Gospel preachers preach and ought to preach the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, as if the success of the message actually depended upon their zeal, labor, and hard work. Yet, Paul clearly teaches that the success of the gospel in converting God’s elect and comforting God’s saints depends altogether upon God’s grace. The mighty Apollos himself, eloquent and zealous though he is, may preach the glory of Jesus Christ with every fiber of his being and never accomplish a thing, because the success of the gospel depends on God’s blessing, not the gifts, zeal, and delivery of the preacher. At best, God’s servants can only cause the bones in the valley of fallen humanity to shake, rattle, and roll. Only the Spirit of God can produce life, give faith, and translate dead sinners into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.
The Means of Success
Though grace is free and God’s purpose sure, let us never imagine that there is nothing for us to do. Free grace and the certainty that God’s kingdom will be built are not excuses for indolence, but powerful motives for diligence and immediate action. Our God is a God of means, and he has ordained that his gospel succeed in the earth through the instrumentality of our prayers. Would you see the seed of the gospel take deep root in the hearts of the lost? Then, do not sit idly by—pray! Would you see God’s kingdom established in the hearts of men? Then, arise and pray! Would you see eyes and ears opened, rebellion put down, and sinners confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father? Then, lift your hearts to God, and pray! Pray for God’s servants—they are weak and insufficient, just like you. Their words have no more saving virtue than the chirping of a cricket! Without Christ, they can do nothing! Pray that God would grant them acceptable words—words that magnify his free grace and exalt the crucified Redeemer. Pray that God would grant them freedom of speech to express those words in a spirit of boldness and love. Pray, brethren, that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified, even as it is with you. —Frank Hall
Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. —Psalm 55:17
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you. —2 Thessalonians 3:1
Two words, five syllables—yet, so full of God honoring instruction. Some of us have a tendency to overindulge despondency. Let us be done with that sorry business, and rejoice evermore! The Lord Jesus ransomed our souls from death. He redeemed us from the curse and set us free. By his grace, he has set our feet in a large and wealthy place. “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice!” Our God is so desirous for our happiness that he does not merely suggest that we rejoice—he commands it! What a word! Knowing that many of us spend far too much time eroding our joys in the doldrums of despair, the Lord our God gives us an emphatic commandment to arise from the dust, and rejoice evermore! Never forget, though empty in ourselves, in Jesus Christ we are complete! We are poor sinners and nothing at all, but Jesus Christ is our all in all! With his spotless garments on, we are as holy as God’s dear Son. We are full of sin, but in him, we have no sin. Blessing upon blessing and grace for grace—we have more than heart could wish! We are members of God’s family, the very children of God himself! “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Just a few more days at most, and we shall see his face. “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down,” and rejoice evermore! —Frank Hall
Sovereign Grace Assembly
Pray without ceasing, children of God. In the morning, lift up your eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh your help. At noon, call upon that name which is above every name, “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” When the sun sets and darkness falls upon the earth, remember the Lord your God, and pour out your heart before him. We are creatures of constant need. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” There is not a moment that passes that we do not need his mercy and grace. We are fallen flesh, prone to wander from him we love. As such, we cannot stand on our own two feet—no, not for one hour—nor do we know what a day may bring forth. We all have innumerable reasons to persist in prayer.
Oh, that we understood our dependence upon him! The Lord Jesus has promised to keep us; yet, frequently we fail to seek his preserving grace. We have proven repeatedly that without Christ, we can do nothing, and yet we persist in our prayerless presumption. This saying is faithful and worthy of all acceptation: “My people are bent to backsliding from me.” Dare we deny it? This much I know, a people who are bent on backsliding from their merciful Master and gracious Lord ought to seek his face perpetually—morning, noon, and night. He is our light and our salvation, our strength and our refuge, our help and our shield; yet, for some foolish reason, we neglect him—as if we could prosper in the most trivial endeavor without him, his constant supply of grace, and his merciful preservation.
Children of God, has our great Savior been a wilderness, a waterless fountain, or a land of darkness to us? “Wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee? Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number.” Will he cast us off? Will he leave us to ourselves? Will he wash his hands of us? God forbid! What saith the word of the Lord to such backsliding sinners? “Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD. A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the LORD their God. Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God. Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel.”
Though we sometimes pray amiss, “this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” Prayer is always in season, my friends, and prayer is never in vain. “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” Our God has promised to hear us. His eyes are ever upon us, and his ears are always open to our cries. If we simply believed God and took him at his word, we would all pray without ceasing. Our Savior laid down his life to save us from our sins—shall he turn a deaf ear to our cries? Shall he do the greater and not the lesser? Perish the thought! He delighteth in mercy, and he delights to hear our voices in prayer. Listen to what he says: “O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.” Though he waits to be gracious and his answer appears to tarry, “wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”
Pray Without Ceasing
Regardless of how you feel, in spite of the overwhelming darkness within, and your small faith notwithstanding, pray without ceasing. “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear…Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” —Frank Hall
Rejoice evermore. —1Thessalonians 5:16
Pray for Us
Pray Without Ceasing
Sovereign Grace Assembly