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XXXIII

FAINTING

“Men ought always to pray and not to faint.”—Luke xviii. 1.

SUPPOSE we turn the counsel into a promise: “Men ought always to pray and they will not faint.” When a man faints in the day of adversity it is because a line of communication has somehow been cut, and he has lost touch with his base of supplies. He has become separated from his spiritual resources, and in the heavy demands of the campaign he has begun to lose heart. The heart retains its hope and courage so long as new forces and new supplies arrive. It is not the growing strength of the enemy, nor the increasing exactions of duty, which make the heart succumb; it is the lessening of its supplies. When the spiritual lines of communication are kept open the fierceness of our engagements does not matter: “though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall 124not fear.” That open line always means a defeated foe. The heart sings in the battle, for it is always more than even with the most tremendous task.

Now it is prayer which keeps open the road between the soul and its resources. That great line of communication is kept clear like a splendid highway, and the sacred transports are arriving every moment in an all-availing sufficiency. The supplies are waiting: prayer opens the way and receives them. It is not left to our judgment to determine what we need. God’s loving wisdom interprets the need. It is our part to open our souls to the grace and bounty of an infinite God, and the necessities are supplied. Prayer is a minister of the open road, and prayer is a minister of reception.

When we cease to pray the open highway is blocked and closed. The waiting supplies cannot reach us: they cannot get past our spiritual forgetfulness and indifference. And so the big duty daunts us; the strong enemy affrights us. We become faint, and the battle goes against us. And all the time the resource which would meet our necessity is awaiting our honest call! Let us restore 125communication by recovering our communion. Let us pray without ceasing! Let us keep the roads open, and our gracious God will see to the transports.

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