When All Else Fails
Perhaps the greatest sorrow that could come to parents is that of losing a child eternally. To know that the little darling God laid in your arms some years ago has fought against prayers and loving counsel and has dashed headlong into sin and finally into hell is a grief beyond our ability to describe.
There are three thoughts I wish to emphasize in this chapter.
1. God willeth not the death of any and hence your child may be saved.
2. God is able. No matter how deep into sin one has gone, God can save, provided He can have the full cooperation of the child’s will.
3. There are some prayers more easily answered than others. This is because there is little or no opposition in the form of antagonizing forces. God can more easily overpower all natural hindrances than He can a mind that is set against Him. This is partly because Satan unites with a free moral agent to combat God. A simple little prayer will often bring an answer if it is for needed finances, health or some material thing that can be answered without coming up against an obstinate mind. In the latter case prayer must be of a different nature. It must be prevailing, importunate, interceding. This will of course take more time than the other and will consume more strength, but it is necessary to the salvation of souls.
Importunate prayer often leads one to fast. And it is sometimes the case that if a person does not have a spirit of prayer for an unsaved one, a decision to fast and pray for that soul will bring that spirit of prayer which is so necessary to his salvation.
Dr. Chapman in his “Revival Sermons” says: “We have had days of prayer. I wonder how many of us have had nights of prayer. We have prayed minutes for our children. How many of us have prayed by the day for our children?
“‘Do you believe,’ said a young woman to me in the city of Boston, ‘that if my mother and I should pray all night that my brother would be saved?’ I said to her, ‘ If I were you I would pray all night if I were led to do it.’ To my certain knowledge that brother had not been within four miles of the place of meeting. Before ten o’clock they were on their knees. At twelve o’clock they were praying, at three o’clock they were still crying out unto God, when the mother rose from her knees to say, ” I believe God will hear us,’ and closed her eyes in sleep. I saw that young man the next evening stand in the great church and say that he had spent a sleepless night. I heard him say that he occupied a most important position in the city of Boston. He said, ” This morning, as the day was breaking, I gave myself to Jesus.’ I think the story of the Shunammite in the Old Testament that we might thus learn how to pray. ‘As the Lord liveth and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.’
“One evening my telephone rang. When I went to answer the call I heard a voice that seemed to me to be almost choked with emotion say, ‘Will you pray for me?’ and I said, ‘Certainly I will pray for you. But will you not meet me this evening at the close of the service?’ I went to the service that night and at the close of the meeting there came up to me this man who had telephoned me. He said he had occupied a responsible position as bookkeeper in the city. He said, ‘My father is a minister, my mother is a sincere Christian. I have been feeling the power of their praying. I have felt a great sense of need in my soul, and when I heard the song this evening, “O Mother, when I think of thee, ’tis but a step to Calvary,” I bowed my head and took Christ.’ ” This young man may have been thus saved without much of a struggle, because he was truly penitent and had not resisted light as some have. But weather it is a long or short battle it will certainly pay to pray through and obtain the smile of God rather than lose the soul. — J.A.S.