The Signs of the Times


January 29, 1902

The Power of Prayer


Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. In the secret place of prayer, where no eye but God's can see, no ear but His can hear, we may pour out our most hidden desires and longings to the Father of infinite pity; and in the hush and silence of the soul, that voice which never fails to answer the cry of human need, will speak to our hearts. ST January 29, 1902, par. 1

By prayer man is braced for duty and prepared for trial. Morning and evening our earnest prayers should ascend to God for His blessing and guidance. True prayer takes hold upon Omnipotence, and gains the victory. Upon his knees the Christian obtains strength to resist temptation. And while engaged in our daily work, we should lift the soul to heaven in prayer. It was thus that Enoch walked with God. The silent, fervent prayer of the soul rises like holy incense to the throne of grace, and is as acceptable to God as if offered in the sanctuary. To all who thus seek Him, Christ is a present help in time of need. In the day of trial they will be brave and strong. ST January 29, 1902, par. 2

From the experience of Moses we may see what intimate communion with the Most High it is man's privilege to enjoy. After Israel had shown such great dishonor to God by worshiping the golden calf, Moses pleaded with God in their behalf. The Lord read the sincerity and unselfish purpose in the heart of His servant, and communed with him face to face, “as a man speaketh unto his friend.” ST January 29, 1902, par. 3

Moses had carried the burden of Israel; he had borne an overwhelming weight of responsibility; when the people sinned, he suffered keen remorse, as if he himself were guilty. Now there pressed upon him a realization of the terrible result should God give Israel up to their darkness and impenitence. He prayed that the favor of God might be restored to His people, and that the token of His presence might continue to direct their journeyings: “If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and Thy people have found grace in Thy sight? is it not in that Thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and Thy people, from all the people that are on the face of the earth.” ST January 29, 1902, par. 4

And the Lord said, “I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken; for thou hast found grace in My sight, and I know thee by name.” Still the prophet did not cease pleading. Every prayer had been answered, but he thirsted for greater tokens of God's blessing. He now made a request that no human being had ever before made: “I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory.” ST January 29, 1902, par. 5

God did not rebuke his request as presumptuous; the gracious words were spoken, “I will make all My goodness pass before thee.” The unveiled glory of God, no man in this mortal state can endure to look upon and live; but Moses was assured that he should behold as much of the divine glory as he could endure. Again he was summoned to the mountain summit; then the hand that made the world, the hand that “removeth the mountains, and they know not,” took this creature of dust, this mighty man of faith, and placed him in a cleft of the rock, while the glory of God and all His goodness passed before him. ST January 29, 1902, par. 6

Those who seek God in secret, telling the Lord their needs, and pleading for help, will not plead in vain. “Thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” As we make Christ our daily companion, we shall feel that the powers of an unseen world are all around us; and by looking unto Jesus, we shall become assimilated to His image. By beholding, we shall become changed. The character is softened, refined, and ennobled for the heavenly kingdom. The sure result of our intercourse and fellowship with God will be to increase piety, purity, and fervor. There will be a growing intelligence in prayer. We are receiving a divine education, and this is illustrated in a life of diligence and zeal. ST January 29, 1902, par. 7

Christ's days were passed in ministering to the crowds that pressed upon Him, and in unveiling the treacherous sophistry of the rabbis, and this incessant labor often left Him so utterly wearied that His mother and brothers, and even His disciples, had feared that His life would be sacrificed. But as He returned from the hours of prayer that closed the toilsome day, they marked the look of peace upon His face. It was from hours spent with God that He came forth, morning by morning, to bring the light of heaven to men. ST January 29, 1902, par. 8

We can no more live the Christian life without prayer than we can live the physical life without food. To grow in grace, we must ask and receive the bread of heaven. The strength gained by prayer gives a preparation for duty and fills the heart with peace. ST January 29, 1902, par. 9

To every sincere, earnest prayer an answer will come. The answer to your prayer may not come just as you desire, or at the time you look for it; but it will come, and in the way and at the time that will be for your best good. The prayers you offer in loneliness, in weariness and trial, God answers, not always according to your expectations, but always for your good. ST January 29, 1902, par. 10

Not one sincere prayer is lost. Amid anthems of the celestial choir, God hears the cries of the weakest human being. We pour out our heart's desire in our closets, we breathe a prayer by the way, and our words reach the throne of the Monarch of the universe. They may be inaudible to any human ear, but they can not die away into silence, nor can they be lost through the activities of business that are going on. Nothing can drown the soul's desire. It rises above the din of the street, above the confusion of the multitude, to the heavenly courts. It is God to whom we are speaking, and our prayer is heard. ST January 29, 1902, par. 11

Mrs. E. G. White