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Make Prayer Definite

Category Articles
Date October 1, 2019

Prayer should be definite.

What a lot of praying there is that prays for everything in general and nothing in particular! I was reading a very good illustration, given by an eminent minister, upon this point. He says, ‘Why was it that the Boers in South Africa were able to hold their own against the best-trained British troops on a certain lamentable occasion? Why, because the ordinary soldier fires at the enemy in the mass, and so, much of his ammunition is often lost; but the Boer, from his childhood, never wastes a shot. When he is out in the open, and he sees a lion, he aims so as to hit the animal’s heart; and many of them are such shots that they are never known to miss the object at which they aim. Consequently, every time a Boer did shoot at our men, he killed somebody, and such soldiers as those are terrible adversaries on the field of battle’. There are some people who pray, as it were, like a man shooting at a whole regiment, they fire anyhow, at anything; but the man who wins his suit at the throne of grace is the man who prays distinctly for some one thing that he wills to have. He says, ‘That is what I want, and that is what I am going to have if it is to be had. . .’

There are some who very greatly spoil their prayers because they waver as to God’s granting the specific thing which they are seeking at his hands. You know, dear friends, that there is a way of praying in which you ask for nothing, and get it. I have heard that kind of praying even in public prayer-meetings. It was a very good prayer indeed, containing many admirable phrases, a prayer that was very well put together; I seem to have heard it ever since I was a boy, but there was no real prayer in it, and that was the fatal flaw in it. It would have been a capital prayer if it had been a prayer at all; it had all the makings of a prayer, and yet it was no prayer. It was just as though you might see in a shop window all the garments of a man, but no man wearing the garments. Now, such a prayer as that never speeds with God, because he does not play at hearing prayer though far too many play at praying. It is earnest work with God, and it must be downright business work with us. Suppose you go into a banker’s, and stand at the counter, and say, ‘I want some money’. The clerk says, ‘How much do you want, sir? Please put the amount down on this cheque’. ‘Oh, I do not want to be specific; you can give me a few hundred pounds, I do not know to a sixpence exactly what I want, I am not sure that I could put it down in black and white’. You will get no money at all that way; but if you write down in black and white exactly how much you want — spell it in letters, and put it down also in figures — the clerk will give you the money if you have so much in your account at that bank. So, if you have an account with the great God — as, blessed be his name, some of us have — go and ask for what you want. The apostle James says, in the chapter we read, ‘If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God’. If a man asks of God riches, that is not what he has promised to give; if he asks of God good health, that may be granted to him; but, still, the promise is concerning wisdom, and that is what the man needs, therefore, let him with all his heart pray, ‘Lord, give me wisdom’. I think our prayers would speed much better if we were not so wavering about what it is that we really require, and if we were not so dubious as to whether God could give us that very thing.

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    Prayer should be definite. What a lot of praying there is that prays for everything in general and nothing in particular! I was reading a very good illustration, given by an eminent minister, upon this point. He says, ‘Why was it that the Boers in South Africa were able to hold their own against the […]


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    Prayer should be definite. What a lot of praying there is that prays for everything in general and nothing in particular! I was reading a very good illustration, given by an eminent minister, upon this point. He says, ‘Why was it that the Boers in South Africa were able to hold their own against the […]

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    Prayer should be definite. What a lot of praying there is that prays for everything in general and nothing in particular! I was reading a very good illustration, given by an eminent minister, upon this point. He says, ‘Why was it that the Boers in South Africa were able to hold their own against the […]

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