Vol.XI No.XI Pg.7
January 1975

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Dear Bro. Turner:

Please explain MAT.6:8. Must we pray with the voice (audibly) or is there a verse for silent prayer? G.M.


Jesus has condemned praying "to be seen (and heard) of men", and the use of "vain repetitions" — as though we would be heard via volume. So when he says, "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask Him;" he is emphasizing that the object of prayer is not to give God information but to ask His blessing. Expositors Bible puts it well: "Pray always as to a being well informed and willing, in few words and in faith." Jesus does not condemn much praying (LUK. 11:8;18:1-1) nor even using the same words (MAT. 26:44) but insists our prayer be a genuine petition, to God and not unto men. Those who ask, "Why pray, if God knows—?" come dangerously close to intimating that God has to have our information. God said to pray (cf. JAM.4:2), and that should be reason enough.

Private prayer need not be audible (cf. GEN. 24:42-45; ISA. 1:12-15) for the "instrument" of prayer is the heart. We "call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 TI. 2:22). God knows our heart, the innermost sincere desires of our spirit (ROM. 8:26-27), so that a prayer which is not truly "in faith" is exposed. (MAR.11:23-24)

Im afraid some think of prayer as a sort of formula for obtaining blessings (say the right words, push the right buttons) rather than the close, intimate communion of child to parent which God wants it to be. Dear Bro. Turner:

Why is not more done to take the gospel to dark places of the earth? Will we be lost for so failing? G.R.


First, the "dark place" may be in our neighborhood. There will never be the right kind of interest in foreign work until concern for the untaught and lost in the next block is more in keeping with the Lords will. Some erroneously attach a glamour to "far off" work that is unrealistic. It is just as hard to approach and teach a social and intellectual equal in some foreign land, as it is here.

A chief reason why more is not done, abroad and at home, is our failure to recognize the true nature of sin (as being "against God") and its awful consequence, death (See p.5.). If earthquakes or tornadoes strike, here or far away, we go all out to send material relief — as we should. But a trusted gospel preacher may have difficulty getting support to take them the gospel. We believe they need food and clothes, and we are compassionate. Are we unconvinced concerning their spiritual needs?

There are some valid reasons why brethren take a greater interest in needs closer home ("where we can be a part of and check the work"), but it has been my experience that genuine soul-saving interest "at home" will interest us in far away places. Dont confuse pride-soothing "number- getting" with hunger for lost souls. I do believe that in order to save my own soul, I must seek others.