Power In Prayer
By Charles H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)
“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).
This extraordinary power of prayer – why is it given to those who abide in Christ? May what I have to say encourage you to make the glorious attempt to win this pearl of great price! Why is it, that by abiding in Christ and having His words abide in us, we get to this liberty and prevalence in prayer?
The Fullness of Christ
I answer, first, because of the fullness of Christ. You may very well ask what you will when you abide in Christ, because whatever you may require is already lodged in Him. Good Bishop Hall worked out this thought in a famous passage. I will give you the substance of it – Do you desire the grace of the Spirit? Go to your Lord’s anointing. Do you seek holiness? Go to His example. Do you desire pardon of sin? Look to His blood. Do you need mortification of sin? Look to His crucifixion. Do you need to be buried to the world? Go to His tomb. Do you want to feel the fullness of a heavenly life? Behold His resurrection. Would you rise above the world? Mark His ascension. Would you contemplate heavenly things? Remember His sitting at the right hand of God and know that He “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places” (Eph. 2:6).
Beloved, “it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell” (Col. 1:19), and the good pleasure of the Father is our good pleasure also – we are glad to draw everything from Jesus. We feel sure that, ask what we will, we shall have it, since He has it ready for us.
The Power of the Word
The next reason for this is the richness of the Word of God. Catch this thought – “If...My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” The best praying man is the man who is most believingly familiar with the promises of God. After all, prayer is nothing but taking God’s promises to Him and saying to Him, “Do as You have said.” Prayer is the promise utilized. A prayer which is not based on a promise has no true foundation. If I go to the bank without a check I need not expect to get money. It is the “order to pay” which is my power inside the bank and my warrant for expecting to receive.
O beloved, be filled with God’s Word. Study what Jesus has said, what the Holy Spirit has left on record in this divinely-inspired Book and in proportion as you feed on the Word and are filled with the Word and retain the Word in your faith and obey the Word in your life – in that proportion you will be a master in the art of prayer!
A man will succeed in prayer when his faith is strong. And this is the case with those who abide in Jesus. It is faith that prevails in prayer. The real eloquence of prayer is a believing desire. “All things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). A man abiding in Christ, with Christ’s words abiding in him, is eminently a believer and consequently eminently successful in prayer. He has strong faith, indeed, for his faith has brought him into vital contact with Christ and he is, therefore, at the source of every blessing and may drink to his full at the well itself.
The Help of the Indwelling Spirit
Such a man, once more, will also possess the indwelling of the Spirit of God. If we abide in Christ and His words abide in us, then the Holy Spirit has come and taken up His residence in us. And what better help in prayer can we have? Is it not a wonderful thing that the Holy Spirit, Himself, makes intercession in the saints according to the will of God? He “maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26). What man knows the mind of a man save the spirit of a man? The Spirit of God knows the mind of God and He works in us to will what God wills, so that a believing man’s prayer is God’s purpose reflected in the soul as in a mirror.
The eternal decrees of God project their shadows over the hearts of godly men in the form of prayer. What God intends to do He tells unto His servants by inclining them to ask Him to do what He Himself is resolved to do. God says, “I will do this and that.” But then He adds, “I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them...” (Ezek. 36:37). How clear it is that if we abide in Christ and His words abide in us we may ask what we will! For we shall only ask what the Spirit of God moves us to ask.
We Are Part of Christ
Beloved, do you not know that when we abide in Christ and His words abide in us, the Father looks upon us with the same eye with which He looks upon His dear Son? Christ is the Vine and the Vine includes the branches. The branches are a part of the Vine. God, therefore, looks upon us as part of Christ – members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. Such is the Father’s love to Jesus that He denies Him nothing. He was obedient to death, even the death of the Cross. Therefore does His Father love Him as the God-Man Mediator and He will grant Him all His petitions. And is it so, that when you and I are in real union to Christ, the Lord God looks upon us in the same way as He looks on Jesus, and says to us, “I will deny you nothing; you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you”? So do I understand the text.
I call your attention to the verse, “As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you...” (John 15:9). The same love which God gives to His Son, the Son gives to us! And therefore we are dwellers in the love of the Father and of the Son. How can our prayers be rejected? Will not infinite love have respect unto our petitions? O dear brothers and sisters in Christ, if your prayers speed not to the throne, suspect that there is some sin that hinders them – your Father’s love sees a necessity for chastening you this way.
If you are willfully disobedient to any of His words, will not this account for failure in prayer? But abide in Christ and take fast hold upon His words and be altogether His disciple – then shall you be heard of Him. Sitting at Jesus’ feet, hearing His words, you may lift up your eyes to His dear face and say, “My Lord, hear me now.” And He will answer you graciously – He will say unto you, “I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee...” (2 Cor. 6:2). “...Ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). Oh for power at the Mercy Seat!
– Condensed from a sermon.