The Cure for Cold and Chill Prayers

I will be glad and rejoice in Thee: I will sing praise to Thy name, O Thou Most High. – Psalm 9:2

I believe it is the experience of many who love secret devotion that at times they cannot pray, for their heart seems hard, cold, dumb, and almost dead. Do not pump up unwilling and formal prayer, my brethren; but take down the hymn-book and sing. While you praise the Lord for what you have, you will find your rocky heart begin to dissolve and flow in rivers. You will be encouraged to plead with the Lord because you will remember what you have aforetime received at His hand. If you had an empty wagon to raise to the mouth of a coal-pit, it might be a very difficult task for you; but the work is managed easily by the common-sense of the miners. They make the full wagons, as they run down, pull the empty wagons up the incline. Now, when your heart is loaded with praise for mercy received, let it run down the incline, and draw up the empty wagon of your desires, and you will thus find it easy to pray. Cold and chill prayers are always to be deplored, and if by so simple a method as entreating the Lord to accept our thanksgiving our hearts can be warmed and renewed, let us by all means take care to use it.

Lastly, I believe that when a man begins to pray with thanksgiving he is upon the eve of receiving the blessing. God’s time to bless you has come when you begin to praise Him as well as pray to Him. God has His set time to favour us, and He will not grant us our desire until the due season has arrived. But the time has come when you begin to bless the Lord. ~ C.H. Spurgeon


This Divine Rest of Spirit

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7

The presence of thanksgiving in the heart together with prayer is productive of peace. “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Now that peace, that conscious calm, that divine serenity, which is described as the peace of God, is not produced by prayer alone, but by prayer with thanksgiving. Some men pray, and therein they do well; but for lack of mixing thanksgiving with it their prayer agitates them, and they come away from the closet even more anxious than when they entered it. If they mingled in their petitions that sweet powder of the merchants, which is called praise, and mixed it after the art of the apothecary, in due proportions, the blessing of God would come with it, causing repose of heart. If we bless our gracious Lord for the very trouble we pray against; if we bless Him for the very mercy which we need, as though it had already come; if we resolve to praise Him whether we receive the boon or not, learning in whatsoever state we are therewith to be content, then “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, will keep our hearts and minds by Christ Jesus.” Brethren, as you value this divine rest of spirit, as you prize constant serenity of soul, I beseech you, mingle praises with your prayers.~ C.H. Spurgeon

The Basis of Prevalence in Prayer

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. – James 5:16

Prayer is the shadow of the decrees of the Eternal. God has willed such a thing, and He makes His saints to will it, and express their will in prayer. It is written, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” It is not said that He will give the desire of his heart to every Jack and Tom; but you must first delight in the Lord, and when your mind finds all her joy in God then it is clear that God and you, as far as it can be, are standing on the same plane and moving in the same direction, and now you shall have the desire of your heart because the desire of your heart is the desire of God’s heart. Character, as much as faith, lies at the basis of prevalence in prayer. I do not mean in the case of the prayer of the sinner when he is seeking mercy, but I mean in the habitual prayers of the godly. There are some men who cannot pray so as to prevail, for sin has made them weak, and God walks contrary to them because they walk contrary to Him. He who has lost the light of God’s countenance has also lost much of the prevalence of his prayers. You do not suppose that every Israelite could have gone to the top of Carmel and opened the windows of heaven as Elijah did. No, he must first be Elijah, for it is the effectual, fervent prayer, not of every man, but of a righteous man, that availeth much; and when the Lord has put your heart and my heart into an agreement with Him then we shall pray and prevail. What did our Lord say, “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” Doubtless many lose power in prayer because their lives are grievous in the sight of the Lord, and He cannot smile upon them. Will any father listen to the requests of a child who has set himself up in opposition to parental authority? The obedient, tender, loving child, who would not wish for anything which you did not think right to give, is he whose requests you are pleased to consider and fulfill; yea, more, you even anticipate the wishes of such a child, and before he calls you answer him. May we be such children of the great God.~ C.H. Spurgeon

Still He is So Good, So Supremely Good

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. – Habakkuk 3:17

Brethren, if the Lord does not answer the prayer which we are offering, yet still He is so good, so supremely good, that we will bless Him whether or no. We ought even to praise Him when He does not answer us, ay, and bless Him for refusing our desires. How devoutly might some of us thank Him that He did not answer our prayers when we sought for evil things in the ignorance of our childish minds. We asked for flesh, and He might have sent us quails in His anger, and while the flesh was yet in our mouths His wrath might have come upon us; but in love He would not hear us. Blessed be His name for closing His ear in pity! Let us adore Him when He keeps us waiting at His doors; thank Him for rebuffs, and bless Him for refusals…Ralph Erskine spoke the truth when he said:

“I’m heard when answered soon or late,
Yea, heard when I no answer get:
Yea, kindly answered when refused,
And treated well when harshly used.”

Faith glorifies the love of God, for she knows that the Lord’s roughest usage is only love in disguise…Though He slay us we will trust in Him, much more if He decline our requests. We ask Him for our daily bread, and if He withhold it we will praise Him. Our praises are not suspended upon His answers to our prayers. If the labour of the olive should fail, and the field should yield no fruit; if the flock should be cut off from the fold, and the herd from the stall, yet still would we rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of our salvation. Blessed Spirit, raise us to this state of grace and keep us there. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Believe That Ye Have It

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. – Mark 11:24

When I was conversing lately with our dear friend George Miller, he frequently astonished me with the way in which he mentioned that he had for so many months and years asked for such and such a mercy, and praised the Lord for it. He praised the Lord for it as though he had actually obtained it. Even in praying for the conversion of a person, as soon as he had begun to intercede he began also to praise God for the conversion of that person. Though I think he told us he had in one instance already prayed for thirty years and the work was not yet done, yet all the while he had gone on thanking God, because he knew the prayer would be answered. He believed that he had his petition, and commenced to magnify the Giver of it. Is this unreasonable? How often do we antedate our gratitude among the sons of men! If you were to promise some poor person that you would pay his rent when it came due, he would thank you directly, though not a farthing had left your pocket. We have enough faith in our fellow-men to thank them beforehand, and surely we may do the same with our Lord. Shall we not be willing to trust God for a few months ahead, ay, and for years beforehand, if His wisdom bids us wait. This is the way to win with Him. When ye pray, believe that ye receive the boons ye ask, and ye shall have them. “Believe that ye have it,” says the Scripture, “and ye shall have it.” As a man’s note of hand stands for the money, so let God’s promise be accounted as the performance. Shall not heaven’s bank-notes pass as cash? Yea, verily, they shall have unquestioned currency among believers. We will bless the Lord for giving us what we have sought, since our having it is a matter of absolute certainty. We shall never thank God by faith and then find that we were befooled. He has said, “All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” And therefore we may rest assured that the thanksgiving of faith shall never bring shame into the face of the man who offers it.~ C.H. Spurgeon

A Royal Way of Praying

And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

When we come before God in the hour of trouble, remembering His great goodness to us in the past, and therefore thanking Him, we ought to have faith enough to believe that the present trouble, about which we are praying, is sent in love. You will win with God in prayer if you can look at your trials in this light:-“Lord, I have this thorn in the flesh. I beseech Thee, deliver me from it, but meanwhile I bless Thee for it; for though I do not understand the why or the wherefore of it, I am persuaded there is love within it; therefore, while I ask Thee to remove it, so far as it seemeth evil to me, yet wherein it may to Thy better knowledge work my good, I bless Thee for it, and I am content to endure it so long as Thou seest fit.” Is not that a sweet way of praying? “Lord, I am in want, be pleased to supply me; but, meanwhile, if Thou do not, I believe it is better for me to be in need, and so I praise Thee for my necessity while I ask Thee to supply it. I glory in mine infirmity, even while I ask Thee to overcome it. I triumph before Thee in my affliction, and bless Thee for it even while I ask Thee to help me in it and to rescue me out of it.” This is a royal way of praying: such an amalgam of prayer and thanksgiving is more precious than the gold of Ophir.~ C.H. Spurgeon

Recollect His Great Goodness

He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? – Romans 8:32

Beloved, beyond the fact of prayer and our power to exercise it, there is a further ground of thanksgiving that we have already received great mercy at God’s hands. We are not coming to God to ask favours and receive them for the first time in our lives. Why, blessed be His name, if He never granted me another favour, I have enough for which to thank Him as long as I have any being. And this, moreover, is to be recollected, that whatever great things we are about to ask, we cannot possibly be seeking for blessings one-half so great as those which we have already received if we are indeed His children. If thou art a Christian, thou hast life in Christ. Art thou about to ask for meat and raiment? The life is more than these. Thou hast already obtained Christ Jesus to be thine, and He that spared Him not will deny thee nothing. Is there, I was about to say, anything to compare with the infinite riches which are already ours in Christ Jesus? Let us perpetually thank our Benefactor for what we have while we make request for something more. Should it not be so? Shall not the abundant utterances of the memory of His great goodness run over into our requests, till our petitions are baptized in gratitude. While we come before God, in one aspect, empty handed to receive of His goodness, on the other hand we should never appear before Him empty, but come with the fat of our sacrifices, offering praise and glorifying God. ~ C.H. Spurgeon