2064. Essential Points In Prayer

by on
Share:

No. 2064-35:25. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, February 10, 1887, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, January 20, 1889.

The Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. And the Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your supplication, that you have made before me: I have hallowed this house, which you have built, to put my name there for ever; and my eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually.” {1Ki 9:2,3}

1. Beloved friends, it was an extremely encouraging thing to Solomon that the Lord should appear to him before the beginning of his great work of building the temple. Earlier in the first book of the Kings we read: “At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, ‘Ask what I shall give you.’ ” {1Ki 3:5} Some of us remember how the Lord was with us at the beginning of our life-work, when we started as newly-converted young men and women, full of zeal and earnestness, determined to do something for the Lord. How we sought his face! — with what simplicity, with what tenderness of heart, with what dependence on him and diffidence as to ourselves! We remember, as HE remembers, the love of our espousals — those early days. I cannot forget when the Lord appeared to me in Gibeon at the first. Truly there are things about the lives of Christian men that would not have been possible if God had not appeared to them at the beginning. If he had not strengthened and tutored them, and given them wisdom beyond what they possess in themselves; if he had not invigorated them; if he had not infused life into them, they would not have done what they have already done. It is a priceless blessing to begin with God, and not to lay a stone of the temple of our life-work until the Lord has appeared to us. I do not know, however, if it is an equal, perhaps a superior, blessing for the Lord to appear to us after a certain work is done; even as in this case: “The Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon.” Solomon had now finished the temple, and he needed another visit from on high. There is great joy in completing a work; and yet there is, to some minds, a great drop, when the once engrossing service ceases to keep the mind on track. You run up hill, and you have gained the summit; there is no more climbing, for the present, and then you almost wish that you had to struggle again. A work like that of Solomon lasting for seven years must have become a delight to him: to see the house growing, and to observe all the stages of its beauty. And so it is with any special and notable work which we are called to do early in life. We get wedded to it, we are glad to see it grow under our hand; and when at last that particular portion of our service is finished, we feel a kind of loss. We have grown used to the pull upon the collar, we have almost leaned upon it, and we feel a difference when we are at the top of the hill. Personally I never feel exhilaration at a success, but a certain sinking of heart when the tug of war is over. We see the same in the story of God’s greater servants; we note it especially in Elijah when he had performed his mighty work on Carmel, and slain the prophets of Baal: he felt an exaltation in his spirit for a while, and he ran before the chariot of the king in the joy of his soul; but there came a reaction afterwards of a very painful kind. The case of Solomon is not parallel; and yet I should think that it might have been and probably was so with Solomon, that he was in a condition of special need when the temple was finished. He may have been in peril of pride, if not of depression: in either case it was a remarkable time, and its need must have been remarkable also; “and so the Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared to him in Gibeon.”

2. Brethren, we need renewed appearances, fresh visions, new visitations from on high; and I commend to those of you who are getting on in life, that while you thank God for the past, and look back with joy to his visits to you in your early days, you now seek and ask for a second visitation from the Most High; not that I do not think that you have visitations from God very often, and walk in the light of his countenance; but still, though the ocean is often at flood tide — twice every day — yet it has its spring-tides. {a} The sun shines whether we see it or not, right though our winter’s fog, and yet it has its summer brightness. If we walk with God constantly, yet there are times when he opens to us the very secret of his heart, and reveals himself to us, not only as he does not to the world, but as he does not at all times to his own favoured ones. All days in a palace are not days of banqueting, and all days with God are not so clear and glorious as certain special Sabbaths of the soul in which the Lord unveils his glory. Happy are we if we have once beheld his face; but happier still if he again comes to us in fulness of favour.

3. I think that we should be seeking those second appearances: we should be crying to God most pleadingly that he would speak to us a second time. We do not need a reconversion, as some assert. I hope that we do not; if the Lord has kept us, as we should be, steadfast in his fear, we are already possessors of what some call “the higher life.” Many of us have enjoyed this from the very first hour of our spiritual life. We do not want to be converted again; yet we do want that the windows of heaven should be opened over our heads again, that a Pentecost should be given again, and that we should renew our youth like the eagles, to run without weariness, and walk without fainting. May the Lord fulfil to every one of his people tonight his blessing upon Solomon! “The Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon.”

4. Now, what the Lord spoke about in the beginning of his interview with Solomon concerned his prayer; and since the Lord answered that prayer, and here, in this second appearance, recapitulated the points of it, we may be sure that there was much about that prayer which would make it a model for us. We shall do well to pray in the manner which successful pleaders have followed. In this case we will follow the Lord’s own description of an accepted prayer. I shall use the text to that end briefly in two or three ways.

5. I. First, OUR PROPER PLACE IN PRAYER. The Lord said, “I have heard your prayer, and your supplication, that you have made before me.” There is the place to pray — “before me”: that is to say, before the Lord. Let us talk a little about this matter.

   Where’er we seek HIM he is found,
   And every place is hallowed ground.

But we should take care that the place is hallowed by our prayer being deliberately and reverently presented before God.

6. This place is not always found. The Pharisee went up to the temple to pray, and yet, evidently, he did not pray “before God”; so that even in the most holy courts he did not find the desired place. In his own esteem he prayed; but, in his going home to his house without justification, there was evidence that he either had not prayed at all, or that he had not prayed before God. It is not because you pass these portals, and come into these pews, that therefore you are before God. No, and if you were to seek the shrines which have been most eminently regarded in the church; if you stood by the site of Jerusalem, if you sought out that little skull-like hill called “Calvary,” and prayed there, or if you went to Olivet, and bowed your knee in Gethsemane, you still might not be before God. The nearer the church, sometimes, the farther from God; and in the very centre of it, in the midst of the assembly where prayer is accustomed to be made, you may not be “before God” at all. Praying before God is a more spiritual business than is to be performed by turning to the east or to the west, or bowing the knee, or entering within walls hallowed for ages. Alas! it is easy enough to pray, and not to pray before God. And it is not so easy — it is indeed a thing not to be done except by the power of the Spirit — to “enter into what is within the veil.” and to stand before the mercy seat, all blood-sprinkled, consciously and truly in the presence of the Invisible, to fulfil that precept, “You people, pour out your hearts before him.” “Before him” is the place for the soul’s outpouring, and blessed are those who know it and find it!

7. This blessed place “before God” can be found in public prayer. Solomon’s prayer before God was offered in the midst of a great multitude. The priests stood in their places, and the Levites kept their due order. The people were gathered together, and all the armies of the tribes of Israel stood in the streets of the holy city when Solomon bowed his knee and cried mightily to his God. It is evident that he was enabled, that day, not to pray to please the people, nor that they might note his eloquent language and be gratified with the appropriate performance; but he was inspired to pray before the Lord.

8. Ah, brethren! those of us who have to conduct your devotions strive hard so that we may be seen by God in secret when heard by men in public; and I am sure that we never pray so rightly or so usefully for you as when we only remember you in a very inferior sense, but seem to be surrounded as with a cloud, enclosed within the secret place of the Most High, even when we stand supplicating aloud for you in the public assembly of God’s people. The same is true of each of you: it is wrong for you, in a prayer meeting, to pray with a view to impress an individual of importance, or remembering those present whose respect you would like to obtain. The mercy seat is no place for the exhibition of your abilities. It is even more wicked to take the opportunity of making personal remarks about others. I have heard of oblique hints having been given in prayer. I am sorry to say that I have even heard of remarks which have been so directly critical and offensive, that one knew what the brother was doing, and lamented it. Such a proceeding is altogether objectionable and irreverent. We do not even pray in prayer meetings to correct doctrinal errors, nor to teach a body of divinity, nor to make remarks about the errors of certain brethren, nor to impeach them before the Most High. These things should be earnest matters of supplication, but not of a kind of indirect preaching and scolding in prayer. It is conduct worthy of the accuser of the brethren to turn a prayer into an opportunity of finding fault with others. Our prayer must be “before God,” or else it is not an acceptable prayer; and if eye and memory and thought can be shut to the presence of everyone else, except in that minor sense, in which we must remember them in sympathy, then it is in the presence of God that we truly pray; and that, I say, may be done in public, if grace is given. For this we have need to pray, “Oh Lord, open my lips; and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.”

9. But prayer before God can just as well — perhaps more readily — be offered in private, though I am not sure that it is not easily missed even there. You are in your room, where you are accustomed to pray. Do you not find yourself on your knees repeating goodly words, while your heart is wandering? May you not confess that often the prayer, which has been a matter of habit, has been said as much before the walls of your room, or before the bedpost, as before God? You have not experienced his presence: you have not spoken distinctly and directly to him. Although you have observed the Saviour’s canon, and have shut the door, and no one else has been there, so that you have not prayed in the presence of others; yet you have mainly prayed in your own presence, and God has been far away to your innermost soul. It is poor work merely to talk piously to yourself. “I pour out my soul in me,” says David. There is not much that comes of pouring your heart into your heart, praying your soul into your own soul: it is neither an emptying of self, nor a filling with God: it only stirs up what had been quite as well left as dregs at the bottom. Better by far is the course prescribed in that hallowed precept, “You people, pour out your heart before him”: turn them upside-down, let all run out before God, and so let room be left for something better and more divine. Pouring out your soul within yourself does not come to much; and yet often that is about what our prayer amounts to — a recapitulation of needs, without a grasp of divine supplies, a bemoaning of weakness without a reception of strength; a consciousness of nothingness, but not a plunging into all-sufficiency. Brethren, the main point of supplication is neither to pray in the presence of others, nor yet, first of all, in your own presence, but to present your prayer “before God.”

10. Now, it is clear that this means that the prayer is to be directed to God. “Well,” one says, “I know that.” I know you do: and yet, my brother, you too often forget it. Like a playful boy, you get your bow and arrows and shoot them anywhere. The way to pray is to take in hand the aforesaid bow and arrows, and — you think I am going to say, shoot with them with all your might; but I am not in such haste. Wait a bit! Yes, draw the string, and fit the arrow to it, but wait, wait! Wait until you have your eye fixed on the target! Wait until you see distinctly the centre of the target! What can be the use of shooting if you do not have something to shoot at? Wait, then, until you know what you are going to do. You want to strike the white, to pierce the centre of the target. Be sure, then, that you get it well into your eye! Imitate David, who says, “In the morning I will direct my prayer to you, and will look up.” He has fixed the arrow, drawn the bow, and taken deliberate aim, now is the time for the next act; he lets the arrow fly. How well directed! See! he has levelled his gaze on the centre! He caught the mark with his eye, and therefore he has struck it with his arrow. Oh to pray with a distinct object! Indefinite praying is a waste of breath. It will never do to begin praying, now or never, because the time has come for it. We must think, “I am about to ask God for what I need: I am to speak to the great King of kings, from whom all grace must come: it is to him that my prayer must be directed. What, then, shall I ask from him?” Does anyone here suppose that the repeating of certain words out of a book, or of his own making, has any virtue in it? Some seem, by their frequent repetitions of that blessed model of prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, to think that there is a magical charm in that sacred arrangement of words; but, I tell you solemnly, you might as well repeat that perfect prayer backwards as forwards, if your heart is not in it. If your very heart is not in it, and if your soul is not looking towards God, you profane your Lord’s words, and are guilty of all the greater sin because of their excellence. Do not make praying a piece of witchcraft, and your supplications an imitation of the abracadabra of the wizard; otherwise it is vain superstition, and not acceptable supplication. Pray distinctly with all your wits about you to your God. Speak to him.

11. And hence it becomes necessary that we should endeavour in prayer to experience the presence of God. It shall be well put in this way: you has prayed well if you have spoken to God as a man speaks to his friend. If you are as sure that God is there as that you are there, and perhaps somewhat more sure; if you are in him, and he is in you, and if you talk to him as to one whom you cannot see, but whom you can perceive better than by sight, you have prayed well. If you speak to him as to one whom you cannot feel with your hand, but can feel with all your nature, with something better than fingers and hands, perceiving that he is, and knowing that he is hearing you, and will reward your diligent seeking, this is praying before God, pleading before a living God, with one who feels and will be moved by what you feel, to one who speaks, and will listen to what you say. You are to commune with one who is not like your fellow men, who may let you plead and remain like a block, unmoved by your pathetic requests; but to a living God, a tender God, sensitive to all the sensations of your soul. Oh, to come before the living and acting God! Not before a God, lame and impotent; nor before the new God, who is impersonal and dead, but before the true God — God in Christ Jesus! If we only realised to whom we speak — God, very near to us in the person of the Only-Begotten, who has taken our nature upon himself, what praying ours would be! And that is the right kind of praying. Oh, that the God of truth may be able, in speaking to each of us, to speak concerning, “Your prayer and your supplication which you have prayed before me!” Lord, help us to pass through the outer courts, and to enter into your inner court and speak with you. Lord, deliver us from staying in the words, but bring us into the spirit of prayer; bring us near to you.

12. If there are any here who have never prayed, let their prayer at this time be to one who is close to them, ready to hear them. Do not ask, “What shall I say?” Say to God what you wish to say. What is your desire tonight? Would you be saved? Beg him to save you. Would you be forgiven? Ask for forgiveness. “The words,” you say, “tell me the words.” No, you need no words. If you have none, look, look to him. Let your heart think out its desires. There is music without words: and there is prayer without words. The soul of prayer is being before God, and desiring before God, who hears without sounds, and understands without expressions. Open your heart; look to him; and ask him to read what you cannot read. Beg him to give you his great mercy, not even according to your own sense of your requirements, but according to the riches of his mercy in Christ Jesus. You are praying before God when you have experienced his presence. The Lord does not require from you that you should express yourself in words. He reads what is there with an omniscient glance, what is written on your heart. To know that he does so, and to plead in that spirit, is prayer before God.

13. II. I will change the direction of our thought for a little while, to notice, with much earnestness, OUR GREAT DESIRE IN PRAYER. It is what God said that he had given to Solomon. “I have heard your prayer and your supplication.”

14. I have often had occasion to remark, that the wise men of modern times, whose principal characteristic is, that they think so much of themselves, and so very little of anyone else, tell us that prayer is an excellent exercise, good and comforting, and useful; but that we are not to suppose that it has any effect upon God whatever. We enquire of them, “Would you have us go on praying after the information you have given?” “Oh, yes,” they say, “Oh yes, of course it is a pious exercise, a proper and edifying thing. Go on praying, but do not think that God hears.” Brethren, it is evident that they think we are idiots. Evidently they consider praying men to be born fools. If it is certain that prayer has no effect on God, my brother, I would just as well whistle when I rise in the morning as pray, and I would as soon close my eyes at night in dumb silence as run over a set of ineffective words. There could be no good in prayer if it should be proved that it never went beyond the room in which it was uttered. When it ceases to be accepted by the Lord, and honoured by his response, we shall abandon it, of course. If there is neither hearing, nor answering, we shall have reduced ourselves to the level of the worshippers of Baal, if we continue to cry; and we have not come to that yet. We are obliged to you wise men for your compliments; but we shall not follow your absurd advice! Your pretty praises of our devotion as a pleasing and instructive exercise are quite lost on us, since they only involve a disguised insult. You may take back your compliments, if you please; for our opinion of your wisdom is almost equal to your opinion of ours.

15. But, brethren, what we desire in prayer is to really be heard. If I pray, I do not pray to the winds, nor to the waves, but to God; and if he does not hear me, I have lost my breath.

16. The first thing the soul desires in prayer is an audience with God. If the Lord does not hear us, we have gained nothing. And what an honour it is, if you come to think of it, to have an audience with God! The frail, feeble, undeserving creature is permitted to stand in the august presence of the God of the whole earth, and the Lord regards that poor creature as if there were nothing else for him to observe, and bends his ear and his heart to listen to that creature’s cry. It is necessary for a living prayer — to feel that we are speaking to God, and that God is hearing us.

17. You notice, that generally, in the Psalms, David says very little about God’s answering; but he always speaks about God’s hearing, and he asks that he would hear. That he should condescend to hear us is quite enough, quite enough from such a God as he is. If I can get my petition placed in his hand, I am fully satisfied. If I can pour my desire into his ear, and he has once observed it, all further fear is removed. Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of these things, and you may rest perfectly content; for, in coming into his presence, you have done according to his command, and therefore his promise holds good to you. The first thing we need, then, is that the Lord should hear us.

18. But we want more than that: we want that he should accept. It would be a painful thing to be permitted to speak to a great friend, and then for him to stand austere and stern, and say, “I have heard what you have to say. Go your way.” We do not expect God to behave like this. We ask him kindly and graciously to accept our poor confessions, petitions, supplications, and adorations; and if he only looks and smiles, if he only says one word into our soul which implies, “I have accepted your prayer,” what a joy it is! To have brought an offering which the Lord has accepted, this is the sweetness and delight of supplication!

19. Still, there is a third thing which we need, which God gave to Solomon, and that was an answer. He asked the Lord to hallow the house, and the Lord hallowed the house. And as for you and me in prayer, while there are some things which we must always pray for with a great deal of diffidence, always saying emphatically, “Not as I will, but as you will”; yet there are certain other blessings which we are encouraged to pray for with persistence, being resolved to have them. Those are spiritual blessings, covenant blessings, distinctly promised, and evidently necessary: we may ask for these without any question, using a sacred persistence, and refusing to let the angel go unless he blesses us. On matters promised by God in his Word we may come again and again; — knocking at the Lord’s door until he awakens and gives us the loaves that we seek for our hungry and fainting friend. Oh, for more holy boldness! Oh, for more assured confidence! We need to believe that we have the petitions that we ask him for. We must ask in faith, nothing wavering, or we may not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

20. Oh, yes, we long to be heard and answered; and we cannot be satisfied to pray unless we perceive that prayer is effective in the courts above. That is our desire in prayer.

21. III. This makes me mention, thirdly, OUR ASSURANCE OF ANSWER TO PRAYER. Can we have an assurance that God has heard and answered prayer? Solomon had it. The Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your supplication, that you have made before me.” Does the Lord ever say that to us? I think so. Let us consider how he does so.

22. I think that he says it to us very often in our usual faith. I hope that I speak for many of you when I say that we constantly pray believingly. It is habitual with me to expect God to answer me. I go to him very simply, and ask for what I need; and, if I did not have what I humbly sought for, I should be greatly surprised. When I do have it, I consider it as a matter of course, for the Lord has promised to answer prayer, and it is certain that he will keep his promise. I am speaking now about the daily mercies, and the daily trials, and the ordinary events of life: in these matters God is sure to answer prayer, and our faith, in its ordinary operation, is, to our hearts, the voice of God, saying, “I have heard your prayer and your supplication.”

23. But sometimes you require strong confidence. You have to solicit some extraordinary blessing. You get to a place like that to which Jacob came, when common prayer was not sufficient. When Esau was coming to meet him with an armed force, he must have a night’s prayer: he must gather up all his courage at Jabbok, he must wrestle with the angel and win the divine blessing. At such times, it is a stronger faith than usual, brought into exercise, by necessity, which assures the soul of the blessing. “According to your faith be it to you.” If we can trust God — for that is the thing — we shall have the thing we seek for. Faith is not saying, “I know that I have it,” when you really do not have it. That would be telling yourself a lie. Here is a man who says, “Believe that you are sanctified, and you are in a moment sanctified.” But you are not. You may believe a lie in believing that, and be, perhaps, less sanctified than you were before you believed it, and ten times more proud, and so far more under the influence of Satan. To believe in God that he will sanctify me, and that he is sanctifying me, is a very different thing from believing that I am already sanctified. I believe that God will supply my needs, but I do not believe that I have the Bank of England in my pocket. If I did believe it, I should not find it there when I put my hand in to feel for it. Faith is not believing fanatically, but believing the truth. There is a wonderful difference between believing what your imagination says, and believing what God has distinctly promised. Faith and imagination are two very different things. May God keep us from the falsehood of folly, and lead us into the truth of wisdom! I will believe anything, however monstrous it may appear, if God says it. I will believe nothing, however desirable, merely because my own mind imagines it, or because your heated brain suggests it. Strong faith often brings with it a conviction within the soul which nothing can shake; a conviction most sure, and yet most reasonable, since it is inspired by the Spirit of God who bears witness only to the truth, and not to dreams. To the man’s inner consciousness it is as though he heard the voice of God, saying, “I have heard your prayer and your supplication.”

24. Sometimes this comes in the form of a comforting persuasion. Have you never known what it is to stop prayer when you are in the middle of it, and say, “I am heard: I am heard?” Have you not felt that you did not need to cry any longer, for you had gained your suit, and must rather begin to praise than continue to pray? When a man goes to a bank with a cheque, and he gets the money, he does not stand loitering around the counter: he goes off about his business. And often before God, he who is prepared to be a long time in prayer if it should be necessary, feels that he must be brief in petition and long in thanksgiving. He rises from his knees with the persuasion, “I need not ask any more: I am heard”; and he goes about his business, to do something more necessary and timely than praying; for it is always better to serve God in a pressing practical duty than it is to continue to pray when prayer has no longer any reason for it, since you are already heard. If God has given you the blessing, why ask for it any further? “The Lord says to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to me? Speak to the children of Israel, that they go forward’ ”; and that going forward was a better thing than praying, now that praying had had its day. So there comes a comforting assurance at times that it is even so, and you go on your way rejoicing. This inward persuasion is no fanatical imagining, nor excitement of the brain, but a work of the Holy Spirit, which nothing can imitate, and only the receiver can understand.

25. The Lord also gives to his people an obvious preparation for the blessing. He prepares them to receive it. Their expectation is raised, so that they begin to look for the blessing, and make room for it; and when it is so, you may be sure that it is coming. God never brought you to a well, and put a bucket and rope in your way, without intending to fill that bucket when you let it down. When the thirsty soil has opened all its mouths to drink in the rain of heaven that rain always comes. When the ears of wheat are ready for the sun to ripen them, the heat of harvest is near. When a man of God so looks for the wind of the Spirit that he spreads the sails of hope, the breeze is sure to blow. Brother, it is lack of preparation in you that hinders the blessing. “He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” “You are not constrained in us, but you are constrained in your own heart.” But when the Lord has given you an evident preparation for the blessing, the blessing is already on the way, the shadow of it is resting upon you. In that preparation the Lord virtually says: “I have heard your prayer and your supplication.”

26. Actual observation also creates in us a solid confidence that our suit is succeeding. Sometimes God gives us an assurance that he has heard our prayer when he makes us look back and observe the past. How he has answered us! He does not change; he still hears us. Oh sirs, I have no patience with those who say that God does not hear prayer, for my daily experience proves the fact. I would not lie even under the notion of honouring God; but I will speak what I know. Throughout life it has been my habit to wait on God about many things, and especially about extraordinary necessities which have arisen out of the demands of the great institutions committed to me. I shall not stop to tell the stories of the Lord’s supplies in answer to prayer. Some of you know them in a measure; but, in very truth, the Lord has heard my prayers as distinctly as if he had torn the heavens, and put out his right hand filled with good. Many of you could bear similar witness, could you not? The fact that the Lord has heard us in the past speaks in our souls, and fills us with the assurance that he will hear us yet again. Memory emphasizes the voice of the Lord, which says, “I have heard your prayer; I have heard your supplication, therefore trust me with all your heart. Have I not always heard your prayer? When did I refuse you? My beloved one, when did I reject you? Have I not always listened to you? In the hour of your distress, have I not delivered you? In the times of your need, have I not supplied you? I have heard your prayer. Go in peace. Weep no more. Do not let your soul be troubled. All is well, for I am on the throne of grace, and my face is towards you.”

27. IV. Now I have come to the end of what I had to say, with this one sole exception. Let me speak of OUR SPECIAL APPLICATION OF PRAYER.

28. In the case of Solomon prayer turned in one direction, and I want to turn it in that direction now. You learn what Solomon’s prayer was when you hear how God fulfilled it. God said to him, “I have hallowed this house which you have built, and put my name there for ever, and my eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually.” Last night the members of this church met in their annual church meeting, {b} and we had great joy and thankfulness for all the mercy which God has made to pass before us. I have just completed thirty-three years of ministry here — the third of a century — with unbroken blessing. We can say that all these years have passed with no division and no strife among us, with nothing but perpetual blessings from the Lord God of our salvation. Blessed be his name!

29. Our prayer is again that the Lord himself would hallow this house which we have built. We ask this in no superstitious way. Bricks and mortar and iron and stone are nothing to us. The qualities of holiness do not adhere to material substances, but to hearts and to souls and acts; yet we ask our Lord to hallow this Tabernacle with his presence still more and more. If that were gone, Ichabod would be our bitter cry! The glory would indeed have departed. We want our Lord to hallow it by his favourable regard, so that when we worship he will accept our worship, and hear our prayers and our praises. We want him to hallow it by his working among us in many more conversions. It was a joyful time to me when I saw the enquirer come who was number ten thousand: that is long ago, and we have reached a far higher number now, but all is the work of our gracious God. We shall never bring in another true convert unless we have God’s presence! Oh Lord Jesus, we would constrain you saying, “Stay with us.” May the Lord bless his people in this house of prayer in the breaking of bread, in the ordinance of baptism, in the proclamation of the gospel, and in all their gatherings together. Oh Lord, we pray you to hallow this house. We do pray it from our innermost souls. You who have found our services to be hallowed to you in days that are past cannot bear the idea of failure and famine in the future. May the Lord say to us tonight, “I have hallowed this house which you have built.”

30. We want that he should hallow it next in this way: “to put my name there for ever.” “For ever.” As long as there shall be any such house, or need of such a house, may his name be here. My venerable predecessor, Dr. Rippon, whom I never saw, I have been informed, was accustomed to pray for a certain successor of his whom he seemed always to have in his mind’s thoughts. He frequently prayed for the man whom the Lord would send among the people of his care after his own decease. In a letter that I have seen, which he wrote to a friend, I can only somehow see myself; as in the glimmer of the firelight he saw the person who would follow him, and carry on his work. After sixty years of service in this church, as the old man grew older, he used to be praying about this successor more and more. I think that I may begin to pray following his example, that as long as there shall be the need for a house of God, the name of God may be honoured in this Tabernacle, and may faithful men proclaim his salvation in the power of the Holy Spirit. Shall there stand here one day a man who denies the deity of my Lord? God forbid! [“Amen.”] Shall there be found here one who shall preach modern thought, and give up the old, old gospel? God forbid! [“Amen.”] Let the house be engulfed in flames, and every ash be blown away by the winds, sooner than that anyone shall preach from this pulpit any other gospel than what you have received. [“Amen.” “Amen.”] I thank you for those loud Amens. May God himself say, Amen. May the name of our covenant God be put here for ever, and no other name.

31. And, then, Solomon prayed also, and God heard him, that the eye of the Lord might be there. That was Solomon’s prayer, and God greatly improved upon it, for he said that his eye and his heart should be there perpetually. So the Lord hears our prayers in a better sense than in the way we offer them. We pray that his eye may be upon us, and he adds, “It shall be so, and with my eye my heart also shall be there.” Oh, that the eye of the Lord might be upon this house, and upon this church, to watch over it, to keep it from all harm! But may his heart also be with us, to fill us with his divine life and love, and to make us know his inner self! Oh for the love of God to be shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit! May we know that God’s feelings of affection and delight are towards us! This shall be our unspeakable joy.

32. Now, brothers and sisters, who happen to be worshipping with us on this occasion, but are not members with us, I kindly entreat you to pray for this house and this church. I would, in return, pray for your place of worship, and for the church to which you belong. You will, however, readily forgive us if we think, just now, after our thirty-three years, of this particular church and its interests. We must praise the Lord for all his mercy towards us. Grace personally received must be personally acknowledged. You see, we are at home, and we must think of our own home. I can truly sing,

   Here my best friends, my kindred dwell,
   Here God my Saviour reigns.

“I dwell among my own people,” said the Shunammite; and there is no joy like it for a Christian minister and a Christian church member — to feel that he dwells among his own people, and is happy with them. To be driven from church to church, as some are, is a wretched business. To be like others, changing their views as often as the moon; happy nowhere, miserable everywhere, agreeing with no one, not even with themselves, is a poor business. People of that kind, I hope, will not join this church just yet, or, if they do, may the Lord convert them as they come in. As for us, we love each other, and our united prayer is that the eye and the heart of God may be with us and all his people perpetually. May the Lord bless you, dear friends, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

[Portions Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — 1Ki 3:5-15 9:1-9]
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Church, Ordinances, The Lord’s Supper — Delight In Communion With Jesus” 950}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Conflict and Encouragement — Pleading Divine Faithfulness” 627}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Conflict and Encouragement — ‘Remember Me’ ” 625}


{a} Spring-Tide: A tide occurring on the days shortly after the new and full moon, in which the high water level reaches its maximum. OED.
{b} February 9, 1887. Add two years of mercy to the record, and the same reflections will hold good. Oh, that we may now receive a second blessing, and learn how opportune is the subject to the occasion of the pastor’s anticipated return to a renewed period of personal ministry!

Letter From Mr. Spurgeon

Kind Friends, — My injuries are far greater than I supposed. It will take some time before foot, mouth, head, and nerves can be right again. What a mercy that I was not killed! The angels did their work well, for another stone would have brought me to my end.

Through what a stupor I have passed! Yet in a day or two I shall be none the worse. I am overcome with gratitude. May I be spared to keep my own footing to the end, and let the down-graders know how terrible is a fall from the high places of the Lord’s truth!

                                Yours very truly,
                                C. H. Spurgeon
                                Mentone, January 12, 1889.


Church, Ordinances, The Lord’s Supper
950 — Delight In Communion With Jesus
1 Lord, what a heaven of saving grace
   Shines through the beauties of thy face,
   And lights our passions to a flame!
   Lord, how we love thy charming name!
2 When I can say, “My God is mine”;
   When I can feel thy glories shine;
   I tread the world beneath my feet,
   And all that earth calls good or great.
3 While such a scene of sacred joys
   Our raptured eyes and souls employs,
   Here we could sit and gaze away
   A long, an everlasting day.
4 Well, we shall quickly pass the night,
   To the fair coasts of perfect light;
   Then shall our joyful senses rove
   O’er the dear object of our love.
5 There shall we drink full draughts of bliss,
   And pluck new life from heavenly trees
   Yet now and then, dear Lord, bestow
   A drop of heaven on worms below.
6 Send comforts down from thy right hand,
   While we pass through this barren land;
   And in thy temple let us see
   A glimpse of love, a glimpse of thee.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.


The Christian, Conflict and Encouragement
627 — Pleading Divine Faithfulness
1 God of my life, to thee I call,
   Afflicted at thy feet I fall;
   When the great water floods prevail,
   Leave not my trembling heart to fail.
2 Friend of the friendless and the faint,
   Where should I lodge my deep complaint?
   Where, but with thee, whose open door
   Invites the helpless and the poor?
3 Did ever mourner plead with thee,
   And thou refuse the mourner’s plea?
   Does not thy word still fix’d remain,
   That none shall seek thy face in vain?
4 That were a grief I could not bear,
   Didst thou not hear and answer prayer;
   But a prayer hearting, answering God
   Supports me under every load.
5 Fair is the lot that ‘sew cast for me;
   I have an Advocate with thee:
   They whom the world caresses most,
   Have no such privilege to boast.
6 Poor though I am, despised, forgot,
   Yet God, my God, forgets me not;
   And he is safe, and must succeed,
   For whom the Lord vouchsafes to plead.
                  William Cowper, 1779.


The Christian, Conflict and Encouragement
625 — “Remember Me”
1 Oh thou from whom all goodness flows!
      I lift my soul to thee;
   In all my sorrows, conflicts, woes,
      Good Lord! remember me.
2 When, on my groaning, burden’d heart,
      My sins lie heavily;
   My pardon speak, new peace impart;
      In love remember me.
3 When trials sore obstruct my way,
      And ills I cannot flee,
   Oh, give me strength, Lord, as my day:
      For good remember me.
4 Distress’d with pain, disease, and grief,
      This feeble body see;
   Grant patience, rest, and kind relief:
      Hear and remember me.
5 If on my face for thy dear name,
      Shame and reproaches be,
   All hail reproach, and welcome shame,
      If thou remember me.
6 The hour is near, consign’d to death,
      I own the just decree,
   Saviour, with my last parting breath
      I’ll cry, Remember me!
                     Thomas Haweis, 1792.

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.

Spurgeon Sermon Updates

Email me when new sermons are posted:

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390