The life of Christ as the God-man was permeated with prayer. From the Gospels, we learn first of all that He prayed secretly: “In the morning, rising up a great while before day He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” [Mark 1:35]. Secondly, He prayed submissively: “(He) prayed saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” [Matthew 26:39]. Thirdly, He prayed steadfastly: “It came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God” [Luke 6:12].
Finally, He prayed successfully: “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always” [John 11:41,42].
No wonder His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. Let us do likewise. We couldn’t learn from a better teacher. [Dr. Stanley Barnes].
AN EASY LESSON TO LEARN
Most evangelicals know that the Lord’s Prayer is not really the Lord’s Prayer. He who knew no sin could hardly pray, “Forgive us our debts.” No, it is the ‘prayer the Lord taught His disciples to pray.’ Have we learned? In many cases, the answer seems to be in the negative.
There is one simple lesson that lies on the surface. The prayer commences with the acknowledgement of the greatness and majesty of our God. We fail because we often start with a lengthy ‘wish’ list, almost forgetting the One of whom we make our requests. The petitions in the ‘Lord’s prayer’ rightly come in the middle and are followed by a closing ascription of God’s greatness.
First, it was a grave with 213 children discovered a few weeks ago at the residential school in Kamloops, BC. Now, a staggering 751 unmarked graves have been unearthed on the former Marieval residential school site in Saskatchewan. Both these schools were operated by the Roman Catholic Church and are a blight on Canada’s good name. Increasing pressure is being put on Pope Francis to issue an apology, but thus far, not a word. Other graves are expected to be found.
FORTY-FIVE YEARS AGO
It was a lovely Monday morning (June 8) in Tandragee, N. Ireland. After breakfast, I went into the manse study and turned on the radio to listen to the morning news. The opening item shocked me. The Ontario Attorney General, Roy McMurtry, petitioned the federal A/G to ban me from entry into Canada because I was a Free Presbyterian and a friend of Dr. Ian Paisley, the FP Moderator.
I immediately called the ‘Doc,’ and he too had heard the news. He advised me that as I had emigration approval from Canada House in Belfast, I should get the next plane for Canada before any action could be taken against us.
That Monday was a whirlwind of activity, a flight to be booked, passports to be changed (the children were on my passport), new travel arrangements for May and our family on June 27, quick farewells to the elders and friends. By early Tuesday (June 9), I was ready to go.
Rather than fly into Toronto to the hotbed of media and political frenzy, I flew to Montreal. There I went through the immigration procedure without any trouble. I immediately booked a flight to Toronto and was met by my brother-in-law, Don, and stayed with his family for a few days.
It was interesting to be in Canada when our adversaries thought I was still in Ulster. I was able to listen to the furore created by the press. On their radio dialogue, Pierre Berton and Charles Templeton opined that as Canada had regulations to keep tainted food out of the country, might it not be a good idea to keep out people like Free Presbyterians as well. So much for the vaunted freedoms of Canadians! I was laughing at the thought of these pointy-headed intellectuals mouthing off, not knowing I was listening to them. The church was due to start on July 4, 1976, so the extra time in Toronto enabled me to rent a house and get ready for the family’s arrival.
REMINDERS OF EDEN
The Garden of Eden brings happy thoughts to our minds. One can only imagine what it must have been like for Adam and Eve in that perfect environment.
Sadly, they fell into sin and brought unhappiness upon this world, right up to the present day. Our beautiful world brings forth things that are most unpleasant. The present pandemic is one, the current plague of gypsy moths that is denuding many trees of foliage is another. These things are a constant reminder that we are part of Adam’s fallen race.