“Unless a man be a believer,–that is, one that is truly ingrafted into Christ,–he can never mortify any one sin… Seneca, Tully, Epictetus; what affectionate discourses they have of contempt of the world and self, of regulating and conquering all exorbitant affections and passions! The lives of most of them manifested that their maxims differed as much from true mortification as the sun painted on a sign-post from the sun in the firmament; they had neither light nor heat… There is no death of sin without the death of Christ.”
“Some brethren get up in our prayer meetings, and say some very good things; but what they really ask for, I am sure I do not know. I have heard prayers of which I have said, when they were over, ‘Well, if God answers that prayer, I have not the least idea of what he will give us.’ It was a very beautiful prayer, and there was a great deal of explanation of doctrine and experience in it; but I do not think that God needs to have doctrine or experience explained to him. The fault about the prayer was, that there was not anything asked for in it. I like, when brethren are praying, that they should be as business-like as a good carpenter at his work. It is of no use to have a hammer with an ivory handle, unless you aim it at the nail you intend to drive in up to the head; and if that is your object, an ordinary hammer will do just as well as a fine one, perhaps better…
“When I pray, I like to go to God just as I go to a banker when I have a cheque to be cashed. I walk in, put the cheque down on the counter, the clerk gives me my money, I take it up, and go about my business. I do not know that I ever stopped in a bank five minutes to talk with the clerks; when I have received my change, I go away and attend to other matters. That is how I like to pray; but there is a way of praying that seems like lounging near the mercy-seat, as though one had no particular reason for being found there. Let it not be so with you, brethren. Plead the promise, believe it, receive the blessing God is ready to give, and go about your business.”
-Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The Two Guards, Praying and Watching” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 38 (London: Passmore & Alabaster), 206-207.
O LORD OF GRACE,
I have been hasty and short in private prayer,
O quicken my conscience to feel this folly,
to bewail this ingratitude;
My first sin of the day leads into others,
and it is just that thou shouldst withdraw thy presence
from one who waited carelessly on thee.
Keep me at all times from robbing thee,
and from depriving my soul of thy due worship;
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Sin is an issue of your heart long before it is an issue of your deeds.
“He did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.”
–2 Chronicles 12:14
Better to learn in the gentle classroom of God’s word than in the hard chambers of his discipline.
“So the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, ‘The Lord is righteous.’ When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, ‘They have humbled themselves so I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some measure of deliverance, and My wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by means of Shishak. But they will become his slaves so that they may learn the difference between My service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries. They will become his slaves so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands.’”
–2 Chronicles 12:6-8 [emphasis mine]