“The men of Whitby” is a story by Robert Blatchford relating the effort to rescue the passengers and crew from a stricken vessel in ‘Robin Hood’ bay in 1881.
The ‘Robin Hood’ bay life boat is damaged and out of action and the sea is too rough to risk rowing the ‘Whitby ‘life boat around the coast. They therefore hit upon the thought to take the boat overland despite warnings of it impossibility and dire weather conditions.
After super human effort and a groundswell of local support the boat crew manages to get the boat to ‘Robin Hood’ bay.
The first attempt is forced back by immense waves and half the oars are shattered and half the crew put out of action.
Taking the oars from the damaged local life boat and fresh men taken aboard but again they are forced back. But again they attempt to reach the vessel in its dire peril
All this time the passengers and crew of the vessel are unaware of the mighty efforts being made on their behalf’s and only when the lifeboat men cheer do they realize that their deliverance is at hand.
The story ends ,
“Oh, it was a glorious day! a strife of giants! a triumph of heroes! Imagine the delighted enthusiasm, the frantic excitement of the crowd when the shipwrecked crew were landed on that dangerous rocky shore, snatched from the very jaws of death – saved, saved to a man! – saved by the dauntless courage and magnificently heroic devotion of the fishermen of Whitby, who brought their lifeboat overland.”
While making allowance for some poetic license, there is no doubt that this story has often stirred my soul and brought a tear to my eye.
In the spiritual realm it is this desire to save that made Christianity different from the religions of men.
The saving love of Christ seen in his life and death upon the Cross has always fueled the zeal and fired the hearts of Christians for the proclamation of the gospel of Salvation.
It can only be said that the malaise the modern Church finds itself in is largely due to its allowing this fire to burn low and be replaced with a desire for people’s mere acceptance of Christian profession.
Is Jesus indeed, the Saviour and the only one, or is He not? If so we who have experienced his mercy and grace must declare Him as such without fear or favour.
Tongue Tied Christians in prayer!
A ‘Methodist’ lady on an emigrant ship coming to Australia in the 1800’s complained to the captain that there was no ‘prayer meeting’ on board ship. He replied that the Anglican minister on board ship read ‘prayers’ Sunday morning. She replied that they were only ‘Parson’s prayers’.
The Christian’s constant peril is falling into the habit of praying merely by rote and habit.
Books of prayers and artificial helps may have their place but only if they lay a foundation upon which we ourselves build.
To have needs, desires and concerns is common to us all but the teaching of Scripture about prayer is all about the way we ‘give them utterance’ in the presence of ‘Our Heavenly Father’.
What we say in prayer is less a factor than how we come. While we indeed come to God through Christ as sinners, we also come as children.
It is natural for us to want to come into our father’s presence as presentable as possible yet for all our washing and scrubbing we still come clothed in the righteousness of Christ. The washing away of remaining sin is from God so coming to him in all our sin and shame is unavoidable.
The ‘shopping list’ tendency in prayer may stem from our ‘business’ like attitude and not wanting to hold God up with extraneous matters and civilities.
No doubt the crises of life and our agitated states may excuse us many a time yet in the normal course of our lives we need to stop and consider who it is to whom we come.
To pray after the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer or if you prefer the Pattern our Lord gave us for prayer is a good starting place for those ‘ all at sea’ when it comes to prayer. Our application of its principals to our current situations and as it were filling the names and problems into the blanks is useful sometimes.
One major thing to is to not fall into the habit of neglecting prayer or forever putting it off.
The Holy Spirit graciously intercedes within us in our prayers and Christ all availingly intercedes for us at the ‘Throne of grace’ but all this depends upon us praying in the first place.