THE WEAPON OF ALL PRAYER
Published February 1, 1868
Help, LORD, for the godly man ceaseth,
for the faithful fail from among the children of men.
What an inestimable privilege is real, in-wrought, grace-inspired prayer to the child of God! I do not mean saying prayers, or merely uttering words of prayer, but the sincere, spiritual, sensible, and affectionate pouring out of the heart under the eternal Spirit’s influence, through the sacred medium, the only blood-opened way into the ears and bosom of the Lord of Sabaoth—that prayer that is forced out of the heart by the solemn and deep necessity felt of the blessing prayed for, and which very often vents itself from the breaking, burdened heart in sighs, desires, groans, and tears, which cannot be uttered in words—the prayer of faith. Oh, how powerful to reach Jehovah’s ear, to move Jehovah’s heart and arm. This has been the peculiar privilege of the Church of God in all ages. In times of special trouble, where is the heaven-born experienced traveller to Zion who cannot bear his testimony to the truth of this, and enter feelingly into the truth expressed by dear Cowper—
“That were a grief I could not bear,
Did’st thou not hear and answer prayer?
But a prayer-hearing, answering God,
Supports me ander every load.”
Soul troubles, bodily troubles, relative troubles, circumstantial troubles, church troubles, and national troubles, and sometimes a portion of these combined, and all meeting together and placed in the same cup for the child of God to drink. Why, sink the soul must under these weights and burdens were there not a secret, certain outlet, such an one as dear Hannah found at the mercy-seat, when she spake in the bitterness of her soul—when she spake in her heart, her lips only moved, but she poured out her soul before the Lord, and out of the abundance of her complaint and grief she spoke and relieved her sorrowful spirit, and her countenance bespoke the experienced relief. The vessel of mercy would sink, the Pilot well knows, if overfreighted; therefore, a look by precious faith. lightens the sinking heart; and in real prayer, the cares, and sins, and, sorrows are as really laded out of the heart of the poor sinking soul as the goods are laded out of a sinking vessel. Our sorrows and our tears we pour into the bosom of our God; He hears us in the mournful hour, and helps us to bear the heavy load. If prayer is so important to the individual child of God, how important is united prayer! O that the Spirit, in this respect, were poured out upon us from on high, to bring the living souls of God’s dear family into vital union and communion with Christ, the living head, and with one another, so that the power of vital and practical godliness might be more manifest. Oh, that our prayer-meetings were characterised with more of that simplicity, fervour, devotion, and power, that characterised the saints of old, who met with one accord, in one place, and made their solemn supplications and grace-wrought appeals to Heaven’s high throne. Surely, this is faith’s retreat and resort still; the mighty God of Jacob still lives, whose ear is not heavy that it cannot hear, and his arm is not waxed short that He cannot save; the same Omnipotent arm that dried the sea, that cut Rahab, that crushed the serpent’s head, that wrought eternal redemption, and that hurled the mighty load of all the Church’s guilt into oblivion; that arm in connection with His heart of everlasting love is still outstretched to save his Hephzibah, his beloved spouse, and therefore, how suitable, and how important the prayer before us in these troublous and portentous times, Help, Lord!
Ah, vain is the help of man; but our God still rideth upon the heavens by His name Jah for the help of His people against their numerous foes; and though the clouds are gathering, and the state of professing Zion is most perplexing and distressing, though truth is still falling around us, faithful men of God removed home, and vital godliness at best at a very low ebb, here, ye highly favoured, much despised, yet honoured praying few, is our privilege. We have power with God; we have influence in the high court of Heaven, though we may possess little or no influence on earth. How sweet the assurance—Zion’s welfare, and Zion’s Saviour’s honour and glory are inseparable. 0! that our eyes, and hearts, and hands may be up, therefore, to the tranquil and steady throne of our exalted King, in whose skilful hands is entrusted all affairs of all worlds. Before our King the pomp and so-called greatness of nations sink into nothing, and all the teeming grasshoppers of earth are less than nothing, and vanity; and in His affections, in His eternal mind, even in the mind and bosom of the Highest, we have a place. The people of God are scattered and divided, the ways of Zion do mourn, our enemies are to us mighty and confederate, the beast of Rome is again caressed in England, and the mark thereof is to be seen, alas! on every hand, increasing power is being given to it; our Parliament is deaf to the warning voice, and in vain we look to that source. O! then, to realize the power of prayer by precious faith in the Lord of Hosts. While we have no might in ourselves against this great company that cometh against us, may our eyes be up unto Him whose precious promise is, “Whosoever shall gather together against Zion shall fall for her sake.”
Popery is making rapid strides to its own destruction, for when she is ripe for the blow from the hand of our God, the blow will come, and an everlasting hallelujah will arise out of her destruction; rivers of blood she has shed, and blood may flow again in old England, God only knows; but this we know, for it is revealed, that she came from the bottomless pit, and shall certainly go there again when God’s permissive will is accomplished by her existence; and apostles, prophets, martyrs and saints shall shout in chorus over her destruction. “True and righteous are thy judgments, for thou hast judged the great whore which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged our blood at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia.”
That the Lord the Spirit may arouse His sleeping saints and revive His work in all our hearts and in all His churches, especially in respect of united, solemn, and fervent prayer, is the desire of the humble writer,