July 19, 2023

July 19, 2023

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
July 19, 2023

What should be a driving force—the major driving force to pray? Well you could say the glory of God or the love for God but also love for one another—love for our neighbor. Remember how Paul defines love in Romans 12:10-12. Listen to what he says. He gives several characteristics of love. “Love one another with brotherly affection, outdo one another in showing honor, do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord, rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” That’s a wonderful manifestation—do you love the church? Do you love one another? Do we pray with and do we pray for one another?

I have several books on my bookshelf that deal with the life of C. H. Spurgeon and there is one particular book that I picked up this past week and just started to read through it and get a better sense of who Spurgeon was and some of his early beginnings. He was born in a Christian home. His mom and dad were Christians but at a very young age he lived with his grandparents. We don’t know why. It might have been some economic issues—he had a big family but he moved to be with his grandparents and stayed with them—don’t know how long—but maybe till 8 or 9 years old. But when he was with his parents he got exposed to the puritans and the first book he read was Pilgrim’s Progress. He said “I read it at the age of 7” and he never stopped reading it. He read it 100 times in the course of his life. One thing if you ever read Pilgrim’ Progress you know that Bunyan is just full of biblical truth. It was said of Bunyan (he was also a Baptist preacher) if you pricked him he would bleed “blibline.” I’m sure you have heard that before. But you can say that almost across the board about every Puritan that they were men who loved their bibles. They knew their bibles and so if someone were to ask what made the Puritans the Puritans I think my first answer to that question would be they loved the word of God. There is another good book on the Puritans by Dr. J. I. Packard. It’s titled “The Quest of Godliness” which is about the Puritans but he starts on a high note of praise for the Puritans. He describes them as the Red Woods of California. You know how big those red wood trees are, 360 ft. I think some are and 60 ft. round. Then he compares us to them. Here is what he says “We are pygmies compared to them.” They are like giants and if you were again to ask the question what made the Puritans the Puritans, well number 1, they loved the bibles and they knew their bibles.

The 2nd thing I would say is they suffered a lot. Someone has said that they suffered on both sides of the Atlantic. Dr. Packard said they accepted conflict as their calling in life. Whitefield said of the Puritans “One never writes or preaches so well as when under the cross. It was this no doubt that made the Puritans such burning shining lights.” Suffering hones our graces. Suffering matures us and brings us into greater likeness to Jesus Christ.

The 3rd thing that made the Puritans the Puritans— I would argue, maybe someone would disagree with me—they were men and women of prayer. Their prayers often centered around the bible or sermons that they heard. They would pray before they heard a sermon, they would pray while they were listening to a sermon, and they would pray after the sermon. Again, the focus was on the word of God. Like David in Psalm 119 “Thy word I have hid in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Then Paul in Ephesians 6 says take the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication.