Writings by George Burgess (1829-1905)
PRAYER TO GOD
Moses, “Smiting, and bringing water
from the Rock, Horeb” Exodus 17:6
Below is a transcript of page three
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The Spirit of Praise, and prayer, Lights
up a large Portion of the Scriptures, and especially the Psalms. And hosts
of learned men believe that some of the foregoing passages refer to distinct
answers to prayer.
And hosts of learned men believe that
some, of the foregoing passages refer to distinct answers, to prayer.
The prayers of the Old Bible appear to
refer only to the affairs of Earth. While the prayers of the New Testament
have references to this World, and the World to come.
“Our Father”, the example
prayer of Jesus, his payer for his disciples and followers, and his prayer
at Gethsemane are his few recorded prayers. But he “watched, and
“John the Baptist” does not
appear to have a prayer recorded, but he was a man of prayer, and “taught
his disciples to pray”.
The disciples, and followers of Jesus
have but very few recorded prayers. Yet they were continuous in prayer,
and may be said to “pray without ceasing”.
And Peter, in a dream, or trance, while
on the housetop for payer, had one of the finest, and most divine, and
most human of all instructive visions, which taught him “God is
no respecter of persons”.
The preachers, and orators of scripture
do not appear to have made it a Rule to offer up a public formal prayer:
Before speaking, powerful preaching was their mightiest teaching.
Prayer cannot alter the course of Nature. It will not change
the weather, Calm the Storm, make the fields fruitful. It will not prevent
the shipwreck, assure safety from disaster, win battles for the weak nor
lose battles for the strong. It will not stay the operation of ay natural
law that relates to the natural processes on any department of Human Existence.
If prayer did any of these things, and brought what millions of clashing
Spirits ask for then the World would be in universal disorder, and could
not continue to exist.
WHAT PRAYER CANNOT DO
WHAT PRAYER CAN DO
Godly Prayer however, can influence and
strengthen the minds and characters of the Captain and the Crew, so that
they will be wisely prepared for the storm, and wisely manage the vessel,
and so prevent the shipwreck. In the same may, personal prayer can inspire
the Spirit, and strengthen the heart and hands of the husbandman, thus
moving him to be “diligent in business” and in work, and the
result is that his fields are rich and fruitful.
But Prayer is governed by exact natural
and spiritual laws, and is a preparing force and process that thus prepares
men to save themselves from evil, and to assure themselves of good. An
unprepared Master and Crew with an unprepared vessel in a Storm, who pray
to and depend on God coming right down at once, to save them, will be
lost. God never answers such prayers.
PRAYER IS REASONABLE
Prayer is reasonable, and natural. In
its own way, every living-growing thing prays. Vegetation reaches into
the Earth Seeking food for its Roots, and finds it. Its upward growths
pray to the heavens above for food, and rain, and dew and air and sun,
and the prayer is answered. Every beast, and bird, prays to its parent
for nourishment, and receives it. Every baby is ever seeking his food
from his mother, and his “importunity” brings the blessing.
And all children on Earth are constantly praying to their Fathers for
protection, and all forms of help, and their deserving prayers are granted.
But the Rule in the Law of Prayer is that
unless in some way we pray or ask, we do not receive; and unless we seek,
we do not find. Also, that when we do pray, righteous prayers are answered.
And when we really, and wisely seek, we find. Also, that prayer, like
conversion, can work downward, as well as upward. It can bring evil as
well as good, still, there are many beings who practically live and pray
for evil, and they get it. And just so sure as a man seeks that which
is bad, just so sure will he find it. He is bound to find it, for “seek
and ye shall find” is the fixed law of life, and it has never failed
in its workings, so that all prayers are answered, good and bad. God answers
the good ones and the personified Spirit of Evil answers the bad ones.
Hence we see that persistent prayers can bring into the human heart either
hell or Heaven.
Well then, as prayer is a universal possession,
it is logical to say that it is reasonable, and natural. If it is natural
that children should loop up to, and ask help from, Fathers and Mothers,
then it is natural for all dependent human beings to look up to and pray,
and ask of God. Also, it is just as sure that God our Father will grant
ours, right prayers, and “Help in every time of need”, as
it is that our mothers and Fathers have done so all their days. It is
therefore reasonable, and natural, and certain, that God does answer reasonable
and right and good Prayers.
The real work of Personal Spiritual Prayer
or communion with God should be to promote growth of Godliness in the
Individual. It does not change God, but it draws from Him an influence
that makes the Individual more spiritual, and more divine. We all know
that when in the presence of, and conversing with eminently good men and
women we are bound to partake of their spirit. Their Spirit, natures,
verity reach and touch our own, and warm us within like “contagious
Fire”. It is on this every same and exact principle that God answers
prayer and “gives His very Spirit unto them that ask Him”.
God does not, visibly, come down through the stars and build up a man’s
dwelling-house for him, but He builds up the man’s spirit and then
the man’s spirit builds up his Body, and Brain, and then the whole
God-made man altogether builds up his own dwelling. Yet God was at the
foundation of it, and right at the top of it. And probably the man would
never have had the dwelling at all unless he has asked the living God
to help him build it.
One Individuals Prayers can also influence
others beside himself, and especially so when these others are present
this him. His power and spirit in prayer reach into the very centres of
their being and move their spirits, and so they soon grow more an more
of one mind, and one Spirit, until All throw open their hearts together
to God in prayers, for themselves, and for everybody else. And it is a
well known fact that thousands have there and then decided, and taken
their stand, to live a new life through the searching, and fiery influence
of other men’s prayers.
Also, a Godly man’s prayers under
certain conditions can influence others who are well know to him, although
they may be separated from him by seas, and continents. In every day life,
persons of suitable mental and spiritual natures are continually impressing
and influencing each other. One speaks his thought, when another at once
says, “the very same thought was in my own mind”. Their spirits
had met, and blended, before a word was spoken. Another is startled to
suddenly remember a friend whom he has not seen for a year, when, in a
very short time his friend stands before him. The visitor’s spirit
was especially thinking of his friend, as he drew near him, and so verity
had actual contact with his friend’s Spirit, which was the cause
of the abrupt remembrance.
A Godly Mother sets her heart upon prayer
for a careless daughter who is far away. The daughter can verity feel
that her Mother is praying for her. It could not be otherwise, the Spirit
reaches Spirit, and neither Spirit can rest. At last, the daughter is
bound to yield and then she bravely beings the save and happy journey
of her “New Life”. And at the tame time the spirit-influence
of the daughter speeds swifter than light with the glad tidings to her
Mother, when the Mother cries out “Bless the Lord, why Nellie is
saved”, which in truth means that Nellie’s conversion has
then just begun in real earnest.
So when a capable man sets his mind and
heart on beginning and finishing some reasonable work, then that work
will be done. And when a wise Godly man sets his Spirit and heart on getting
an answer to a reasonable prayer, then that answer he will certainly get,
for the laws and processes for cusses in prayer are as sure and exact
as those relating to mechanical force, and to electric forces; the wise
and right means are bound to secure their natural and the desired ends.
But the prayer that reaches, and blesses,
a far distant friend is mentally and spiritually communicated. There must
be contact. It may not be visible, but it is real. No one thing makes
any impressions on anther, except by some means of contact. We could not
know of the odour of Roses because odour is a property of Roses. But the
invisible and real currents of the odour reach our sense of smell. And
thus, we know of, and enjoy the delightful fragrance of the Rose. But
there must be some form of contact, as a Cause, or there can be no Effect.
If sweet odours can travel, unseen, and swift, and have direct contact
with the human senses, then it is only fair to say that with Godly praying
man’s Spirit-influence can, unseen, reach and bless his far off
friend, just exactly and as sure as God’s Spirit reaches and domes
in direct contact with and blesses the spirit of all the children of men,
over all the Face of the Earth.
PRAYER THAT CANNOT PREVAIL
Unreasonable Prayers never Prevail.
Prayer - that asks for things unnecessary,
and impossible, and that has no special blessing to strive for, is unreasonable,
and cannot prevail.
Prayer – for the health of the Body,
without living according to the Rules of health, is unreasonable, and
it never prevails.
Prayer – for an improved character,
and disposition, without living a good life, and without exercising uniform
courtesy, is unreasonable, and cannot prevail.
Prayer – to grow in Godliness, by
all persons carrying on any business that degrades individuals, and society,
is unreasonable, and has never prevailed.
Prayer – to have sins forgiven,
only for the purpose of escaping Sins due punishment, is unreasonable,
and will never prevail.
The Prayer – of frightened, life-long
evil men and women, when Death has got a fast hold of them, is unreasonable,
and cannot prevail.
Reasonable prayers to God always prevail.
Prayer – by those who strive to
learn “what they should pray for as they ought” and who seek
some natural and probable, and special help or blessing, is reasonable,
and always prevails.
Right Prayer – that is accompanied
by an intelligent Faith, and wise, real and good work for securing some
natural and special good thing or blessing, is reasonable, and it is bound
A man’s Prayer to God for a friend
– who is either present, or far away, should be united to the following
- He should well know his friend’s
nature, and his “besetting Sins”.
- He should, if possible, know nearly
where his friend lives, if abroad.
- He should fix his mind on the special
blessing, or good, that he desires his friend to obtain, through his
- And that blessing should be a very
needful, and natural, and probable one.
- He should concentrate his whole Spirit
upon God and his friend, and upon the one, special, work he is doing
- And – he should exercise mighty
Faith that his prayer for his friend will be granted. Faith keeps the
Fire burning, which will not go out until his friend comes in.
- Prayer to God – of this kind,
for any friend near, or far away, is reasonable, and in due time, and
soon, it is certain to prevail.
All of the forgoing remarks arise from
the hand and continuous study, and the closest observation of the real
practice, and results, of prayer among religious people during many long
And the following Facts seem very clear:
Godly Prayer – is a Power and Force
controlled by laws that are changeless, and exact, in their workings.
The Force, and Processes of Prayer can
be explained in followed from their beginning to their end, just as clearly
as can the unseen processes of many other invisible, but mighty Forces
When Prayer to God is for a reasonable,
and special blessing, it is exercised in exact harmony with the laws by
which God governs prayer, then the blessing is certain to come.
And prayer to God brings a blessing, even
when it is not exact in its reasonableness. It brings God’s Spirit
close to man’s Spirit and makes the human being more divine. No
single and sincere prayer can be offered up to God in vain! A blessing
Prayer to God therefore, is not an act
to make light of, for lifting man and woman up to Heaven, so that they
may lay hold of the Right hand of the living God. Prayer is the mightiest
power in the Universe. All the Thunders of the skies cannot stop praying
Souls from mounting upward on their wondrous way.
We all know that it is necessary, and
good, to ask help from our Mothers and Fathers. And it is supremely necessary,
and good, that we should ask help from God, the one living God, who is
the Maker, and Father of us All, and “who giveth to all men liberally,
and UPBRAIDETH NOT”.
George Burgess, August 1899
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by George Burgess