Evening, January 15, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“But I am in prayer.” — Psalm 109:4
Lying tongues were busy against the reputation of David, but he did not defend himself; he moved the case into a higher court, and pleaded before the great King himself. Prayer is the safest method of replying to words of hatred. The Psalmist did not pray in a cold-hearted manner, but he gave himself to the exercise–threw his whole soul and heart into it–straining every sinew and muscle, as Jacob did when wrestling with the angel. Therefore, and therefore only, shall any of us make headway at the throne of grace. As a shadow has no power because there is no substance in it, even so an appeal in which a man’s focused self is not thoroughly present in agonizing sincerity and passionate desire, is utterly ineffective, for it lacks that which would give it force. “Fervent prayer,” says an old theologian, “like a cannon planted at the gates of heaven, makes them fly open.” The common fault with the most of us is our readiness to yield to distractions. Our thoughts go roving back and forth, and we make little progress towards our desired end. Like mercury our mind will not hold together, but rolls off this way and that. How great an evil this is! It injures us, and what is worse, it insults our God. What should we think of a petitioner, if, while having an audience with a prince, should be playing with a feather or catching a fly?
Continuance and perseverance are intended in the expression of our text. David did not cry once, and then relapse into silence; his holy clamor was continued till it brought down the blessing. Prayer must not be our chance work, but our daily business, our habit and vocation. As artists give themselves to their models, and poets to their classical pursuits, so must we addict ourselves to prayer. We must be as immersed in prayer as in our all else, and so pray without ceasing. Lord, teach us so to pray that we may be more and more effective in our requests.