In every human endeavour we take inspiration from those who walked the road before us. Even so in the life of prayer, and as we choose as a church and individually to be a people of prayer, we like to know that we walk in the footsteps of great men. Dr Ole Hallesby, a leading Norwegian theologian and preacher of his time, wrote in his classic work ‘Prayer’ of an oft cited incident in the life of Martin Luther, the great reformer.
“In 1540 Luther’s good friend, Frederick Myconius, became gravely ill. He himself and others expected that he would die within a short time. One night he wrote with trembling hand a fond farewell to Luther, whom he loved very much. When Luther received the letter, he sent back the following reply immediately, “I command thee in the name of God to live because i still have need of thee in the work of reforming the Church…The Lord will not let me hear while i live that thou art dead, but will permit thee to survive me. For this I am praying, this is my will, and may my will be done, because i seek only to glorify the name of God.’ Myconius had already lost the faculty of speech when Luther’s letter came. But in a short time he was well again, and, true enough, survived Luther by two months!”
It brings to mind the apostle Paul and his dear Epaphroditus who was deathly ill but was saved from death much to the delight of Paul who felt God had spared him great sorrow.
By all means, let us pray!