Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, was undoubtedly one of the greatest expositors to ever live. In his sermons, he often used illustrations to help make the point of the text come across more clearly. Several of his illustrations have been compiled into a very enjoyable little book titled Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden. The following passage was taken from pages 181-182.
“God’s seasons are not at your hands. If the first stroke of the flint doth not bring forth the fire, you must strike again.”
That is to say, God will hear prayer, but He may not answer it at the time which we in our own minds have appointed; He will reveal Himself to our seeking hearts, but not just when and where we have settled in our own expectations. Hence the need of perseverance and importunity in supplication.
In the days of flint and steel and brimstone matches we had to strike and strike again, dozens of times, before we could get a spark to live in the tinder; and we were thankful enough if we succeeded at last. Shall we not be as persevering and hopeful as to heavenly things? We have more certainty of success in this business than we had with our flint and steel, for we have God’s promise at our back. Never let us despair. God’s time for mercy will come; yea, it has come, if our time for believing has arrived. Ask in faith, nothing wavering; but never cease from petitioning because the king delays to reply. Strike the steel again. Make the sparks fly and have your tinder ready: you will get a light before long.
~ C. H. Spurgeon
NOTE: I have capitalized pronouns when in reference to God. Other than that, the passage is identical to the one found in the book.
Photo by Denis Kirichenko on Unsplash
“How many of us are champions of momentary prayer; great heroes in one-time encounters with God; true warriors on the immediate heels of some request? But how many of us persevere in prayer? How many of us have the spiritual strength to keep going when the energy fades, the heart grows weary, and the request appears denied? And, yet, this is the great secret of effective prayer: it will be answered if only it continues.” – Jesse Hamilton