Tuesday, June 20, 2017
While reading sermons in "The Essential Works of Charles Spurgeon" it becomes obvious that the preacher has a gift for words and a great ability to craft a sentence. But, the truths he proclaim are not really difficult to grasp. His sermons were to common folks who shared 19th century life with him in London. Practical is one way I would describe much of his preaching. One such word which I underlined was."And let me tell you a little secret. Whenever you cannot understand a text, open your Bible, bend your knee, and pray over that text. And if it does not split into atoms and open itself, try again. If prayer does not explain it, it is one of the things God did not intend you to know and you may be content to be ignorant of it. Prayer is the key that opens the cabinet of mystery."
While the scriptural context for these words has to do with the work of the Holy Spirit, Spurgeon reminds of something often forgotten. Understanding the Word is not just about us, it is also about the way the Holy Spirit is able to work in our hearts. Thus, an attitude of prayer is something which is both desirable and necessary if we are to truly hear the Word of God within the Sacred Word. Too many times we jump into our reading without making our heart ready to receive it. When we do this, it simply makes the reading a mental exercise which was never intended.
Prayer and the Word are to be partners. While we can pray without reading the Word, our reading of the Word is best done when prayer precedes it and accompanies it. One of the primary prayers needed for understanding is the simple prayer, "Lord, what is it that You want to say to me through Your Word today?" If we do not know and believe that He can be expected to speak so directly to us through the reading of the Holy Scripture, then we have missed an important reason for reading it in the first place.