Sanctification makes it possible for us to “pray without ceasing.” The indwelling Paraclete keeps the heart in a constant spirit of prayer, so that at all hours and in all places prayers ascend. Communication is kept up between the heart and the throne of Grod. No snows break the wires. No floods wash away the poles. From the pulpit, from the sidewalk, from the counter, from the railway coach, from the sick bed, an ever-steady stream of prayer is kept up. They may befoul our names, but they can not stop our praying. They may “cast us out as evil,” and may deny us pulpit privileges, and take away our salaries, but prayer and praise they can not stifle nor hinder.
Incense and thunder.
The prayers of God’s people are sweet to Him. “With much incense” burning in a golden censer (Rev. viii. 3) they float to His throne. But notice the effect of the prayers of saints. Not only is there a silence of an half-hour but “voices and thunderings and lightnings and an earthquake” are observed in the earth. The children of God, if they but pray and believe, can pull spiritual fire and earthquakes down upon earth and effect great things for God and His Church.
Nothing is clearer in the Acts of the Apostles than that the disciples after Pentecost had success in gospel service. Everywhere they went God rained fire upon their Word and sanctioned the truth which they preached by tremendous moral and spiritual upheavals.
B. T. Roberts.
Bishop Roberts has put the matter of success very succinctly: “If the lawyer must win his case and the doctor cure his patient in order to be successful, the minister and worker must save souls if they in their calling are to be said to be successful.” But alas, saving souls is precisely what we are not doing. Thank God! there is here and there a man who stands out as a soul-saver. But the average minister is not distinguished for revivalism so much as proficiency in making a church social a “blooming success.”
We all want to seem to succeed. We shun and dread the appearance of failure. When a church begins to rot instead of grow it is natural for us to do our utmost to find out some way of excusing the retrogression without admitting our failure to reach men with the gospel. There are evangelists, who in the palmy days of their power had wonderful, heaven-gladdening revivals, who have ceased to wield “the sword of the Lord and of Gideon,” and, in order to cover their spiritual nakedness, are forced to resort to finger-raising, card-signing methods for stuffing and expanding “the big revival.” There is no more sobbing, no more desperate praying, no more shouting; all is “decent and in order,” as well it may be, for all is dead.