Our world is a sick world–disillusioned, war-scarred, head-dizzy, body-weary, sin-smitten–a world in despair. Human philosophy is bankrupt. Nations, weary and wicked, walk on the edges of abysses. Men and women everywhere are bewildered and distracted by the problems and difficulties of life. Some leaders “loose wild tongues that hold not God in awe.”
When God’s People Pray
There are so many problems that cannot be solved, so many dangers that cannot be averted, so many burdens that cannot be borne by human strength and wisdom, ingenuity and genius. What we need is what God can do. What God can do will be done for us when God’s people pray. There is nothing so necessary in the lives of churches and individuals today as earnest, continued, importunate prayer.
It is the conviction of all who have proved the faithfulness of God that nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God. There is no such thing as unanswered prayer when the basis of our beseeching is found within that sovereign will.
The needs of the world are so many and varied and complex. The evils that threaten to lead our greatest graces to the grave and leave the world no copy are so strong, defiant and daring. Apart from the right kind of prayer, there is little hope for us to achieve what God wants us to achieve.
Power Is Unleashed Through Prayer
Jesus said, “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” Andrew Murray said, “In relation to His people, God works only in answer to their prayer.” Jowett said, “I’d rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.” Spurgeon said, “Cares are manifold; therefore let your prayers be manifold, for prayer is the sword that will cut the Gordian knot if it cannot be untied.”
By these words we learn that great is the law of intercession. Abraham interceded for wicked Sodom, Moses for wayward and complaining Israel, Samuel for the nation changing its form of government, Elijah for an apostate nation in disaster and for the Zarephath widow in poverty and sorrow, Paul for the church he founded, Jesus for the disciples He called.
Knowing that intercessory prayer is our mightiest weapon and the supreme call for all Christians today, I pleadingly urge our people everywhere to pray. Believing that prayer is the greatest contribution that our people can make in this critical hour, I humbly urge that we take time to pray–and when we take time, really pray.
Let us remember that Goodell said, “He who prays most, helps most”; that Pierson said, “Every step in the progress of missions is directly traceable to prayer”; that Eugene Stock said, “He who faithfully prays at home does as much for foreign missions as the man on the field”; that the poet said, “The place where we can reach the store of hoarded gold and free it for our Lord, the place where God Himself descends and fights for us, is the place of prayer.”
It Is Your Personal Privilege to Pray
You CAN pray. You may muzzle a man so that he cannot articulate a syllable, but you have not made it impossible for him to pray. You may cast a man into a dungeon and load his limbs with chains, keeping him from all manner of communication with his fellowmen, but you cannot keep him from having a conversation with God.
And what is more, and better still, you cannot keep God from coming to the help of His people–to the help of His people against their foes–for God has promised to be, in our behalf, an enemy to our enemies. The door has never yet been forged, the dungeon never yet constructed, the adversary never yet so mighty that can exclude God from His people.
Prayer is the highest of all our privileges as followers of Jesus. Of that privilege, no human power can deprive us. Let us prize it highly and prove it thoroughly in these serious days through which we are passing.
An Appeal for All of Us to Pray
Let there be prayer at sunup, at noonday, at sundown, at midnight–all through the day. Let us all pray for our children, our youth, our aged, our pastors, our homes. Let us pray for our churches, that they may fill their God-appointed missions. Let us pray for our missionaries at home and in foreign lands. Let us pray for ourselves, that we may not lose the word concern out of our Christian vocabulary.
Let us pray for nations in distress, for our own nation, for those who have never known Jesus Christ and redeeming love, for moral forces everywhere, for our national leaders, for all hearts that they may hold no malice, for our tongues and pens, that we be not hurtfully critical.
Let prayer be our portion. Let prayer be our pastime. Let prayer be our passion. Let prayer be our practice. Let us be found at the throne of grace, not only with holy boldness but with serene confidence–knowing that God is faithful to perform that which He has promised and that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that in us worketh.