Torchbearers for Christ
Monday, January 22, 2018
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Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

 

 

Famous Quote: "There is a general kind of prayer which fails for lack of precision. It is as if a regiment of soldiers should all fire their guns anywhere. Possibly somebody would be killed, but the majority of the enemy would be missed. Our prayers may be very beautiful in appearance and might appear to be the very paragon of devotion, but unless there is a secret spiritual force in them, they are vain things."

 

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) was born in Kelvedon, Essex, England. Since both his father and grandfather were pastors, he grew up in the knowledge and understanding of Christianity but was not converted until 1850.  He preached his first sermon to a small gathering of farmers in August of that year and a year later became the pastor of a village church. At the age of nineteen he became the pastor of the New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, London, which was later to become the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Spurgeon married in 1856 and had twin sons who also entered the ministry.

 

Spurgeon was the most popular preacher in the nineteenth century and is estimated to have preached to ten million people in his lifetime. This earned him the title "Prince of Preachers", a title that is still used to refer to him today. It is reported that his preaching drew multitudes of people and that many came to Christ. While pasturing in London, he ministered to a congregation of almost 6,000 people each Sunday. Spurgeon’s first sermon was published in January 1855 and his sermons continued to be published until 1916, twenty-four years after his death. Over thirty-five hundred of his sermons were published and they were so popular that they sold by the ton. History has it that over 100,000,000 copies of his sermons has been sold and more than 150 years after his death his sermons continue to gain popularity. 

 

Apart from preaching, Spurgeon also wrote a monthly magazine, founded a college for pastors, two orphanages and an old-peoples home.

 

History has it that when he died in January 1892, sixty thousand people came to pay homage during the three days his body was laid in state at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. It was further reported that a funeral procession two miles long followed his hearse from the Tabernacle to the cemetery and that one hundred thousand people stood along the way.

 

Spurgeon had no formal ministerial training and did not go to college. What then was the secret of his powerful and successful preaching ministry? It was said that he had a beautiful speaking voice and a style that was both dramatic and captivating and he preached in a manner that addressed the needs of his audience. But the most important factor was Spurgeon’s devotion to prayer.

 

Spurgeon on Prayer

 

Spurgeon’s devotion to prayer can be seen in the many sermons he preached and the many books he wrote on prayer. He was a great believer in passionate, Holy Spirit-directed prayer. It was reported that when he showed people around the church, he always pointed out the prayer room which he referred to as "the powerhouse of this church". In one of the prayers attributed to him, titled "The Wings of Prayer", he says:

 

            "We thank thee, Lord, that we have not only found benefit in prayer, but in the answers to it we have been greatly enriched. Thou has opened thy hid treasures to the voice of prayer; though hast supplied our necessities as soon as ever we have cried unto thee; yea, we have found it true: ‘Before they call I will answer and while thy are yet speaking I will hear’. We do bless thee Lord for instituting the blessed ordinance of prayer. What could we do without it, and we take great shame to ourselves that we should use it so little. We pray that we may be men of prayer, taken up with it, that it may take us up and bear us on its wings towards heaven.

                     

            To Spurgeon, the Believer ought to pray and there is no reason why we should not. God has given us permission to call unto Him and has promised us that if we do, He will answer. Below is what Spurgeon had to say on the need for Believers to pray without ceasing.  

 

UNCEASING PRAYER – Pray continually (1Thessalonians 5:17)

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ in these words assures you that you may pray without ceasing. There is no time when you may not pray. There is not one unholy moment in the hour, nor one unaccepted hour in the day or year. Whenever we seek the Lord with true hearts He is found by us; whenever we cry to Him He hears us.

 

You have here permission given to come to the mercy seat when you will, for the veil of the Most Holy Place is rent in two from top to bottom, and our access to the mercy seat is undisputed and indisputable. The monarch whose palace was in Shushan would have none approach him unless he sent for them; but the King of kings has called for all His people, and they may come at all times. They were slain who went before the king Ahasuerus, unless he stretched out his scepter to them; but our King never withdraws His scepter, it is always stretched out, and whoever desires to come to Him may come now and come at any time. Among the Persians there were some few of the nobility who had the peculiar and special right of an audience with the king at any time they chose. That peculiar right of a few and of the very great is the privilege of every child of God. He may come before the King at all times. The dead of night is not too late for God.; the breaking of the morning, when the first gray light is seen, is not too early for the Most High; at midday He is not too busy; and when the evening gathers He is not too weary with His children’s prayers. To pray continually is a most sweet and precious permit to the believer to pour out his heart at all times before the Lord.

 

The doors of the temple of divine love shall not be shut. Nothing can set a barrier between a praying soul and its God. The road of angels and of prayers is ever open. Let us but send out the dove of prayer and we may be certain that she will return to us with an olive branch of peace in her mouth. Evermore the Lord has regard for the pleadings of His servants and waits to be gracious to them.

 

Jesus, You opened the doors of the temple forever. May my heart always dwell there

 

Another subject that Spurgeon took great interest in and on which he also preached many sermons is ‘soulwinning’. His sermons on this subject include, "How to become Fishers of Men", "How hearts are softened", "The Sower", "Bringing sinners to the Saviour"and "Our Great Shepherd finding the Sheep".

 

Conclusion

 

Spurgeon was indeed a great preacher of his time. Though we are not all called to be preachers, all of us are certainly called to pray. May it also be said of us that "he/she was a devoted man/woman of prayer." Amen