Learning to Pray

By Rev. R.K. Lyle, M.A.


I. Prayer of Meditation

II. Praying to a Present God

III. What to Pray for

IV. Persistence in Prayer

V. Unanswered Prayer

VI. Thanksgiving

VII. Intercession

VIII. The Lord’s Prayer as Intercession

IX. When Our Hearts are Dry

X. Home and Prayer

XI. Praying in the Church

XII. Turning Scripture into Prayer

Published by Church House, Fisherwick Place - long ago!

By courtesy of Church House, Fisherwick Place, this writing (originally a pamphlet) has been permitted to be placed on the web site: www.theis-nielsen.dk/pray.htm (English) - www.theis-nielsen.dk/bede.htm (Danish) - September 2001

Any quotation from this writing whether it be in electronic form, in writing or any other means must be accompanied with mention of the author and source: Rev. R.K. Lyle, M.A., Church House, Fisherwick Place.


I. Prayer of meditation

Prayer and the Bible must go ever hand in hand, and there is no greater help to prayer than learning to use our daily reading as the inspiration of our prayer.

Towards that end I begin with a prayer of meditation upon the reading. And I suggest three simple rules:

(1) Think into the writer’s meaning; do not hurry this.

(2) Put yourself into the passage (or the verse), ask a question about yourself.

(3) Let this lead to a resolve and a prayer.

Suppose we are beginning the Gospel of St. John. Every verse might delay us, but take verse 5: "The Light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not." (1) As we think of this, we are grieved that men would not receive that Light. We enter sympathetically into the evangelist’s thought; and that is always a helpful part of meditation. But we have not yet made the Scripture personal. So (2) we put ourself into it. "The Light shineth" - in my darkness. I see God always trying to reach me. Have I been willing to receive Him? That time yesterday, did I shut out the Light, wanting my own way? (3) A new resolve rises in my heart, and I pray. It is a prayer first of confession, and then petition: "Lord, I confess...; and I ask for grace to..."

Or take verse 6: "A man sent from God, whose name was John." (1) That seems only of historical interest. But meditating, we thank God for him; and thanksgiving itself is prayer (2) Then we repeat, "A man sent from God". Slowly - . "A man sent from God, whose name was" - what? We put our name there. Sent, by God, on some errand, to some person, sent this day. Am I willing to be sent? Can God trust me? (3) So follows my resolve and my prayer. "Lord, I thank Thee for this honour; make me alert to Thy sending this day."

Any verse may yield rich results. Here is verse 11: "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not." (1) We pause, arrested. The historical situation is clear. It’s tragedy smites us - as we not merely read and pass on, but pause and think. Then (2) we make the word personal, asking a question about ourselves. I am "His own": do I always "receive Him" when He comes? Has He come perhaps in some unwelcome way? (3) Lord, forgive me and, Lord, help me to welcome Thee, however Thou comest. Help me to-day."

So we go forth into the day, strengthened. God and we have met. God has spoken, and we have listened. We have prayed, and He has answered. And the answer is made good through all the day.


II. Praying to a Present God

We have the feeling often that if only we had our Lord here, as He was in Palestine, we should have no difficulty in coming to Him to ask; prayer would be easy. We should pour our whole trouble to Him, sure of a sympathetic listener and a power to help. But the Lord is here; and the first part of every time of prayer should be given to asking nothing, but to realising His presence. Let us see ourselves before Him, in His very presence, and Him close beside us, in the very room, all attentive, all eager to help; and our prayer will be full of meaning. Say, even out aloud, "Thou art here, Thou art here, Thou, my Lord, art here"; or repeat over some great word of Scripture, until heart as well as head knows it true. "My Lord is here, as really as in Martha’s home or Peter’s. He took time to be with them; He takes time to be with me. My risen Lord, my Saviour, is here. I thank Thee, and I still myself before Thee. Help now my prayer." So our prayer becomes living; we really pray.

But to realise His presence means still more. Everyone who came to Jesus asking things not only expected an answer but gave Him time to speak. The rich young ruler came, with a prayer as deep as ours, and a conversation passed between the Lord and Him, question and answer - as is bound to be the case if we see the Lord as really present. Is it not because we think of God as good, certainly, but far away, that we so often do all the talking in our prayer? He is so distant that we can only send, as it were, a letter to Him, and wait indefinitely for an answer. We do not expect Him to speak in immediate reply, as we should if we thought of Him as really present, as present as to the rich young ruler. Let us pause in our praying and give God time to speak. He will speak. You may not at first hear His voice if you have been unaccustomed to such listening, but if you keep on each day pausing and listening attentively, in a little while you will begin to hear Him. Little promptings, suggestings, rebukings, remindings, will come into your heart, and you will know your Lord has been in touch with you. But be obedient to them, or you will cease to hear.


III. What to Pray for

Pray for whatever your heart desires. Pray for everything. You may safely do so if, as suggested before, you remember you are praying to a present God. You will naturally consult Him about your daily work, your hopes and fears and ambitions; you will ask for gifts of health, for success in your ventures, and so on. But if you picture yourself back in Palestine and meeting the Lord Jesus there, you would not be content with only these. You would ask Him sometime, "Lord teach me also to pray"; you would ask for growth in love and lowliness and courage to serve. Nor could you meet Him and be content with personal, even personal spiritual, blessings; you would be stirred, face to face with Him, to identify yourself with his hopes for the world. These also would enter into your prayer. In fact, when we realise that prayer means meeting with Him, these last come first. We reverse the order as we remember to whom it is we pray, the One Who gave His life for us and for the world.

But even so, some still are troubled as to what they should ask. They fear they may without knowing ask something unworthy, and they hold back through fear. There need be no fear, provided you remember your Lord is actually present as you pray, and you give Him opportunity to speak as well as you; provided that is, you are prepared to listen, and do not confine the listening to Him. Then you may pray freely for anything you like. You may ask something as ambitious and as personal as James and John, begging places of honour for themselves. For if He has the opportunity to reply - which means, if we are willing to be still and listen - He will modify and purify our request as He did theirs; and there need be no fear for what we shall ask. We may pour out our whole heart to Him, what we are sure of and what we are not sure of. He knows it all already. We may freely pray.


IV. Persistence in Prayer

"Men ought always to pray and not to faint."* That was the strong impression made on the disciples by our Lord’s own prayer-life. He kept on praying through every discouragement. How slow in coming was the Kingdom for which He prayed; how poor the response of the people for whom He prayed. How did He not lose heart? Because He kept ever before Him the vision of the sure purpose of God. If our praying heart begins to flag, let us cease for a day or two to think of what we have not received, of what we want or do not want, let us cease to ask for particular things, and seek simply to enter into the great purpose of God. Two things will follow: our particular requests will fall into place, it may be a different place from what they occupied before; and we shall have gained the power of persistence. For persistence is not just a human quality by which we compel God to take notice, but God himself bids us pray on - pray on until we catch His purpose and He can answer. He answers "speedily," the Lord Jesus says, once we are in line with His purpose.

Another plan may be of help to persistence in prayer. We have prayed for some blessing, for ourselves or others, with earnestness and urgency, but the blessing has been delayed, and we have, not ceased to pray, but ceased to be urgent in our prayer. We utter our petition with no more meaning than that with which a child hurrying into bed first hurries through his "God bless..." Not that children’s prayers cannot be urgent; their urgency can put ours to shame. But if we examine our prayers, we find we have ceased to be persistent. It will be well for us to practice such examination from time to time, and if we find we are praying for certain things without meaning, cut them out of our prayers like dead wood from a tree, cut out this unreality - until such time as we find them laid again a burden on our heart. And that may even be immediately, for the sudden realisation of our emptiness of prayer may by the grace of God kindle desire afresh, and we shall regain persistence.

To deal realistically with ourselves, and to enter into the great purpose of God: these are two great aids to persistence in prayer.

* The starting point is the Gospel of Luke chapter 18 verse 1. Ed.


V. Unanswered Prayer

"Dad," said Jack, "I want a gun. Jimmy has one. Mayn’t I have one too?" Now, Jack’s father had always encouraged him to come to him and ask for anything he wanted. But he did not want to give him a gun. Jimmy, certainly, down the road had one, but Jimmy used it on birds, and Jack’s father was a lover of birds. What was he to do with Jack’s request? He began to take the boy out with him to the lanes and fields. They found the nests and the birds. Jack learnt, not to take the eggs, but to note all their lovely markings. He learnt to identify the birds by their songs. His father gave him bird books, simpler ones to begin with, and bigger ones as his interest grew. And when he was older he bought him field glasses to help him in his birding. He added to his life a great new interest. Did he answer his son’s prayer?

"Oh, mother, I simply can’t do these sums; I hate them," said Doris. "Let me stop maths. and take up something else." Her mother had noted the nightly struggle and was sympathetic, but it was too early for Doris to give up maths. Yet, and besides, her mother saw that she needed the discipline of something that demanded concentration. Doris was tempted to fly off from anything that was not easy. So she sat down beside her and helped her with her problems, helped her to understand and master them. It meant giving up time each evening, but mother and daughter were drawn closer together, and Doris began, through the discipline of what was difficult, not only to master her maths. but to appreciate her mother more. And that in after years she counted the chief blessing. Did the mother answer her daughter’s prayer?

"O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me," prayed Jesus in Gethsemane, three times over with great urgency. "O My Father!" Why was His Father silent? Did He not love His Son? No one in all the world was ever loved by anyone as Jesus was by God. Yet Jesus had to drink the cup, the bitter cup, of our sin-bearing. He drank it, because He and the Father together willed it. But how did the Father hold back in His Son’s suffering? He did not hold back. He was with Him in it all, supporting Him with His strong aid. Had He not answered Him, and answered Him most mightily, Jesus could never have borne, alone, the crushing burden of the world’s sin. The request that the cup might pass could not be granted, yet never was prayer so fully answered as the prayer of Jesus our Lord in Gethsemane. We see its answer in all the bearing of this suffering Man through all His trial, through the scourging and the mocking and the cross. And Jesus called God Father still, because He trusted Him, and knew His answer. "Father," He said, "into Thy hands I commend My spirit."

Was Jack answered? Was Doris? Was Jesus? Does God ever fail to answer? The particular thing may not be granted, but God does not scale down His gift. What He gives is something greater - always. He may not be able to grant the exact thing asked, because it would not, as His wise eye sees, truly help us, though we think it would; but what He gives, if we have grace to accept it, is bigger and better.

Or what we ask may be a thing He is quite ready to give, but we, though asking, are not ready for it. Not Jack’s father indeed, but another father might be willing, for example, that Jack should have a gun, but not yet; in a few years’ time, when he could handle it more wisely. He also would say No! to his boy at present, but would really be saying Yes! And God often is ready to give us what we want without delay, only we are not ready to receive it. We are like one who opens the door and calls in "Father, give me..." then turns away before an answer can come. We need to stay with God, to listen to Him, to hear His plan for us, that we may be able to go away with hands full. Even when we pray for grace and help in our Christian life, which at least we think we should receive (for they are spiritual blessings), the case may be the same. We pray, "Help me to be patient," "Help me to be pure," "Help me in this temptation"; and God is most anxious to give His help, immediately and overflowingly. But we do not stay to get it. We do not let Him work within us, we go off and try again ourselves. We do not open our hearts to receive Him, or having opened them, we shut them up again - and then blame God for unanswered prayer.

God always answers. He is our Father.


VI. Thanksgiving

The purpose of these brief articles is not to discuss the philosophy of prayer - there are questions to exercise the deepest thoughts of men - but to make suggestions that will help, and especially help beginners, in the actual practice of prayer. For what is important is that we begin to pray and continue to pray; and as we do so, more and more will be revealed to us of the nature and the power of prayer.

Now, one of the greatest aids to the reality of prayer is also one of the simplest - thanksgiving. Too often in trouble we rush into the presence of God, and say, "Please deliver me; please tell me what to do." And that is right; but if we took time first to give God thanks for past deliverances, and for what He is Himself and what He has done in Christ, we should gain such assurance of Him as would make our prayer more real and give confidence in the answer. Whatever helps us to gain that assurance is worth practising, especially when it is so simple and happy a plan as this.

A great man of prayer like the Apostle Paul fell naturally into thanksgiving. How often he begins, "I thank my God" (or some such phrase). It is out of glad experience that he writes, "In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."* "With thanksgiving"! As Daniel gave thanks when the decree was signed that he knew meant the den of lions! "He kneeled ... and gave thanks before his God as he did aforetime."** So doing, he assured himself of God. Giving thanks like him for past mercies and past deliverances, we centre our thoughts, not upon our powerlessness or upon the soreness of the trial (which is usually our emphasis), but upon the greatness of God; and our hearts are led to peace. The Apostle does not promise that the exact request will necessarily be granted, but he does promise that as we pray and give thanks we shall have peace, we shall have God.

Let thanksgiving figure far more in our prayers Let it come at the very start. It reinforces all petition; and "to pray in any other spirit is to clip the wings of prayer."

* Philippians chapter 4 verse 6-7. ** Daniel chapter 6 verse 10. Ed.


VII. Intercession

I can understand (someone says) that I should pray for myself, and I know I am told to pray for others, and I want to pray for them, but I cannot see at all how my prayer helps them; the only prayer that can really help them is their own prayer, their personally getting into touch with God. How can I at a distance put another in touch with God? Intercession is a mystery.

Many things are a mystery in life which we nevertheless accept, and know as true. To many of us wireless is such; yet we do not hesitate to listen. We know its power. We may equally know the power of intercession, even while not understanding fully the divine mystery of its working. One thing in particular helps, is indeed decisive, in the matter: Christ so prayed, and Christ so bids us pray.

Someone falls ill; you call in the doctor. You plan to build a house, and call in an architect. You want to have your child educated, so look out the best teachers. In each case you seek expert advice. Now Christ was the greatest spiritual expert the world has known, and He prayed for others. And His great lieutenant and ambassador Paul prayed for others. And Moses and Samuel prayed for others. All the saints have been mighty in intercession. All who are expert in the spiritual life tell us that prayer for others counts. We may not know exactly how. We do not in most cases know how the treatment and the medicine that the doctor gives us work, but we know he knows, and we follow him. So we follow Christ. Christ came from the other side of prayer and knows, as we do not, its inner workings. Therefore we pray, we intercede; and we find, as we go on, that intercession becomes even the chief part of prayer.

Now, how shall we plan our intercession? Take a sheet of notepaper, and divide it for seven days, and keep it in your Bible. Opposite each day put the names that God lays on your mind. For example, your elders pray for the members of their districts, and you, following them, might pray for the people in your street or neighbourhood, both those you are intimate with and those you so far are not. Each member would then be bearing part of the burden of the Church. Then opposite one day would go one of the mission fields of the Church. Do not try to cover too much ground, but take one or two missionaries, learn all you can from time to time about them and their work (a notebook would help), and pray particularly for them. In course of time you will wish to add others, but it is better to let prayer be real in a little scope than be so diffused as to lose grip. We are not heard for our much speaking or wide travelling. Let Sunday (or perhaps Saturday) be given to prayer for your minister and your church - and for those known to you who do not come to church. A day will be given to your country and its leaders. Societies in which you are specially interested will have a place. God means us to pray particularly for those whom we personally in some way touch; for example, the people in your office or the members of your club. To adapt language from the First Epistle of John, He that prayeth not for his brother whom he hath seen, how can he pray for one at the ends of the earth whom he hath not seen? Our loved ones, of course, we shall remember every day.

And ask for them, not small things, but things that are really great - the fullness of the knowledge of God and His power to serve and witness, His peace, His victory.

So prayer becomes more living by its very variety as well as by the assurance that we are helping on the Kingdom of God.


VIII. The Lord’s Prayer as Intercession

To one who was in doubt as to how to pray in time of war for a loved one facing danger - what has one the right to ask? - the answer was given in a suggestion for the use of the Lord’s Prayer. Pray the Lord’s Prayer with your friend in mind: -

Our Father which art in heaven - my Father, his Father, binding us both:

Hallowed be Thy name - by him, in all he thinks, in all he does and bears:

Thy kingdom come - in him, and through him, by his loyalty to the King:

Thy will be done - by him, in all circumstances, with all gladness, as it is done in heaven:

Give us this day our daily bread - give all he needs to fit him for all duties, and give with all a thankful heart:

And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors - forgive him any misuse of any of Thy gifts, and give a true and lowly spirit towards others:

And lead us not into temptation - lead him into no trial too great for him:

But deliver us from evil - deliver him, in every ill of life; deliver from what is evil:

For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory - let him know the kingdom his, let him take the power, let life or death be to Thy glory.

It is a prayer that covers all needs. And we can pray it for ourselves as for our friend.


IX. When Our Hearts are Dry

There are few who have not been in this state. Nearly all of us know what it is to lose for a time the joy and glow of the Christian life. How shall we pray when such things come? Are our prayers worth anything? Do they not even savour of hypocrisy - they are empty words? Some have vexed themselves with questionings, and have even given up praying - and got back to prayer again with difficulty after unhappy and needless lapse of time. For there need be no hypocrisy in prayer at such a time. Our dryness does not mean we have departed from God, much less that He has departed from us; we have lost the happy feeling of His presence, but not His presence itself. Shall we then fail Him because there is no spring in our devotion? Does a devoted but burdened mother never lose her spring of service? But she shows her devotion in serving still. Does a soldier leave the ranks because he has no constant buoyancy? How many campaigns would be won if that were so? And shall we serve God only, and enter on the battlefield of prayer only when buoyed up by happy feeling?

Cycles are bound to occur in the Christian life. No one can walk through a country and be always on the heights, always enjoying grand, extensive views with the elation of spirit that they bring. To make progress through the land he must walk the dusty plains, and sometimes have no view at all, but still he is making progress, even through dust and dryness. It is not the dryness that is counted against us, but the giving up because our hearts meantime are dry. Our Father knows our nature. He is God of the plain as of the height, God of the dust as of the clear, enchanting view; and we may be helping as much the Kingdom of God by our prayer in times of dryness as in times of undisturbed elation. Let us pray then the more steadfastly, sure that God is with us, strengthening, listening, answering, whether we feel Him near or not.

And one way of regaining the gladness of His presence is the plan of thanksgiving suggested in an earlier article. When other prayer is difficult we can at least say, Thank you. And thanking God for His mercy, finding out the many things for which we are indebted to Him, our hearts are led on to pray again with confidence. He Who has blessed us on the heights will bless us still. Hold on!


X. Home and Prayer

Under this heading I write chiefly for those who are about to make or have lately made a home, boy and girl friends, and young married people. But the older folk were once that also, so let them count themselves in. You want to be a true friend, and more than friend. Well, consecrate now your home to God, your home that is to be; resolve that from the very start you will make it His in prayer. Nothing draws us into the secret of true friendship like prayer, for prayer is intimacy with the greatest Friend of all.

Various organisations issue Bible Reading Helps, primarily for personal use, that are of great value in explaining difficulties and opening up the passage - the International Bible Reading Association, for instance, the Bible Reading Fellowship, the Scripture Union, and others. The cost of these is small, perhaps 2d. a month; and you probably pay that or more daily for your newspaper (or papers). But in using Helps you must remember, for greatest profit, to let the passage speak to you in the stillness first, and only afterwards look for the help of the Notes. Good help though they are, yet you have to do your own digging if you are to get your own true profit.

You will perhaps feel shy at first of starting family prayers, especially if years have passed and you have not started. "Oh, I never could," you say. Yet we read and believe (or think we believe) the great text, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." We are unduly sensitive as to what the other, or the others, in the home may say. Don’t you think - I feel confident of it - that rather they will admire you because you tackle this thing, even if now and then you should stumble in it? You would admire them. Are they less generous than you?

But you don’t know how to pray, you say. G.K. Chesterton, in his paradoxical way, once said that a thing worth doing is worth doing badly - worth doing badly to begin with, till we learn better how. That is how men begin anything. That is how you learnt tennis; or were you perfect the first time you took a racquet? This matter of family prayer is certainly worth doing. It is one of the greatest enrichments possible of family life. It is therefore worth a little effort. Pray very simply, and shortly. Spend a few moments beforehand thinking what you will pray for. Thank God for His daily mercies and His care through the night, thank Him for His grace, ask His help in the duties of the day, mention any distant ones or any of your circle in special need, ask Him for His Kingdom in the world, thank Him for His forgiveness and His strength in all temptation, and close, all joining, with the Lord’s Prayer.

You will have, of course, to arrange a time. But that can be done with a little planning by any who want to do it. It is no easier and no harder than arranging time for breakfast, provided we want the fellowship with God as we want our breakfast A special blessing rests on those who do so; for "where two or three" - father, mother, child - "are gathered together in My name," says the Lord, "there am I in the midst of them."*

* The Gospel of Matthew chapter 18 verse 20. Ed.


XI. Praying in the Church

At a youth conference the question was raised of the value of going to church when the service was such that one found no inspiration in it. I know the feeling. I have been at such services myself, and fear I have conducted such services. How shall we worship when dullness settles down upon the service?

We can still worship, and worship most really. The Scripture is read, and no one can take away the Scripture from us. It may be the voice of a man that reads, but it is God Himself Who is speaking. No one can come between us and God in the reading of the Scripture - except ourselves.

Then we have the hymns, and these are the same for us as in the most inspiring service. Good music will certainly increase our aesthetic appreciation and help our worship, but a spirit attuned to God is not dependent on that. The greatest saints of all the ages give us their aid in the words they wrote to express the heart’s devotion. We are in fellowship with them, and with God. Always we have the hymns. Use the hymns often in your private devotions. Keep a hymn book beside your Bible. Reading one of the great hymns, reading it as our own, can greatly help to bring us into communion with God.

And we have the prayers. These may possibly sometimes, where no help is taken from the liturgical riches of the Church, be couched in indifferent language or lack in comprehensiveness, but none the less, the leader is making confession for our sins, and we confess them with him, we ask forgiveness with him, we give thanks as he gives thanks, we intercede as he leads in intercession. If we cannot pray in whatever words he uses, we are thinking more of the words than of the One to Whom we pray.

The same is true of the message. If we are attentive to God, we shall find Him in it. Even if the messenger should be halting in his words, we shall remember he is but a messenger and shall concentrate on the message, giving thanks, while we listen, for the living Gospel which is his theme, and praying for the Spirit’s power to help him. So praying for the preacher helps your worship. We co-operate by prayer.

A good deal, I find, depends on the prayer one offers at the beginning of the service (and on getting there in time to offer it unhurriedly). If it is a prayer to God to help us to realise His presence - His, not man’s - that is good; that helps right through the service. But it is also a great help to one’s personal worship to pray for the leader of the service and for one’s fellow-worshippers, bringing them in the silence before God. As we do so, as we make the service our own, and not the leader’s merely, we become conscious of God, and every service is of help.

We have worshipped; God has blessed us.


XII. Turning Scripture into Prayer

I conclude this series of articles on prayer as I began, with some further illustrations of the prayer of meditation, for I know of no other single practice more helpful to the devotional life. We need to study the Scriptures also more widely and more closely, with all the attention and accuracy we possess; but let us be careful first to set apart some time for quiet meditation. Only so does the Scripture become food for our soul. Else it is bread in the shop, not bread on our table.

This is simply done. It requires no scholarship, no special gifts; each may read to the greatest profit, if he is ready to sit down before the Scripture as a little child, asking, "What does this say to me?" Without such personal reading the scholar himself will be a starving man. There will be some verse in every passage, or some phrase, that will grip us if we give it time to grip. Then let us turn our thought, which is the Spirit’s prompting in us, into prayer - prayer of confession, of thanksgiving, of resolution - and we shall have begun to learn the secret of communing with God, which is the heart of prayer.

For this purpose choose the great passages, especially the Gospels, but also the Epistles and the Psalms, and all parts that bring you directly and immediately into touch with God. My former illustrations were taken from the Gospels; I turn now to the Psalms, and I take familiar things, so familiar that often our mind passes lightly over them.

Here is the Twenty-third Psalm: "The Lord is my Shepherd.." My Shepherd, my good Shepherd; good, that is, at His job (as we might say a good gardener, a good cook), Who perfectly knows His work of shepherding, so that, if I am "led" into strange places to-day, I know there is no mistake, but He has a good purpose in it, and I "fear no evil." So follows my prayer, it may be first of confession: Lord, forgive me that I have doubted Thy leading or complained of hardship, and help me to trust Thee now.

Take the Psalm that follows: "The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof." The Lord’s! Dwell on that word. All in the earth, all in my house, all I have, is the Lord’s. Have I used it as such? Or have I counted it (God forgive me) as my own, to do as I like with? Lord, help me to live in a new sense of stewardship.

Or take the Psalm preceding. Here are equally familiar words, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" Have we sometimes felt like that? Yes, but has God ever had occasion to feel like that about us? (It is sometimes good to reverse a statement, especially a complaint). Have I forsaken Him? How often, how very often! Lord, I am ashamed; help me to think less of self and more of Thee.

So, putting ourselves into Scripture, and turning Scripture into prayer, we make God real to ourselves and go out into the day strong in His strength.

Then revert at times - even fix a time - during the day to the central point of the morning’s reading; choose one such point for remembering. Often you may forget, but each time you forget set yourself anew to form the habit, until it becomes fixed with you. It is most helpful. It renews our morning dedication and brings back to us the freshness of God’s presence, in which we can do anything, and meet all temptation and vexation - in all things show His spirit.