The Shunammite, oppressed with grief,
When she had lost the son she loved,
Went to Elisha for relief,
Nor vain her application proved.
He sent his servant on before,
To lay a staff upon his head;
This he could do, but do no more,-
He left him, as he found him, dead.
But when the Lord’s almighty power
Wrought with the prophet's prayer and faith,
The mother saw a joyful hour,
She saw her child restored from death.
Thus, like the weeping Shunammite,
For many dead in sin we grieve;
Now, Lord, display Thine arm of might;
Cause them to hear Thy voice and live.
Thy preachers bear the staff in vain,
Though at Thine own command we go;
Lord, we have tried and tried again,
We find them dead, and leave them so.
Come then Thyself--to every heart
The glory of Thy name make known;
The means are our appointed part,
The power and grace are Thine alone.
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint Luke 18:1
If men ought always to pray and not to faint, much more Christian men. Jesus has sent His church into the world on the same errand upon which He Himself came, and this mission includes intercession. What if I say that the church is the world's priest? Creation is dumb, but the church is to find a mouth for it. It is the church's high privilege to pray with acceptance. The door of grace is always open for her petitions, and they never return empty-handed. The veil was rent for her, the blood was sprinkled upon the altar for her, God constantly invites her to ask what she wills. Will she refuse the privilege which angels might envy her? Is she not the bride of Christ? May she not go in unto her king at every hour? Shall she allow the precious privilege to be unused? The church always has need for prayer. There are always some in her midst who are declining, or falling into open sin. There are lambs to be prayed for, that they may be carried in Christ's bosom; the strong, lest they grow presumptuous, and the weak, lest they become despairing. If we kept up prayer-meetings four-and-twenty hours in the day, all the days in the year, we might never be without a special subject for supplication. Are we ever without the sick and the poor, the afflicted and the wavering? Are we ever without those who seek the conversion of relatives, the reclaiming of backsliders, or the salvation of the depraved? Nay, with congregations constantly gathering, with ministers always preaching, with millions of sinners lying dead in trespasses and sins;.....if the church doth not pray, how shall she excuse her base neglect of the commission of her loving Lord? Let the church be constant in supplication, let every private believer cast his mite of prayer into the treasury.
C. H. Spurgeon