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I heard this illustration many years ago and found it to be a helpful prayer aid. Imagine a set of scales with a half kilo weight on one side and a pile of sugar cubes being added to the other. The first cubes added seem to make no difference at all 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 more sugar cube starts to tip the scales.
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 would never 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 it is removing a stronghold of the enemy, releasing funds or opening new doors for ministry.
The sugar cube illustration can also be applied to evangelizing an unreached people group. Was it the playing of a GRN cassette or CD that first drew people to Christ? Was it the showing of the Jesus film? Was it the work of a missionary or church planting team? Which was the most important component? Does it seem sometimes that our recordings make no discernible difference to the hearers while at other times they are the means that God uses to bring about the salvation of souls?
If the efforts of the workers who were the first to engage the people group did not seem to bring about any results, they should not be discouraged. They are sowing where someone else will eventually reap. And those who reap and see results can be grateful for the "sugar cubes" that faithfully sowed without which there would be no reaping.
So let us ask God to make us faithful 'sugar cubes' wherever we fit in His timeline-willing to pray and willing to work even without seeing visible results.
And one more thing we can learn from the sugar cubes...it wouldn't do us any harm to be a little sweet either!
GRN Global Prayer Coordinator