Archive for January, 2011

19
Jan

The Christian’s Daily Prayer

   Posted by: jmueller    in Dead Theologians, James Smith, Prayer

(James Smith, 1865)

“O Lord, remember me, and visit me.” Jeremiah 15:15

The prophet was in great trouble! Life was almost a burden. Yet the Lord had promised to show him special favor. He had promised to be with him, and that it should be well with his remnant. But the promises which support us — do not always cheer us. We have always more wealth in our possession — than we turn to account. But he falls upon his knees, he looks up to his God. Oh, what a relief is prayer! We never value prayer — as we do in deep affliction, when the heart must find vent or burst!

He cries, “O Lord, you know my sincerity and deep suffering.” He had sincerely sought the people’s good, and done the Lord’s will. But sincerity often exposes to suffering — but while it does so, it soothes the spirit. “Lord,” he says, “remember me, and visit me.” How beautifully simple! How expressive! How suited to us! Let us look at this prayer, and make it our own.

It is a prayer for times of trouble. Most are suffering from one cause or another. Oh, that the Lord would sanctify the sorrows of his people, and make the sufferings of his foes — the means of their conversion!

“O Lord, REMEMBER me!” Who can bear to be forgotten? Especially by a kind, wealthy, and powerful friend. How could we bear to be forgotten by the Lord? But though he never will forget us — yet we may plead for a special remembrance:

“Lord, I am tried, troubled, and cast down! Remember that I am your child! You have put me among your children. I have called you, Abba, Father. You have owned me at your throne of grace, and I cannot live contented without your smile and your blessing. Lord, I am your weeping child. The sorrows of my heart are enlarged; oh, bring me out of my distresses!

Oh Lord, remember that I am your friend. I have been reconciled to you by the death of your Son. I have committed my all unto you. I have been familiar with you. I have poured out all my heart before you. I cannot be happy — except you think of me, send to me, and show me friendship.

Oh Lord, remember that I am your soldier, engaged in your cause and quarrel. I wear your armor. I fight under your banner. I am jealous of your honor. But I am wounded in the field. I find my foes too strong for me. My heart betrays me. My courage fails me. I cannot conquer — unless you appear for me, and strengthen me with strength in my soul.

Oh Lord, remember that I am your servant. I have been long in your family. I love your children. I sometimes enjoy your work. But I am weak, beset with fears, and discouraged in the path of duty! Lord, oh, remember me!

Oh Lord, remember me, for I am in an enemy’s land. It is not the country I love and long for. I am in a howling wilderness, where there are few friends, little pleasant food, or refreshing rest. I am in a house of disease and death. All are suffering, and many are dying around me.

Oh Lord, remember . . .
my weakness — for it is great;
my fears — for they are many;
my temptations — for they are violent;
my infirmities — for they are numerous and painful; and
my present circumstances — for they are very trying.

Oh Lord, remember . . .
my prayers — and answer them;
my desires — and grant them;
my needs — and supply them;
my sorrows — and sanctify them;
my labors — and crown them with your effectual blessing!

Oh Lord, remember me — though I am so sinful — though I am so unworthy. Remember me, for I do remember you, and long for your presence and your love.

Oh Lord, remember me, for Jesus did so when he suffered in Gethsemane, and died on the cruel tree.

Oh Lord, remember me, or I shall be miserable now, and wretched for evermore! Oh Lord, remember me, for it does not matter who else remembers me or who forgets me — if I only have the assurance of your love and favor. Remember me, O Lord, with the favor you bear unto your people. Oh, visit me with your salvation, that I may see the good of your chosen people, and glory with your inheritance.”

“O Lord, VISIT me!” What is life — without God’s presence! What would the world be — if God did not visit us! How could we bear it — if he were to say, “You have had the last visit — I will come to you no more!” But he will see us again, and our hearts shall rejoice. He will come unto us, and he will bless us. Still, promises are not enough — if we are really alive to God. We want their fulfillment. We cannot be satisfied unless the Lord comes, and manifests himself unto us.

O Lord, visit me — and soften my heart — it is hard and unfeeling! I have tried to melt it in vain. I have taken it to Sinai — there it grows harder. I have taken it to Gethsemane and Calvary — but no place, no scene, no subject will do. It must be your presence, your smile, the sense of your love. Only come unto me, and my hard heart will yield, and flow with streams of penitential tears.

O Lord, visit me — and sanctify my temper. It is harsh and unlovely. It is trying to myself and others. I have had a long and severe conflict with it — but it is unlovely still. But your presence will make me meek, gentle, loving, kind-hearted, and good-tempered with all about me. In my very worst moods, a visit from you fills me with shame, self-abhorrence, gratitude, and humility; and then I am good-tempered in a moment.

O Lord, visit me — and revive my graces. My faith is weak. My hope is languid. My love is unsettled and wandering. A visit from you will fill me with confidence, raise my expectations, and cause my whole soul to glow with love! Then zeal will burn, repentance will work, fortitude will spring up, and every grace that should adorn the Christian character — will be in lively act and exercise.

Oh Lord, visit me — and brighten my evidences. They are often so dim, so unsatisfactory, that I can derive no comfort from them. I want to feel sure that I am a Christian: to have no doubts, no misgivings; to have every satisfactory evidence in my heart and life; but unless you visit me, I feel certain that I shall not.

Oh Lord, visit me — and cheer my spirits. I am dejected and cast down. My comforts droop and die. I am low — in a low place.

Oh Lord, visit me — and confound my foes. They are many. They are powerful. They get access to my heart. They bewilder, confuse, and mislead me! They often cast me down wounded, and fill me with fear and dread.

Oh Lord, visit me — and perfect my resignation. I would yield to your will in everything. I would prefer your choice to my own. I would be perfectly satisfied with all your arrangements.

Oh Lord, visit me, and produce this blessed, this desirable state of mind.

Beloved, God’s remembrance is always fruitful, it always brings us good things. God’s visits are always beneficial. They check every evil, nourish every grace, revive every virtue, and satisfy every really good desire. In this short prayer — is all we shall need in life or in death.

Are you concerned that God should remember you? Could you bear to be forgotten of God? Did God ever visit you in mercy? Has he visited you lately? Can you be satisfied without his visits? Oh, make the prophet’s prayer your own, and daily cry, “O Lord, remember me, and visit me!”

“Lord, when I quit this earthly stage,
Where shall I fly, but to your breast?
For I have sought no other home,
For I have desired no other rest.

I cannot live contented here,
Without some glimpses of your face;
And Heaven without your presence there,
Would be a dark and tiresome place!

When earthly cares engross the day,
And hold my thoughts aside from thee,
The shining hours of cheerful light,
Are long and tedious years to me.

And if no evening visits paid,
Between my Savior and my soul,
How dull the night! how sad the shade,
How mournfully the minutes roll!

My God! and can a humble child,
That loves you with a flame so high,
Be ever from your face exiled,
Without the pity of your eye?

Impossible! for your own hands
Have tied my heart so fast to thee,
And in your book the promise stands,
That where you are — your friends must be!”

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(James Smith, “PROCRASTINATION” 1865)

“As Paul reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment, Felix trembled and replied: Go away for now. When it is more convenient, I will send for you!” Acts 24:25

Here is Felix listening to the apostle Paul. He is attentive. He is interested. He is affected. He trembles. He realizes something of the solemnity of eternity. He feels concern–but it is not deep enough, therefore he says, “Go away for now. When it is more convenient, I will send for you!” He does not positively refuse–but he postpones the matter. He thought there would be a more convenient time–but there never was! Felix has had some eighteen hundred years in Hell to rue his folly! He is regretting it at this moment–and he will regret it forever!

Many have imitated his foolish conduct. They say to God’s ministers, “Go away for now. When it is more convenient, I will send for you!”
What they are really saying is, “I love sin. It is my element. It is my delight. I cannot give it up just now. The dance–the jovial party–the customs of the present world–these are things that I like. I am not prepared to part with them, and embrace the gospel you preach. Go away for now. I had rather remain as I am–at least a little longer. I do not wish to be saved at present. By and bye, when I am too old to enjoy sin, or when sickness has made me too weak to follow any carnal pleasures–then, at this convenient season, I will send for you.”

Oh, sinner, sinner! Will you spurn God’s gracious invitation–will you turn a deaf ear to the message of mercy?

Will you persevere in sin–until you lie down in black despair?

Will you go to Hell–when so near the gates of Heaven?

Will you perish in your own deceivings?

Have you no fear of God?

Have you no dread of eternal torments?

Have you no wish to escape from the wrath to come?

What will you do in that dread day . . .
when death arrests you,
when the just Judge passes sentence upon you,
when Satan seizes you,
when Hell opens to engulf you, and
when the gates of the infernal pit close upon you forever?

What will you do?

What can you do?

To whom will you flee for help?

How will you, how can you, escape?

Alas! escape then, will be impossible!

Then the door of hope will be forever shut!

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