Spurgeon on prayer
‘I have heard your prayer and your supplication’ (1 Kings 9:3)
The wise men of modern times whose principal characteristic is that they think so much of themselves and so very little of anybody else, tell us that prayer is an excellent exercise, good and comforting and useful.
But they say that we are not to suppose that it has any effect upon God whatever. We enquire of them, ‘Would you have us go on praying after the information you have given?’
‘Oh, yes’, they say. ‘Oh yes, of course. It is a pious exercise, a proper and edifying thing. Go on praying, but do not think that God hears’.
Brothers and sisters, it is evident that they think us idiots. Evidently they consider praying men to be born fools. If it is certain that prayer has no effect upon God, my brothers and sisters, I would just as soon whistle when I rise in the morning as pray. And I would as soon close my eyes at night in dumb silence as run over a set of ineffectual words.
There could be no good in prayer if it should be proved that it never went beyond the room in which it was uttered. When it ceases to be accepted by the Lord and honoured by his response, we shall abandon it.
If there is neither hearing nor answering, we shall have reduced ourselves to the level of the worshippers of Baal. And we have not come to that yet…
But, brethren, what we desire in prayer is really to be heard. If I pray, I pray not to the winds, nor to the waves — but to God. And if he does not hear me, I have lost my breath.
The first thing the soul desires in prayer is an audience with God. If the Lord does not hear us, we have gained nothing. And what an honour it is, if you come to think of it, to have an audience with God!
The frail, feeble, undeserving creature is permitted to stand in the august presence of the God of the whole earth and the Lord regards that poor creature as if there were nothing else for him to observe and bends his ear and his heart to listen to that creature’s cry!
It is necessary to a living prayer to feel that we are speaking to God and that God is hearing us. You notice, that generally in the Psalms David says very little about God’s answering. But he always speaks about God’s hearing and he asks that he would hear.
That he should deign to hear us is quite enough — quite enough from such a God as he is. If I can get my petition placed in his hands I am fully satisfied. If I can pour my desires into his ears and he has once observed them, all further fear is removed.
Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of these things and you may rest perfectly content. For in coming into his presence, you have done according to his command and therefore his promise holds good to you. The first thing wanted, then, is that the Lord should hear us.
C. H. Spurgeon