Wednesday, April 25, 2012

C.H. Spurgeon & Prayer

Recently, I've begun reading the first volume of C.H. Spurgeon's Autobiography.  This 561 page monster is, no doubt, a mammoth exploit; but it has also served as a rewarding outpouring of  spiritual insight into the life of a preaching giant.  This 19th Century 'prince of preachers' had the ability to preach in a way that would literally impact the world of Christendom for years that would follow.  Furthermore, he was in his late teens and early twenties when a congregation of 500 grew to an astonishing number of 10,000 plus.  This fact alone is remarkable, in and of itself, when reading his messages.  While the content of his messages were full of pure exposition, honest reflection, unique illustrations and life-related applications - his sermons were all but watered down!  Something is to be said of any one messenger who can attract a crowd of over 10,000 people without utilizing superficial or material ploys that appeal to human senses and emotions.  I would have loved to have sat in once to hear this great preacher at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.  It is my hope to one day visit London, specifically to see the place where Spurgeon once preached, lived and the place of his conversion. 

In my reading and studying the life of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, I have seen a common thread woven through the fabric of this great preacher's life, preaching, pastorate and testimony - PRAYER.  It is said that, while Spurgeon preached to the huge crowds in the Metropolitan Tabernacle, at it's construction, the Tabernacle was designed to have beneath the pulpit, in the basement a prayer room.  To some, it has been said that Spurgeon affectionately referred to this basement room where 200 people would gather to pray as he preached as 'The Fire Room'.  How appropriate is this.  Prayer is FIRE!  Prayer is the believer's arsenal and ammunition.  Prayer, according to the late C.A.W. Clark is '...when the saints of God declare kinship with the sky'.  Spurgeon is noted to have said that '...God will not shut his storehouse until we shut our mouths'.  And it was the late Dr. Ernest Kinsley Bailey who said, 'nothing of eternal signifance can happen without prayer'. 

Honest moment - sometimes prayer can easily take backstage to many of the other deeming 'important matters' in our human world.  But....if we can ever expect divine, other-wordly intervention to show up in the human affairs of our little world (it's little to God), we must pray.  How can we as aliens and foreigners of this world win the battle if we aren't communicating with headquarters?  It becomes frivolous, impossible and difficult. 

I love singing.  But I have discovered that singing will do what singing will do.  God knows I love preaching.  But preaching will do what preaching will do.  Here is a wonderful reality...PRAYER will do what GOD can do! 

Spurgeon was an avid reader.  But one of his favorite books was 'Pilgrim's Progress'.  In fact, when courting his future wife, Sussanah, he asked if she would read this John Bunyan classic.  I like what John Bunyan says regarding prayer:

“Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.”
I Thessalonians 5:17 informs us to 'prayer without ceasing'.  God tells us in Jeremiah 33:3 to ' upon me; and I will hear you and answer you'.  Christ says in Matthew 7:7-8, 'Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.'

Let us never forget the power of prayer!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

God Enjoyed

A Prayer Concerning the Enjoyment of God by An Anonymous Puritan (ca. 17th century)

"Thou incomprehensible but prayer-hearing God,
Known, but beyond knowledge,
revealed, but unrevealed,
my wants and welfare draw me to thee,
for thou hast never said, 'Seek ye me in vain'.

To Thee I come in my difficulties, necessities, distresses;
possess me with thyself,
with a spirit of grace and supplication,
with a prayerful attitude of mind,
with access into warmth of fellowship,
so that in the ordinary concerns of life
my thoughts and desires may rise to thee,
and in habitual devotion I may find a resource that will
soothe my sorrows, sanctify my successes,
and qualify me in all ways for dealings with my fellow men.

I bless thee that thou hast made me capable.
of knowing thee, the author of all being,
of resembling thee, the perfection of all excellency,
of enjoying thee, the source of all happiness.

O God, attend me in every part of my arduous and trying pilgrimage;
I need the same counsel, defense, comfort I found at my beginning.
Let my religion be more obvious to my conscience,
more perceptible to those around.
While Jesus is representing me in heaven, may I reflect him on earth,
While he pleads my cause, may I show forth his praise.

Continue the gentleness of thy goodness towards me,
And whether I wake or sleep, let thy presence go with me,
thy blessing attend me.

Thou hast led me on and I have found thy promises true,
I have been sorrowful, but thou hast been my help,
fearful, but thou hast delivered me,
despairing, but thou hast lifted me up.

Thy vows are ever upon me,
And I praise thee, O God."