Charles Haddon Spurgeon was the Pastor of the famous Baptist Metropolitan Tabernacle in London for no less than 38 years. When he began his ministry there in the 1800s, he was a very young man and the church was then known as New Park Street Chapel. The church congregation grew exponentially under his powerful and anointed Bible teaching ministry.
Within just a short time of Spurgeon’s ministry at the New Park Street Chapel, his ability as a preacher made him famous. By the age of 22 he was the most popular preacher of the day.
People came from all over the country to hear him preach the Word of God. He became affectionately known as ‘the prince of preachers’. He regularly preached to 10,000 people at a time. His booming voice would fill the hall as his audience listened with bated breath. It was often said you could hear a pin drop as he preached for as long as two hours at a time.
On the 8 January 1856, Spurgeon married Susannah, daughter of Robert Thompson of Falcon Square, London, by whom he had twin sons, Charles and Thomas born on 20 September 1856.
At the end of that year, tragedy struck on 19 October 1856, as Spurgeon was preaching at the Surrey Gardens Music Hall for the first time. Someone in the crowd yelled, ‘Fire!’ The ensuing panic and stampede left several dead. Spurgeon was emotionally devastated by the event and it had a sobering influence on his life. After this he struggled against depression for many years and spoke of often being moved to tears for no reason whatsoever. Yet in his weakness God still used him greatly.
C H Spurgeon was also a prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, commentaries, books on prayer, devotionals, magazines, poetry and hymns. His sermons were often transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime.
Spurgeon produced powerful sermons of captivating thought and precise exposition. His oratory skills held his listeners spellbound and many Christians even today hold his writings in exceptionally high regard.
On one occasion five young students were spending a Sunday in London, so they went to hear the famed C H Spurgeon preach. While waiting for the doors to open, the students were greeted by a man who asked, ‘Gentlemen, let me show you around. Would you like to see the heating plant of this church?’ They were not particularly interested for it was a hot day in July. But they didn’t want to offend the stranger, so they consented. The young men were taken down a stairway, a door was quietly opened, and their guide whispered, ‘This is our heating plant.’ Surprised, the students saw 700 people bowed in prayer, seeking the face of God for blessing on the service that was soon to begin in the auditorium above. Softly closing the door, the gentleman then introduced himself. It was none other than Charles Spurgeon himself.
Spurgeon knew all too well that it was the prayer of faithful men and women that caused his ministry to be so successful. It was prayer that caused the church to grow in an unprecedented way. He never put it down to his strong style of leadership, his eloquent speech, or his writing prowess or anything else, except prayer and the seeking of God’s face.
On one occasion he said, ‘He who knows how to overcome with God in prayer has heaven and earth at his disposal’.
On another occasion he said ‘Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the muscle of Omnipotence’.
And yet again on another occasion he said ‘To pray is to enter the treasure-house of God and to gather riches out of an inexhaustible storehouse’.
Have you ever noticed that little sentence found in 1 Chronicles 16:11 where it says, ‘Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always’. Now what this verse is saying is real strength in life comes when we look to the Lord and always seek His face.
But note how it says ‘seek His face’ and doesn’t say ‘seek His hand’. Sadly most of our prayer seeks His hand for what He can give us. ‘Lord give me…’ ‘Lord I need…’ ‘Lord can you help me with …’ ‘Lord please provide me ….’ However, this verse in 1 Chronicles 16 speaks of seeking His face. In other words – coming to Him with no agenda and seeing what He wants to say to us.
2 Chronicles 7:14 also speaks about seeking His face. It declares…
‘If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land’.
Church, there is no doubt, God is calling us to ‘pray and seek His face’. It is indeed as C H Spurgeon, the prince of preachers said, ‘it’s the heating plant or the boiler house of the church!’
Please join us as we continue with our 40 days of prayer and fasting. As we break up the fallow ground and seek His face. Remember ‘He who knows how to overcome with God in prayer has heaven and earth at his disposal’.
So then until next time keep your eyes firmly fixed upon Jesus.
Pastors Phil and Helen Weaver