Psalms 25: 4, 5
Prayer ought to be the most natural, as it is the noblest form of speech. “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” (Dan.6:10).
Prayer would be if human nature were not off its balance, and out of tune, morally crippled and disjointed.
Yet in adversity, peril and grief, the instinct pf prayer often wakes up even in godless hearts.“Show me thy ways, O Lord, teach me thy paths” (v.4).
No godless lips would be surprised by danger or stung by pain into uttering such a prayer as this “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Rom.88:26).
This prayer teaches our urgent need of God’s teaching.
First of all, God himself. Nature is a revelation of God, a lesson-book stored with Divine meaning “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” (Ps.19:1).
His existence, his infinite wisdom and goodness in design, power in execution, ruling, upholding, unchanging faithfulness, these are lessons we may read. “I change not”
We can rest assure that nature has no message to the individual, no answer to this petition, and woes ” show me, teach me, lead me.” only the Lord can do this.
Like a machine, nature is guided by fixed laws, all is universal, enumerable, and persistent.
The knowledge of God that the heart needs is personal. Does he care for me, love me, will he invite my love into his presence?.
Have I sinned against him? And, if so, will he pardon? Will he listen if I speak, will he answer if I pray? “And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.” (Jer 33:8).
While not a sparrow dies without the knowledge of our heavenly Father, we count much more in his reckoning than many sparrow? “Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Mt.10:31).
Secondly, concerning ourselves, our life, our duty, and salvation. This is the teaching the psalmist asks for: Thy ways,” Thy paths,” Lead me in thy truth.”
The revelation of Scripture in a sense resembles that of nature. It is for all nation and people “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” Mt.28:19).
The individual soul needs more than revelation, inspiration, light and leading of the Holy Spirit “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Ac.2:38).
Divine teaching is to be sought and obtained by prayer, not as a substitute for Scripture. The inward light is not to supersede the written Word. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Ps.119:105)
God has given us them, so for as words can convey it, all the knowledge we need of himself, and of our duty, salvation, and destiny “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;” (II.Pet.1:5)
We must keep in mind that we are not independent of human teaching “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”(Heb.13:17).
God does not bestow equal light on all Christian; but larger, deeper, clearer knowledge and wisdom to some, that they may impart to others.
A mind too proud to learn from man is not in a fit state to be taught of God “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Eph.4:11,12).
The capacity to apprehend Divine truth is from God “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (I.Cor.2:10).
So is a right disposition of heart, humility, sympathy, desire for love, holiness to God “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” (Prov.20:9) David prayed unto God “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps.51:10).
The Bible is a sealed book to the understanding as long as the heart is closed against the gospel “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” (Mt.13:13,15).