Charles H. Spurgeon is one of the most renowned Christian leaders in history. Many historians over the past century have studied Spurgeon’s life, theology, and ministry.
Although Spurgeon’s preaching ability was renowned, he possessed a profound desire to educate and equip young ministers for the work God had called them to; thus, the Pastor’s College (presently Spurgeon’s College) was commenced in 1856.
Spurgeon’s heart to train young pastors for a life of successful and effective ministry can clearly be seen in the book, Lectures to my Students, a collection of addresses delivered by Spurgeon to his students. Spurgeon’s philosophy on the minister was comprised of a particular set of precepts on how to properly care for the group of people God entrusts to a pastor.
One principle that Spurgeon proclaimed was imperative for a pastor to succeed in his ministerial responsibility was the necessity of a dynamic private prayer life. Spurgeon taught that prayer had an immense power. He believed the discipline to be indispensable to the believer’s life.
Throughout Spurgeon’s writings, sermons, and lectures one can see the importance Spurgeon placed on prayer. “Prayer is at the foundation of your Christian health. When you pray, you grow. When you stop praying, your faith shrivels up.”
Spurgeon believed that private prayer was necessary for the comfort and restoration of the believer who experiences great trials and periods of disillusionment. This private prayer life, if cultivated, will guard against the delusion of self-sufficiency. “What is your condition my brother, my sister? Let me entreat you not to cease from prayer. There may be spiritual life in you, and yet the devil may tempt you to say, “I cannot pray.” But you can pray! You do pray! You must pray!”
The Christian, because of his many duties, cycles through a variety of different circumstances and situations; this is why prayer is necessary.
“The fact is, the secret of all success lies in prevalence at the mercy seat.” His statement essentially says the key to achievement in life can be found in frequent trips the Christian takes to the mercy seat. If a believer desires to be successful at what God has called him or her to do prayer must a key component in their spiritual life.
Spurgeon mentioned how important personnel prayer was to him, saying that “if for a day, or a part of a day…I have no dealings with him [God] in prayer and praise, I find the wheels of my chariot taken off, and I drag along right heavily. Spurgeon was so dependent upon God that he could not spend a day without conversing with the Father.
It is in this private prayer life where the believer’s sincere desires and petitions are offered up before the Lord. One reason for private prayer, according to Spurgeon, was that through it believers can discuss their deepest secrets in complete confidence. Spurgeon states, “there are some troubles we would not tell to others, for perhaps many minds could not sympathize with us: God has therefore provided prayer, as a channel for the flow of grief.”
Spurgeon warned his congregation and students often of the danger of their ceasing to be dependent upon God in prayer. Great peril will come to the believer if he or she stops being dependent upon God. Prayer was a must for Spurgeon. “God’s people need prayer for the maintenance of their own spirituality, for prayer is what helps Christians understand scripture, resist temptation, avoid despondency, and battle their own sin natures. God’s people need prayer for the success of any ministerial endeavor, whether the preaching of the Gospel, the operation of a Sunday School, a missionary effort, or any other sort of ministry.”
Whatever a believer endeavors for his ministry, a dynamic prayer life must be developed.
I’m Harold Dorrell Briscoe. Thanks for reading.