Who Will Rise Early And Pray With Me?
By H. W. Hodge
Our Lord Jesus Christ has set an example for us: “In the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35).
Who will rise up with me? Who will come near to God in intercession and long-sustained flight toward heaven? Are you one? By the grace of God, will you give me your hand for the fight? Shall I find one fully determined, though family, friends, flesh and devils oppose; one who will wrestle, supplicate, praise and confess before the throne for men? Is this the purpose of your heart?
No self-pleasing religion in this appeal – no easygoing religion in this request. It is steadfastly against the easygoing, pampered profession of this century.
Call to Self-Denial
I call you to early prayer. My soul is aflame with the necessity. I call you to self-denial. “Self-denial is the law of life.” I call you to a duty that some day will prove the most valuable habit of your soul. I call you to the “heights” where God through the blessed Holy Spirit will make your soul a theater of action and your eyes a fountain of tears – the soul He will act in, and the eyes He will weep through for a lost world.
We quote: “The men who have done most for God in this world have been early upon their knees. If God is not first in our thoughts, in our efforts, in the early morning, He will be last in the remainder of the day. The heart that is behindhand in seeking God in the early morning has lost its relish for God. A desire for God which cannot break the chains of sleep is a weak thing, and will do but little good for God after it has indulged itself fully.”
The Joy of Early Prayer
Eight years ago I commenced to pray early. This early rising is no longer an experiment. It is with me a success. In the beginning the physical man revolts against it. The body, pampered and nurtured for years, refuses to answer to the demand of the soul. The devil will not allow it. Man will not tolerate it. All things in earth and hell protest against it. Ninety out of a hundred will tell you it is self-imposed tyranny.
O man of God, heed them not! “Self-indulgence is the law of death. Self-denial is the law of life.”
The joy of being with God for hours before the world is awake will fully compensate you for all the trials and sufferings, and then the glory you will bring to His name will be inconceivable.
I do not believe in fads. A man must have a certain number of hours sleep for his body in a night, and on testing my body I find I must have seven hours and no less, and if I do not get seven hours at night I get it during the day. John Wesley said his body demanded six and one-half hours sleep. He got six hours at night and thirty minutes after lunch during the day. But we are trying to follow Christ in praying and have no man in view in this matter.
• It is necessary to pray much, often and long in secret.
• You must select time when the world and family will not disturb.
• God wills that all men should pray everywhere lifting up holy hands.
• Preachers should pray more than any one else.
• It is the business of pastors especially to make intercession for their flock, their families and the lost world.
• A little word of prayer and a little talk with Jesus will not “make it right, all right,” unless necessity of time will not admit of more praying.
• We should follow Jesus Christ our Savior, who taught us by day and night to pray. “...In the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35).
“And when He had sent them away, He departed into a mountain to pray” (Mark 6:46).
“And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12).
Holding Out to the Last on Our Knees
The prayer chamber is the pivotal point in the great fight between the powers of hell and God’s saints under Jesus Christ, our Captain. The devil makes his greatest effort here to dislodge the fighters and wrestlers who with tears and groans are holding out to the last on their knees, knowing that everything depends on this last stand for God. We must hold on until Jesus shall come over the eastern hills to claim His bride.