This week at GFC is our Winter Week of Prayer. My buddy Joshua taught us about why prayer matters last night to kick us off, and now we’ve got special prayer meetings planned for each day of the week. I love gathering with God’s people to pray!
One thing I’ve learned about prayer already this week is a lesson I learned about life around the time I got my first job: You value something more when it costs you something to obtain it.
The summer I turned 17 I worked my first full-time job for $7.50 per hour (or something like that). I couldn’t afford much, but what I could afford I cherished; I knew how hard I had to work to get that money! For the first time, I really understood what it meant to have to work for something that I wanted.
This reality is true about prayer too. And, of course, no one puts it better than Spurgeon. Here he compares Jacob’s wrestling with God to the Christian’s prayer life.
Now, when the church begins to pray, it may be at first that the Lord will act as though He would go further (see Luke 24.28), and we may fear that no answer will be given. Hold on, dear friends. ‘Be steadfast, immovable’ (1 Cor 15.58), despite all. By and by, it may be, there will come discouragements where we looked for a flowing success. We will find friends hindering; some will be slumbering and others sinning. Backsliders and impenitent souls will abound. But let us not be turned aside. Let us be all the more eager.
And if it should happen that we ourselves become distressed and de-spirited, and we feel we never were so weak as we are now, never mind friends; still hold on. For when the sinew is shrunk, the victory is near. Grasp with a tighter grip than ever. Let this be our resolution: ‘I will not let you go, until you bless me.’ Remember, the longer the blessing is in coming, the richer it will be when it arrives. That which is gained speedily by a single prayer is sometimes only a second-rate blessing; but that which is gained after many a desperate tug, and many an awful struggle, is a full-weighted and precious blessing.
The children of persistence are always fair to look upon. The blessing that costs us the most prayer will be worth the most. Only let us be persevering in supplication, and we will gain a broad, far-reaching blessing for ourselves, the churches, and the world.
Here is grand encouragement for us to pray! We know the Father loves to give good gifts to his children who ask, seek, and knock (Matt 7.7-11), and we know that we will be changed and conformed to his image as we ask. Now we also know that in the struggle to attain the blessing we will grow in our appreciation for the blessing itself.
Our Lord is teaching us to value what is right and good by teaching us to fight for it… even when it costs us.