Thursday, March 10, 2016

C.H. Spurgeon on Prayers (Most of the Time) Should be Short and Strong

This is excerpt from C.H. Spurgeon’s Concerning Prayer sermon delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington (1888). I just love Spurgeon!:

We expect the Lord to hear our prayers. No, we are sure that He does so. We hear our fellow Christians say, when we tell them of instances in which God has heard our prayers, “How very extraordinary!” And we look at them and say, “Extraordinary?” Has it become an extraordinary thing for God to be true to His own Promise? I like better the remark of the good old lady, who, when her prayer was answered, was asked, “Does it not surprise you?” She said, “No, it does not surprise me. It is just like Him.”

If anyone of you had a promise from a friend that, upon your sending in a note, he would give you such-and-such a thing—if you sent the request and he fulfilled his promise, would you say, “I am greatly surprised at his action”? No, no—you believe that your friend means what he says and you look for him to keep his word. O child of God, deal with God on those terms. The wonder was that He should make the promise at all! But when He has made the promise, it is not wonderful that He should keep it—He expects you to ask and He waits to give.

A promise is like a check. If I have a check, what do I do with it? Suppose I carried it about in my pocket and said, “I do not see the use of this bit of paper, I cannot buy anything with it,” a person would say, “Have you been to the bank with it?” “No, I did not think of that.” “But it is payable to your order. Have you written your name on the back of it?” “No, I have not done that.” “And yet you are blaming the person who gave you the check? The whole blame lies with yourself. Put your name on the back of the check, go with it to the bank and you will get what is promised to you.”

A prayer should be the presentation of God’s promise endorsed by your personal faith. I hear of people praying for an hour together. I am very pleased that they can. But it is seldom that I can do so and I see no need for it. It is like a person going into a bank with a check and stopping an hour. The clerks would wonder. The common sense way is to go to the counter and show your check and take your money and go about your business. There is a style of prayer which is of this fine practical character. You so believe in God that you present the promise, obtain the blessing and go about your Master’s business.

Sometimes a flood of words only means excusing unbelief. The prayers of the Bible are nearly all short ones—they are short and strong. The exceptions are found in places of peculiar difficulty, like that of Jacob, when he cried—

With you all night I mean to stay,
And wrestle till the break of day.”

As a general rule, faith presents its prayer, gets its answer and goes on its way rejoicing.

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