Spurgeon and the Power of Prayer
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)
By Author: Larry Michael
Personal Prayer With God
Everyone believes in prayer. Or so, that's what we are told. The practice of prayer is advocated by people of faith everywhere. There are courses on prayer, conferences on prayer, concerts of prayer, even colloquiums on prayer. Christian leaders regularly pontificate about its necessity from the pulpit and classroom. But, if the reports are correct, there are not nearly as many practitioners as there are proponents of this great source of spiritual power. And leaders, if not careful, can be the worse culprits in not practicing what they preach, when it comes to prayer. The tyranny of other urgent demands upon their time can rob leaders of the infinitely valuable time they spend in personal prayer with God.
A leader must be prayer empowered to be effective. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. C. H. Spurgeon believed greatly in the need for prayer: He urged pastors to:
"Make the most of prayer. . . . Prayer is the master-weapon. We should be wise if we used it more, and did so with a more specific purpose."
Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry
Spurgeon was said never to have prayed more than five minutes at a time, but he never went more than five minutes without praying. He often mentioned that the secret of his success was prayer, and he cited the many church members who prayed regularly in the basement during the services and on other significant occasions. Well-known church growth author/leader Peter Wagner writes,
"The more deeply I dig beneath the surface of church growth principles, the more thoroughly convinced I become that the real battle is a spiritual battle and that our principle weapon is prayer."
An effective leader must have a deep prayer
life. Spurgeon wrote of the
power of prayer:
Seminary Dean Thom Rainer gives statistical evidence regarding the power of prayer:
"A study of churches that were previously plateaued or declining but now experiencing growth revealed a fascinating statistic. The report concluded that 71% of these churches reported an increased emphasis on prayer over the past several years as compared to only 40% of churches which continue on the plateau."
(Thom Rainer, Eating the Elephant. Nashville: Broadman, 1994, P. 23).
Such prayer does not happen without the leadership of the pastor. A Christian leader must continue to grow and lead in the discipline of prayer. The Christian leader should set the example of devotion and prayer in the home. A close friend of Spurgeon commented on his prayer life,
"His public prayers were an
inspiration, but his prayers with the family were to me more wonderful
still. Mr. Spurgeon, when bowed before God in family prayer, appeared a
grander man even than when holding thousands spellbound by his
Spurgeon told pastors how one should set the
example: "He prays as a husband and as a father; he strives to
make his family devotions a model for his flock."
The Therapy of Prayer
"And now, beloved Pastor, we leave you, with many prayers, in the hands of your Father and our Father. May He have you in His safe keeping, preserve you from lowness and depression of spirits, cheer you with the light of His countenance, strengthen and sustain you by His gracious Spirit, and, in His own good time, bring you again to your beloved Tabernacle in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. This is our fervent prayer."
In 1871, Spurgeon had a long and painful
illness that kept him
Friends, The furnace still blows around me. Since I last preached to you,
I have been brought very low. My flesh has been tortured
Exhorting the Church to Prayer
"Perhaps, if the church met for prayer, I should be speedily restored. I know thousands do pray, but should not the church do so as a church?"
Pastor's suggestion that the church should meet for prayer was immediately
set in motion, and the result was thus chronicled in the next letter:
The occasion was one of many that the pastor
blessed the Lord for the healing power of prayer. Before long, Spurgeon
was back in the pulpit, and used his suffering as a means of ministering
to others through his proclamation.
Dr. Larry Michael is senior pastor at
First Baptist Sweetwater
near Orlando, Florida. He has
previously served as an adjunct professor at Beeson
Divinity School (Samford University) in
Birmingham, Alabama. This article is an adaptation by the author of
writings from the book, Spurgeon
on Leadership, Kregel
Publications, released in November 2003. We are grateful to the author for
permission to use this feature.
Book Review: Spiritual Warfare in a Believer's Life by Charles Spurgeon ___________________________________________________
Except where otherwise noted: Copyright © 2003 S.G.P. All rights reserved.
Dr. Larry Michael is senior pastor at First Baptist Sweetwater near Orlando, Florida. He has previously served as adjunct professor at Beeson Divinity School (Samford University) in Birmingham, Alabama.
By Larry J. Michael ______________
Spurgeon On Leadership
© 2003 by Larry J. Michael
Published by Kregel Publications, a Division of Kregel, Inc. ______________
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