The coronation of the King, and the relief from business which an event so auspicious afforded, induced our brethren in the city of E—to spend the holiday in prayer to God.
It was proposed that four meetings should be held on the coronation day itself, and that, as many would be free for the day following, similar meetings should be held on it also. The coronation had to be deferred, as we all know, on account of His Majesty’s very serious illness, and the holiday was accordingly cancelled; nevertheless the meetings, though reduced in numbers, and altered in part by the sorrow which had befallen the royal household, were carried on.
Prayer was made for the suffering monarch, his royal consort and family, and then we turned in supplication and intercession to God for the Church in this day of general unfaithfulness and Laodicean pride, that He might grant a spirit of humility and truth and love, and that, as the result of confession of sin and failure, we might be marked by more self-denial and devotedness to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Prayer, too, was made for the spread of the gospel in all lands, and for the servants of Christ, whether gifted as evangelists, pastors, or teachers, that grace might richly sustain them all, and that Christ might be glorified in them.
Now, in these petitions there was nothing new. They were the old but all-important requests of almost every meeting convened for prayer; yet the pleading of them, in the peculiar circumstances of the moment, as well as the long-continued and divinely sustained exercise, were exceedingly happy.
The example set by E—was taken up by the city of N—, with exactly similar results, a testimony being recorded that the brethren there were “full of joy and of the Holy Ghost.” In this way the Lord deigned to place His seal of approval on this special and truly blessed season of drawing near to Him in prayer. He valued it. He sustained His people in it. He deepened the interest as the hours passed away, and demonstrated the truth, which we all hold in theory, that if we ask we shall receive, if we seek we shall find, and that if we knock it will be opened unto us; in other words, that God is, in every sense, a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Thus two days of prayer, confession, intercession, and thanksgiving passed happily away, and, so conscious were we of calm sustainment under God’s good hand, that further meetings of the same nature were held on the mornings of the two days following.
We were greatly blessed personally, and the results, the answers to our feeble cries, remain with our prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God and Father. We may assuredly count on these answers being exceedingly abundant above all we asked or thought.
If so, why, it may be humbly asked, is there so little prayer? It is very seldom, I fear, that days are thus taken advantage of for united prayer. The saints know very little today of gathering together in holy determination of spirit to seek God; and yet, if ever His face was needed, it is today!
Laodicea “does not know”. She is ignorant of her own condition and blind to her state! She needs eye-salve! She should buy gold and raiment! The searching eye of Christ detects abundant self-sufficiency. She says that she has need of nothing—no need! She can dispense even with Himself, He may stand outside her door and knock in vain (Rev. 3:20).
“Laodicea” presents the last phase of the Church’s history here. It contains all the dregs of twenty centuries of moral corruption, and we are in that state today.
But Christ is the same, and as faithful to His interests and to His dear people as ever, so that they can enjoy Himself, His Word and name, as in the bright days of Philadelphia; but the end is near. We live in a day when nothing but the power of God avails. That we must seek. If we fail of prayer we fail to realise our need. We dispense, alas! with Christ, and become identical with the state around. God and prayer go together. You cannot have God without prayer. Remember how that, in the Gospel of Luke, our blessed Lord prayed seven times over! He lived with God.
Think, too, of His servant Paul, in the moment of his conversion. Heaven pointed him out in that Damascene chamber, saying, “Behold, he prays,” and in the end of his Second Epistle to Timothy, with the martyr’s crown in view, and his devoted head almost on the block, he said, of those who had forsaken him in his hour of trial, “I pray it may not be laid to their charge.” He lived and died in prayer. Study his other epistles, and note how he urges prayer on every church.
He charges Ephesus to “pray always, with all prayer and supplication.” He enjoins Philippi “in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, to make their requests known to God.”
He bids Colosse to “continue in prayer, and to watch in the same with thanksgiving.”
He commands Thessalonica to “pray without ceasing.”
He exhorts Timothy that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, and that “men should pray everywhere.”
Yes, study these calls to prayer by him who is, par excellence, the Apostle of Christianity, the surrender of whose doctrine has gone far to form Laodicea, and learn the very prominent place that prayer has in all true Christian life and testimony. Depend upon it that a cry of need from amid affluent, un-needy Laodicea falls sweetly on the ear of a rejected Christ. Light is no substitute for power, and power can only be had by laying hold of God in true, believing, continuous prayer. May He lead all His people everywhere to be marked by the spirit and exercise of faithful, childlike prayer.