I am currently reading Alexander Whyte's Lord Teach us to Pray. In a section on "The Psalmist and His Lord", he encourages to keep our focus on Jesus in every season of our lives:
Now, if David could set Jehovah always before him in his prayers and in his psalms, Jehovah, Whom no man could see and live, how much more should we set Jesus Christ before us? Jesus Christ, Who, being the Son of God, became the Son of Man for this very purpose. And, so we shall! For, what state of life is there? what need? what distress? what perplexity? what sorrow? what sin? what dominion and what disease of sin? what possible condition can we ever be in on earth, in which we cannot set Jesus Christ before us in prayer and in faith, and for help, and for assurance, and for victory? Who are you? and what are you? and what is your request and your petition? Open your New Testament, take it with you to your knees, and set Jesus Christ out of it before you.
Are you like David in the 63rd Psalm? Is your soul thirsting for God, and is your flesh longing for God in a dry and thirsty land where no water is? Then set Jesus at the well of Samaria before the eyes of your thirsty heart. And, again, set Him before your heart when He stood on the last day, that great day of the feast, and cried, saying, "If any man thirst let him come to Me and drink." Or, are you like David after the matter of Uriah? "For, day and night, Thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer." Then set Him before you who says: "I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." Or, are you the unhappy father of a prodigal son? Then, set your Father in Heaven always before you: and set the Son of God always before you as He composes and preaches the parable of all parables for you and for your son. Or, are you that son yourself? Then, never lie down at night till you have again read that peculiar parable for you, and set your father and your mother before you. Or, are you a mother with a daughter possessed of a devil ? In that case set Jesus Christ, when He was in the borders of Tyre and Sidon, before you; and listen to what He says to the woman who begged for the crumbs under the table: The devil, He said to her, is gone out of thy daughter. Or, are you a happy mother with your children still, so many little angels in their innocence and their beauty round about you? Then I am sure of you! You never kiss your sleeping child, I feel sure, without thinking of Mary, and how she must have kissed her sleeping child, and hid all these things in her heart. Or, to come to a very different kind of person-Are you loaded with the curses of people who were once in your cruel power: widows and orphans, and poor and friendless people? Then, as often as you remember their misery and your own-set your Redeemer before you, who, when He came to the place, looked up and saw Zacchaeus, and said unto him, "Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down: for to-day I must abide at thy house...This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham." Or, again, after twelve years of many physicians, are you nothing better, but rather worse? Then set Him before you till you are healed of your plague-Him who turned and said: Who touched Me? Or are you a minister with such a message that all your people are walking no more with you? Then rest your heart on Him who said to the Twelve, "Will ye also go away?" And on Him who said on another occasion, "But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold." And, O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, see Him coming to the ship, walking on the sea: and see Him, at another time, in another ship asleep on a pillow: and hear His rebuke, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? "Or, to come to the uttermost of all: are you tortured with your own heart, till you cannot believe that they are worse tortured in hell itself? Then look at His face of infinite pity as He says to His disciples, "For, from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts covetousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within." And, if there is any other manner of man here, for whose soul no man cares, let that man set the Good Shepherd before him as He says: "I am the door; by Me if any man enter in he shall go in and out, and find pasture." And, again, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Sinners! set your Saviour always before you! Child of God! set your Father in Heaven, and His Son from Heaven, always before you! And, because They are at your right hand, you shall not be greatly moved.
There is a tendency for many of us to jump simply from the incarnation to cross and missing the life of Jesus in the middle. As the the Nicene Creed does. But in this wonderful passage, and much of the book, Whyte reminds us why reading the gospel accounts of the Lord is vital for growing in our faith and especially in fuelling our prayer life.
Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2018
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