Beside the Well
Part of my time beside the well is reading devotional material. Currently, I am enjoying a book of writings by C.H. Spurgeon that came to me from a clearing out of the college library. This little hardback book, written in 1883, seems to be a record of Spurgeon’s own devotional reading as he begins each one with an anonymous quote then adds a few short reflections of his own.
A couple weeks ago he started with a quote about Samson’s hair. “Single prayers are like the single hairs of Samson; but the prayers of the congregation are like the whole of his bushy locks, wherein his strength lay.” That caught my imagination. I’d never thought of prayer illustrated as Samson’s hair.
Spurgeon goes on to remind the reader of the prayers of the church as they plead for Peter in prison, “a praying band, all the smiths in Jerusalem cannot make bolts for the doors, or chains for the wrists, sufficiently strong to hold Peter in prison” (Acts 12:1-17).
That reminded me of a verse in Isaiah. “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron” (Isaiah 45:2). Truly, the prayers of the church in Jerusalem were used of God to release Peter from his chains.
It has also been my experience to see God work most mightily in my life when I have requested others to join me in prayer. When Satan begins to work in my mind, I have only to draw two or three others into prayer for me and he takes flight. When I am facing a hard decision or a difficult task, I can call upon my co-prayer warriors and the way becomes straight and the load is lightened.
It takes me back to James 5:15-16. We need prayers of faith for our healing and strength. We need to not be too proud to ask others to pray for us or confess the difficulties, fears, or failures we are facing. I have always found if I drop my pretense and simply admit my weaknesses, asking for prayer and confessing my need, the power of the problem melts away and God works it all out for me. When I hold onto my problem, it becomes a place for Satan to stir and create more fear and anxiety in my heart and mind. For me, this proves the power of collective prayer.
But Spurgeon’s last comment makes it abundantly clear that he is not just speaking of two or three saints binding together in prayer for each other. “Come, then,” he writes, “to the meetings for prayer, for there is the strength of the church, and there are her Samson’s locks.“
Are you a part of your church’s collective prayer meetings or are you leaving your Samson to grow bald?