To Whom We Should Pray

There was once a Scottish nobleman who was a Roman Catholic. He was very rich, but lived a retired life and left the management of his affairs very much in the hands of his steward and other servants. One of his tenants named Donald was a pious Protestant. He rented a farm from the nobleman, on which his forefathers had lived more than two hundred years. The lease by which he held the farm was soon to expire, and the steward refused to allow Donald to renew it, intending to give it to a friend ofhis own. Poor Donald was greatly distressed at the thought of being turned out of his home. He tried every argument in his power to induce the steward to let him remain on the farm, but in vain. At last he resolved to make the situation known to his lordship himself, feeling sure that he would grant his request. But when he applied at the castle door he was sent away, as the steward had given orders that he was not to be admitted. Donald was almost in despair. Finally, however, he resolved upon a bold step. He climbed over the garden wall, and, entering a private door, made his way unobserved to the apartments of the nobleman. As he drew near he heard his lordship’s voice engaged in prayer. He waited until he should conclude, and while doing so, distinctly heard him pleading earnestly with the Virgin Mary and St. Francis to intercede with the Father and the Son in his behalf.

After the voice ceased, Donald knocked gently at the door and was admitted. The kind-hearted nobleman was much affected by his request. He assured him at once that his lease would be renewed and himself and family protected from the resentment of the steward. Donald was delighted with the success of his plan and poured forth his warmest thanks to his generous benefactor. He was about to leave when a feeling of anxiety for his gracious patron took possession of his mind, and he thought he would try to speak a word to him that, by God’s blessing might do him good.

"My lord," said he, "I have been a bold man in venturing into your presence, but you have forgiven me and saved me and my family from ruin. I would again be a bold man and speak a word by your lordship’s permission."

"Well, Donald, speak out," said the nobleman.

"My lord," replied Donald, "as I stood waiting at your door, I heard you praying with great earnestness to the Virgin Mary and to St. Francis; you seemed to be very unhappy. Now, my lord, forgive me, but I cannot help thinking that the Virgin Mary and St. Francis will do you but little good. I should have been a ruined man if I had trusted to your servants. I came direct to your lordship and you heard me, Now if you would but leave the Virgin Mary and St. Francis, who, I am convinced, will do no more for you than your steward would for me, and just go directly to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and pray for what you need, He will hear you and grant you the desires of your heart, for He has said in His Word, ’Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out’."

We are not told what the effect of Donald’s appeal was, but certainly his argument was a good one, and we may hope that it led the noble man to see the folly of applying to the servants when he might go at once to the Master; the folly of praying to the saints when he had the privilege of praying to Jesus, the Lord of all the saints.

R. M, McCheyne Young People’s Magazine