The fire was, for all practical purposes, out. The previous afternoon I had been caught up in my work in another part of the house and had neglected to tend it. I tried to stir it up right before leaving for church, but it didn’t last. We came home to a dark fireplace and unburnt wood.
As I sat before it the next morning, I knew that some embers still glowed in the midst of that wood. Through the night some of the wood had slowly, very slowly, burned down, but a blaze had never returned. Even with those glowing embers, I assumed we’d have to clean the fireplace out and start from scratch. No fire could restart from those few coals without much help. Still, I pushed the remaining wood together just in case.
As I finished my quiet time and got started with the day, I found a couple of napkins and tissues lying around in the living room. So, I put them in the fireplace. Within minutes, not only had the paper burst into flames, but the wood itself had caught the fire. Before long – with little more from me than a slight rearranging of wood and a careless addition of what could hardly pass for kindling – I had a solid fire. Not a quickly blazing one that would soon die out, but a steady fire that would stay strong as long as I continued fueling it. I added more wood and sat down for a few extra minutes just to enjoy it.
How many souls do we see who are nothing more than barely glowing embers? How often do we give up on them, assuming that all that is left is to just wait and let the rest of their heat fade away?
Fire is a powerful thing. It can live buried for incredible lengths of time, even appearing to be completely gone and dead, only to be stirred up and rekindled by the slightest fuel. It can be the final embers of a fire that never was strong in the first place, but suddenly grows beautifully steady when the perfect conditions come around. Yes, fire is powerful, both in the physical world and in the spiritual world.
Is there a dying ember you have despaired of praying for? Don’t stop! You might not even be able to see the glow, but the Master and Creator of that fire can still see it. He knows where it is and what it will take to kindle it into a steady flame. Trust Him. Pray! And be ready – when you least expect it, the flame will flare. If you are diligent in prayer, you just might be blessed with the opportunity to warm in its glow.