D. L. Moody once said to hear Spurgeon preach was a blessing, but to hear Spurgeon pray was even more impressive (Autobiography 4:71).
Praying like Spurgeon nourishes the soul, encourages the depressed, motivates the lazy, and ushers the humble before the throne of God.
Spurgeon prevailed with God in prayer.
“As I am sure that a certain amount of leverage will lift a weight, so I know that a certain amount of prayer will get anything from God” (MTP 11:150).
“If there be anything I know, anything that I am quite assured of beyond all question, it is that praying breath is never spent in vain” (MTP 11:150).
“The streaming wounds of Jesus are the sure guarantees for answered prayer” (MTP 11:149).
Spurgeon baked and caked his prayers in Scripture. He pulled passages from the broken places of his heart and flung them into the presence of the Divine. Never rehearsed, always urgent, Spurgeon’s prayers were theological but not scholarly.
“[Spurgeon’s] wonderful knowledge of the Scripture made his prayers so fresh and edifying” (C. H. Spurgeon’s Prayers, vi).
One of the best sermons Spurgeon ever preached on prayer was “The Golden Key of Prayer.” In it, he provides the Christian with a sparkling aspiration:
“If you would reach to something higher than ordinary grovelling experience, look to the Rock that is higher than you, and look with the eye of faith through the windows of importunate prayer” (MTP 11:153).
In this season of great uncertainty, the first thing – the best thing – a believer should do is pray. Spurgeon found this effective in his life, and if it is true of us, we will discover numerous benefits:
1. Prayer makes us desire God.
“Prayer is the natural outgushing of a soul in communion with Jesus” (MTP 34:14-15).
“Desire is the kernel of prayer, and the vocal expressions which we call by the name of prayer are often but its shell. . . . Though you cannot always be speaking in prayer, you can always be desiring in prayer” (MTP 29:531).
“In looking back upon the character of our prayers, if we do it honestly, we shall be filled with wonder that God has ever answered them” (Morning and Evening, May 24, AM).
2. Prayer promotes holiness.
“Prayer will make you leave off sinning, or sinning will make you leave off praying” (NPSP 1:122).
“Oh God, to what a terrible depth a man can sink if he can live without prayer” (MTP 49:478).
“Holiness is essential to power in prayer: the life must knock while the lips ask and the heart seeks” (MTP 29:302).
3. Prayer ushers us before the Holy.
“Every time you speak to God, your voice resounds beyond the limits of time” (MTP 7:93).
“Nothing under heaven pays like prevailing prayer” (MTP 29:302).
“Prayers are instantly noticed in Heaven” (Morning and Evening, November 3, AM).
“We ought not to tolerate for a minute the ghastly and grievous thought that God will not answer prayer” (MTP 11:149).
4. Prayer opens mysteries.
“Prayer is not meant for the Lord’s information. The question is not put to you that you may instruct him, but that he may instruct you” (MTP 27:360).
“Prayer is that great key which opens mysteries” (MTP 13:73).
“The best way by which a prophet and teacher and learner can know the reserved truths, the higher and more mysterious truths of God, is by waiting upon God in prayer” (MTP 11:152).
“Prayer is the lever, the prise which forces open the iron chest of sacred mystery that we may get the treasure” (MTP 11:152).
5. Prayer is available to anyone.
“We cannot all be leaders, but we can all be pleaders” (An All-Round Ministry, 314).
“God is ready to open this door. Remember, there is no cherub with fiery sword to guard this gate” (MTP 29:303).
“You feel on a sudden, possibly in the midst of business, the pressing thought that you must retire to pray” (MTP 11:148, italics in the original).
6. Prayer is our spiritual thermometer.
“Prayer is the thermometer of grace” (MTP 37:95).
“Power in prayer is very much the gauge of our spiritual condition” (MTP 34:19).
“The act of prayer teaches us our unworthiness” (MTP 9:243).
7. Prayer prepares us for praise.
“Prayer is the breathing in of the air of heaven, and praise is the breathing of it out again” (MTP 44:577).
“The prayers of the church measure its prosperity” (MTP 28:547).
“I believe that God’s church might have inconceivable blessings if she were but ready now to pray” (MTP 28:551).
“Praise should always follow answered prayer, as the mist of Earth’s gratitude rises when the sun of Heaven’s love warms the ground” (MTP 9:247).
8. Prayer raises Godly children.
“Parents prayed for me; God heard their cries, and here I am to preach the gospel” (MTP 11:150).
“I am sure we cannot expect our children to grow up a godly seed if there is no family prayer” (MTP 61:526).
9. Prayer helps us prevail.
“He who can truly pray has first read the heart of God, and then spoken out what is there. Prayer overcometh the Eternal” (MTP 48:491).
“If Christ’s church pleads with her own Husband, she cannot be refused” (MTP 13:81).
“Prayer is the great door of spiritual blessing, and if you close it you shut out the favour” (MTP 28:549).
“Much in prayer, much in Heaven; slow in prayer, slow in progress” (MTP 7:292).
“Prevailing prayer takes the Christian to Carmel, and enables him to cover Heaven with clouds of blessings and Earth with floods of mercy” (MTP 11:153).
“We can only pray without an ‘if’ when we are quite sure that our will must be God’s will” (MTP 11:151).
10. Prayer corrects our posture.
“If our prayers had less of the tail feathers of pride and more wing they would be all the better” (Morning and Evening, January 14, AM).
“The act of prayer teaches us our unworthiness, which is a very salutary lesson for such proud beings as we are” (MTP 9:243).
Spurgeon’s encouragement for you today
“Young man, I say, try the Lord. Young woman, prove him, see whether he be true or not. If God be true, you cannot seek mercy at his hands through Jesus Christ and get a negative reply. He must, for his own promise and character bind him to it, open mercy’s gate to you who knock with all your heart. God help you, believing in Christ Jesus, to cry aloud unto God, and his answer of peace is already on the way to meet you” (MTP 11:156).