Tag Archives: Prayer

“Altogether worthy” by Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430)

“I know, O Lord, and do with all humility acknowledge myself an object altogether unworthy of Your love; but I am sure, You are an object altogether worthy of mine.

I am not good enough to serve You, but You have a right to the best service I can pay.

Do then impart to me some of that excellence, and that shall supply my own want of worth.

Help me to cease from sin according to Your will, that I may be capable of doing You service according to my duty.

Enable me so to guard and govern myself, so to begin and finish my course that, when the race of life is run, I may sleep in peace and rest in You.

Be with me to the end, that my sleep may be rest indeed, my rest perfect security, and that security a blessed eternity.”

–Augustine of Hippo, Ancient Christian Devotional: Lectionary Cycle C, Volume 3, Eds. Cindy Crosby, Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009), 70.

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“He loves me best who loves me in his prayers” by J.C. Ryle

“I commend to you, in the next place, the importance of intercession in our prayers. We are all selfish by nature and our selfishness is very apt to stick to us, even when we are converted.

There is a tendency in us to think only of our own souls,—our own spiritual conflict,—our own progress in religion, and to forget others. Against this tendency we have all need to watch and strive, and not least in our prayers.

We should study to be of a public spirit. We should stir ourselves up to name other names beside our own before the throne of grace.

We should try to bear in our hearts the whole world,—the heathen,—the Jews,—the Roman Catholics,—the body of true believers,—the professing Protestant Churches,—the country in which we live,—the congregation to which we belong,—the household in which we sojourn,—the friends and relations we are connected with.

For each and all of these we should plead. This is the highest charity. He loves me best who loves me in his prayers.

This is for our soul’s health. It enlarges our sympathies and expands our hearts. This is for the benefit of the Church.

The wheels of all machinery for extending the Gospel are oiled by prayer. They do as much for the Lord’s cause who intercede like Moses on the mount, as they do who fight like Joshua in the thick of the battle.

This is to be like Christ. He bears the names of His people on His breast and shoulders as their High Priest before the Father.

Oh, the privilege of being like Jesus! This is to be a true helper to ministers. If I must needs choose a congregation, give me a people that prays.”

–J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion: Being Plain Papers on the Daily Duties, Experience, Dangers, and Privileges of Professing Christians (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1878/2013), 86-87.

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“The divine alarm clock” by John Onwuchekwa

“Let the temptation to worry serve as the divine alarm clock reminding you it’s time to pray.”

–John Onwuchekwa, Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018), 125.

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“Make me also an instrument of His glory” by Jonathan Edwards

“Sir,

My request to you is that, in your intended journey through New England the next summer, you would be pleased to visit Northampton. I hope it is not wholly from curiosity that I desire to see and hear you in this place; but I apprehend, from what I have heard, that you are one that has the blessing of heaven attending you wherever you go; and I have a great desire, if it may be the will of God, that such a blessing as attends your person and labors may descend on this town, and may enter mine own house, and that I may receive it in my own soul.

Indeed I am fearful whether you will not be disappointed in New England, and will have less success here than in other places: we who have dwelt in a land that has been distinguished with light, and have long enjoyed the gospel, and have been glutted with it, and have despised it, are I fear more hardened than most of those places where you have preached hitherto.

But yet I hope in that power and mercy of God that has appeared so triumphant in the success of your labors in other places, that He will send a blessing with you even to us, though we are unworthy of it. I hope, if God preserves my life, to see something of that salvation of God in New England which He has now begun, in a benighted, wicked, and miserable world and age and in the most guilty of all nations.

It has been with refreshment of soul that I have heard of one raised up in the Church of England to revive the mysterious, spiritual, despised, and exploded doctrines of the gospel, and full of a spirit of zeal for the promotion of real vital piety, whose labors have been attended with such success. Blessed be God that hath done it! He is with you, and helps you, and makes the weapons of your warfare mighty.

We see that God is faithful, and never will forget the promises that He has made to His church; and that He will not suffer the smoking flax to be quenched, even when the floods seem to be overwhelming it; but will revive the flame again, even in the darkest times.

I hope this is the dawning of a day of God’s mighty power and glorious grace to the world of mankind. May you go on, reverend Sir! And may God be with you more and more abundantly, that the work of God may be carried on by a blessing on your labors still, with that swift progress that it has been hitherto, and rise to a greater height, and extend further and further, with an irresistible power bearing down all opposition!

And may the gates of hell never be able to prevail against you! And may God send forth more laborers into His harvest of a like spirit, until the kingdom of Satan shall shake, and his proud empire fall throughout the earth and the kingdom of Christ, that glorious kingdom of light, holiness, peace and love, shall be established from one end of the earth unto the other!

I fear it is too much for me to desire a particular remembrance in your prayers, when I consider how many thousands do doubtless desire it, who can’t all be particularly mentioned; and I am far from thinking myself worthy to be distinguished.

But pray, Sir, let your heart be lifted up to God for me among others, that God would bestow much of that blessed Spirit on me that He has bestowed on you, and make me also an instrument of His glory.

I am, reverend Sir, unworthy to be called your fellow laborer,

Jonathan Edwards”

–Jonathan Edwards, Letters and Personal Writings (ed. George S. Claghorn and Harry S. Stout; vol. 16; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1998), 16: 80–81. Edwards wrote this letter to George Whitefield on February 12, 1739/40.

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“Preaching was to him no light or trifling task” by Susannah Spurgeon

“In describing a typical week’s work, a beginning can most appropriately be made with an account of the preparation for the hallowed engagements of the Sabbath.

Up to six o’clock, every Saturday evening, visitors were welcomed at ‘Westwood,’ the dear master doing the honours of the garden in such a way that many, with whom he thus walked and talked, treasure the memory of their visit as a very precious thing.

At the tea-table, the conversation was bright, witty, and always interesting; and after the meal was over, an adjournment was made to the study for family worship, and it was at these seasons that my beloved’s prayers were remarkable for their tender childlikeness, their spiritual pathos, and their intense devotion. He seemed to come as near to God as a little child to a loving father, and we were often moved to tears as he talked thus face to face with his Lord.

At six o’clock, every visitor left, for Mr. Spurgeon would often playfully say, ‘Now, dear friends, I must bid you ‘Good-bye,’ and turn you out of this study; you know what a number of chickens I have to scratch for, and I want to give them a good meal tomorrow.’

So, with a hearty ‘God bless you!’ he shook hands with them, and shut himself in to companionship with his God. The inmates of the house went quietly about their several duties, and a holy silence seemed to brood over the place.

What familiar intercourse with the Saviour he so greatly loved, was then vouchsafed to him, we can never know, for, even while I write, I hear a whisper, ‘The place whereon thou standest is holy ground.’

No human ear ever heard the mighty pleadings with God, for himself, and his people, which rose from his study on those solemn evenings; no mortal eyes ever beheld him as he wrestled with the Angel of the covenant until he prevailed, and came back from his brook Jabbok with the message he was to deliver in his Master’s Name.

His grandest and most fruitful sermons were those which cost him most soul-travail and spiritual anguish;—not in their preparation or arrangement, but in his own overwhelming sense of accountability to God for the souls to whom he had to preach the gospel of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.

Though he had the gift of utterance above many, preaching was to him no light or trifling task; his whole heart was absorbed in it, all his spiritual force was engaged in it, all the intellectual power, with which God had so richly endowed him, was pressed into this glorious service, and then laid humbly and thankfully at the feet of his Lord and Saviour, to be used and blessed by Him according to His gracious will and purpose.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, by His Wife and His Private Secretary, 1878–1892 (vol. 4; Chicago; New York; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1900), 4: 64-65.

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“Prayer on Sunday after the Sermon” by Zacharias Ursinus

“Almighty God, heavenly Father, who has promised us that whatever we ask of you in the name of Your dear Son Jesus Christ, You will surely give to us. (John 16:23)

[Hallowed be Your name]

We ask You to work in us by Your Holy Spirit, so that we may rightly know You, and sanctify, glorify, and praise You in all Your works, in which shine forth Your omnipotence, wisdom, goodness, righteousness, mercy, and truth. Grant us also that we may so direct our whole life—thoughts, words, and deeds—that Your name is not blasphemed because of us but honored and praised.

[Your kingdom come]

Rule us also by the scepter of Your Word and the power of Your Holy Spirit that we and all men may daily more and more surrender and submit to Your Majesty. Preserve and increase Your Church. Destroy all works of the devil, and every false and wicked counsel conceived against Your holy Word. Bring to ruin Your enemies by the power of Your truth and righteousness, so that every power that raises itself against Your honor may be more and more destroyed and demolished each day, until the fullness of Your kingdom comes, when on the final day You will reveal Your glory in us and You will be all in all forevermore.

[Your will be done]

Grant also that we and all men may deny our own will and all the lust of our flesh, and without any murmuring obey Your will, which alone is good. Grant that everyone may carry out the duties of his office and calling as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven.

[Give us today our daily bread]

Provide us also with all our bodily needs, peace, and a good government, so that we may acknowledge that You are the only fountain of all good, and a faithful Father who cares for His children; that also our care and labor, and also Your gifts, cannot do us any good without Your blessing. Grant, therefore, that we may withdraw our trust from all creatures and put it only in You.

[Forgive us our debts]

And for the sake of the shedding of Christ’s blood, do not impute to us, poor sinners, any of our transgressions and debts, nor the evil which still clings to us, as we also find this evidence of Your grace in our hearts that we desire to wholeheartedly forgive our neighbor and increase His benefit.

[And lead us not into temptation, etc.]

And because we are so weak in ourselves that we cannot stand even for a moment, and moreover, our sworn enemies—the devil, the world, and our own flesh—do not cease to attack us. Will You, therefore, keep and strengthen us by the power of Your Holy Spirit, so that we may firmly resist them and not go down to defeat in this spiritual war, but remain persistent until we finally obtain the complete victory and reign together with Your Son, our Lord and Protector, Jesus Christ, in Your kingdom forevermore.

All this we ask from You, not so that we, but that You may be praised forevermore, and because You are able to do so as Almighty God, and are also willing as a faithful Father, as certainly as we wholeheartedly desire these things from You, through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.”

—Zacharias Ursinus, “Palatinate Church Order (1563),” as quoted in Reformation Worship: Liturgies from the Past for the Present, Eds. Jonathan Gibson and Mark Earngey (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2018), 614-615.

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“Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes to a godly mother” by Charles Spurgeon

“Fathers and mothers are the most natural agents for God to use in the salvation of their children.

I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever made such an impression upon my mind as the instruction of my mother. Neither can I conceive that, to any child, there can be one who will have such influence over the young heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring.

A man with a soul so dead as not to be moved by the sacred name of ‘mother’ is creation’s blot. Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes to a godly mother.

Certainly I have not the powers of speech with which to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed on me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me.

How can I ever forget her tearful eye when she warned me to escape from the wrath to come? I thought her lips right eloquent. Others might not think so, but they certainly were eloquent to me.

How can I ever forget when she bowed her knee, and with her arms about my neck, prayed, ‘Oh, that my son might live before Thee!’

Nor can her frown be effaced from my memory,—that solemn, loving frown, when she rebuked my budding iniquities.

And her smiles have never faded from my recollection,—the beaming of her countenance when she rejoiced to see some good things in me towards the Lord God of Israel.

My mother said to me, one day, ‘Ah, Charles! I often prayed to the Lord to make you a Christian, but I never asked that you might become a Baptist.’

I could not resist the temptation to reply, ‘Ah, mother! The Lord has answered your prayer with His usual bounty, and given you exceedingly abundantly above what you asked or thought.'”

–Charles Spurgeon, C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography: Volume 1, The Early Years (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1898/1962), 44-45.

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