The Signs of the Times


July 24, 1893

Christ's Example in Prayer


When Christians complain of being in darkness, when they dwell upon their trials and discouragements, and murmur against God, they virtually say that they are not following the example of Christ in offering to God humble, fervent prayer for grace and strength that they may be fortified for trials and strengthened for duty. Christ's professed followers may be strong in the Lord if they avail themselves of the provisions made for them through the merits of Jesus. God has not closed the heavens against the humble prayers of repenting, humble, believing souls. The humble, simple, earnest, persevering prayer of the faithful one will now penetrate heaven, as surely as did the prayer of Christ. Heaven opened to his prayer, and this shows us that we may be reconciled to God, and that communication is established between God and man through the righteousness of our Lord and Saviour. Christ took upon him humanity, and yet he was in close, intimate relationship with God. He linked humanity with his divine nature, making it possible for men also to become partakers of the divine nature, and thus escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. ST July 24, 1893, par. 1

Christ is our example in all things. In response to his prayer to his Father, heaven was opened, and the Spirit descended like a dove and abode upon him. The Holy Spirit of God is to communicate with man, and to abide in the hearts of the obedient and faithful. Light and strength will come to those who earnestly seek it in order that they may have wisdom to resist Satan, and to overcome in times of temptation. We are to overcome even as Christ overcame. ST July 24, 1893, par. 2

Jesus opened his public mission with fervent prayer, and his example makes manifest the fact that prayer is necessary in order to lead a successful Christian life. He was constantly in communion with his Father, and his life presents to us a perfect pattern which we are to imitate. He appreciated the privilege of prayer, and his work showed the results of communion with God. Examining the record of his life, we find that upon all important occasions he retired to the grove, or to the solitude of the mountains, and offered earnest, persevering prayer to God. He frequently devoted the entire night to prayer just before he was called upon to work some mighty miracle. During these nightly seasons of prayer, after the labors of the day, he compassionately dismissed his disciples, that they might return to their homes for rest and sleep, while with strong crying and tears he poured forth earnest petitions to God in behalf of humanity. ST July 24, 1893, par. 3

Jesus was braced for duty and fortified for trial through the grace of God that came to him in answer to prayer. We are dependent upon God for success in living the Christian life, and Christ's example opens before us the path by which we may come to a never-failing source of strength, from which we may draw grace and power to resist the enemy and to come off victorious. On the banks of Jordan Christ offered prayer as the representative of humanity, and the opening heaven and the voice of approval assures us that God accepts humanity through the merits of his Son. ST July 24, 1893, par. 4

Christ was the Son of the Most High God, yet throughout his life he did not seek to magnify or exalt himself by any of his works, but sought simply to proclaim the glory of the Father. For thirty years he seemed to be unhonored and unknown, and yet he lived a diligent, faithful life. As individuals we also are not to seek to glorify ourselves, but to keep our souls open to the cheering beams of the Sun of Righteousness, that we may show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. The injunction to each one of us is, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” The ardent desire of the apostles was to know God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. Jesus lives; he is before the Father in the heavenly courts, making intercession for those who are still upon the earth in the turmoil and strife of life; for the church militant is not yet the church triumphant. ST July 24, 1893, par. 5

By communion with God we may constantly have a cultivation in mind and heart and character that will elevate us and direct our thoughts heavenward, that we may become partakers of the divine nature. We are to be human agents that will cooperate with divine intelligences. We are to be quickened under the influence of divine power, that will not only strengthen us, but attract our minds from the dust and rubbish of earth, that will set us free from the polluting, deceiving influences of the world, so that we may contemplate heavenly things. Through this influence our hearts are to be purified, our affections sanctified, and set not upon earthly things but upon heavenly things. The treasure of earth will soon pass away, and “what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” The soul is capable of purification and sanctification, capable of attaining, through the offering of Christ, the heavenly treasure, even the gift of life that shall measure with the life of Jehovah. ST July 24, 1893, par. 6