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You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding“? Isaiah 29:16
THE PRAYER OF CYRUS BROWN by SAM WALTER FOSS
“The proper way for a man to pray,” said Deacon Lemuel Keyes,
“And the only proper attitude is down upon his knees.”
“No, I should say the way to pray,” said Rev. Dr. Wise,
“Is standing straight, with outstretched arms, and rapt and upturned eyes.”
“Oh, no; no, no,” said Elder Slow, “Such posture is too proud;
A man should pray with eyes fast closed and head contritely bowed.”
“It seems to me his hands should be austerely clasped in front,
With both thumbs pointing toward the ground,” said Rev. Dr. Blunt.
“Las’ year I fell in Hodgkin’s well head first,” said Cyrus Brown,
“With both my heels a-stickin’ up, my head a-pinting down.
“An’ I made a prayer right then an’ there– best prayer I ever said.
The prayingest prayer I ever prayed, a-standing on my head.”
Cyrus Brown was upside down and he knew it. The people to whom Isaiah spoke were upside down but they didn’t know it. Still, Isaiah spoke in order that the people might see and understand. Whether in outright denial of God (he did not make me) or sitting in judgment on God as they perceived him (he has no understanding), the people were in peril and Isaiah called them to consider their upside down condition.
What we face isn’t new. There is an earth-long struggle to displace God from his sovereign role as creator and judge of all. Humankind can never be quite comfortable pursuing its own ends with a sovereign God looking on. So he must be displaced or discredited.
The first place that this struggle must be faced is in our own hearts. In fact, this is what a Christian is, a person who has acknowledged before God that God is right and we have been wrong. A Christian is one who says “He did make me. He knew what he was doing. He alone can fix what is wrong.”
When we are found by the grace of God in Jesus Christ, our eyes begin to open to the peril we were actually in but never knew. God hears the “prayingest prayer” we ever prayed and, being rich in mercy, saves us. But we also come under a burden for our neighbors who still hang upside down. Let us not condemn them. God is a sufficient judge for all. Let us pray for them.
As usual, those who pray most earnestly are those who see the peril most clearly, kind of like old Cyrus Brown.
What a wonderful Savior we have!