Charles Spurgeon has much to say about the Scriptures, as evidenced not only by his frequent preaching during life, but also the volumes of material he left behind in death. Nearly 130 years after his last words, scholars are still plowing through his works in order to know them, mine them for their depth, and make them more widely available. In a new release compiled by Jason Allen, the most recent writings to be put into our hands are Spurgeon’s thoughts on prayer.
Jason Allen is the president of Midwest Baptist Theological Seminary and the Spurgeon College, which not only bears Spurgeon’s name but houses his personal library and sponsors ongoing Spurgeon research. Therefore, the access to information and ability to compile makes this new series, Spurgeon Speaks, notable. This book, Spurgeon on the Priority of Prayer, is simply volume one in that new series (volume two is titled Spurgeon on the Power of Scripture, but I am unaware of any forthcoming volumes).
I must confess that while I am continuously thankful for the Lord’s work through Spurgeon and find myself frequently learning from the teachings of Spurgeon. However, I also struggle much with his teachings because I often find that, while helpful and biblical, they are not always textual. Charles Spurgeon frequently makes points about verses that simply are not there. While notable at a couple of points, that was not the general character of this book as I expected.
This does not leave the book without the necessity for discernment. Trouble comes towards the beginning in which Spurgeon’s teaching about leans dangerously close to a works-based prayer. He toes the line too close to the notion that God will honor the prayer of those who are without sin and obedient and will ignore the prayers of those who are not (please recognize that as my paraphrase). While recognizing our ability to grieve the Holy Spirit by our sinfulness, I am concerned about the presentation by Spurgeon of this fact.
With that understanding, the book maintains a tremendous value. Each of the eight chapters is an exposition of a primary text and begins with a summary of the chapter, a notation of the text, and highlights of key quotes. Spurgeon’s writings are intensely practical and relevant. While Spurgeon’s task is to examine biblical texts, priorities, and attitudes, readers instinctively respond with a thorough examination of themselves. It would be difficult to interact with the text of the chapter and remain unconvinced of the need for prayer and unconvicted.
My general response to books like this is to direct readers towards the original writings by the author. Frequently, it seems much better to read from original sources than to read summaries or compilations put together by others (especially others who are many generations removed). Yet, this short, concise volume is well-done and very useful. For a short prompter on prayer, this is a great resource to place in the hands of fellow Christians.
Coffee Pairing: Every good book deserves to be paired with a good cup of coffee (or tea). In this case, I would partner the book with a cup of Serene tea from Serene Teaz. I’ve highlighted this tea before (I think) but it is a fitting partner here. Like the book, this tea provokes deep contemplation combined with a peaceful attitude, both of which should accompany our prayers that express the peace that comes from trusting Him.
To learn more about this book, click here.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book at no cost to me for the purposes of review. However, this review was not influenced in any way by the author, publisher, or anyone else associated with this book but is the result of my own reading of the book.