“Well,” some one will say, “now you are getting that keyed up rather high. Can we all have faith like that? Can a man make himself believe?” There should be no unnatural mechanical insisting that you do believe. Some earnest people make a mistake there. And we will not all have faith like that. That is quite true, and I can easily tell you why. The faith that believes that God will do what you ask is not born in a hurry; it is not born in the dust of the street, and the noise of the crowd. But I can tell where that faith will have a birthplace and keep growing stronger: in every heart that takes quiet time off habitually with God, and listens to His voice in His word. Into that heart will come a simple strong faith that the thing it is led to ask shall be accomplished.
That faith has four simple characteristics. It is intelligent. It finds out what God’s will is. Faith is never contrary to reason. Sometimes it is a bit higher up; the reasoning process has not yet reached up to it. Second, it is obedient. It fits its life into God’s will. There is apt to be a stiff rub here all the time. Then it is expectant. It looks out for the result. It bows down upon the earth, but sends a man to keep an eye on the sea. And then it is persistent. It hangs on. It says, “Go again seven times; seventy times seven.” It reasons that having learned God’s will, and knowing that He does not change, the delay must be caused by the third person, the enemy, and that stubborn persistence in the Victor’s name routs him, and leaves a clear field.
The Listening Side of Prayer
A Trained Ear.
In prayer the ear is an organ of first importance. It is of equal importance with the tongue, but must be named first. For the ear leads the way to the tongue. The child hears a word before it speaks it. Through the ear comes the use of the tongue. Where the faculties are normal the tongue is trained only through the ear. This is nature’s method. The mind is moulded largely through the ear and eye. It reveals itself, and asserts itself largely through the tongue. What the ear lets in, the mind works over, and the tongue gives out.
This is the order in Isaiah’s fiftieth chapter in those words, prophetic of Jesus. “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of them that are taught.... He wakeneth my ear to hear as they that are taught.” Here the taught tongue came through the awakened ear. One reason why so many of us do not have taught tongues is because we give God so little chance at our ears.