“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; ” —Romans 12:12
The Greek word is said to have the signification of “always applying strength in prayer,” or continuing with all your might in prayer. Our prayer is to be full of strength; “blessed is the man whose strength is in thee.” Master Brooks saith that the Word is a metaphor taken from hunting dogs, which will never give up the game till they have got it. A hunting dog when in pursuit of its victim works itself into full motion, using every limb and muscle to follow as fast as possible…. Prayer as a mere form is but a mockery; prayer in a languid, halfhearted manner may be more dishonoring to God than honoring to him; we ourselves may be rather injured by lukewarm prayer than benefited by it. Prevalent prayer is frequently spoken of in Scripture as an agony “striving together with me in your prayers.” We frequently speak of it as “wrestling,” and we do well, for so it is. In wrestling a man hath all his mind as well as all his body occupied with the desire to overthrow his antagonist…. We are exhorted to “knock,” and as our model we are directed to him who at midnight aroused his slumbering friend. We are exhorted to be importunate, like the widow with the unjust judge. We are to pray as if all depended upon our praying; though after all that praying is in itself an effect of a cause which has existed long before. We are to be as importunate as if God were unwilling, and to plead as earnestly as if he did not already know far better than we do what things we have need of. Earnestness must be present in all our prayers or they will return to us unanswered: this is reasonable enough. Shall God be expected to give to us that which we do not value? If we do not value the blessing sufficiently to be eager in seeking it, is it not right that he should withhold it until we are in a better mind? Are we to worship God with a divided reverence?… Children of God, you must cry mightily unto the Lord, and pour out your hearts like water before him, and then will he have regard unto the voice of your cry, and it shall be unto you even according to your desire. Instancy in prayer is needful; we must be fervent or burning, or we shall not prevail.
Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
Delivered Sunday Morning, June 22, 1879
at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 25, Sermon No. 1480
“Constant, Instant, Expectant”