Emulate “the Prince of Preachers” by praying humbly, compassionately, fervently and boldly.
Posted in , Apr 2, 2018
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was an English preacher of such long and wide influence that he came to be called “the Prince of Preachers.” He was the pastor of London’s New Park Street Chapel, which became the Metropolitan Tabernacle for 38 years, and preached to more people than anyone else of his generation. He preached nearly 3,600 sermons and published 49 books (commentaries, anecdotes, etc.) in his lifetime.
Most importantly, perhaps, he prayed. Oh, how he prayed. Many of his prayers were written and are still considered among the most beautiful and powerful prayers in the English language, perhaps revealing the secret to his success as a preacher and pastor.
But it’s an open secret. Even the most casual exposure to Spurgeon’s prayers provides ways to pray that are worth emulating. Following are five ways to pray like Spurgeon, followed by examples from his prayer life, that any of us can emulate:
1) Pray the Bible
Spurgeon’s prayers are saturated with phrases from the Bible. The man not only read and studied the Bible; he lived and breathed it. Here is an example, a short passage of prayer that draws from Psalm 145, Luke, Exodus, and Ephesians:
O Lord, Thy works praise Thee, but Thy saints bless Thee and this shall be our heaven. Yea, our heaven of heavens eternally to praise and magnify the great and ever blessed God. May many a maiden this day, may many a man break forth and say, with the virgin of old, "My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit doth rejoice in God my Savior." May there be going up this day sweet incense, of praise laid by holy hands, privately upon the altar of God. May the place be filled with the smoke thereof, not perhaps to the consciousness of every one, but to the acceptance of God who shall smell a sweet savor of rest in Christ and then in the praises of His people in Him.
2) Pray Humbly
Spurgeon always seemed to approach God on his knees, so to speak, with a consciousness of and sorrow for sin, both his own and that of others, such as that displayed in the following:
Glorious Benefactor, we can meet Thee on good terms, for we are full of poverty, we are just as empty as we can be. We could not be more abjectly dependent than we are. Since Thou wouldest display Thy mercy, here is our sin. Since Thou wouldest show Thy strength, here is our weakness. Since Thou wouldest manifest Thy lovingkindness, here are our needs. Since Thou wouldest glorify Thy grace, here are we, such persons as can never have a shadow of a hope except through Thy grace, for we are undeserving, ill-deserving, hell-deserving, and if Thou do not magnify Thy grace in us, we must perish forever.
3) Pray Compassionately
Preaching and praying, as he did, in Victorian England, Spurgeon’s language is rather antiquated, but it is nonetheless always laced with deep compassion for souls, as the following shows:
May we love God. May we love Thee, O Savior. May we love the people of God as being members of one body in connection with Thee. May we love the guilty world with that love which desires its salvation and conversion and may we love not in word only, but in deed and in truth. May we help the helpless, comfort the mourner, sympathize with the widow and fatherless, and may we be always ready to put up with wrong, to be long suffering, to be very patient, full of forgiveness, counting it a small thing that we should forgive our fellow-men since we have been forgiven of God. Lord, tune our hearts to love and then give us an inward peace, a restfulness about everything.
4) Pray Fervently
Anyone who reads Spurgeon’s prayers is likely to be struck by the passion with which he prayed. He prayed like one who was calling down fire—and often he did! Here is a sample:
O Savior, reveal Thyself anew, teach us a little more, help us to go a little deeper into the divine mystery. May we grip Thee and grasp Thee. May we suck out of Thee the nutriment of our spirit. May we be in Thee as a branch is in the stem and may we bear fruit from Thee. Without Thee we can do nothing.
5) Pray Boldly
When construction began on the Metropolitan Tabernacle, which could accommodate crowds of 6,000, Spurgeon prayed boldly and publicly for the safety of the construction workers, that none would be injured, let alone killed. His prayer was answered, prompting London businessmen to plead for his prayers during their own construction projects.
You and I may not possess Spurgeon’s communication skills, but we can emulate his prayers by praying the Bible and by praying humbly, compassionately, fervently, and boldly.