2002. The Secret Of Power In Prayer

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No. 2002-34:13. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Morning, January 8, 1888, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. {Joh 15:7}

1. The gifts of grace are not enjoyed all at once by believers. Coming to Christ, we are saved by a true union with him; but it is by remaining in that union that we further receive the purity, the joy, the power, the blessedness, which are stored up in him for his people. See how our Lord states this when he speaks to the believing Jews in this gospel: — “Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ ” {Joh 8:31,32} We do not know all the truth at once: we learn it by remaining in Jesus. Perseverance in grace is an educational process by which we fully learn the truth. The emancipating power of that truth is also gradually perceived and enjoyed. “The truth shall make you free.” One bond after another snaps, and we are free indeed. You who are young beginners in the divine life may be cheered to know that there is something still better for you: you have not yet received the full reward of your faith. As your hymn puts it — “It is better on before.” You shall have happier views of heavenly things as you climb the hill of spiritual experience. As you remain in Christ you shall have firmer confidence, richer joy, greater stability, more communion with Jesus, and greater delight in the Lord your God. Infancy is beset with many dangers from which manhood is exempt: it is the same in the spiritual as in the natural world.

2. There are these degrees of attainment among believers, and the Saviour here incites us to reach a high position by mentioning a certain privilege which is not for all who say that they are in Christ, but for those only who are abiders in him. Every believer should be an abider, but many have hardly earned the name as yet. Jesus says, “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” You have to live with Christ to know him, and the longer you live with him the more you will admire and adore him; yes, and the more you will receive from him, even grace for grace. Truly he is a blessed Christ to one who is only a month old in grace; but these babes can hardly tell what a precious Jesus he is to those whose acquaintance with him covers almost half a century! Jesus, in the esteem of abiding believers, grows sweeter and dearer, fairer and more lovely, day by day. Not that he improves in himself, for he is perfect; but that as we increase in our knowledge of him, we appreciate more thoroughly his matchless excellencies. How glowingly do his old acquaintances exclaim, “Yes, he is altogether lovely!” Oh, that we may continue to grow up into him in all things who is our head, so that we may prize him more and more!

3. I call your earnest attention to our text, asking you to consider with me three questions. First, what is this special blessing? “You shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” Secondly, how is this special blessing obtained? “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you.” Then, thirdly, why is it obtained in this way? There must be a reason for the conditions laid down as necessary to obtaining the promised power in prayer. Oh, that the anointing of the Holy Spirit who remains on us may now make this subject very profitable to us!

4. I. WHAT IS THIS SPECIAL BLESSING? Let us read the verse again. Jesus says, “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.”

5. Observe that our Lord had been warning us that, severed from him, we can do nothing, and, therefore, we might naturally have expected that he would now show us how we can do all spiritual acts. But the text does not run as we should have expected it to run. The Lord Jesus does not say, “Without me you can do nothing, but, if you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you shall do all spiritual and gracious things.” He does not now speak of what they should themselves be enabled to do, but of what should be done for them: “it shall be done for you.” He does not say, “Strength shall be given to you sufficient for all those holy doings of which you are incapable apart from me.” That would have been true enough, and it is the truth which we looked for here; but our most wise Lord improves upon all parallelisms of speech, and improves upon all expectancies of heart, and says something even better. He does not say, “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you shall do spiritual things”; but, “you shall ask.” By prayer you shall be enabled to do; but before all attempts to do, “You shall ask.” The choice privilege given here is a mighty prevailing prayerfulness. Power in prayer is very much the gauge of our spiritual condition; and when that is secured for us in a high degree, we are favoured concerning all other matters.

6. One of the first results, then, of our enduring union with Christ will be the certain exercise of prayer: “You shall ask.” If others neither seek, nor knock, nor ask, you, at any rate, shall do so. Those who keep away from Jesus do not pray. Those in whom communion with Christ is suspended feel as if they could not pray; but Jesus says, “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you shall ask.” Prayer comes spontaneously from those who remain in Jesus, even as certain oriental trees, without pressure, shed their fragrant gums. Prayer is the natural outpouring of a soul in communion with Jesus. Just as the leaf and the fruit will come out of the vine branch without any conscious effort on the part of the branch, but simply because of its living union with the stem, so prayer buds, and blossoms, and fruits from souls remaining in Jesus. Just as stars shine, so do abiders pray. It is their use and their second nature. They do not say to themselves, “Now it is the time for us to get to our task and pray.” No, they pray as wise men eat, namely, when the desire for it is upon them. They do not cry out as under bondage, “At this time I ought to be in prayer, but I do not feel like it. What a weariness it is!” but they have a glad errand at the mercy seat, and they are glad to go on it. Hearts remaining in Christ send out supplications as fires send out flames and sparks. Souls remaining in Jesus open the day with prayer; prayer surrounds them as an atmosphere all day long; at night they fall asleep praying. I have known them even dream a prayer, and, at any rate, they are joyfully able to say, “When I awake, I am still with you.” Habitual asking comes out of remaining in Christ. You will not need urging to pray when you are remaining with Jesus: he says, “You shall ask”; and, depend on it, you will.

7. You shall also feel most powerfully the necessity of prayer. Your great need of prayer will be vividly seen. Do I hear you say — “What! When we remain in Christ, and his words remain in us, have we not already attained?” Then we are far from being satisfied with ourselves; it is then that we feel more than ever that we must ask for more grace. He who knows Christ best, knows his own needs best. He who is most conscious of life in Christ, is also most convinced of his own death apart from Christ. He who most clearly discerns the perfect character of Jesus, will be most urgent in prayer for grace to grow like him. The more I see that is in my Lord, the more I desire to obtain from him, since I know that all that is in him is put there on purpose so that I may receive it. “We received have all from his fulness, and grace for grace.” It is just in proportion as we are linked to Christ’s fulness that we feel the necessity of drawing from it by constant prayer. No one needs to prove to an abider in Christ the doctrine of prayer, for we enjoy the thing itself. Prayer is now as much a necessity of our spiritual life as breath is of our natural life: we cannot live without asking for favours from the Lord. “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you shall ask”: and you shall not wish to cease from asking. He has said, “Seek my face,” and your heart will answer, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

8. Notice next, that the fruit of our remaining is not only the exercise of prayer, and a sense of the necessity of prayer, but it includes liberty in prayer: “You shall ask whatever you wish.” Have you not been on your knees at times without power to pray? Have you not felt that you could not plead as you desired? You wanted to pray, but the waters were frozen up, and would not flow. You said, mournfully, “I am shut in, and cannot come out.” The will was present, but not the freedom to present that will in prayer. Do you, then, desire liberty in prayer, so that you may speak with God as a man speaks with his friend? Here is the way to do it: “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you shall ask whatever you wish.” I do not mean that you will gain liberty as to mere fluency of utterance, for that is a very inferior gift. Fluency is a questionable endowment, especially when it is not attended with weight of thought and depth of feeling. Some brethren pray by the yard; but true prayer is measured by weight, and not by length. A single groan before God may have more fulness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length. He who dwells with God in Christ Jesus, he is the man whose steps are enlarged in intercession. He comes boldly because he remains at the throne. He sees the golden sceptre stretched out, and hears the King saying, “Ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” It is the man who remains in conscious union with his Lord who has freedom of access in prayer. Well may he come to Christ readily, for he is in Christ, and remains in him. Do not attempt to seize this holy liberty by excitement, or presumption: there is only one way of really gaining it, and here it is — “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you shall ask whatever you wish.” Only by this means shall you be enabled to open your mouth wide, so that God may fill it. By doing so you shall become Israels, and as princes have power with God.

9. This is not all: the favoured man has the privilege of successful prayer. “You shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” You may not do it, but it shall be done for you. You long to bear fruit: ask, and it shall be done for you. Look at the vine branch. It simply remains in the vine, and by remaining in the vine the fruit comes from it; it is done for it. Brother in Christ, the purport of your being, its one object and design, is to produce fruit for the glory of the Father: to gain this purpose you must remain in Christ, as the branch remains in the vine. This is the method by which your prayer for fruitfulness will become successful, “it shall be done for you.” Concerning this matter, “you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” You shall have wonderful prevalence with God in prayer, insomuch that before you call he will answer, and while you are still speaking he will hear. “The desire of the righteous shall be granted.” To the same effect is the other text: “Delight yourself also in the Lord; and he shall give you the desires of your heart.” There is a great breadth in this text, “You shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” The Lord gives the abider carte blanche. He puts into his hand a signed cheque, and permits him to fill it out as he wishes.

10. Does the text mean what it says? I never knew my Lord to say anything he did not mean. I am sure that he may sometimes mean more than we understand him to say, but he never means less. Mind you, he does not say to all men, “I will give you whatever you ask.” Oh no, that would be an unkind kindness: but he speaks to his disciples, and says, “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” It is to a certain class of men who have already received great grace from his hands — it is to them he commits this marvellous power of prayer. Oh my dear friends, if I may covet earnestly one thing above every other, it is this; that I may be able to ask whatever I wish from the Lord, and have it. The prevailer in prayer is the man to preach successfully, for he may well prevail with man for God when he has already prevailed with God for men. This is the man to face the difficulties of business life; for what can baffle him when he can take everything to God in prayer? One such man as this, or one such woman as this in a church, is worth ten thousand of us common people. In these we find the peerage of the skies. In these are the men in whom is fulfilled God’s purpose concerning man, whom he made to have dominion over all the works of his hands. The stamp of sovereignty is on the brows of these men: they shape the history of nations, they guide the current of events through their power on high. We see Jesus with all things put under him by the divine purpose, and as we rise into that image, we also are clothed with dominion, and are made kings and priests to God. Behold Elijah, with the keys of the rain swinging at his belt: he shuts or opens the windows of heaven! There are such men still alive. Aspire to be such men and women, I beseech you, so that for you the text may be fulfilled. “You shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.”

11. The text seems to imply that, if we reach this point of privilege, this gift shall be perpetual: “You shall ask,” you shall always ask; you shall never get beyond asking, but you shall ask successfully, for “you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” Here we have the gift of continual prayer. Not for the week of prayer, not during a month’s conference, nor on a few special occasions shall you pray prevailingly; but you shall possess this power with God as long as you remain in Christ, and his words remain in you. God will put his omnipotence at your disposal: he will exert his Godhead to fulfil the desires which his own Spirit has created in you. I wish I could make this jewel glitter before the eyes of all the saints until they cried out, “Oh that we had it!” This power in prayer is like the sword of Goliath: wisely may every David say — “There is nothing like it; give it to me.” This weapon of All-Prayer beats the enemy, and, at the same time, enriches its possessor with all the wealth of God. How can he lack anything to whom the Lord has said, “Ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you?” Oh, come, let us seek this blessing. Listen, and learn the way. Follow me, while by the light of the text I point out the path. May the Lord lead us in it by his Holy Spirit!

12. II. The privilege of mighty prayerfulness — HOW IS IT TO BE OBTAINED? The answer is, “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you.” Here are the two feet by which we climb to power with God in prayer.

13. Beloved, the first line tells us that we are to remain in Christ Jesus our Lord. It is taken for granted that we are already in him. Is this to be taken for granted in your case, dear hearer? If so, you are to remain where you are. As believers we are to remain tenaciously clinging to Jesus, lovingly knit to Jesus. We are to remain in him, by always trusting him, and him only, with the same simple faith which joined us to him at the first. We must never admit any other thing or person into our heart’s confidence as our hope of salvation, but rest alone in Jesus as we received him at the first. His Godhead, his manhood, his life, his death, his resurrection, his glory at the right hand of the Father — in a word, he himself must be our heart’s sole reliance. This is absolutely essential. A temporary faith will not save: an enduring faith is necessary.

14. But remaining in the Lord Jesus does not only mean trusting in him; it includes our yielding ourselves up to him to receive his life, and to let that life work out its results in us. We live in him, by him, for him, to him, when we remain in him. We feel that all our separate life has gone: for “you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ.” We are nothing if we get away from Jesus; we should then be withered branches, and fit only to be cast into the fire. We have no reason for existence except what we find in Christ; and what a marvellous reason that is! The vine needs the branch as truly as the branch needs the vine. No vine ever bore any fruit except on its branches. Truly it bears all the branches, and so bears all the fruit; but yet it is by the branch that the vine displays its fruitfulness. So are enduring believers necessary for the fulfilment of their Lord’s purpose. Wonderful thing to say; but the saints are necessary for their Saviour! The church is his body; the fulness of him who fills all in all. I want you to recognise this, so that you may see your blessed responsibility, your practical obligation to produce fruit, that the Lord Jesus may be glorified in you. Remain in him. Never move from your consecration to his honour and glory. Never dream of being your own master. Do not be the servant of men, but remain in Christ. Let him be the object, as well as the source, of your existence. Oh, if you get there, and stop there in perpetual communion with your Lord, you will soon experience a joy, a delight, a power in prayer, such as you never knew before. There are times when we are conscious that we are in Christ, and we know our fellowship with him; and oh, the joy and the peace which we drink from this cup! Let us remain there. “Remain in me,” says Jesus. You are not to come and go, but to remain. Let that blessed sinking of yourself into his life, the spending of all your powers for Jesus, and the firm faith of your union with him remain in you for evermore. Oh, that we might attain to this by the Holy Spirit!

15. As if to help us to understand this, our gracious Lord has given us a delightful parable. Let us look through this discourse of the vine and its branches. Jesus says, “Every branch in me that bears fruit, he purges it.” Take care that you remain in Christ when you are being purged. “Oh,” one says, “I thought I was a Christian; but, alas! I have more troubles than ever: men ridicule me, the devil tempts me, and my business affairs go wrong.” Brother, if you are to have power in prayer you must take care that you remain in Christ when the sharp knife is cutting everything away. Endure trial, and never dream of giving up your faith because of it. Say, “Though he kills me, yet I will trust in him.” Your Lord warned you when you first came into the vine that you would have to be purged and cut closely; and if you are now feeling the purging process, you must not think that some strange thing has happened to you. Do not rebel because of anything you may have to suffer from the dear hand of your heavenly Father, who is the gardener of the vineyard. No, but cling to Jesus all the more closely. Say, “Cut, Lord, cut to the quick if you wish; but I will cling to you. To whom should we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Yes, cling to Jesus when the purging knife is in his hand, and so “you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.”

16. Take care, also, that when the purging operation has been carried out you still cleave to your Lord. Notice the third verse: “Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I in you.” Remain after cleansing where you were before cleansing. When you are sanctified, remain where you were when first justified. When you see the work of the Spirit increasing in you, do not let the devil tempt you to boast that now you are a somebody, and need not come to Jesus as a poor sinner, and rest only in his precious blood for salvation. Still remain in Jesus. As you kept to him when the knife cut you, keep to him now that the tender grapes begin to form. Do not say to yourself, “What a fruitful branch I am! How greatly I adorn the vine! Now I am full of vigour!” You are nothing and a nobody. Only as you remain in Christ are you one whit better than the waste wood which is burned in the fire. “But do we not make progress?” Yes, we grow, but we remain: we never go an inch further, we remain in him; or, if not, we are cast out, and are withered. Our whole hope lies in Jesus at our best times as well as at our worst. Jesus says, “Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I in you.”

17. Remain in him concerning all your fruitfulness. “Just as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remains in the vine, so no more can you, unless you remain in me.” “Here, then, I have something to do,” one cries. Certainly you have, but not apart from Jesus. The branch has to bear fruit; but if the branch imagines that it is going to produce a cluster, or even a grape, by itself alone, it is utterly mistaken. The fruit of the branch must come from the stem. Your work for Christ must be Christ’s work in you, or else it will be good-for-nothing. I urge you, see to this. Your Sunday School teaching, your preaching, or whatever you do, must be done in Christ Jesus. Not by your natural talent can you win souls, nor by plans of your own inventing can you save men. Beware of home-made schemes. Do for Jesus what Jesus tells you to do. Remember that our work for Christ, as we call it, must be Christ’s work first, if it is to be accepted by him. Remain in him concerning your fruit-bearing.

18. Yes, remain in him concerning your very life. Do not say, “I have been a Christian man now for twenty or thirty years, I can do without continued dependence on Christ.” No, you could not do without him if you were as old as Methuselah. Your very being as a Christian depends on your still clinging, still trusting, still depending; and he must give you this, for it all comes from him, and him alone. To sum it all up, if you want that splendid power in prayer of which I spoke just now, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, enduring union with the Lord Jesus Christ; and if you get to that by divine grace, then you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.

19. But there is a second qualification mentioned in the text, and you must not forget it — “and my words remain in you.” How important, then, are Christ’s words! He said in the fourth verse, “Remain in me, and I in you,” and now as a parallel to this it is, “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you.” What, then, are Christ’s words and himself identical? Yes, practically so. Some talk about Christ being the Master, but as for doctrine, they do not care what his word declares. As long as their hearts are right towards his person they claim liberty of thought. Indeed, but this is a mere subterfuge. We cannot separate Christ from the Word; for, in the first place, he is the Word; and, in the next place, how dare we call him Master and Lord and then not do the things which he says, and reject the truth which he teaches? We must obey his precepts or he will not accept us as disciples. Especially that precept of love which is the essence of all his words. We must love God and our brethren; yes, we must cherish love for all men, and seek their good. Anger and malice must be far from us. We must walk even as he walked. If Christ’s words do not remain in you, concerning both belief and practice, you are not in Christ. Christ and his gospel and his commands are one. If you will not have Christ and his words, neither will he have you nor your words; but you shall ask in vain, you shall eventually give up asking, you shall become as a withered branch. Beloved, I am persuaded of better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though I speak like this.

20. Oh for grace to pass through these two-leaved gates, these two golden doors! “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you.” Push through the two, and enter into this large room — “You shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.”

21. III. It is my last work to try to show WHY THIS PRIVILEGE SHOULD BE OBTAINED LIKE THIS. This extraordinary power of prayer, why is it given to those who remain in Christ? May what I have to say encourage you to make the glorious attempt to win this pearl of great price! Why is it, that by remaining in Christ, and having his words remain in us, we get to this liberty and prevalence in prayer?

22. I answer, first, because of the fulness of Christ. You may very well ask whatever you wish when you remain in Christ, because whatever you may require already resides in him. Good Bishop Hall worked out this thought in a famous passage. I will give you the substance of it. Do you desire the grace of the Spirit? Go to your Lord’s anointing. Do you seek holiness? Go to his example. Do you desire pardon for sin? Look to his blood. Do you need mortification of sin? Look to his crucifixion. Do you need to be buried to the world? Go to his tomb. Do you want to feel the fulness of a heavenly life? Behold his resurrection. Would you rise above the world? See his ascension. Would you contemplate heavenly things? Remember his session at the right hand of God, and know that he “has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places.” I see clearly enough why the branch gets all it needs while it remains in the stem, since all it needs is already in the stem, and is placed there for the sake of the branch. What does the branch need more than the stem can give it? If it did need more it could not get it; for it has no other means of living except by extracting its life from the stem. Oh my precious Lord, if I need anything which is not in you, I desire always to be without it. I desire to be denied a wish which wanders outside of yourself. But if the supply of my desire is already in you for me, why should I go elsewhere? You are my all; where else should I look? Beloved, “it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell,” and the good pleasure of the Father is our good pleasure also: we are glad to draw everything from Jesus. We feel sure that, ask whatever we wish, we shall have it, since he has it ready for us.

23. The next reason for this is, the richness of the Word of God. Catch this thought, “If my words remain in you, you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” The best praying man is the man who is most believingly familiar with the promises of God. After all, prayer is nothing but taking God’s promises to him, and saying to him, “Do as you have said.” Prayer is the promise utilized. A prayer which is not based on a promise has no true foundation. If I go to the bank without a cheque I need not expect to get money; it is the “order to pay” which is my power inside the bank, and my warrant for expecting to receive. You who have Christ’s words remaining in you are equipped with those things which the Lord regards with attention. If the Word of God remains in you, you are the man who can pray, because you meet the great God with his own words, and so overcome omnipotence with omnipotence. You put your finger down upon the very lines, and say, “Do as you have said.” This is the best praying in all the world. Oh beloved, be filled with God’s Word. Study what Jesus has said, what the Holy Spirit has left on record in this divinely-inspired Book, and in proportion as you feed on the Word, and are filled with the Word, and retain the Word in your faith, and obey the Word in your life — in that proportion you will be a master-man in the art of prayer. You have acquired skill as a wrestler with the Covenant Angel in proportion as you can plead the promises of your faithful God. Be well instructed in the doctrines of grace, and let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, so that you may know how to prevail at the throne of grace. Remaining in Christ, and his words remaining in you, are like the right hand and the left hand of Moses, which were held up in prayer, so that Amalek was defeated, Israel was delivered, and God was glorified.

24. Let us go a little further: you still may say you do not quite see why a man who remains in Christ, and in whom Christ’s words remain, should be allowed to ask whatever he wishes, and it shall be done for him. I answer you again: it is so, because in such a man as that there is a predominance of grace which causes him to have a renewed will, which is according to the will of God. Suppose a man of God is in prayer, and he thinks that such and such a thing is desirable, yet he remembers that he is nothing but a babe in the presence of his all-wise Father, and so he bows his will, and asks as a favour to be taught what to will. Though God tells to him ask for whatever he wishes, he shrinks and cries, “My Lord, here is a request which I am not quite clear about. As far as I can judge, it is a desirable thing, and I wish for it; but, Lord, I am not fit to judge for myself, and please therefore do not give as I wish, but as you wish.” Do you not see that, when we are in such a condition as this, our real will is God’s will. Deep down in our hearts we will only what the Lord himself wills; and what is this but to ask whatever we wish, and it is done for us? It becomes safe for God to say to the sanctified soul, “Ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” The heavenly instincts of that man lead him right; the grace that is within his soul thrusts down all covetous lustings and foul desires, and his will is the actual shadow of God’s will. The spiritual life is master in him, and so his aspirations are holy, heavenly, Godlike. He has been made a partaker of the divine nature; and just as a son is like his father, so now in desire and will he is one with his God. Just as the echo answers to the voice, so does the renewed heart echo the mind of the Lord. Our desires are reflected beams of the divine will: you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be even so.

25. You clearly see that the holy God cannot pick up a common man in the street, and say to him, “I will give you whatever you wish.” What would he ask for? He would ask for a good drink, or permission to enjoy himself in evil lust. It would be very unsafe to trust most men with this promise. But when the Lord has taken a man, and has made him anew, has quickened him into newness of life, and has formed him in the image of his dear Son, then he can trust him! Behold, the great Father treats us in our measure as he treats his Firstborn. Jesus could say, “I know that you always hear me” and the Lord is educating us in the very same assurance. We can say with one of old, “My God will hear me.” Do not your mouths water for this privilege of prevailing prayer? Do not your hearts long to get at this? It is by the way of holiness, it is by the way of union to Christ, it is by the way of a permanent remaining in him, and an obedient holding firm to his truth, that you are to arrive at this privilege. Behold the only safe and true way. When once that way is really trodden, it is a most sure and effective way of gaining substantial power in prayer.

26. I am not quite finished. A man will succeed in prayer when his faith is strong; and this is the case with those who remain in Jesus. It is faith that prevails in prayer. The real eloquence of prayer is a believing desire. “All things are possible for him who believes.” A man remaining in Christ with Christ’s words remaining in him, is eminently a believer, and consequently eminently successful in prayer. He has strong faith indeed, for his faith has brought him into vital contact with Christ, and he is therefore at the source of every blessing, and may drink to his full at the well itself.

27. Such a man, once more, will also possess the indwelling of the Spirit of God. If we remain in Christ, and his words remain in us, then the Holy Spirit has come and taken up his residence in us; and what better help in prayer can we have? Is it not a wonderful thing that the Holy Spirit himself makes intercession in the saints according to the will of God? He “makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered.” What man knows the mind of a man except the spirit of a man? The Spirit of God knows the mind of God, and he works in us to will what God wills, so that a believing man’s prayer is God’s purpose reflected in the soul as in a mirror. The eternal decrees of God project their shadows over the hearts of godly men in the form of prayer. What God intends to do he tells to his servants by inclining them to ask him to do what he himself is resolved to do. God says, “I will do this and that”; but then he adds, “For this I will be enquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them.” How clear it is that if we remain in Christ, and his words remain in us, we may ask whatever we wish! For we shall only ask whatever the Spirit of God moves us to ask; and it would be impossible that God the Holy Spirit and God the Father should be at cross-purposes with each other. What the one prompts us to ask for, the other has assuredly determined to bestow.

28. I skipped a line just now to which I must return for a single moment. Beloved, do you not know that when we remain in Christ, and his words remain in us, the Father looks upon us with the same eye with which he looks upon his dear Son? Christ is the vine, and the vine includes the branches. The branches are a part of the vine. God, therefore, looks upon us as part of Christ — members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. Such is the Father’s love for Jesus that he denies him nothing. He was obedient to death, even the death of the cross; therefore his Father loves him, as the God-man Mediator, and he will grant him all his petitions. And is it so, that when you and I are in real union to Christ, the Lord God looks upon us in the same way as he looks on Jesus, and says to us, “I will deny you nothing; you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” This is how I understand the text.

29. I call your attention to the fact that in that fifteenth chapter, the ninth verse, which I did not read this morning, runs like this: “Just as the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.” The same love which God gives to his Son, the Son gives to us; and therefore we are dwellers in the love of the Father and of the Son. How can our prayers be rejected? Will not infinite love have respect for our petitions? Oh dear brother in Christ, if your prayers do not prosper at the throne, suspect that there is some sin that hinders them: your Father’s love sees a necessity for chastening you this way. If you do not remain in Christ, how can you hope to pray successfully? If you pick and choose his words, and doubt this, and doubt that, how can you hope to prosper at the throne? If you are wilfully disobedient to any one of his words, will this not account for failure in prayer? But remain in Christ, and take firm hold on his words, and be altogether his disciple, then you shall be heard by him. Sitting at Jesus’ feet, hearing his words, you may lift up your eyes to his dear face, and say, “My Lord, hear me now”; and he will answer you graciously: he will say to you, “I have heard you in an accepted time, and I have helped you in the day of salvation. Ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” Oh for power at the mercy seat!

30. Beloved friends, do not hear this sermon, and then go away and forget it. Try to reach this place of boundless influence. What a church we should be, if you were all mighty in prayer! Dear children of God, do you want to be half-starved? Beloved brethren, do you desire to be poor, little, puny, drivelling children, who will never grow into men? I urge you, aspire to be strong in the Lord, and to enjoy this extremely high privilege. What an army would you be if you all had this power with God in prayer! It is within your reach, you children of God! Only remain in Christ, and let his words remain in you, and then this special privilege will be yours. These are not irksome duties, but they are in themselves a joy. Go in for them with your whole heart, and then you shall get this added to you, that you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.

31. Unhappily, to a portion of this congregation my text says nothing at all; for some of you are not even in Christ, and therefore you cannot remain in him. Oh sirs, what shall I say to you? You seem to me to miss a very heaven even now. If there were no hell hereafter, it is hell enough not to know Christ now, not to know what it is to prevail with God in prayer, not to know the choice privilege of remaining in him, and his words remaining in you. Your first matter is that you believe in Jesus Christ to the saving of your souls, yielding your souls to his cleansing, your lives to his government, God has sent him as a Saviour, accept him. Receive him as your Teacher; yield yourself up to him as your Master. May his gracious Spirit come and do this work in you now; and then, after this, but not before, you may aspire to this honour. First of all — “You must be born again.” I cannot say to you as you are now, “Grow,” because you will only grow into a bigger sinner. However much you may be developed, you will only develop what is in you: and that is, the heir of wrath will become more and more the child of evil. You must be made anew in Christ: there must be an absolute change, a reversal of all the currents of nature, a making you a new creature in Christ Jesus; and then you may aspire to remain in Christ, and let his words remain in you, and the subsequent prevalence with God in prayer shall be yours.

32. Gracious Lord, help us this morning. Poor creatures as we are, we can only lie at your feet. Come yourself, and lift us up to yourself, for your mercy’s sake! Amen.

[Portions Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Joh 15:1-8 1Jo 2]
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 103” 103 @@ "(Version 3)"}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Union to Christ — Union With Jesus” 761}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — Saviour, Look On Thy Beloved” 800}

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Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 103 (Version 1)
1 My soul, repeat his praise,
      Whose mercies are so great;
   Whose anger is so slow to rise,
      So ready to abate.
2 God will not always chide;
      And when his strokes are felt,
   His strokes are fewer than our crimes,
      And lighter than our guilt.
3 High as the heavens are raised
      Above the ground we tread,
   So far the riches of his grace
      Our highest thought exceed.
4 His power subdues our sins;
      And his forgiving love,
   Far as the east is from the west,
      Doth all our guilt remove.
5 The pity of the Lord,
      To those that fear his name,
   Far as the east is from the west,
      He knows our feeble frame.
6 He knows we but dust,
      Scatter’d with every breath;
   His anger, like a rising wind,
      Can send us swift to death.
7 Our days are as the grass,
      Or like the morning flower;
   If one sharp blast sweep o’er the field,
      It withers in an hour.
8 But thy compassions, Lord,
      To endless years endure;
   And children’s children ever find,
      Thy words of promise sure.
                        Isaac Watts, 1719.


Psalm 103 (Version 2)
1 Oh bless the Lord, my soul!
      Let all within me join,
   And aid my tongue to bless his name,
      Whose favours are divine.
2 Oh, bless the Lord, my soul,
      Nor let his mercies lie
   Forgotten in unthankfulness,
      And without praises die.
3 ‘Tis he forgives thy sins;
      ‘Tis he relieves thy pain;
   ‘Tis he that heals thy sicknesses,
      And makes thee young again.
4 He crowns thy life with love,
      When ransom’d from the grave;
   He that redeem’d my soul from hell
      Hath sovereign power to save.
5 He fills the poor with good,
      He gives the sufferers rest;
   The Lord hath judgments for the proud,
      And justice for the oppress’d
6 His wondrous works and ways
      He made by Moses known;
   But sent the world his truth and grace
      By his beloved Son.
                        Isaac Watts, 1719.


Psalm 103 (Version 3) <8.7.4.>
1 Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;
   To his feet thy tribute bring!
   Ransom’d, heal’d, restored, forgiven,
   Who like me his praise should sing!
      Praise him! praise him,
      Praise him! praise him,
   Praise the everlasting King!
2 Praise him for his grace and favour
   To our fathers in distress!
   Praise him still the same as ever,
   Slow to chide and swift to bless!
      Praise him! praise him,
      Praise him! praise him
   Glorious in his faithfulness!
3 Father-like he tends and spares us,
   Well our feeble frame he knows;
   In his hands he gently bears us,
   Rescues us from all our foes.
      Praise him! praise him,
      Praise him! praise him,
   Widely as his mercy flows.
4 Frail as summer’s flower we flourish;
   Blows the wind, and it is gone;
   But while mortals rise and perish,
   God endures unchanging on.
      Praise him! praise him,
      Praise him! praise him,
   Praise the High Eternal One.
5 Angels, help us to adore him;
   Ye behold him face to face;
   Sun and moon bow down before him,
   Dwellers all in time and space.
      Praise him! praise him,
      Praise him! praise him,
   Praise with us the God of grace!
                     Henry Francis Lyte, 1834.


The Christian, Privileges, Union to Christ
761 — Union With Jesus
1 ‘Twixt Jesus and the chosen race
   Subsists a bond of sovereign grace,
   That hell, with its infernal train,
   Shall ne’er dissolve nor rend in twain.
2 Hail! sacred union, firm and strong,
   How great the grace, how sweet the song,
   That worms of earth should ever be
   One with Incarnate Deity!
3 One in the tomb, one when he rose,
   One when he triumphed o’er his foes,
   One when in heaven he took his seat,
   While seraphs sang all hell’s defeat.
4 This sacred tie forbids their fears,
   For all he is or has is theirs;
   With him, their head, they stand or fall,
   Their life, their surety, and their all.
                           John Kent, 1827, a.


The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus
800 — Saviour, Look On Thy Beloved <8.7.>
1 Saviour, look on thy beloved;
      Triumph over all my foes;
   Turn to happy joy my mourning;
      Turn to gladness all my woes.
2 Live or die, or work or suffer,
      Let my weary soul abide,
   In all changes whatsoever,
      Sure and steadfast by thy side.
3 Nothing will preserve my goings,
      But salvation full and free;
   Nothing will my feet dishearten,
      But my absence, Lord, from thee.
4 Nothing can delay my progress,
      Nothing can disturb my rest,
   If I shall, where’er I wander,
      Lean my spirit on thy breast.
                  William Williams, 1772.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

Terms of Use

Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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