It is wholly a secret service. We do not know who these people are, though sometimes shrewd guesses may be made. I often think that sometimes we pass some plain-looking woman quietly slipping out of church; gown been turned two or three times; bonnet fixed over more than once; hands that have not known much of the softening of gloves; and we hardly give her a passing thought, and do not know, nor guess, that perhaps she is the one who is doing far more for her church, and for the world, and for God, than a hundred who would claim more attention and thought, because she prays: truly prays as the Spirit of God inspires and guides.
Let me put it this way: God will do as a result of the praying of the humblest one here what otherwise he would not do. Yes, I can make it stronger than that, and I must make it stronger, for the Book does. Listen: God will do in answer to the prayer of the weakest one here what otherwise He could not do. "Oh!" someone thinks, "you are getting too strong now."
Well, you listen to Jesus' own words in that last long quiet talk He had with the eleven men between the upper room and the olive grove. John preserves much of that talk for us. Listen: "Ye did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide: that"- listen, a part of the purpose why we have been chosen- "that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you." Mark that word "may"; not "shall" this time, but may. "Shall" throws the matter over on God- His purpose. "May" throws it over on us- our cooperation. That is to say our praying makes it possible for God to do what otherwise He could not do.
And if you think into it a bit, this fits in with the true conception of prayer. In its simplest analysis, prayer- all prayer- has, must have, two parts. First, a God to give. "Yes," you may say, "certainly a God wealthy, willing, all of that." And, just as certainly, there must be a second factor, a man to receive. Man's willingness is God's channel to the earth. God never crowds or coerces. Everything God does for man and through man He does with man's consent, always. With due reverence, but very plainly, let it be said that God can do nothing for the man with shut hand and shut life. There must be an open hand and heart and life through which God can give what He longs to.
An open life, an open hand, open upward, is the pipe line of communication between the heart of God and this poor befooled old world. Our prayer is God's opportunity to get into the world that would shut Him out.