I thank God for the great online website resources that make available the transcripts of the many thousands of sermons by Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers. Two of my favourites are Spurgeon Gems and Spurgeon.org.
Today, I was reading through Spurgeon’s sermon Prayer Certified of Success, his 1091st sermon, preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in Newington, England, in January of 1873. Here are some of my favourite quotes from this message, shared with the hope they would inspire and encourage you in prayer as well:
PRAYER CERTIFIED OF SUCCESS:
TO seek aid in time of distress from a supernatural being is an instinct of human nature. We say not that human nature unrenewed ever offers truly spiritual prayer, or ever exercises saving faith in the living God; but still, like a child crying in the dark, with painful longing for help from somewhere or other, it scarcely knows where, the soul in deep sorrow, almost invariably cries to some supernatural being for succor (help).
We find a powerful reason for expecting prayer to be effectual in the fact that it is an institution of God. In God’s word we are over and over again commanded to pray. God’s institutions are not folly. Can I believe that the infinitely wise God has ordained for me an exercise which is ineffectual, and is no more than child’s play?
Note that the promise is given to several varieties of prayer. “I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.” The text clearly asserts that all forms of true prayer shall be heard, provided they are presented through Jesus Christ, and are for promised blessings. Some are vocal prayers men ask—never should we fail to offer up, every day and continually, the prayer which is uttered by the tongue, for the promise is that the asker shall be heard. But there are others who, not neglecting vocal prayer, are far more abundant in active prayer, for by humble and diligent use of the means, they seek the blessings which they need. Their heart speaks to God by its longings, strivings, emotions, and labors. Let them not cease seeking, for they shall surely find. There are others who, in their earnestness, combine the most eager forms, both acting and speaking, for knocking is a loud kind of asking, and a vehement form of seeking. If our prayers are vocal speech with God, or if they are the practical use of means ordained, which is real prayer—or if they should, best of all, be the continued use of both, or if they are expressed only by a tear or a sigh, or even if they remain quite unexpressed in a trembling desire, they shall be heard. All varieties of true prayer shall meet with responses from heaven.
Each of these different descriptions of prayer is exceedingly simple. If anybody said, “I cannot ask,” our reply would be, “You do not understand the word. Surely everybody can ask.” A little child can ask. Long before an infant can speak, it can ask—it need not use words in order to ask for what it wants, and there is not one among us who is incapacitated from asking. Prayers need not be fine (fancy)… When we pray, the simpler our prayers are the better—the most plain, most humble language which expresses our meaning is the best.
Will you believe the promise? It is Christ who gives it. No lie ever fell from His lips. O doubt Him not. Pray on if you have prayed, and if you have never prayed before, God help you to begin today!
Now, here we must, of course, suppose the limitations which would be made by ordinary common sense and which are made by Scripture. It is not everyone who frivolously or wickedly asks or pretends to ask of God that gets what he asks for. It is not every silly, idle, unconsidered request of unregenerate hearts that God will answer. By no means—common sense limits the statement so far.
- You can read, download or print out the entire sermon text at Spurgeon Gems HERE.