Prayer Thought: Ring that Bell!
If you can believe it, at one time in my life I wasn’t as tall as I am now. I know that probably melted some of your minds already! But that tidbit of info is pertinent to the story I’m about to tell.
I was most likely around 10 years old when our family took a trip to the amazing Colorado Rockies. A strapping young lad of 4’1, was I, and a massive 60 pounds. Again, trust me, details for the story. So, family vacation in the Rockies…more specifically, Estes Park near Denver. Our sight-seeing was mainly in the woods looking at colonial-style cabins…and even staying in one of these great cabins for 4-5 days. Pretty cool stuff to do and see for me and my older brother, Josh (12 yrs.) at the time. One day we happened upon what looked like a late 18th or early 19th century chapel. Honestly, it wasn’t that dissimilar to the one at Casey Jones Village in Jackson, Tennessee. And wouldn’t you know it, this chapel had a huge bell to ring just like the chapel at Casey Jones too. The only difference between the two bells was: the rope on the Casey Jones chapel hangs low and comes straight down…easy access for children to be able to ring! The rope on this other chapel looked like it was on some kind of medieval pully system. The rope was super high up making a complete oval REALLY close to the side of the bell.
Josh, of course being taller than me…because EVERYONE is taller than me…took one giant leap and grabbed on to the rope with all his might! My ears are still ringing to this very day 31 years later. The bell was fantastic! It was so loud, we probably scared every deer, buffalo, and bear out of their fur for 2 miles. Josh jumped down and started looking at other stuff, while I was busy sizing up this rope. There was NO WAY I was leaving this chapel without ringing that bell…no way, no sir, no how! The tiniest of problems was, my vertical leap lacked, oh a measly 3.5 feet! Dad to the rescue! He saw what felt like my 74th attempt, came over with a huge grin on his face, and hoisted me up on his shoulders so I could reach my own personal Everest. Once I grabbed ahold of that rope I wasn’t letting go for anything! I pulled with literally my entire body weight (no seriously) and the bell let out its massive clang once more…then twice more…then three times more…and a forth…and fifth…aaaaaaaaand!!! What I didn’t factor in to my grand conquering of the bell was how to get back down. My feet were a mile from the floor and the rope pully system was taking me for the ride of my life. Nothing like being on your very own Disney World ride in the middle of a 19th century church! Everyone, including my dear ole’ dad had a good laugh about the whole thing. And so did I once dad finally got me down.
So, why tell you this story? Completely true, by the way. I came across another Spurgeon quote on prayer that seemed to fit a word picture like the one above.“
Prayer pulls the rope below and the great bell rings above in the ears of God. Some scarcely stir the bell, for they pray so languidly. Others give but an occasional pluck at the rope. But he who wins with Heaven is the man who grasps the rope boldly and pulls continuously, with all his might.”
Now, let me just say that, while there are interesting similarities in the story and the quote, I’m not making parallel references between my brother, my dad, or me. But isn’t it interesting how Spurgeon parcels out 3 different responses to prayer. Some pray so little, so weak, and half-heartedly that the bell of heaven is barely heard. Others may grab the rope with one hand, giving up occasional prayers when they believe they need God to come through. And yet, still others, who are without a doubt fervent in praying to the Lord about all things great and small, grab on to that rope for dear life and KNOW that the bell is resounding in the ears of the Father!
So, which of these three do we want to be? I think we would all confess a deep desire to be in the shoes of the last brother or sister Spurgeon describes. And I also believe that we are doing much in the way of prayer. Praying for our work, ministry, family, God’s will to be done in Europe and the rest of the world, COVID stuff, friends, friends who are lost or hurting, and the list could go on. I also don’t know about you, but I believe I can certainly do more by way of this wonderful discipline.
Spend concerted time this week abiding with the Lord. Pray about everything. Call out His name in the morning, in the evening, in the middle of the day, in the middle of talking to a missionary, to a fellow Christian, a coworker, a friend, when you don’t feel like it, when it seems like work instead of joy. This is what pleases our Heavenly Father. Ring that bell continuously and don’t let your feet hit the floor!
Clayton J. Elliott, Kontaktmission USA
Director of Pastoral Ministries and Prayer