Take Everything to God in Prayer
Some without doubt have a larger cup of sorrow to drink than others, but few are to be found who live long without sorrows or cares of one sort or another. Our bodies, our property, our families, our children, our relations, our servants, our friends, our neighbors, our worldly callings; each and all of these are fountains of care. Sicknesses, deaths, losses, disappointments, partings, separations, ingratitude, slander; all of these are common things. We cannot get through life without them. Someday or other we find this out. The greater our affections, the deeper our afflictions, and the more we love, the more we have to weep. What is the best recipe for cheerfulness in such a world as this? How shall we get through this valley of tears with least pain? I know no better recipe than the habit of taking everything to God in prayer.
This was the practice of all the saints whose history we have recorded in Scripture. This is what Jacob did when he feared his brother Esau. This is what Moses did when the people were ready to stone him in the wilderness. This is what Joshua did when Israel was defeated before Ai. This is what David did when he was in danger at Keilah. This is what Hezekiah did when he received the letter from Sennacherib. This is what the church did when Peter was put in prison. This is what Paul did when he was cast into the dungeon at Philippi. The only way to be really happy in such a world as this is to be ever casting all of our cares on God. It is the trying to carry their own burdens that so often makes believers sad. If they will only tell their troubles to God, He will enable them to bear them as easily as Samson knocked down the gates of Gaza. If they are resolved to keep them to themselves they will find one day that the very grasshopper is a burden.
There is a friend ever waiting to help us if we will only unbosom to Him our sorrow. A friend who pitied the poor and sick and sorrowful, when He was upon the earth. A friend who knows the heart of man for He lived 33 years, as a man amongst us. A friend who can weep with weepers, for He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. A friend who is able to help us for there never was earthly pain He could not cure. The friend is Jesus Christ. The way to be happy is to be always opening our hearts to Him. Oh, that we were all like the poor Christian black person who only answered when threatened and punished, “I must tell the Lord”! Jesus can make all happy who trust Him and call on Him whatever be their outward condition. He can give them peace of heart in a prison, contentment in the midst of poverty, comfort in the midst of bereavements, joy on the brink of the grave.
There is a mighty fullness in Him for all His believing members, a fullness that is ready to be poured out on everyone who will ask in prayer. Oh, that men would understand that happiness does not depend on outward circumstances, but on the state of the heart! Prayer can lighten crosses for us however heavy. It can bring down to our side one who will help us bear them. Prayer can open a door for us when our way seems hedged up. It can bring down one who will say, “This is the way, walk in it.” Prayer can let in a ray of hope when all our earthly prospects seem darkened. It can bring down one who will say, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Prayer can obtain relief for us when those we love most are taken away and the world feels empty. It can bring down one who can fill the gap in our hearts with Himself, and say to the waves within, “Peace, be still.” Oh, that men were not so like Hagar in the wilderness, blind to the well of living waters close beside them!