It is not that a person should shout, or scream, or be very loud, in order to prove that they are in earnest. But it is desirable that we should be hearty and fervent and warm — and ask as if we were really interested in what we were doing! It is the “effectual fervent” prayer that “avails much.” This is the lesson that is taught us by the expressions used in Scripture about prayer. It is called, “crying, knocking, wrestling, laboring, striving.”
This is the lesson taught us by scripture examples. Jacob is one. He said to the angel at Penuel, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” Genesis 32:26. Daniel is another. Hear how he pleaded with God: “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for your own sake, O my God.” Daniel 9:19. Our Lord Jesus Christ is another. It is written of him, “In the days of his flesh, he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears.” Hebrews 5:7.
Alas, how unlike is this to many of our supplications! How tame and lukewarm they seem by comparison. How truly might God say to many of us, “You do not really want what you pray for!” Lets us try to amend this fault. Let us knock loudly at the door of grace, like Mercy in Pilgrim’s Progress, as if we must perish unless we are heard. Let us settle it in our minds, that cold prayers are a sacrifice without fire. Let us remember the story of Demosthenes the great orator, when one came to him, and wanted to plead his cause. He heard him without attention — while he told his story without earnestness. The man saw this, and cried out with anxiety that it was all true. “Ah,” said Demosthenes, “I believe you now!”