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A prayer of C. H. Spurgeon
Jehovah our God, we thank Thee for leaving on record the story of Thine ancient people. It is full of instruction to ourselves. Help us to take its warning to avoid the faults into which they fell! Thou art a covenant God, and Thou keepest Thy promises and Thy Word never faileth. We have proved this so hitherto:
'Thus far we find that promise good, Which Jesus ratified with blood.'
But as for ourselves we are like Israel of old, a fickle people, and, we confess it with great shame, there are days when we take the timbre and we sing with Miriam 'unto the Lord who triumphed gloriously,' and yet, we grieve to say it, not many hours after, we are thirsty, and we cry for water, and we murmur in our tents) the brackish Marah turns our heart and we are grieved with our God. Sometimes we bow before Thee with reverence and awe when we behold Thy Sinai altogether on a smoke; but there have been times when we have set up the golden calf and we have said of some earthly things, 'These by thy gods, O Israel.' We believe with intensity of faith and then doubt with a horribleness of doubt.
Lord, Thou has been very patient with us. Many have been our provocations, many have been Thy chastisements, but:
'Thy strokes are fewer than our crimes, And lighter than our guilt.'
'Thou hast not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.' Blessed by Thy name!
And now fulfil that part of the covenant wherein Thou has said, 'A new heart also will I give thee and a right spirit will I put within thee. I will put My fear in their hearts and they shall not depart from Me.' Hold us fast and then we shall hold fast to Thee. Turn us and we shall be turned; keep us and we shall keep Thy statutes.
We cry to Thee that we may no more provoke Thee. We beg Thee rather to send the serpents among us than to let sin come among us. Oh! that we might have our eye always on the brazen serpent that healeth all the bites of evil, but may we not look to sin nor love it. Let not the devicesof Balaam and of Balak prevail against us, to lead Thy people away from their purity. Let us not be defiled with false doctrine or with unholy living, but may we walk as the separated people of God and keep ourselves unspotted from the world. Lord, we would not grieve Thy Spirit. Oh! may we never vex Thee so as to lead Thee in Thy wrath to say, 'They shall not enter into my rest.' Bear with us still for His dear sake whose blood is upon us. Bear with us still and send not the destroying angel as Thou didst to Egypt, but again fulfil that promise of Thine, 'When I see the blood I will pass over you.'
Just now may we be consciously passed over by the Spirit of condemnation; may we know in our hearts that 'there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.' May we feel the peace-giving power of the divine absolution. May we come into Thy holy presence with our feet washed in the brazen laver, hearing our great High Priest say to us, 'Ye are clean every whit.' Thus made clean may we draw near to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Further, our heavenly Father, we come before Thee now washed in the blood, wearing the snow-white robe of Christ's righteousness, and we ask Thee to remember Thy people. Some are sore burdened; lighten the burden or strengthen the shoulder. Some are bowed down with fear; peradventure they mistrust; forgive the mistrust and give a great increase of faith that they may trust Thee where they cannot trace Thee. The Lord remember any who bear the burden of others. Some cry to Thee day and night about the sins of the times, about the wanderings of Thy Church. Lord hear our prayers! We would bear this yoke for Thee, but help us to bear it without fearing so as to distrust Thee. May we know that Thou wilt take care of Thine own cause and preserve Thine own truth, and may we therefore be restful about it all.
Some are crying to Thee for the conversion of relatives and friends; this burden they have taken up to follow after Jesus in the cross-bearing. Grant them to see the desire of their heart fulfilled. God save our children and children's children, and if we have unconverted relatives of any kind, the Lord have mercy upon them for Christ's sake. Give us joy in them-as much joy in them as Christians as we have had sorrow about them as unbelievers.
Further, be pleased to visit Thy Church with the Holy Spirit. Renew the day of Pentecost in our midst, and in the midst of all gatherings of Thy people may there come the downfall of the holy fire, the uprising of the heavenly wind. May matters that are now slow and dead become quick and full of life, and may the Lord Jesus Christ be exalted in the midst of His Church which is His fulness, 'the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.' May multitudes be converted; may they come flockingto Christ with holy eagerness to find in Him a refuge as the doves fly to their dovecotes.
Oh! for salvation work throughout these islands and across the sea and in every part of the world, specially in heathen lands. Bring many to Christ's feet, we pray Thee, everywhere where men are ready to lay down their lives that they may impart the heavenly life of Christ. Work, Lord, work mightily! Thy Church cries to Thee. Oh, leave us not! We can do nothing without Thee! Our strength is wholly Thine! Come to us with great power, and let Thy Word have free course and be glorified.
Remember every one that calls Thee Father. May a Father's love look on all the children. May the special need of each one be supplied, the special sorrow of each one be assuaged. May we be growing Christians, may we be working Christians, may we be perfected Christians, may we come to the fulness of the stature of men in Christ Jesus. Lord Jesus Thou art a great pillar; in Thee cloth all fulness dwell. Thou didst begin Thy life with filling the waterpots to the full; Thou didst fill Simon Peter's boat until it began to sink; Thou didst fill the house where Thy people were met together with the presence of the Holy Ghost; Thou cost fill heaven; Thou wilt surely fill all things; fill us, oh! fill us to-day with all the fulness of God, and make Thy people thus joyful and strong, and gracious and heavenly!
But we cannot leave off our prayer when we have prayed for Thy people, though we have asked large things; we want Thee to look among the thousands and millions round about us who know Thee not. Lord, look on the masses who go nowhere to worship. Have pity upon them; Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. Give a desire to hear Thy Word. Send upon the people some desire after their God. O Lord take sinners in hand Thyself. Oh! come and reach obstinate, obdurate minds; let the careless and the frivolous begin to think upon eternal things. May there be an uneasiness of heart, a sticking of the arrows of God in their loins, and may they seek too the great Physician and find healing this very day. Ah! Lord, Thou sayest 'To-day, if ye will hear His voice,' and we take up the echo. Save men to-day, even to-day. Bring them Thy Spirit in power that they may be willing to rest in Christ. Lord hear, forgive, accept and bless, for Jesu's sake. Amen.
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