Morning, February 19, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

“Thus says the Lord God, “This also I will let the house of Israel ask Me to do for them.” — Ezekiel 36:37

Prayer is the forerunner of mercy. Turn to church history, and you will find that rarely ever did a great mercy come to this world not preceded by supplication. You have found this true in your own personal experience. God has given you many an unsolicited favor, but still great prayer has always been the prelude of great mercy with you. When you first found peace through the blood of the cross, you had been praying much, and earnestly interceding with God that he would remove your doubts, and deliver you from your distress. Your assurance was the result of prayer. When at any time you have had high and ecstatic joys, you have been obliged to look upon them as answers to your prayers. When you have had great deliverances out of sore troubles, and mighty helps in great dangers, you have been able to say, “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Prayer is always the preface to blessing. It goes before the blessing as the blessing’s shadow. When the sunlight of God’s mercy rises upon our necessities, it casts the shadow of prayer far down upon the plain. Or, to use another illustration, when God piles up a hill of mercy, he himself shines behind it, and he casts on our spirits the shadow of prayer, so that we may rest certain, if we are much in prayer, our intercessions foreshadow mercy. Prayer is thus connected with the blessing to show us the value of it. If we had the blessings without asking for them, we should think them common things; but prayer makes our mercies more precious than diamonds. The things we ask for are precious, but we do not realize their preciousness until we have sought for them earnestly.

“Prayer makes the darken’d cloud withdraw;

Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw;

Gives exercise to faith and love;

Brings every blessing from above.”