Faint Not! Pray On!
By D. L. Moody
Jesus taught "that men ought always to pray, and not to faint" (Luke 18:1).
A man once went to George Müller and said he wanted him to pray for a certain thing. The man stated that he had asked God a great many times to grant him his request, but He had not seen fit to do it. Mr. Müller took out his notebook, and showed the man the name of a person for whom he had prayed for twenty-four years. The prayer, Mr. Müller added, was not answered yet, but the Lord had given him assurance that that person was going to be converted, and his faith rested there.
We sometimes find that our prayers are answered right away while we are praying; at other times the answer is delayed. But especially when men pray for mercy, how quickly the answer comes! Look at Paul, when he cried, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6) – the answer came at once. Then the publican who went up to the temple to pray – he got an immediate answer (Luke 18:10-14). The thief on the cross prayed, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom!" and the answer came immediately – then and there (Luke 23:42-43).
There are many cases of a similar kind in the Bible, but there are also others who prayed long and often. The Lord delights in hearing His children make their requests known unto Him – telling their troubles all out to Him; and then we should wait for His time. We do not know when that is.
There was a mother in Connecticut who had a son in the army, and it almost broke her heart when he left, because he was not a Christian. Day after day she lifted up her voice in prayer for her boy. She afterward learned that he had been taken to the hospital, and there died, but she could not find out anything about how he had died.
Years passed, and one day a friend came to see some member of the family on business. There was a picture of the soldier boy upon the wall. He looked at it, and said, "Did you know that young man?" The mother said, "That young man was my son. He died in the late war." The man replied, "I knew him very well, he was in my company." The mother then asked, "Do you know any thing about his end?" The man said, "I was in the hospital, and he died a most peaceful death, triumphant in the faith."
The mother had given up hope of ever hearing of her boy; but before she went hence she had the satisfaction of knowing that her prayers had prevailed with God.
I think we shall find a great many of our prayers that we thought unanswered answered when we get to heaven. If it is the true prayer of faith, God will not disappoint us. Let us not doubt God.
For the Sake of Christ
Jeremiah prayed, and said: "Ah Lord God! behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee" (Jer. 32:17). Nothing is too hard for God; that is a good thing to take for a motto. God has said, "Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jer. 33:3). Now let us call on the Lord; and let us pray that it may be done for Christ’s sake – not our own.
If we want our sons and daughters converted, let us pray that it be done for Christ’s sake. If that is the motive, our prayers will be answered. If God gave up Christ for the world, what will He not give us? If He gave Christ to the murderers and blasphemers, and the rebels of a world lying in wickedness and sin, what would He not give to those who go to Him for Christ’s sake? Let our prayer be that God may advance His work, not for our glory – not for our sake – but for the sake of His beloved Son whom He hath sent.
Expect an Answer
So let us remember that when we pray we ought to expect an answer. Let us be looking for it. I remember at the close of a meeting in one of our Southern cities near the end of the war, a man came up to me weeping and trembling. I thought something I had said had aroused him, and I began to question him as to what it was. I found, however, that he could not tell a word of what I had said.
"My friend," said I, "what is the trouble?" He put his hand into his pocket, and brought out a letter, all soiled, as if his tears had fallen on it. "I got that letter," he said, "from my sister last night. She tells me that every night she goes on her knees and prays to God for me. I think I am the worst man in all the Army of the Cumberland. I have been perfectly wretched today." That sister was six hundred miles away, but she had brought her brother to his knees in answer to her earnest, believing prayer. It was a hard case, but God heard and answered the prayer of this godly sister, so that the man was as clay in the hands of the potter. He was soon brought into the kingdom of God – all through his sister’s prayers.
I went off some thirty miles to another place, where I told this story. A young man, a lieutenant in the army, sprang to his feet and said, "That reminds me of the last letter I got from my mother. She told me that every night as the sun went down she prayed for me. She begged of me, when I got her letter, to go away alone, and yield myself to God. I put the letter in my pocket, thinking there would be plenty of time." He went on to say that the next news that came from home was that his mother was gone. He went out into the woods alone, and cried to his mother’s God to have mercy upon him. As he stood in the meeting with his face shining, that lieutenant said: "My mother’s prayers are answered; and my only regret is that she did not live to know it; but I will meet her by-and-by." So, though we may not live to see the answer to our prayers, if we cry mightily to God, the answer will come.
Christian friends, continue to pray. Remember, "with God all things are possible" (Mark 10:27).
– Taken from Prevailing Prayer by D.L. Moody.