As mentioned before, our church in Pinson, Alabama is going through the beautiful book of James. Last week, the message ended in us being challenged by James that, “We have not, because we ask not.” What a powerful, and challenging Scripture. This week on the blog, we are going through a series of Charles Spurgeon writings on prayer – written in the late 1800s when he too was challenged by the Biblical book of James, and specifically James’ charge that , “we have not, because we ask not.” Below, Spurgeon challenges churches everywhere – including our own! – to revive the regular gathering for prayer. May it NOT be said of us – “we had not, because we asked not!”
“If any believer should chance to live where the prayer-meeting is neglected, let him now resolve to revive it. Let us make a solemn pledge and covenant that the churches will pray, or that it shall not be our fault if they do not. To strengthen a prayer-meeting, is as good a work as to preach a sermon. I would have you vow that the prayer-meeting shall never be given up while you live.
Be like the good woman who, when it was decided to close the prayer-meeting in a certain village, declared that it should not be, for she would be there if no one else was. She was true to her word; and when, the next morning, someone said to her rather jestingly, “Did you have a prayer-meeting last night?” “Ah, that we did!” she replied. “How many were present?” “Four,” she said. “Why,” said he, “I heard that you were there all alone.” “No,” she said, “I was the only one visible, but the Father was there, and the Son was there, and the Holy Spirit was there, and we were agreed in prayer.”
Before long, others took shame to themselves at the earnest perseverance of a poor old woman, and soon there was a revived prayer-meeting and a prospering church. I have heard of an African man, who was found sitting at the time of the prayer service all alone when his brethren had grown cold and prayerless; in his case also, the rest were shamed into fresh energy. I beg you, then, to maintain this holy ordinance even if the attendance should have dwindled down to two or three. Surely a church, if it be a Church of Christ at all, must feel the rebuke which would be given by your perseverance. Oh, never let us leave off praying unitedly for a blessing! Solemnly settle it in your hearts that the fire upon the altar shall never go out. As for me and my church, we will serve the Lord by maintaining this sacred exercise in full vigor; and I beseech all other believers to come to the same resolve; or, if not, there will be dreary days for the Church of Christ.”
Charles Spurgeon, Only a Prayer Meeting: Forty Addresses at Metropolitan Tabernacle and Other Prayer-Meetings Language Slightly Modernized.