The Necessity of Asking God's Blessing Every Day, upon Your Daily Work. Every Work, however Good, Needs Special, Specific, Daily Prayer for its Prosperity.
"A colporteur in the Wabash valley became quite discouraged and was almost ready to give up his work, on account of the smallness of his sales.
On every side, his ears were filled with complaints of 'hard times;' the wheat crop had partially failed two years in succession--the California emigration, and railroad and plank-road speculations had almost drained the country of money. Frequently he would be told, that if he could come after harvest they would buy his books, but that it was impossible to do so then. His sales were daily decreasing, and he became more and more disheartened, until one night, after a laborious day's effort, he found that he had only sold twenty-five cents' worth! He felt that he could not go on in this way any longer. He was wasting his strength and time, and the money of the Society. On examination of the state of his heart, he found that it had, gradually and almost unconsciously, grown cold and departed far from Christ. He felt that he had not prayed as he ought to have done, especially he had neglected each morning, and on his approach to each dwelling, to pray that then and there God would guide him, and own and bless his efforts to sell books.
He saw that probably here was at least a part of the cause why his sales had become so small. Early the next morning, before any of the family were up, he arose and retired to the adjoining woods, where he had a long and precious season of communion with God. There he anew dedicated himself and his all to the service of Christ. There, as under the eye of the Master, he reviewed the time he had labored as a colporteur, and prayed for forgiveness for the past and grace for the future. There he told the Saviour all about his work, and asked him to go with him that day, preparing the way and enabling him to succeed in the work on which he had entered.
The result was what might have been expected. He went forth a new man; his heart was interested more deeply in the truths which he was circulating--they were more precious than ever to his own soul, and he could recommend his books, as he failed to do when his heart was cold and prayerless. That first day he sold more books than during the whole week before. In one instance, he sold several dollars' worth in a family where, as he was afterwards told by pious men in the neighborhood, the father was most bitterly opposed to everything connected with true religion. God had prepared that man's heart, so that he was ready to purchase quite a library for his family. And in many families that met him that day with the usual salutation, 'no money,' he succeeded in disposing of more than one volume by sale. As he went from family to family, lifting up his heart in prayer to God for success in the particular object of his visit, God heard his prayers and owned his efforts. And so, he assured me, it had been since; whenever he had been prayerful--prayerful for this particular object, and then had diligently and faithfully done his best, he had invariably succeeded in doing even more than he expected."
"Many years ago, a man then recently married, settled in my native town. It was then quite new, destitute of religious privileges, and given to all manner of wickedness. There was no Sabbath, and no sanctuary. The man was pious. The thought of bringing up a family in such a place distressed him. He wished to remove; and he used to retire daily to a little grove, and pray that God would send some one to buy his farm. This prayer was not answered. Better things were in store. A neighbor was taken sick. He visited and conversed with him. In the midst of the conversation, one sitting by interrupted him and said, 'Sir, if what you say is true, I am lost.'
This gave new interest to the occasion. Prayer was offered, the Spirit was found out, and many were converted. A prayer-meeting was started; other revivals followed; in due time a church was organized, a house of worship built, and a pastor settled, mainly through the instrumentality of that one man; and he trained up his family there, and lived to see most of them members of the church of Christ. Do not despair, God will either answer your exact prayer, or do something better for you; He knows what is for your best good."
Another Wonderful Record Of $ 25.
A Christian minister, living in Northern Indiana, was in want, and knelt in prayer again and again before his Father in heaven. His quarterly allowance had been withheld, and want stared him in the face. Constrained by urgent need, and shut up to God for help, he pleaded repeatedly for a supply of his temporal wants. Now see how extraordinary was the plan of the Lord to send relief. "In one of the lovely homes of Massachusetts, while the snow was falling and the winds were howling without, a lady sat on one side of the cheerful fire, knitting a little stocking for her oldest grandson, and her husband, opposite to her, was reading aloud a missionary paper, when the following passage arrested the attention of the lady and fastened itself in her memory. "' In consequence of failure to obtain my salary when due, I have been so oppressed with care and want, as to make it painfully difficult to perform my duties as a minister. There is very little prospect, seemingly, of improvement in this respect for some time to come. What I say of my own painfully inadequate support, is substantially true of nearly all your missionaries in this State.
You, of course, cannot be blamed for this. You are but the almoners of the churches, and can be expected to appropriate only what they furnish. This, however, the Master will charge to somebody as a grievous fault; for it is not His will that his ministers should labor unrequited.' "This extract was without name or date. It was simply headed 'from a missionary in Northern Indiana.' Scores of readers probably gave it only a passing glance. Not so the lady who sat knitting by the fire and heard her husband read it. The words sank into her mind, and dwelt in her thoughts. The clause, 'This, however, the Master will charge to somebody as a grievous fault,' especially seemed to follow her wherever she went. The case, she said, haunted her. She seemed to be herself that very 'somebody' who was to answer at the bar of God for the curtailed supplies and straitened means of this humble minister. "Impelled by an unseen, but, as she believes, a divine presence and power, after asking counsel and guidance of the Lord, she took twenty-five dollars which were at her own disposal, and requested her husband to give it to the Rev. Dr. H------ for the writer of the above communication, if he could devise any way toobtain the writer's address. "Doctor H------ is a prompt man, who does not let gold destined to such an end rest in his pocket.
Familiar with the various organizations of the benevolent societies, and only too happy to have an agency in supplying the wants of a laborer in Christ's vineyard, he soon started the money on its appointed errand. Early in April, the lady in her rural home had the happiness of receiving the following note, of which we omit nothing, save the names of persons and places:
"' DEAR MADAM.--I have just received a draft for twenty-five dollars, as a special donation from you. This I do with profound gratitude to you for this unselfish and Christ-like deed, and to Him who put it into your heart to do it. How you, a lady a thousand miles away, could know that I was, and had been for some time, urged by unusual need to pray for succor and worldly support with unwonted fervency, is a matter of more than curious inquiry. It is an answer to my prayer, for the Lord employs the instrumentality of his children to answer prayer, and, when it is necessary, he moves them to it. This is not the first nor second time that I have been laid under special obligation by Christian sympathy and timely aid. May He who said, He that giveth a cup of cold water to a disciple, in the name of a disciple, shall not lose his reward, repay you a thousand-fold for this favor.' "
Does not this little incident illustrate the power of prayer? The man of God, weary and heavy-laden, in his closet in Indiana, spread his case before the Lord. A disciple in Eastern Massachusetts, a thousand miles away from the spot where the prayer was offered, who did not know anything about him or his need, is touched with his wants, and moved to send him immediate aid."