Over the past few months, I have been reflecting on the psalms. A piece of writing from Charles Spurgeon was shared with me, and it has changed the attitude with which I pray. I had prayed so aimlessly, so inconsistently, that I forget to look at where I had aimed and shot. I hadn’t looked at where the arrow would land, that I should adjust my aim for the next shot… My prayers have been so powerless, when God has promised power to the man of prayer.
I’ll post the section below, to share, and also as a reference and reminder to myself.
“There are some people who pray, as it were, like a man shooting at a whole regiment—they fire anything, at anything! But the man who wins his suit at the Throne of Grace is the man who prays distinctly for some one thing that he wills to have.
He says, “That is what I need, and that is what I am going to have if it is to be had.”
And he prays for that one thing just as an archer aims at the center of the target and then deliberately draws the bowstring and lets the arrow fly so that it sticks in the gold. David said, “In the morning will I direct my prayer unto You“—like an arrow—“and will look up,” to see which way it goes.
A great deal of praying is like runaway knocks at a door, but the right sort of praying knocks at the door and waits till it is opened!
…David was never restored to the favor of God until, in confessing his sin, he learned to call a spade a spade! He had robbed poor Uriah of his wife and then he had so managed matters that Uriah had been killed in battle! And David used, no doubt, to say to others, “It was a very lamentable accident.” But he never had any piece of mind while that guile, that cunning, that craft, was in his heart—it was only when he fell down upon his face before the Lord and cried, “Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God,” that God could rightly deal with his sin!
… When you are willing to confess your sin to the Lord, Himself, and say to Him, “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight,” then it is that you shall get the blessing! You must be definite in the confession of your sin.
You must also be definite in pleading the promises of God. There is no prayer like that which a man presents when he gets a grip of a Divine promise! For instance, this utterance of the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself—”All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men.” Open your Bible at Matthew 12:31. Put your finger on that passage and say, “Lord, this is Your Word; fulfill it to me!” Plead definitely with God His own promise and say to Him, “Do as You have said.” This is the kind of praying that never yet met with a repulse! Answers of peace shall surely come to those who have become thus definite in their prayers!
If you would succeed in prayer, you must be bold! You must lay aside your modesty. If you had to ask of Christ only what you deserve, it would not take you long, for you deserve nothing but His wrath. Therefore, do not begin to ask on the ground of merit and, inasmuch as you deserve nothing, yet need everything, go in and be a bold beggar! Say, “Lord, save me tonight.” Yes, put it, “tonight!” “Lord, save me, perfectly.” Yes, put it, “perfectly!” “Lord, give me a new heart and a right spirit.” Do not ask the Lord to clean up the old one—pray for a new one right out! “Lord, make a saint of me.” That is right, do not ask the Lord to make a whitewashed sinner of you! Pray, “Lord, make me Your child.” Do not say, “Make me as one of Your hired servants,” but say, “Take me into Your family. Let me be Your child!” Make a bold prayer of it.
I feel upon me a conviction that there are some who will come and put their trust in Jesus now. Lie down at His feet. Say, “I never will leave except You bless me.” This is God’s own message—”Look unto Me, and be you saved, all you ends of the earth.” Some of you have been hearing me a very long time. I love to look at your faces but when I see you, I always pray that you may be saved. I say to myself, “When will God bring that good man in? His wife and many friends pray for him. When will he be decided?” I look upon another and I say, “When will that elderly woman be converted? She has children who pray for her.” I look elsewhere—no, I will not look exactly that way, but you know, my Friend, whom I mean when I say, “When will that brother be brought in? He has a praying wife, yet he is not saved.” I cannot understand some of you husbands. I suppose that there are many more men than women in this congregation—there are often five men to three women in the congregation—yet when they come to join the Church, the women are probably three times as many as the men! I am half afraid it is as much as that, certainly two to one of those who really give their hearts to Christ. How do you make this out? Some of you husbands come here as regularly as your wives come, yet you do not know the Savior, and they do! Are you going to be parted forever? Are you going to die in your sins? Oh, let it not be so! Lord God, convert them by Your Grace, convert them now! Let us pray that it may be so, for Christ’s sake! Amen.
— C. Spurgeon