Thursday, October 11, 2012

Spurgeon on prayer

9:12 p.m. Today's project, first thing as always, was to read my Morning & Evening selection for today. Charles Spurgeon's devotional is also just about the last thing I read at night.

I had been able to share with one of my sons an instance of what is described in the Apostle Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, Chapter 12 verse 8, as a "word of knowledge" that came to me while praying intensely for someone.  He said, "That was more than a coincidence," and I replied, "It was a 'God thing.' "

Lamentations 3:41 is the headlining verse of this selection:

Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.

Spurgeon begins,

The act of prayer teaches us our unworthiness, which is a very salutary lesson for such proud beings as we are. If God gave us favors without constraining us to pray for them we should never know how poor we are, but a true prayer is an inventory of wants, a catalogue of necessities, a revelation of hidden poverty. While it is an application to divine wealth, it is a confession of human emptiness.

Hidden poverty is an amazing term that could mean, or apply to, so many things! From an impressive physical appearance of one's self, car or home, that closer inspection reveals to be in a sick, run-down, or decrepit condition; to an individual who gives the impression of being completely self-sufficient, but who lives in lack and fear daily.

And the phrase Human emptiness reminds me of Jesus' rebuke and true description of the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:18 which boasted, "I am am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing." Jesus knew their true condition! They did not know that they were "wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked." Yet in His great love, Jesus tells those He loves, even while rebuking and chastening them, one of the most famous of His quotes, Revelation 3:20:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

Spurgeon continues,

The most healthy state of a Christian is to be always empty in self and constantly depending on the Lord Jesus for supplies; to be always poor in self and rich in Jesus; weak as water personally, but mighty through God to do great exploits; and hence the use of prayer, because, while it adores God, it lays the creature where it should be, in the dust.

Jesus said in John 14:5,

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me, you can do nothing.

Prayer has a practical, immediate, positive effect on you and me, like the aerobics class I take in the mornings. Spurgeon explains,

Prayer is in itself, apart from the answer it brings, a great benefit to the Christian. As the runner gains strength for the race by daily exercise, so for the great race of life we acquire energy by the hallowed labour of prayer. Prayer plumes the wings of God's young eaglets, that they may learn to mount above the clouds.

Prayer girds human weakness with divine strength, turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and gives to troubled mortals the peace of God. We know not what prayer cannot do!

Thank You, Lord that You taught us to pray, and that You hear and act when we do!!

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