“Keep it Up, it Matters!”

Former U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence was addressing a group of pastors in the Indiana Statehouse in February of 2016, months before he had any inkling of an idea that he would become by year’s end the next Vice-President of the United States, chosen by the would-be President-elect Donald Trump. To this group of 40 or so pastors gathered in a room of the Indiana Capitol complex, the then Governor Pence exhorted these pastors to “continue instant in prayer.” He shared an illustration that he had remembered from the time he went to serve Indiana in the United States House of Representatives in 2001. He met, in December of that year, for the first time, George W. Bush, known as “Bush 43.” He related how when introduced to the President he shared with him that “I want you to know, Mr. President, that my wife and I pray for you by name every day,” to which the President replied, “Keep it up, it matters.” The attack upon the United States had just occurred in September of that year and George W. Bush had begun serving his first term as president in January of that year. So, to have a U.S. congressman assure him of his daily prayers as President of a nation at war against terrorists who had waged a devastating attack upon our homeland must have meant a great deal to the President. Governor Pence wanted to encourage the Pastors who had met that winter day in the Statehouse to keep on praying for him and for all who are in authority because “It matters!”

Oh, how we must pray always because it matters! John Wesley knew the power of prayer when he thundered, “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell. God does nothing but in answer to prayer.”

E.M. Bounds reminded God’s host that “The preachers who gain mighty results for God are the men who have prevailed in their pleadings with God. The preachers who are the mightiest in their closets with God are the mightiest in their pulpits with men.”

Hear David’s pleading with the Almighty: “Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto Thee, when I lift up my hands toward Thy holy oracle…Blessed be the Lord, because He hath heard the voice of my supplications.” (Ps.28:2,6)

God has a storehouse of blessings awaiting ready to be meted out to those who will ask (Matt.7:7) Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman related a testimony of a man who stood in one of his meetings and said, “For one year I begged the streets as a tramp and one day I tapped a man on the shoulder and said, ‘Mister, could you please give me a dime?’ As soon as I saw his face, I realized it was my father. He threw his arms around me and said, ‘I have found you. All I have is yours!’ I stood there begging my father for ten cents while he had been looking for me to give me all he had.”

William Law reminds us that “It is not the arithmetic of our prayers, how many they are; nor the rhetoric of our prayers, how eloquent they are; nor geometry of our prayers, how long they be; nor the music of our prayers, how sweet our voice may be; nor the logic of our prayers, how argumentative they may be; nor the method of our prayers, how orderly they may be—which God cares for. Fervency of spirit is that which availeth much.”

Andrew Murray had studied the matter of intercession and devotion to God and rendered this profound conclusion: “Little of the Word with little prayer is death to the spiritual life. Much of the Word with little prayer gives a sickly life.  Much prayer with little of the Word gives an emotional life. But a full measure of both the Word and prayer each day gives a healthy and powerful life.”

Praying always with all prayer. Always. With all prayer. A lady asked G. Campbell Morgan “Do you think we ought to pray about even the little things in life?” Dr. Morgan, in his typical British manner answered, “Madam, can you think of anything in your life that would be big to God?”

Someone wisely noted that “Prayer is the closest you will ever be to God on this earth.”

Samuel Chadwick was quoted as declaring that “the one concern of the Devil is to keep saints from prayer. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.”

That is no doubt why the Apostle Paul exhorted us to “Pray without ceasing.” (I Thess. 5:16)

I lost track of who said the following, but it is spot on: “The church has many organizers, but few agonizers; many who pay, but few who pray: many resters, but few wrestlers; many who are enterprising, but few who are interceding. Two prerequisites of dynamic Christian living are vision and passion and both of these are generated in the prayer closet. The ministry of preaching is open to a few. The ministry of praying is open to every child of God. Do not mistake action for unction, commotion for creation, and rattles for revivals. The secret of praying is praying in secret. A worldly Christian will stop praying and a praying Christian will stop worldliness. Tithes may build a church, but it takes tears to give it life. That is the difference between the modern church and the early church. Our emphasis is on paying, theirs was on praying. When we have paid, the place is taken; when they had prayed the place was shaken. (Acts 4:13) In the matter of effective praying, never have so many left so much to so few.”

When times were agonizing during the days of our founding fathers as they were trying to forge a constitution that would stand the test of times, Benjamin Franklin rose to the floor and spoke: “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that ‘except the Lord builds the House, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in the political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and by-word down to future ages.”

“I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessings on our deliberations, be haled in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of the city be requested to officiate in that service.”

And, I submit to you, dear friend, that the “reproach and by-word down to the future ages” that Mr. Franklin spoke of in that convention more than 200 years ago has come upon us it would seem. But God changes things through prayer. Brethren, let us pray.

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