I find the following quote on prayer from Spurgeon striking, much as the last one I shared. It depresses me therefore how hard I often find it to pray myself. I am grateful to God that I am slowly learning. I don’t hesitate to admit that the person who has taught me most about this is my own pastor, Tope Koleoso. He touched on the importance of prayer in his well-received talk at this years Desiring God conference. I am therefore thrilled that the next 300 Leaders event will feature Tope and Kenneth Ulmer both speaking about the pivotal role of prayer in the life of the pastor and the life of the church. I hope you will be able to join us for htis day. If you need further persuasion about the importance of prayer, this quote should do it! Notice by the way the rich expectation Spurgeon had of our experiences of God, how many Christians today speak of “high and rapturous joys”?
“Prayer is the forerunner of mercy. Turn to sacred history, and you will find that scarcely ever did a great mercy come to this world unheralded by supplication. You have found this true in your own personal experience. God has given you many an unsolicited favour, but still great prayer has always been the prelude of great mercy with you. When you first found peace through the blood of the cross, you had been praying much, and earnestly interceding with God that he would remove your doubts, and deliver you from your distresses. Your assurance was the result of prayer. When at any time you have had high and rapturous joys, you have been obliged to look upon them as answers to your prayers. When you have had great deliverances out of sore troubles, and mighty helps in great dangers, you have been able to say, “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Prayer is always the preface to blessing. It goes before the blessing as the blessing’s shadow. When the sunlight of God’s mercies rises upon our necessities, it casts the shadow of prayer far down upon the plain. Or, to use another illustration, when God piles up a hill of mercies, he himself shines behind them, and he casts on our spirits the shadow of prayer, so that we may rest certain, if we are much in prayer, our pleadings are the shadows of mercy. Prayer is thus connected with the blessing to show us the value of it. If we had the blessings without asking for them, we should think them common things; but prayer makes our mercies more precious than diamonds. The things we ask for are precious, but we do not realize their preciousness until we have sought for them earnestly.”
Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings, Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006).