Prayer is always the forerunner of divine mercy. Even a short glance at Christian history uncovers that great mercies are seldom known separated from supplication. This is also true of personal experience. There are showers of unsolicited favor but still great prayer has been the prelude of great mercy within.
When peace was found by way of the blood of the cross, earnest pleadings stirred the soul’s despondency. Your assurance was, and is, the result of prayer. When joys are doubled, they are viewed as prayer’s answer. When delivered out of some sore trouble, the heart sings, “I waited for the Lord. He heard me and delivered me from all my fear!”
Prayer is the preface to blessing. It goes before the blessing as a shadow. When the sunlight of God’s mercies rise, the shadow of prayer blankets the path of our difficulty. God himself shines behind the mounds of His own merciful doing. He projects the shadow of prayer on our experience so that we may rest in divine certainty.
Prayer is initially disconnected with the blessing to show us it’s true value. If blessings are acquired without the asking, we could only think of them as common grace, but prayer makes mercies into miracles and our dust into diamonds. We don’t realize the warfare waged until we have sought for them grave and earnest.
Prayer makes the darkened cloud withdraw,
Climbs the ladder Jacob saw,
Exercises one to faith and love,
And brings it’s a blessing from above.
Thus says the Lord God, I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them. Ezekiel 36:37
This has been a modified version of a devotional originally written by C.H. Spurgeon, found here.