And the LORD said to Moses, Why cry you to me? speak to the children of Israel, that they go forward:
I. SOMETIMES THE ANSWER WILL BE VERY UNSATISFACTORY.
1. Because I was brought up to do so.
2. It is a part of my religion. These pray as a Dervish dances or a Fakir holds his arm aloft; but they know nothing of the spiritual reality of prayer (Matthew 6:7).
3. It is a right thing to do. So indeed it is if we pray aright, but the mere repetition of pious words is vanity (Isaiah 29:13).
4. I feel easier in my mind after it. Ought you to feel easier? May not your formal prayers be a mockery of God, and so an increase of sin (Isaiah 1:12-15; Ezekiel 20:31)?
5. I think it meritorious and saving. This is sheer falsehood, and a high offence against the merit and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus.
II. SOMETIMES THE ANSWER WILL BETRAY IGNORANCE.
1. When it hinders immediate repentance. Instead of quitting sin and mourning over it, some men talk of praying. "To obey is better than sacrifice," and better than supplication.
2. When it keeps from faith in Jesus. The gospel is not "pray and be saved"; but "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Matthew 7:21; John 6:47).
3. When we suppose that it fits us for Jesus. We must come to Him as sinners, and not set up our prayers as a sort of righteousness (Luke 18:11, 12).
4. When we think that prayer alone will bring a blessing.
III. SOMETIMES THE ANSWER WILL BE QUITE CORRECT.
1. Because I must. I am in trouble, and must pray or perish. Sighs and cries are not made to order, they are the irresistible outbursts of the heart (Psalm 42:1; Romans 8:26).
2. Because I know I shall be heard, and therefore I feel a strong desire to deal with God in supplication. "Because He hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him" (Psalm 116:2).
3. Because I delight in it: it brings rest to my mind, and hope to my heart. It is a sweet means of communion with my God. "It is good for me to draw near to God" (Psalm 73:28).
4. Because I feel that I can best express the little faith and repentance I have by crying to the Lord for more.
5. Because these grow as I pray. No doubt we may pray ourselves into a good frame if God the Holy Ghost blesses us.
6. Because I look for all from God, and therefore I cry to Him (Psalm 72:5).
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: