The Pearl Of Prayers -- By: Charles H. Richards
BSac 63:252 (Oct 1906) p. 635
The Pearl Of Prayers
The prayer which our Lord taught his disciples is one of the brightest gems in the treasure-house of the Bible. To the fathers it seemed that Jesus opened God’s jewel-case and revealed the beauty of what one of them called “the pearl of prayers.” It is indeed a crystal of devotion, in whose glowing focus are condensed some of the most precious and far-reaching truths of life.
The briefest of prayers, it is also the most comprehensive. It is multum in parvo, like a prince’s fortune concentrated in a diamond. Tertullian says, “It contains a breviary of the whole gospel.” Bishop Andrews calls it “a compendium of faith.” The scholarly De Wette says, that it expresses in its seven petitions the whole course of religious experience: the first three express the unhindered flight of the soul to God; the next three, the hindrances to this aspiration by our earthly needs and our conflict with sin; and the last one shows the solution that harmonizes this conflict.
There is a remarkable catholicity in the Lord’s Prayer. It is equally adapted to every time and clime, to Hindoo or Hottentot as well as Anglo-Saxon. There is not a phrase in it which any man or any priest of any nationality or religion cannot use with equal satisfaction and propriety.
At the great Columbian Exposition in Chicago, no more impressive sight was witnessed than that in the Parliament of Religions, when each morning the polyglot representatives of
BSac 63:252 (Oct 1906) p. 636
every part of our globe bowed their heads, and repeated this prayer, led now by a Protestant minister and now by a Roman Catholic prelate, now by a Buddhist priest and now by a Parsee saint.
On a great Atlantic steamship recently the Sabbath service was conducted by a Jewish rabbi of distinction. Near the close of the service he invited the entire company to join with him in “the universal prayer.” It is indeed “the Universal Prayer,” as good for the Jew as the Christian, for the philosopher as the child.
There have been many prayers written by famous men for special classes of people. Thomas Aquinas and Lord Bacon have each given us “The Student’s Prayer”; Jeremy Taylor, “The Worker’s Prayer”; Thomas Arnold of Rugby, “The Teacher’s Prayer”; and George Herbert, “The Preacher’s Prayer.” But this is Everybody’s Prayer, and every one of the great human family, of whatever color or condition or church, may use its simple phrases to voice the deepest aspirations of his soul as he draws near to “Our Father.”
This model prayer was evidently not prescribed as a formula always to be used. It w...
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