Book Recomendation: Only A Prayer Meeting by C.H. Spurgeon

While in Louisville last week for the “Together for the Gospel” Conference, I purchased at the tremendous bookstore provided by Grace Books International a copy of a book by Charles Haddon Spurgeon which I had never before seen titled Only a Prayer Meeting. It is a wonderful dosage of Spurgeon for today. Below is a description of the book from the publisher’s website:

Spurgeon used to address his church at midweek meetings as well as the powerful sermons on Sundays. These addresses were generally more informal in tone and were designed to supply motivation for the church to pray. They are classic Spurgeon in a shorter format.

This volume is divided into 4 sections and concludes with a hymn Spurgeon composed himself for morning prayer meetings.

Section 1 – Addresses on prayer and prayer meetings

Section 2 – Expositions of scripture

Section 3 – Incidents and illustrations

Section 4 – Addresses on practical matters in the church

Together this collection is charming, challenging and cheering! If you wanted to find out how Spurgeon fuelled his church for everyday Christian living and a life of prayer then there is no better starting place.

If that doesn’t whet your appetite enough, here’s a lengthy but powerful quote from the first chaper which is also titled “Only a Prayer-meeting!”:

We want a revival of old-fashioned doctrine. Our fear is that, if ‘modern thought’ proceeds much further, the fashion of our religion will be as much Mohammedan as Christian; in fact, it will be more like infidelity than either. A converted Jew, staying in London, went into a dissenting chapel which I could mention; and when he returned to the friend with whom he was staying, he enquired what the religion of the place could be, for he had heard nothing of what he had received as the Christian faith. The doctrines which are distinctive of the New Testament may not be actually denied in set terms, but they are spirited away; familiar phrases are used, but a new sense is attached to them.

Certain modern preachers talk much of Christ, and yet reject Christianity. Under cover of extolling the Teacher, they reject his teaching for theories more in accord with the spirit of the age. At first, Calvinism was too harsh, then Evangelical doctrines became too antiquated, and now the Scriptures themselves must bow to man’s alteration and improvement. There is plenty of preaching in the present day in which no mention is made of the depravity of human nature, the work of the Holy Ghost, the blood of the atonement, or the punishment of sin. The deity of Christ is not so often assailed, but the gospel which he gave us, through his own teaching and that of the apostles, is questioned, criticised, and set aside. One of the great missionary societies actually informs us, by one of its writers, that it does not send out missionaries to save the heathen from the wrath to come, but to prepare them ‘for the higher realm which awaits them beyond the river of death’. I confess that I have better hopes for the future of the heathen than for the state of those who thus write concerning them. The heathen will derive but small advantage from the gospel which such triflers with the Scriptures are likely to carry them.

I know not a single doctrine which is not at this hour studiously undermined by those who ought to be its defenders; there is not a truth that is precious to the soul which is not now denied by those whose profession it is to proclaim it. The times are out of joint, and many are hoping to make them more and more so. To me, it is clear that we need a revival of old-fashioned gospel preaching like that of Whitefield and Wesley; to me, preferably that of Whitefield. We need to believe: the Scriptures must be made the infallible foundation of all teaching; the ruin, redemption and regeneration of mankind must be set forth in unmistakable terms, and that right speedily, or faith will be more rare than gold of Ophir. We must demand from our teachers that they give us a ‘Thus saith the Lord”; for, at this time, they give us their imaginations. Today, the Word of the Lord in the Book of Jeremiah is true:

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. (Jer. 23:16,17).

Beware of those who say that there is no hell, and who declare new ways to heaven. May the Lord have mercy upon them! (C.H. Spurgeon, Only A Prayer Meeting, pp. 10-11)

What an appropriate word for today! Amen?


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