W-MCP2-4.022 MARY BAKER MCQUESTEN: Sermons on Prayer.
Jan 1 1906
1 How to pray. Dan. 10:27
These verses bring the prayer life of Daniel to a climax. You will notice how it came in fullness. He got a wonderful answer to his prayer at the start. He prayed three full weeks seemingly without an answer but when the answer did come it was defeat for Satan and a victory for God.
How can we get the same answer to our prayer as Daniel did? It is not easy to pray, it is certainly not easy to pray [?] to victory. How did Daniel obtain his victory? By three special features.
1st he had us compromise with himself in his life. Rigid discipline, rigid adherence to the right things of life was his purpose. "Daniel proposed in his heart." The principle on which he lived and worked was "No compromise." This was the key not of his life.
2nd No unworthy relationships with self interest on D's part.
3rd No unfaithfulness to God. We can calculate the cost of prayer along these lines. There must be no slackness in regard to our lives, no weaknesses, no indulgences, no sins, no excuses for ourselves. Is it not true that we find loopholes for ourselves, excusing ourselves when we do wrong? There must be honest dealing with what we know are factors in our own hearts and lives. Introspection may be most perilous if we [?] that. Introspection is only healthy when it leads us to a point where we go to God. There are four things that can help us.
I Walk in the light 1st John 1:7
Everything can be tested in God's presence. Victory in prayer is won Thro' the Light Letting the light shine into our hearts is a necessity if we are to lead a Xtian life. God can make us what he wants us to be.
II It brings us to the precious blood of Xt. The more you walk in the light, the clearer you will see.
III We need to know how to look up and keep our up looking positions. [??]
Crucified with Xt. Xt living in us, we will not serve sin.
IV We shall be intensely & entirely practical in everything pertaining to the Holy Spirit. Coll 3:5 The death of Xt, has won the victory, we must make it practical, we must use our common sense as a means to make real what Xt has told. The Epistles show us the way- in the second plan we need have no fear of anything that is against us. What was against Daniel? Everything- wealth, power, magic, freedom. D. prayed thro' to victory and won because God was bigger to him than all those things put together. You will meet things that will make your heart quail, unless you know God who is big enough to keep you from yielding. For every look at Satan, take [?] looks at XT. If we want to get thro' a Xtian does not need to fear Satan, because Satan is under the feet of Xt. We need not fear the world, friends of foes for no weapon fashioned against us can prosper. If we are to be now and [?] to-day if we want to overcome the forces of evil we must pray, pray, pray.
Thirdly- In order to understand how to have our prayer answered, there must be no disloyalty to God. No answer to prayer comes easily, we must pay the price if we wish to have our prayers answered.
Daniel was faithful to God. The worst things his enemies could say of him was that he opened his windows towards Jerusalem, and prayed three times a day. Happy is that man or woman if that is the only charge brought against you. It is not easy to be loyal to God to-day. We have got to choose to be loyal to God. The minute you choose to be loyal you will meet the Cross, you will find the risen Xt, you will win the victory. Daniel was told that it was his travail & prayer that brought the message "Fear not [??] God means we must hold on in prayer until the Spirit comes as He did after 21 days. It is thro' darkness, perplexity, fear, doubt that enables the Spirit of God to do his work and use his opportunities. Do you see how God is counting on us to help him in his work, how he is looking to us for help? Shall we fail Him? He has all power, but he needs us as the channels thro' which it cane course. It may be possible for him to rise us, to bring about some defeat of evil, some victory for good.
II Why we should pray.
1st God's will requires our prayers if his purpose is to be accomplished. Our prayers are laying the rails for God's mighty work to run on. Therefore we are most surely in the love of God. Satan to weaken our prayers will always strike at the root of faith and diligence.
2nd Christ's example--Luke reveals our Lord in prayer or [?] different occasions, the other evangelists do the same.
3rd The divine promises constrain us to pray.
[?] shall ask anything in my name I will do it." God is just waiting until his children ask him to bestow his blessing on them.
4th Incentive to prayer.
Our condition Eph. 6:11-16
We wrestle not against [?] places. Prayer is made effective [??] special relation to [?] if we put on the whole armour of God, that we may be able to stand in the evil day,
5th To enter into partnership with Xt in prayer is the great call of the Cross. The greatest thing God needs is ourselves, We are not all gifted, do not all teach in S.S., cannot go out as missionaries, but we all can pray. The church needs prayer hearers, men and women who know how to pray, know how to stand god God & country against the wiles of the enemy.
5th [sic] Prayer is the greatest working force of Xtian experience, and should deepen our desire to use that force our determination to pray. The greatest need of God's Church are those who believe in prayer.
How can we make Prayer the greatest force?
All prayer is to be offered in the name of the Lord Jesus
We used to recognize what are the essential elements in the strategy of prayer.
To pray in the name of XT is to ask that victory may be given us.
What are the [?] chief essentials?
I unhurried communion-–Xt's prayers were unhurried and you and I are to learn to be unhurried when in the presence of God. To be hurried and rushed with work so that we can find us time to pray is true of Satan's special tactics. He is never so happy as when Xtians are to busy to pray. God took 4000 years to being his purpose to fulfillment these he packed it all into 3 1/2 years.
II To find out the [?] of the battlefield. In every work and in every life there is a key position, which must be found out and taken before victory is assured. You must find it out for yourself. What that positive is will be revealed to you, as you wait on God. Satan holds it in a fierce grip. When it is found focus your prayers on it, and God will help you to take it.
Generalities do not get us far, particular individual work tells.
III We must be ready to pay the price for answered prayers. There is no victory now without its price. What is the price? It is the key position is no which God must win if he is to work thro' us. Our personal righteousness is the sight of God, [?] over our lives to find him. Satan will put every difficulty in your way, so you must deliberately seek prayer. The greatest service to God is intercessory prayer.
Some great essentials necessary to Prayer.
1st Understanding knowledge I Cor 13:14-15
Satan trades upon our ignorance in spiritual things, with the result that God's work suffer thro' it. We can only pray up to the limit of our knowledge. If we wish to prevail in prayer we must know what we are to pray about. The man who does the real work is the man who sees, the man who understands. Elijah is an example of such a man. He saw beyond and behind the horizon. When he told Ahab that ruin would come he knew it would. Elijah had seen God's power in feeding him and knew what he could do. At [?] when [?] was terrified. The number of men coming to overpower his master, he was terrified. Elijah prayed that his eyes might be opened and the Gehazi saw the invisible legions protecting his master. When we get a right vision of God we learn how to pray. In that sight we can become a praying Church. The great imperative is that we should have knowledge. We used to be quite sure that God is a sovereign God. Xt is reigning, his purpose is to reign by the power of the Cross, and we are here to claim his power to help us until the moment comes to pass when He shall reign on earth. We are here to be in communion with Him, so that XT can accomplish his purpose. Sometimes all we can do is to stand against evil forces and wait for the Lord Jesus Xt to come to our help. The moment He comes the victory will be won.
2nd The Holy Spirit is here to equip us and help us in our [?]. He will help to make us win the fight, so make us walk in victory. The enemy's power is very great but, it is limited. We have no right to magnify or increase the power of Satan. If God be for us, who can be against us. The promise of this would have been defeated if Xt had not been the victor.
3rd Definiteness in Prayer.
Abraham on behalf of the cities of the plain is an instance of this. His was a wonderful prayer spirit, he had only one thing to say and he said it over and over, and that was the cities of the plain. We must marshal the facts to bring about the desired result. A. did not pray aimlessly. He realized the tremendous issues at stake, and kept them occupied. What God wants today is quickness of scent. Indefiniteness produces weakness.
4th Watchfulness–-1st Peter. Be sober & watch unto prayer. There are three very important words for "watch" used in the Bible. Xt uses two in Mark.
1st "Watch lest ye fall into temptation" and 2nd keep awake, rouse yourselves, what I say unto you I say unto all "watch"
Peter uses "watch" in a most emphatic way--be completely awake, do not be drowsy. We must watch if we are to pray. Prayer without watching means prayer without intelligence. Prayer is God's greatest reinforcement on the battlefield of life. Back of watchfulness is [?] of spiritual need. Watch against indefiniteness, impatience with God about the slowness of the answer. Take a long look at God if you are tempted to cut your prayer short. Read Isa. 40 when tempted to be impatient with God. Watch against infringement of Divine laws which are at the very root of prayer life. Wrong [?], misjudgement of God or man, nervously burdened about things for which we pray, that we have pushed and driven ourselves to act before we have taken time to pray. Hurried prayer is one of the greatest tactics employed by Satan.
Take time to pray, have a determination to pray. How often we are tempted to hurry over our prayers, because of something we have to do. Xt did not do his praying on the run. Xt said "Come ye yourselfs apart & rest awhile" Xt went apart to pray--on the uncertain side, at break of day, before day. What is at the back of the determination? A sense of our own weakness, a need of some one stronger than we are of Satan's tremendous power. Satan will use our hurry scurry to his own advantage, for nothing could please him more. Little work and much prayer is what Satan fears, not much work and little prayer.
6th It is necessary to know how to focus prayer on the right things.
There are three suggestions along this line.
1st you need to find out the point of obstruction in your work or daily life for which you are praying that it will be revealed.
2nd you must pray round and round the things which concern you--every circumstance, every now bit of knowledge, until you feel there is nothing more you can pray about.
3rd you must get through prayer beyond the things you see to the spring of the trouble you do not see. The forces of the church of God are not what you see. Eph. 6 Satan starts that power working in Eden when he tempted Adam & Eve to sin and God told him that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent-
Peter said to Xt "Master let us rest here awhile" & Xt said "Get thee [??] Satan."
Behind all the forces of evil, all the temptations of life, stands this evening with a well thought out place. The Xtians part is to have such knowledge of prayer that we shall find victory. Prayer has three meanings
1st habit of prayer
2nd judge ourselves
3rd Walk in the light
Light leads us to Jesus, to the blood, to the cross. The more we yield to the cross of death, the more we see the cross of life "He that loseth his life for my sake, the same shall find it."
I Sam 30:24
They also serve who only stand and wait.
There are two positions in life--prominent and obscure, tho' both are needed. Why is it that some people are know and talked about and considered great men while others are never heard of? There are two forms of duty required of every man, according to God's disposal. Why had some of us where we would have preferred to go out and make a place for ourselves to remain in obscurity? David made both equal. When you visited Stratford-on-Avon and saw the small house where Shakespeare was born, did you ever ask yourself the question: How did such a man of lowly origin, attain to such fame? Without doubt it was the influence of his mother, although she is forgotten.
What made James Barrie, born in a little place like [?] famous? If you read the life of Margaret Ogilvy, you will find the secret. The work of the world is done by those who stayed with the stuff.
Christ's doctrine is that only the individual soul is of value. There are two degrees of appreciation, grudging and generous. Burus, Whistler & Milton are not much thought of when they lived, all being in financial distress, but after their death their works were eagerly sought after & bought for large sums. Milton wrote "they also serve who only stand and wait."
Many a man and woman who are thought very little of by the world are high in the regard of God. Only in Jesus Xt can we come to our best, we can never be anything without him. We many have no strength, no opportunity, but if our heart beats with the heart of Xt, you will take your place and do your part no matter how humble or obscure it may be.
The 200 men were too weak to pursue, but they guarded the base of supplies. God is counting on you and me to be true to him. The mothers of Amos, Jonah, Elijah are not mentioned but they must have been the power in the background. Why should we despair if we are unknown? God has set us in our places. The woman who cannot go out, but must stay at home, can work as truly for God as those who are spoken of by men. It does not mean that your chance has not come. Many a public man owes what he has and is to some unknown woman who is never known of except by her children and husband. Let us all do our part faithfully and well and then when God comes to judge "they that tarry with the stuff shall be as they that went to the battle."
Relation of Bible & Prayer
Prayer. Eph. IV
Take the word of God, pray always.
To be a student of the Bible does not always mean to be able to pray.
How is this to be accounted for? Lack of interest in prayer. Bible study is intellectual. Prayer is spiritual. In Bible study God speaks to us. In prayer it is our privilege to speak to God.
A musician or an artist does not become successful at once, it takes months and sometimes years to succeed. They learn how to play & paint by playing and painting. One learns how to pray by praying. The Gospel of Matt contains Jesus' teaching on prayer more than any other Gospel. There are seven passages containing instructions on and conditions of prayer. What Xt explains he wishes you to pay especial attention too [sic]. But then, when thou prayest openly. Our Lord detaches us each from the other. When you are with some one else, you are not entirely your natural self, you re-act more or less to the other's personality. The individual must be alone with God. When you are alone you are your natural self. One cannot be mechanical or perfunctory with God. This condition requires a place and a time. You will not be held accountable for the time you have not, but for the time you have. If you are a child of God you must pray. If you pray, you must make a time and place. You have your meals at regular times, all is subordinated to them. Why? Because you must eat to live, it is necessary. Do you suppose your soul is not in as much need of food as your body? If you can make time to eat you can make time to pray, but the trouble is we do not see the necessity. When you get the time and place, what are you to do? Ask-seek-knock. The posture of the body- sitting, kneeling, standing, does not signify, it is the posture of the soul that counts. Our prayer must be spontaneous & natural, must be definite (Matt 7:9).
Abstract prayer only brings abstract answers. You can be anywhere you wish, on any special mission field or special work in a flash thro' prayer.
There is not book more thrilling in all literature than Jonah, in O.T. & Acts in N.T.
Genesis 1-12 is historical, than patriarchal in great characters Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses. Acts 1-6 is an analysis of that book. Acts is divided into 3 parts
8-12. Provincial-Antioch, Philip
To understand Lev. read Heb.
To understand Rev. read Daniel
To understand Joshua read Acts
To understand the 4 evangelists read the Epistles
Matt (a Jew)--Heb, Janes, Jude
Mark (got his from Peter) Peter 1-2
Luke (Gentile, Greek, Doctor) [?] with Paul, was an historian, read Acts & Paul's Epistles
John--1st 2,3 John, Apocalypse, separated from other 3 by 25 yrs.
For purest oratory--from 8 [?] 3 verses, Hebrews last part of Chap II.
For [?] poem on love--1st Cor. 13th chapter
For great orations--Deut.
There is evidence of an Historical Plan in Bible Nebuchadnezzar and his dream of the Golden Image Abraham & the promise made to him.
If the whole sceme [sic] of things are shown there, why not the details.
The way. Isa. 30:21
"This is the way walk ye in it". How may this life be lived, how may we understand it how may we live it?
I: There must be on your part and assurance that God has a way.
II: Are you assured that God has a way, a plan for your life, a path for you to walk in, a highway just one so that you cannot step out of it? There is an analogy of design in Nature. Nature is not a jumble, a chaos, but a cosmos, ordered, disciplined. Nothing is out of place, everything has its appointed place and duty. If God has so planned Nature do you suppose he cannot place your life. The conditions of life are negative and positive.
Negative- you must not despise your own individuality. There are no duplicates in life. Do not have some little place of your own. You must not expect a special revelation from Heaven.
Positive- Being assured that there is a way, there must be an acceptance of God's way. Jesus will not occupy a suite of rooms in your heart, he must have it all. Seek guidance from God. Follow the light, trust God.
The Holy Spirit--Eph. V:18
There are seven ways of being filled with the Holy Spirit
Be filled with the Spirit.
Is there such a blessing? Yes. Numberless people have experienced it--John Baptist, Elizabeth & Zecharias before Pentecost; the disciples especially Peter & Paul after--One of the qualifications of a deacon in the early church was to be filled with the Holy Spirit--Stephen
Many hearts have a desire for the H.S. but it is not released. Why? Because of ignorance & misunderstanding. No school of Theology has a monopoly of Truth. What is the nature of the H.S. filling us? Being filled with the S. also means by, of the S.
The H.S. is a content here, not an agent. In another place he is an agent, not a content. Therefore he is both agent and content.
Xt said that he came to reveal God & his power. Any attack upon the teaching of Xt is an attack upon divine truth. Xt told his disciples that, as he came to reveal a present Father, so the H.S. came to reveal a present Xt. That means the establishment of Xt as Lord in our lives.
The filling of the S. is given to those who know Xt as the Saviour. While every Xtian knows Xt as Saviour, comparatively few know him as Lord. What is the meaning of acknowledging Xt as Lord? When Peter was bidden by God to eat of those things let down to him in a sheet he said "not-so Lord." If Xt asks you to give up something that is standing between you and him, and you say "Not so Lord", you do not own him as Lord. No one says "Not so" to a superior or one in authority. The fullness of the H.S. is the Lordship of Xt in the believer's life. It is distinct from regeneration, justification, and [?]. The H.S. stands in relation to Xt as the Viceroy stands in relation to the king, therefore he acts as his representative. When he is allowed to do that Xt is Lord. What does the Kingship of Xt in the natural life carry? Everything ye are not your own, price the price of Xt's life.
It means--redemption--bought possession--not your own Dedication--Xt as King of your life. Xt has bought us and paid for us, not in cash but in blood. Is the life you live His? Do you allow him to guide you in your pleasures, your business, your actions and thoughts, your friendships, everything you do? Is not prayer lessens, neglect of the Bible, perfunctory obedience, lack of interest in the affairs of the Kingdom of God a sign that Xt is not king? We have no right to call ourselves Xtians unless we are prepared to acknowledge Xt as Lord.
How are we to experience this blessing? An ecstatic experience, strong emotion accompanied by ecstatic joy is not necessary. It does not make us too good to live on earth, but just to live. The H.S. does not disorganize it simply qualifies. It is tactful and humble, its creed is live, joy, peace, long-suffering, patience, and meekness.
The H.S. has come to the earth in place of Xt.
The saying is in the present time therefore present blessing--the verb is imperative therefore it cannot be postponed.
The voice is passive therefore we cannot work up a blessing by [?]. it is a divine work.
It is not progressive as Holiness, but instantaneous. It is a certain blessing because it rests on God's side. She must be a [?] and fearless reckoning with sin. Sin put Xt on the cross. Sin stands revealed, there as nowhere else. There is no blessing till sin has been dealt with. If he is your Saviour you may get to Heaven. If he is not your Lord you will eternally lose you reward.
Gracious God we thank thee for the revelation of thyself in Jesus Xt. Thou hast done great things for us; thy majesty and power assert themselves in our liberation from bondage, and in the hope of a [?] of peace. Oh help us to work and give and pray that this same freedom may be given to those who are still in the bondage of superstition and darkness, hopeless and despairing, who know not Thee, the great deliverer and Saviour. Thou hast given us a King of Peace. Help us to give Him the homage of our lives. Bless our [?] strengthen and sustain them, and give them a glorious Harvest, full measure, pressed down and running over. This we ask in the name and for the sake of Xt.
[Notes made by Mary]
1 This item is undated, however we have selected 1906 since it was the period in Mary's life when she was most active in the WFMS and was organizing women's groups throughout Ontario, and 1906 was the year that she also made a trip out west to inspect the Residential Schools and the missionary outposts there.