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"To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ, which are at Colosse. We give thanks to God, praying always for you, since we heard of the love which ye have to all the saints." "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving, withal praying also for us" (Colossians 1:1-4; 4:2-3).
Prayer for all saints; let this be our first thought. It will need time, and thought, and love, to realize what is included in that simple expression. Think of your own neighborhood and the saints you know; think of your whole country, and praise God for all who are His saints; think of the Christian nations of the world, and the saints to be found in each of these; think of all the heathen nations and the saints of God to be found among them in ever-increasing numbers.
Think of all the different circumstances and conditions in which these are to be found, and all the very varying needs which call for Gods grace and help. Think of many, oh, so many, who are Gods saints, and yet through ignorance or sloth, through worldly-mindedness or an evil heart of unbelief, are walking in the dark, and bringing no honor to God.
Think of so many who are in earnest, and yet conscious of a life of failure, with little or no power to please God or to bless man. And then think again of those who are to be found everywhere, in solitary places or in companies, whose one aim is to serve the Lord who bought them. Think of them especially as joining, often unconscious of their relation to the whole Body of Christ, in pleading for the great promise of the Holy Spirit and the love and oneness of heart which He alone can give.
This is not the work of one day or one night. It needs a heart which will set itself from time to time to do serious thinking in regard to the state and the need of the Body of Christ to which we belong. But when once we begin, we shall find what abundant reason there is for our persevering and yielding to Gods Spirit, so that He may fit us for the great and blessed work of day by day praying a twofold prayer: for the love of God and Christ to fill the hearts of His people and for the power of the Holy Spirit to come down and accomplish Gods work in this sinful world.
Prayer By All Saints
This subject calls us once again to think of all saints throughout the world, but leads us to view them from a different standpoint. If we are to ask God to increase the number and the power of those who do pray, we shall be led to form some impression of what the hope is that our circle of intercessors may gradually increase in number and power.
Our first thoughts will naturally turn to the multitude of the saints who think and know very little about the duty or the blessedness of pleading for the Body of Christ, or for all the work which has to be done to perfect its members. We shall then have to remember how many there are for whom we may praise God that they do intercede for the power of His Spirit, but their thoughts are chiefly limited to spheres of work that they are acquainted with, or directly interested in.
That will leave us with what is, comparatively speaking, a very limited number of those who will be ready to take part in the prayer which ought to be sent up by the whole Church, for the unity of the Body and the power of the Spirit. And even then the number may be but small who really feel themselves drawn and urged to take part in this daily prayer for the outpouring of the Spirit on all Gods people.
And yet many may be feeling that the proposal meets a long-felt need, and that it is an unspeakable privilege, whether with few or many, to make Christs last prayer, "that they may be one," the daily supplication of our faith and love. It may be that in time believers will band together in small circles, or throughout wider districts, in helping to rouse those around them to take part in the great work, that the prayer for all saints may become one by all saints.
This message is sent out to all hearts that desire to be in touch with it, with the hope of increasing their consecration to their Lord in the matter of unceasing daily supplication for the power of His love and Spirit to be revealed to all His people.
Prayer for the Fullness of the Spirit
"Bring ye all the tithes unto Mine house, and prove Me now therewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:10).
This last promise in the Old Testament tells us how abundant the blessing is to be. Pentecost was only the beginning of what God was willing to do. The promise of the Father, as Christ gave it, still waits for its perfect fulfillment. Let us try and realize what the liberty is that we have to ask and expect great things.
Just as the great command to go and preach the gospel was not only meant for the disciples but for us too, so the very last command, "Tarry till ye be endued with power from on high," "Wait for the promise of the Father," "Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost," is also for us, and is the ground for the confident assurance that our prayer with one accord will be heard.
Take time to think of what a cry of need there is throughout the whole Church, and throughout all our mission fields. Let us realize that the only remedy to be found for inefficiency or impotence, to enable us to gain the victory over the powers of this world or of darkness, is in the manifested presence of our Lord in the midst of His hosts and in the power of His Spirit.
Let us take time to think of the state of all the churches throughout Christendom until we are brought deeper than ever to the conviction that nothing will avail except the supernatural, almighty intervention of our Lord Himself, to rouse His hosts for the great battle against evil.
Can anyone conceive or suggest any other matter for prayer that can at all compete with this: for the power of God on the ministers of the gospel, and on all His people, to endue them with power from on high to make the gospel in very deed the power of God unto salvation?
As we connect the prayer for the whole Church on earth with the prayer for the whole power of God in heaven, we shall feel that the greatest truths of the heavenly world and the kingdom of God have possession of us, and that we are in very deed asking what God is longing to give, as soon as He finds hearts utterly yielded to Himself in faith and obedience.