the Lord is for His rich graces. I never choose to begin a day without receiving special evidence that the Lord Jesus is my Helper and that I have the rich grace that is my privilege to receive. In my morning devotions I have regarded it my privilege to close my petition with the prayer that Christ taught to His disciples. There is so much that I really must have to meet the needs of my own case that I sometimes fear that I shall ask amiss; but when in sincerity I offer the model prayer that Christ gave to His disciples, I cannot but feel that in these few words all my needs are comprehended. This I offer after I have presented my special private prayer. If with heart and mind and soul I repeat the Lord’s prayer, then I can go forth in peace to my work, knowing that I have not asked amiss. 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 1
How much is comprehended in Christ’s prayer for His disciples, as recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John! In this prayer is expressed His mind toward His Father and toward His disciples. This prayer is a lesson to all who are trying to follow the Saviour. 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 2
Later. Today we filled an appointment to meet the churches from St Helena, Crystal Springs, and Calistoga in a grove between St. Helena and Calistoga. A comparatively large congregation was present. I found that my voice was sufficiently strong to make all hear. I spoke from Matthew 6:5-15. 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 3
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” [Verse 5.] 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 4
The scribes and the Pharisees often offered their prayers in the marketplaces and in the streets of the cities. Christ called them hypocrites. In every age men have prayed “that they may be seen of men.” All the reward they ever receive for such service is the praise of those who behold them with admiration, supposing that their prayers are an evidence of piety. Some mockingly taunt those who pray in this way. 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 5
When Christ sees in His disciples errors that are liable to lead them astray, He always instructs them in the right way. He does not give an admonition without also giving an instructive lessons showing how to remedy the error. After instructing His disciples not to use “vain repetitions” in their prayers, in kindness and mercy He gave them a short sample prayer, in order that they might know how to avoid imitating the prayers of the Pharisees. [Verses 7 ff..] In giving this prayer, He knew that He was helping human infirmity by framing into words that which comprehends every human need. “We know not what we should pray for as ought:” [Romans 8:26] but Christ’s instruction to us is clear and definite: 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 6
“After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
Forever. Amen.” [Matthew 6:9-13.] 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 7
Even if no more words than these are spoken, every such prayer offered in sincerity is heart-service to God. 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 8
We are not to feel that we must confine ourselves to these special words; but this prayer would in every way be more acceptable to God than the long, tedious repetition of pharisaical prayers offered to be heard of men, prayers in which the supposed good works of men are exalted—just as if the Lord did not understand that the motive which prompts every self-righteous action is the desire to be praised of men. 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 9
Sabbath, August 16
I am grateful to my heavenly Father for continual evidences of His keeping power. I can say this morning, Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and whom on earth do I desire beside Thee? I thank Thee, my Redeemer, that Thou hast not left me in my human strength to struggle against difficulties and seeming impossibilities. 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 10
My heart greatly desires the help that God alone can give me. He is my all and in all. We have every encouragement to bring all our difficulties to our heavenly Father. He understands our necessities, and He will not misinterpret the expression of our needs in words. In my physical weakness I will draw nigh unto God. He always understands me. I will not reason my case before Him. 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 11
“In my hand no price I bring;
Simply to Thy cross I cling.” 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 12
I thank the Lord for the privilege of standing in the Sanitarium Chapel before a full house of interested listeners. I went from my room in weakness; and I stood before the people not in my own strength, but in the strength that the Lord gives me. It was as if I were leaning on the arm of my Saviour. All feebleness was gone. Depending wholly on His power, I was strong. My voice was not uncertain, but full and clear. I realized that the blessing of the Lord was resting upon me in rich measure. After the close of this Sabbath day, the peace of God is still with me. When I think of the great necessity of our depending on a power greater than human power, I am encouraged to believe that we shall receive all that we need to bestow upon others. Nothing is given us except that which we need in order to impart. 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 13
Christians, pray, and never cease praying because your prayers seem to be answered. Your victory in the Christian life is dependent on a constant asking and receiving. When the Lord imparts soul-hunger, the grace of God must accompany it. 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 14
Our safety lies in distrust of self. So long as we have unwavering faith and trust in our heavenly Father, we shall be partakers of the divine nature, constantly receiving grace, and constantly imparting this grace to others. By communing with God in prayer, and by exercising trusting faith, with thankfulness of heart, we are prepared to go forth, in the name and the efficiency of Christ, to any duty, any trial, to which we may be called. But if self-sufficiency be woven into our Christian experience, the fabric of our character will be imperfect, sleazy, flimsy, unreliable. 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 15
The law and the gospel are inseparably bound together. 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 16
Divine truth is the means of sanctification. The more clearly it is understood and the more faithfully it is obeyed, the more positive and decided will be the religious experience of the believer, the more lovely will be his character, and the greater will be his usefulness. 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 17
The closer our union with Christ, the closer will be our union with one another. Variance and disaffection, selfishness and conceit, are striving for supremacy. These are the fruits of a divided heart, open to the suggestions of the enemy of souls. Satan exalts when he can sow seeds of dissension. 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 18
In order to obey God willingly under all circumstances, great courage is needful. None but those who do their best, putting their trust in God, will have the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. The Lord is displeased with those who hesitate to obey Him because they fear that obedience would result in a decrease of earthly gain. 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 19
Those who desire to please God must not boast of their own power, or suppose that it is pleasing to Him for them to take to themselves glory for the things that they do. Men and women have no goodness except that which God gives them, and it is unbecoming in them to take to themselves the credit for their good deeds. All power to do good is God-given. After a time, the Lord removes His blessings from those who praise their own aptness and wisdom. Their weakness in judgment will be as marked as was the strength with which they were formerly endowed. To God belongs all the glory for the wise and good deeds of human agencies. When it is too late to escape the sure result of their course of action, many men will weep because of the evils that they have brought upon themselves. 17LtMs, Ms 146, 1902, par. 20