Sunday, July 15, 2007

Brief Spurgeonic word on prayer

Every time Spurgeon says something about prayer — and he does it frequently — I wince. Usually from some sort of conviction, though I do think sometimes he's unwarrantedly expansive on the subject.

In the former category are his remarks in today's devotion on “The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out” (Leviticus 6:13), which he in classic form applies to private devotion and prayer. And in the course, he says this:
Have you nothing to pray for? Let us suggest the Church, the ministry, your own soul, your children, your relations, your neighbours, your country, and the cause of God and truth throughout the world.
Yeah, ouch, okay, that should do for starters!

Spurgeon also says this:
Let us examine ourselves on this important matter. Do we engage with lukewarmness in private devotion? Is the fire of devotion burning dimly in our hearts? Do the chariot wheels drag heavily? If so, let us be alarmed at this sign of decay. Let us go with weeping, and ask for the Spirit of grace and of supplications. Let us set apart special seasons for extraordinary prayer. For if this fire should be smothered beneath the ashes of a worldly conformity, it will dim the fire on the family altar, and lessen our influence both in the Church and in the world.
Here I think he hits the right (and elusive) balance between inner and outer life. To the question, "What if my 'heart' isn't in it?", Spurgeon neither replies "Doesn't matter, just do it," nor "Then wait until it is." He says, "That's not good — but don't let that stop you. Start there in your prayers."

Which isn't a bad thought for us on a Lord's Day, to say nothing of all the rest.

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