Sunday, March 13

Prayer: Sunday's Hymn and Sermon

Prayer is the Soul's Sincere Desire
Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,
Uttered, or unexpressed;
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.

Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
The falling of a tear;
The upward glancing of an eye
When none but God is near.

Prayer is the simplest form of speech
That infant lips can try;
Prayer the sublimest strains that reach
The Majesty on high.

Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
The Christian's native air;
His watchword at the gates of death;
He enters rest with prayer.

The saints in prayer appear as one,
In word, and deed, and mind;
While with the Father and the Son
Sweet fellowship they find.

O Thou, by whom we come to God,
The Life, the Truth, the Way,
The path of prayer Thyself hast trod--
Lord, teach us how to pray.

---James Montgomery



The sermon is one of Charles Spurgeon's, titled Pray, Always Pray. The text is John 16: 26,27:

At that time you will ask in my name,
and I do not say that I will ask the Father on your behalf.
For the Father himself loves you,
because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.


On asking for things from God, Spurgeon says:
To ask anything of God does not require that you must use a set form of words. The children in your family do not read a formal, written request to you when they want any favor from you; they state their need in childish language, you understand them, and grant their request if it is a right and proper one, and compliance with it is within your power. Act in just the same way with your God. We are often far too careful about picking and choosing the phrases that we use in prayer. Do you think that God is pleased with a display of rhetoric, or that he takes notice of your elocution when you come to the throne of grace? It may suit a teacher of English composition to criticize your sentences, but God thinks much more of your desires than of the words in which they are expressed. It may be natural for a scholar to consider the accuracy of your terms, but God especially notes the sincerity of your soul. There is no other place where the heart should be so free as before the mercy-seat. There, you can talk out your very soul, for that is the best prayer that you can present. Do not ask for what some tell you that you should ask for, but for that which you feel the need of, that which the Holy Spirit has made you to hunger and to thirst for; you ask for that.

Always ask; your whole life should be spent in asking. When the morning breaks, ask for the mercy needed during the day; and when the day has closed its eyelids, and you go to your bed, ask for the protection and rest that you need during the night. Ask when your voice can be heard only by your God in secret, and ask when your tongue may not be able to move, but only your spirit whispers into the ear of God. Never hesitate to ask because of the greatness of the blessing you desire. The Lord is a great God though you are so little, and he delights to give great things to those who ask him. And don't be reluctant to ask because of your unworthiness. You can never have any worthiness of your own; therefore, if a sense of unworthiness would prevent you from praying right now, then it might always hinder you from praying; yet the Lord commands you to pray, so it must be right for you to pray. Ask when you have fought for something, and cannot win it; ask when you have toiled for it, and cannot gain it, ask and you will have it. Come before your God in all the rags of your sinfulness and conscious unworthiness, and ask, for that is all you have to do. "Ask, and you will receive," is the message that shines out, with heavenly radiance, over the mercy-seat. Read it, and obey it; open your mouth wide, for God will fill it.
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