Stewardship and Prayer
Taken from “The Message of Stewardship” by Ralph Chushman
“To wrestle in prayer was as much a part of faithful stewardship as to proclaim the message.”
“Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, Unuttered or expressed; The motion of a hidden fire That trembles in the breast.” James Montgomery
James Montgomery was a poet writing in the early 1800’s. His missionary parents both died in the mission fields of the West Indies. He gravitated towards writing and began to aim his poetry at the issues of the day. He noted events in the French Revolution and the injustices of his England. His poetry took aim at slavery, child labor and international injustices. He was arrested for his poetry, but the event just made him more popular. During these years he was a church man who wrote hymns and was involved in many causes for justice. A monument in Sheffield cemetery reads: “Here lies interred, beloved by all who knew him, the Christian poet, patriot and philanthropist. Wherever poetry is read, or Christian hymns sugn, in the English language, ‘he being dead, yet speaketh’ by the genius, piety and taste embodied in his writings.”
“He instructed his disciples to “tarry at Jerusalem.” He told them that authority was given unto him and that he would commit his authority unto them as stewards. Thus prayer was to be the means by which the disciple was to release the resources and energies of God. Prayer, therefore, became not only a privilege but a trust, and it is required in stewards that they be found faithful.”
“Jesus demonstrated in his daily life this same need of constant communion with the Father. What does it mean to us that Jesus pointed to the field whitening to the harvest and commanded, ‘Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth laborers into his harvest’? Mt. 9:38”
1 Tim 2:1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,
“Deeper than the needs of men; deeper far than the need for money; aye, deep down at the bottom of our spiritless life, is the need of the forgotten prevailing world-wide prayer.” Dr. Speer
Dr. Speer was a major figure in Presbyterian and ecumenical church history with a 46-year career in the Presbyterian church as Secretary of the Board of Foreign missions. He emphasized the primary evangelistic aim of foreign missions, the necessity of developing indigenous local churches with native pastors, and the basic distinction between the proclamation of the gospel and the spread of civilization. Sounds about right.
“If prayer is the great need of the world, why is it so difficult to get men really to pray?”
“Lord, what a change within us one short hour Spent in Thy presence will avail to make! What heavy burdens from our bosoms take! What parched grounds refresh as with a shower! We kneel, and all around us seems to lower; We rise, and all, the distant and the near, Stands forth in sunny outline, brave and clear. We kneel, how weak! We rise, how full of power! Why, therefore, should we do ourselves this wrong, Or others—that we are not always strong—That we are sometimes overborne with care—That we should ever weak or heartless be, Anxious or troubled—when with us is prayer, And joy and strength and courage are with Thee?” Archbishop Trench
Archbishop Trench’s career was tied to the advancement of the Wilberforce brothers. He would teach, preach, and occupy positions of influence. He had a series of teachings entitled “The Study of Words” that exist in book form: “English Past and Present” and “A Select Glossary of English Words”. He would take on the position of Archbishop of Dublin during a time of church split. He was selected for the position because of his “liberal and genial spirit”. He would suffer much abuse during the process but came out of it as a respected man. One more note of his writings: “Notes on the Parables of our Lord”.
“No man is likely to do much good at prayer who does not begin by looking upon it in the light of a work to be prepared for and persevered in with all the earnestness which we bring to bear upon the subjects which are in our opinion most necessary.” Bishop Hamilton of Salisbury
Here is a note from Anglican History: “With Mr. Hamilton the change from Evangelicalism to Church principles was in the highest sense a matter of deliberation and conscience; and he determined to shape his course accordingly. St. Peter’s did not become aesthetically magnificent; but its religious atmosphere was changed. Henceforth there was less of excitement and more of quiet, earnest thought; less of preaching for its own sake, more of preaching as a means of sanctification and as a stimulus to prayer; less of the preacher, and more of his message; less [13/14] of men and their personal peculiarities, and more of God, of His truth, of His redemption, of His sacraments, as being the great channels of His grace and His life.”
“The book of Acts furnishes abundant evidence that this was the secret of the successful prayer life of the early Christians. Not only was prayer a blessed communion with their Lord, but it was a necessary part of the work which they were to do in the fulfillment of the great commission.”
Acts 6:2-4 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
“O Lord, my God, what is thy will for me today? What task hast thou for me? What opportunity hast thou placed in my way? Open mine eyes that I may discover thy will! Save me from wasting the new day! May I turn it into eternal profit! Amen.” J. H. Jowett
A repeat: Jowett was born in Halifax, England in 1864. “I was blessed with the priceless privilege of a Christian home,” he later remarked. His love for reading manifested itself early as he spent his evenings in the town’s Mechanics’ Institute, devouring volumes from their library.
After theological training at Edinburgh and Oxford, Jowett assumed the pastorate of the Saint James Congregational Church. His six effective years of ministry brought him to the attention of the Carr’s Lane Church in Birmingham, England, on the death of their pastor. For the next fifteen years the church grew and prospered. Their pastor’s vision led them to increase their efforts to bring people to Christ. In 1917, the mayor of Birmingham said the church had changed the town with “crime and drunkenness having decreased.”
Although his preaching style was not dynamic (he read all of his sermons), the depth of his knowledge, the clarity of his language, and the power of his life commanded respect. Attendance at the church (now in America) which had dropped to 600 on Sunday morning rose to 1,500. Lines up to half a block long formed, waiting for unclaimed seats. Jowett began preparing his Sunday sermons on Tuesday, following a meticulously detailed schedule. The workingman’s pastor.
“Stir me, oh! Stir me, Lord, I care not how But stir my heart in passion for the world! Stir me to give, to go—but most to pray: Stir, till the blood-red banner be unfurled O’er lands that still in deepest darkness lie, O’er deserts where no cross is lifted high.” Author Unknown
“Here is indicated an obligation not only upon the minister but upon every Christian steward to keep fit to conduct his Master’s business. And only regular communion with God can ensure this preparedness.”
“Note in the scripture that follows how these disciples who had been persecuted by the high Jewish court and then released with threatenings, are praying not for personal protection or heavenly raptures but to be equipped with new boldness, in order faithfully to serve as witnesses in the face of the growing opposition.” Acts 4:29-31 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”
“If thou, then, wouldst have thy soul surcharged with the fire of God, so that those who come nigh to thee shall feel some mysterious influence proceeding from thee, thou must draw nigh to the source of that fire, to the throne of God and of the Lamb, and shut thyself out from the world—that cold world which so swiftly steals our fire away. Enter into thy closet and shut thy door, and there, isolated ‘before the throne,’ await the baptism; then the fire shall fill thee, and when thou comest forth, holy power will attend thee, and thou shalt labor not in thine own strength, but ‘with demonstration of the Spirit and with power.’” William Arthur
From Wikipedia: His lecture on Systematic Beneficence gave the first impetus to that movement; and his own practice was referred to as a living example of it. His intimate knowledge of India and its people made his counsel valuable to statesmen; and it was widely acknowledged that he was a power outside his own Church, and an aggressive proponent of Christianity. Arthur suffered various infirmities throughout his life, but lived to the age of 83.
It was nice having read one of his books: “The Tongue of Fire”. I used one of his quotes on my “Oneminutebiblestudies.com” web page: “The symbol is a TONGUE, the only instrument of the grandest war ever waged: a tongue — man’s speech to his fellow man; a message in human words to human faculties, from the understanding to the understanding, from the heart to the heart. A tongue of fire — a man’s voice, God’s truth; man’s speech, the Holy Spirit’s inspiration; a human organ, a superhuman power.” –William Arthur 1856
“I can but testify; Words may not tell This dear companionship I know so well; Ears may be deaf, Eyes may not see This Presence who comes near And speaks with me; But realer than this world With all its grace, Grows the Invisible And the Unseen Face!” Ralph Cushman
Luke 11:1-3 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” 2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
“The stewardship of prayer suggests a holy habit to be used in daily devotion, not a spasm of worship for times of special need. The Lord’s Prayer seems to emphasize the need of daily intercession and communion.”
“It has pleased the Lord to teach me a truth, the benefit of which I have not lost, for more than fourteen years. The point is this: I saw more clearly than ever that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord, or how I might glorify the Lord, but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished. I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world, and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit.” George Mueller
George Mueller is known for the orphanages built by prayer. Here is how it started from Christianity.com: When George told his father that he had decided to become a missionary, his father became very upset. He wanted George to have a high-paying job and not be a poor missionary. He told George that he would not give him any more money for school. George knew he had to do what God was calling him to do, even if his dad didn’t support him. George went back to college without knowing how he was going to pay his tuition. He did something he thought was a bit silly for a grown man to do. He got on his knees and asked God to provide. To his surprise, an hour later a professor knocked on his door. He offered George a paid tutoring job! George was amazed! This was the beginning of George Mueller’s dependence on God.
“I know a peace Where there is no peace, A calm where the wild winds blow, A secret place Where face to face With the Master I may go.” Ralph Chushman
Matt 9:36-38 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
“It is worth while making any efforts, however desperate, to learn to pray…Often when I desire to see the Truth come home to any man, I say to myself, ‘If I have him here, he will spend half an hour with me. Instead, I will spend that half hour in prayer for him.’” Forbes Robinson
Forbes Robinson is known as the “disciple of love”. Couldn’t figure out why, yet.
1 Sam 12:23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.
Is intercession with a travail, or is it a playtime, a recreation, the least exacting of all things, an exercise in which there is neither labor nor blood? ‘The blood is the life.’ Bloodless intercession is dead. It is only the man whose prayer is a vital expenditure, a sacrifice which holds fellowship with Calvary, who ‘fills up that which is behind in the sufferings of Christ’” J. H. Howett
“More than half beaten, but fearless, Facing the storm and the night; Breathless and reeling, but tearless, Here in the lull of the fight. I who bow not but before thee, God of the fighting clan, Lifting my fists I implore thee, Give me the heart of a man!” Author unknown
“Oh God, the might of them that put their trust in thee, grant that we may be than conquerors over all that make war upon our souls, and in the end may enter into perfect peace in thy presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Roman Breviary (A listing of Catholic prayers and times)
“I made up my mind that I must depend on god alone. Therefore, I must live closer to God than I had ever done before. I must get into the very heart of God.” James W. Bashford Bishop of China
From Wikipedia: In 1904 Bashford was assigned to the mission field in China at his own request at age 55. On October 20 he arrived in Foochow, and in the same year he went to Shanghai where he became the first resident bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in China. From the summer of 1908 onwards, Bashford served in Peking until he left China in the summer of 1918. He died in Pasadena, California 18 March 1919.
“The final value of the scriptural teaching of the stewardship of prayer lies in its emphasis on man’s ultimate dependence on God as the source and creator of the divine resources of the Kingdom. No one really learns this without coming to realize that prayer must be the first business of his life.”
Eph 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints —
“But the supreme illustration of one who saw through the eyes of God and put prayer as the first work of faithful stewardship was our Lord himself.”
“There are two things which make our Lord’s example in the life of prayer of special significance. In the first place, if ever anyone could have dispensed with prayer, it was he. In the second place, his experience tried out the whole reality of prayer. Whatever he found in it, we may be sure is there.”
Mark 1:35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
“Those who make a rule of the morning watch should resolve never to allow a single exception. When away on vacation, or sleeping in the same room with others, on camping parties when we sleep under the stars, or out in the thick of life’s work, cling unshakable to the regular observance of this life-giving habit.” David R. Porter
Two term governor of PA in 1838.