The Golden Key of Prayer
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3
We do not forget to take the shop shutters down; we do not forget to be diligent in business; we do not forget to go to our beds to rest but we often forget to wrestle with God in prayer, and to spend, as we ought to spend, lengthy periods in consecrated fellowship with our Father and our God.
With too many professors, the ledger is so bulky that you cannot move it, and the Bible, representing their devotion, is so small that you might almost put it in your waistcoat pocket! Hours for the world! Moments for Christ! The world has our best and our prayer closet the remnants of our time.
We give our strength and freshness to the ways of Mammon and our fatigue to the ways of God. Therefore, it is that we need to be commanded to attend to that very act which it ought to be our greatest happiness, as it is our highest privilege to perform to meet with our God! “Call upon Me,” He says, for He knows that we are apt to forget to call upon God.
“What do you mean, oh, sleeper? Arise and call upon your God,” is an exhortation which is needed by us as well as by Jonah in the storm. God understands what heavy hearts we have, sometimes, when under a sense of sin. Satan says to us, “Why should you pray?
How can you hope to prevail? You say in vain, ‘I will arise, and go to my Father,’ for you are not worthy to be one of His hired servants! How can you see the King’s face after you have played the traitor against Him? How will you dare to approach the altar when you have, yourself, defiled it, and when the sacrifice which you would bring there is a poor polluted one?”
O brethren, it is well for us that we are commanded to pray, or else in times of heaviness, we might give it up! If God commands me, unfit as I may be, I will creep to the footstool of divine grace; and since He says, “Pray without ceasing,” though my words fail me, and my heart itself will wander, yet I will still stammer out the wishes of my hungering soul, and say, “O God, at least teach me to pray, and help me to prevail with You.” Are we not commanded to pray also because of our frequent unbelief? Unbelief whispers, “What profit is there if you should seek the Lord upon such-and-such a matter?
This is a case quite out of the list of those things wherein God has interposed, and, therefore, (says the devil), if you were in any other position you might rest upon the mighty arm of God; but here your prayer will not avail you.
Either it is too trivial a matter, or it is too connected with temporals, or else it is a matter in which you have sinned too much, or else it is too high, too hard, too complicated a piece of business—you have no right to take that before God!” So suggests the foul fiend of hell.
Therefore, there stands written as an everyday precept suitable to every case into which a Christian can be cast, “Call unto Me call unto Me.” “Are you sick? Would you be healed? Cry unto Me, for I am the Great Physician. Does Providence trouble you?
Are you fearful that you shall not provide things honest in the sight of man? Call unto Me! Do your children vex you? Do you feel that which is sharper than an adder’s tooth a thankless child? Call unto Me! Are your griefs little, yet painful, like small points and pricks of thorns?
Call unto Me! Is your burden heavy as though it would make your back break beneath its load? Call unto Me!” “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never allow the righteous to be moved.” In the valley on the mountain on the barren rock in the briny sea, submerged beneath the billows, and lifted
by-and-by upon the crest of the waves in the furnace when the coals are glowing in the gates of death when the jaws of hell would shut themselves upon you cease not, for the commandment forevermore addresses you with, “Call unto Me.” Prayer is still mighty and must prevail with God to bring you your deliverance.
These are some of the reasons why the privilege of supplication is also in Holy Scripture spoken of as a duty there are much more, but these will suffice this morning. We must not leave our first part till we have made another remark. We ought to be very glad that God has given us this command in His Word that it may be sure and abiding.
You may turn to 50 passages where the same precept is uttered. I do not often read in Scripture, “You shall not kill,” “You shall not covet.” Twice the law is given, but I often read gospel precepts, for if the law is given twice, the gospel is given 70 times seven.
For every precept which I cannot keep by reason of my being weak through the flesh, I find a thousand precepts which it is sweet and pleasant for me to keep, by reason of the power of the Holy Spirit which dwells in the children of God; and this command to pray is insisted upon again and again.
It may be a reasonable exercise for some of you to find out how often in Scripture you are told to pray. You will be surprised to find how many times such words as these are given Call upon Me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you.” “You people, pour out your heart before Him.”
“Seek you the Lord while He may be found; call you upon Him while He is near.” “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” “Pray without ceasing.”
The Golden Key of Prayer
“Come boldly unto the throne of grace.” “Draw near to
God and He will draw near to you.” “Continue in prayer.” I need not multiply where I could not possibly exhaust. I pick two or three out of this great bag of pearls.
Come, Christian, you ought never to question whether you have a right to pray; you should never ask, “May I be permitted to come into His presence?” When you have so many commands, and God’s commands are all promises, and all enabling’s, you may come boldly unto the throne of grace by the new and living way through the rent veil.