Spurgeon on Prayer

I have just started reading Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s classic ‘Only a prayer meeting’ and I intend to serve up some great insights on what a God glorifying prayer meeting does and does not look (although ‘look’ is a little misleading because it’s not about how it looks per se) like from the big man himself as I turn the pages of this book. Here’s what I’ve uncovered so far…

First of all on Christian gatherings and the importance of keeping Christ exalting truth central rather than performing the latest ‘fad’:

‘I would sooner have the doctrines of grace revived, individual piety deepened, and family religion increased, than I would watch a frantic crowd parading the street with noisy music, and harsh clamour. I see no special virtue in drums and tambourines. Make what noise you will to attract the careless if  you afterwards give them sound instruction in the truth, and make them know the meaning of the Word of the Lord; but if it be mere stir, and song, and swagger, what is the good of it? If gospel truth is not taught, your work will be a building of wood, hay, and stubble, soon to be consumed. Quick building is seldom permanent. Gold, silver, and precious stones are scarce material, not easily found; but then they endure the fire. What is the use of religion which comes up in a night, and perishes as soon? Ah, me! What empty bragging we have heard! The thing was done, but then it was never worth doing; soon things were as if it never had been done; and, moreover, this sham way of doing it made it all the harder toil for the real worker.’

Let churches everywhere be full of the faithful and passionate deliverance and spread of God’s truth!

And then before turning to the public use of prayer in the rest of the book, Spurgeon highlights the necessity of time alone with the Lord in prayer:

‘If our life is all in public, it will be a frothy, vapoury, ineffectual existence; but if we hold high converse with God in secret, we shall be mighty for good. The Puritans were abundant in meditation and prayer; and there were giants on the earth in those days. He that is a prince with God will take high rank with men, after the true measure of nobility.’

May our lives not just talk the talk, but let us walk the walk!

 

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks for sharing this Nick. While I’m sure Spurgeon was a witness to similar church culture in his day he almost seems to be writing ahead of his time when you look at that first quote.

    Many churches today are brilliant at attracting fresh faces in with their contemporary, loud music and atmosphere but some of these (not all) are failing in their mission to then teach the gospel in all its fullness to those they have attracted. Not that I’m having a rant about contemporary churches or anything (infact I much prefer them a lot of the time) but the responsibility of the church is so much more than just luring people through the door with flashly gimmicks. The Gospel must be at the centre of everything we do. It is the gospel which changes peoples lives, not a rock band and a light show.

    Reply

    • Thanks for your comment Simon. I can only agree that Spurgeon could easily be speaking into today’s church, and it’s reassuring to hear that this problem has cropped up in the past and been opposed.

      I’m certainly not against ‘contemporary church’ either but it must not lack substance when it comes to the gospel. No shame of God’s wrath, no downplaying of sin, no movement away from Scripture is the key. Christ and His words at the centre! Sometimes the ’emergent’ church neglect big doctrines because they feel they have divisive nature. Surely, the opposite should be true!

      I find this an interesting analysis from Driscoll, I think you may too…

      I think in terms of prayer meetings, there’s a temptation to move away from praying through Scriptural truths and just simply handing over our petitions God to do something seemingly more ‘spiritual’, which is utterly ridiculous because what could be more spiritual than enjoying conversation with our Heavenly Father and meditating on His words of eternal life!

      Reply

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