Many years ago I heard this illustration: Imagine a set of scales with a one-pound weight on one side and a pile of sugar cubes to be added to the other. The first few cubes added seem to make no difference in shifting the weight. Neither do the next ten cubes…or the next ten. However, by the time one hundred cubes have been added, a point is reached where the addition of one or two more sugar cube starts to tip the scales.
So the question is which sugar cubes played the most important part in shifting the weight? Was it the first ones placed on the scales or the ones that finally tipped the weight? The answer of course is that all were equally important. The ones that tipped the scales wouldn’t have done so had the first ones not played their part.
When we pray, doesn’t it seem sometimes as if our prayers make no difference at all while at other times we see immediate answers? Assuming we are praying in line with God’s will, the prayers that seem to make no difference are just as essential as those that bring immediate answers. There seems to be a certain “weight” of intercession that God requires to answer each prayer, whether we are praying for a need or a friend’s salvation.
This illustration can also be applied to leading someone to Christ. Was it our witness that made the difference—or did reading a Bible or hearing a preacher lead to their decision? If our words didn’t seem to make much impact we should not be discouraged. We are sowing where someone else will reap. And those who reap and see results can be grateful for those who sowed without which there would be no reaping.
So let us ask God to make us faithful sugar cubes—willing to pray and witness even without seeing visible results.
And there is one more thing we can learn from the sugar cubes. It wouldn’t harm for us to be a little sweet either!
Colin Stott is Global Prayer Coordinator for Global Recordings Network, a mission that provides audio Bible stories in over six thousand languages and dialects. For more information about reprinting this article and others in this series on prayer, contact Colin at email@example.com