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Remembered Prayers.

Remembered Prayers.

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Published by glennpease
BY JOSEPH PARKER


" I . . . prayed . . . and said "— Neh. i. 4, 5.
BY JOSEPH PARKER


" I . . . prayed . . . and said "— Neh. i. 4, 5.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 25, 2013
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04/02/2014

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REMEMBERED PRAYERS.BY JOSEPH PARKER " I . . . prayed . . . and said "— eh. i. 4, 5.HERE is a man who remembers what he said in prayer.That ought to make him conspicuous for ever.The prayer was not a short one ; it occupies some sevenor eight verses, and the verses are long. The man sayshe prayed all this, and he remembers every petition heoffered ; he did not throw his prayers away, he kept copiesof his letters to heaven. This ought to make him one of the most remarkable men in the Church. What did youpray last week ? Did you pray ? Prayer is not easy. Togabble is a fool's exercise: to pray drinks the bloodThere ought, if we were really in earnest, to be nothingremarkable in remembering one's prayers. We rememberour diseases, how the pain began, how it worked its waythrough the quivering frame, how at last some relief came,and then final release from agony. or are we ashamedto tell the tale ; we think our friends will be pleased toREMEMBERED PRAYERS. 49hear what diseases we have had Some people have nokeener delight than to tell others what they have suffered ;they suppose their friends will be interested to know whenthey began to feel pain and at what o'clock the devilof pain left them. How curiously we are intellectuallyfashioned ! Why can we not let the dull tale alone ? Whowants to hear it ? You have told it to some of us seventimes over, and still you think we are interested in the poor,chilling story. We are not Why don't you tell us yourhigher experiences ? When did you pray ? and what didyou say ? and how did heaven take it ? Change the levelof your talk ! Has your soul no history ? has your mindno record ? Is it always toothache, neuralgia, rheum, pain,and agony and sleeplessness ? Is the body to have all thescroll ? Why not dismiss it in a sentence, and come freelyand lovingly to tell us the story of the mind ?This is what the Bible does pre-eminently. The Biblethinks we will be interested to know how the soul got
 
through it all, what fears, what temptations, what suddenappeals like sudden squalls fell on the little boat of life.o wonder we have small taste for the Bible, because theBible deals with the soul, the mind, the conscience, thepart immortal, the part divine. This is so everywhere andevery day. If a woman were butchered in London, menwould awaken you at midnight with special editions to tellyou the ghastly tale ; column after column would appear ;all the coroner said- would be put down as if it were of con-sequence. If a paper were to report that a man's soul hadbeen saved, it would be laughed into the bankruptcy court.Yet this is a most Christian nation ! This is all on the samelevel with the talk about the body. You remember theheadache that you have told about, and the woman killed,and the child run over by a cart-wheel ; all this is of someVOL. I. 4X50 STUDIES I TEXTS.importance, it must not be ignored : but what we wantto be at is the diary of the soul, its first glimpse of liberty,its first glance of God We are in danger at this point of some poor weak soul saying that such things are too sacredto be talked about. That is a lie minted in hell 1 Thesethings are only so sacred because we have so deeplysecularised every other part of our lives. We should liftup the depressed places, and having elevated the generallevel of our thought, these other things so transcenden tallyspiritual would become more naturally part of our mothertongue. You have spoken possibly so little about yoursoul that now you have no soul to speak about Clay,clay, — that is what we have made of ourselves. " My spiritshall not always strive with men." There comes a timewhen a man's soul goes out of him and leaves the poorclay-pot alone for Death, the world's grim scavenger, tocall for it when he can stoop to so base a humiliation.Here is a man who has had memorable prayers. This isnot the only prayer ehemiah ever prayed. He prayedmaybe a thousand or ten thousand times, and he remembers
 
word for word, as it were, one of them, five of them, ormore. The great commonplaces of devotion fall into theirdue relation to one another. Only the mountains aremarked. Are there no mountains in your soul's history?Are there no great swelling altar-hills that would ambi-tiously elevate themselves to the stars? Is it always tobe that same old pain, that same old headache, that samesleepless night? ehemiah reports the very words, andyet possibly he did not utter any one word amongstthe whole of the sentences here given. When shall weget men to know that the words are nothing ? Possiblyehemiah did not utter any one of these words exactly aswe find it here, and yet he prayed this very prayer. ThereREMEMBERED PRAYERS. $1are purists that struggle about words — whether you saidnow, or presently, or immediately, or promptly, or forth-with, or instantaneously. Such men can never get thekey of your soul. You did not say any one of these words,and yet you said them alL The soul does not palter withsyllables when it quotes its great histories ; it writes downits present memory of great impression. This is poetry,this is not statistical religion ; it is imaginative, and there-fore real; it is spiritual, and therefore it overflows theletter, and commits the crime of inconsistency. ehemiahmight write his prayer in twenty different forms, and yethe would say concerning each form, u I prayed thus," " Isaid." When will men distinguish between the form andthe purpose? the mere setting in words and the vital,eloquent, speechless desire?Some prayers can never be forgotten ; they are memor-able prayers ; we go back to them for help. We say, " Oncewe saw the Lord," and said, " It is sweet reading, it is likereading tender songs of tenderer love." The paper isyellow on which we wrote the prayer, but no flower in allsummer's garden is so lovely, no daffodil so fair a yellow.Close your eyes that you may see the better, and look back over your life and tell me if there have not beenmemorable altars, historical prayers, and if there standnot in your yesterdays a great altar-stone that hand of man can never overturn. You remember that? Onewas in the sick-chamber. You did in very deed pray thatday. You could write out the prayer now, and yet not

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