Reading Spurgeon’s “Lectures to My Students”-Part 4

Some quotes and thoughts from the 4th chapter of “Lectures to My Students” called “Our Public Prayer”:

-First, I think the entire chapter was interesting if for the only reason to see how much prayer has been “de-emphasized” in church gatherings today.  Spurgeon spends much of the chapter encouraging his students to avoid repetition, “cliche phrases”, poor/inaccurate uses of Scripture in prayer, passing prayer off as a “courtesy” to someone else in the church, and lengthy prayers.  Most people who have been in church for more than a year will have a good laugh or two at some of the prayer follies Spurgeon points out that still exist today. (Like the pray-er who begins to close only to launch into 3 more subjects of prayer or who say “Dear Lord” as filler).  Spurgeon spends a great deal of time discussing the length of public prayers and concludes they should be no more than 10-15 minutes!  Wow!  I can’t imagine pulling off a 4 minute prayer in church without being publicly chastised and perhaps burned in oil.  I wonder how much of our shortness of prayer is related NOT to attention spans (Come on-people still read huge books and watch 3 hour movies) but rather to a lack of belief that prayer actually does anything.


-On preaching as continuation of “worship”-“Reverently hearing the word exercises our humility, instructs our faith, irradiates us with joy, inflames us with love, inspires us with zeal, and lifts us up towards heaven.”

-On boldness and against “demanding of God”-“We are taught to say, “Our Father,” but still it is, “Our Father, who art in heaven.”  Familiarity there may be, but holy familiarity; boldness, but the boldness which springs from grace and is the work of the Spirit; not the boldness of the rebel who carries a brazen front in the presence of his offended king, but the boldness of a child who fears because he loves, and loves because he fears.”

-“Pray as one who has tried and proved his God, and therefore comes with undoubting confidence to renew his pleadings.”

-On the need for passionate prayer-“If ever your whole manhood was engaged in anything, let it be in drawing near unto God in public.”

-On length of public prayer-“Long prayers either consist of repetitions, or else of unnecessary explanations which God does not require; or else they degenerate into downright preachings…It is not necessary in prayer to rehearse the Westminster Assembly’s Catechism.”

-On variety of service order- “Let us have anythign so that our people do not come to regard any form of service as being appointed, and so relapse into the superstition from which they have escaped.”

-On purposeful prayer as cure for monotony- “‘I never am tired of praying,” said one man, “because I always have a definite errand when I pray.'”


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