And he spoke a parable to them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;…
The "ought" of Christ outweighs all the objections of infidelity, and is stronger than the adverse conclusions of a material science.
1. Prayer should be constant. "Can we, indeed," says , "without ceasing bend the knee, bow the body, or lift up the hands?" If the attitude and the language of prayer were essential to its being truly offered, the command of Christ would seem to be exaggerated. But understand it as the soul's attitude to God, and it is no exaggeration. "That soul," says Dr. Donne, "which is ever turned toward God, prays sometimes when it does not know that it prays." The testimony of the Christian father accords with this. After admitting that formal, oral prayer must have its pauses and intermissions, Augustine says, "There is another interior prayer without intermission, and that is the longing of the heart. Whatever else thou mayest be doing, if thou longest after the Sabbath of God, thou dost not intermit to pray." Thus the whole life becomes, what conceived the life of the Christian should be, "one great connected prayer." The importance of constancy in it arises from the place it holds in man's spiritual life. Prayer is to the soul what the nerves of the body are to the mind — its medium of communication with a world that else were unperceived and unrealized.
2. Prayer should be earnest. There is danger of our prayer degenerating into a dead form, or perfunctory service — worse than no praying at all. The simple remedy is to deepen the desire or sense of need which prompts to prayer, and is the essence of prayer. "If thou wishest not to intermit to pray," says one of the Christian fathers, "see that thou do not intermit to desire. The coldness of love is the silence of the' heart; the fervency of love is the cry of the heart." This warmth of desire is the product of a clear persuasion of the value of prayer as a means of help and strength.
3. Another quality of true prayer is, patient confidence in God. "Shall not God avenge His own elect which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them." There are two sure and solid grounds of confidence. One is found in God's righteous character, by which He is constrained to rectify wrong and establish the right; and the other is found in His positive love for the suppliant.
4. One other quarry should mark true prayer, namely, humility.
(A. H. Currier.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
WEB: He also spoke a parable to them that they must always pray, and not give up,