HOME PAGE --

Search for THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER.


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE II. - WHEN A REVIVAL IS TO BE EXPECTED. paragraph 41 When a revival is needed - The importance of a revival when it is needed - When a revival of religion may be expected.

Now mark me. Go and inquire among the obscure members of the Church and you will always find that somebody had been praying for a revival, and was expecting it--some man or woman had been agonizing in prayer for the salvation of sinners, until the blessing was gained. It may have found the minister and the body of the Church fast asleep, and they would wake up all of a sudden, like a man just rubbing his eyes open, running round the room, pushing things over, and wondering where all the excitement comes from. But though few knew it, you may be sure there had been somebody on the watch-tower, constant in prayer till the blessing came. Generally, a revival is more or less extensive, as there are more or less persons who have the spirit of prayer.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE V. - THE PRAYER OF FAITH. paragraph 64 Faith an indispensable condition of prevailing prayer - What it is we are to believe when we pray - When we are bound to exercise this faith - This kind of faith in prayer always obtains the blessing sought - How we are to come into the state of mind in which we can exercise such faith - Objections answered.

I could name many individuals who have set themselves to examine the Bible on this subject, who, before they got half through with it, have been filled with the spirit of prayer. They found that God meant by His promises just what a plain, common-sense man would understand them to mean. I advise you to try it. You have Bibles; look them over, and whenever you find a promise that you can use, fasten it in your mind before you go on; and you will not get through the Book without finding out that God's promises mean just what they say.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VI. - THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER. paragraph 86 What Spirit is spoken of in the passage: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities" - What that Spirit does for us - Why He does what the text declares Him to do - How He accomplishes it - The degrees of His influences - How His influences are to be distinguished from the influences of evil spirits - Who have a right to expect His influences.

7. The subject furnishes a test of character. "The Spirit maketh intercession"--for whom? For the saints. Those who are saints are thus exercised. If you are saints you know by experience what it is to be thus exercised; or, if you do not, it is because you have grieved the Spirit of God so that He will not lead you. You live in such a manner that this Holy Comforter will not dwell with you, nor give you the spirit of prayer. If this is so, you must repent. Do not stop to settle whether you are a Christian or not, but repent, as if you never had repented. Do your first works. I do not take it for granted that you are a Christian, but go, like a humble sinner, and pour out your heart unto the Lord. You never can have the spirit of prayer in any other way.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VI. - THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER. paragraph 96 What Spirit is spoken of in the passage: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities" - What that Spirit does for us - Why He does what the text declares Him to do - How He accomplishes it - The degrees of His influences - How His influences are to be distinguished from the influences of evil spirits - Who have a right to expect His influences.

There must be in the Church a deeper sense of the need of the spirit of prayer. The fact is, that, generally, those who use means most assiduously, and make the most strenuous efforts for the salvation of men, and who have the most correct notions of the manner in which means should be used for converting sinners, also pray most for the Spirit of God, and wrestle most with God for His blessing. And what is the result?

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VI. - THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER. paragraph 98 What Spirit is spoken of in the passage: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities" - What that Spirit does for us - Why He does what the text declares Him to do - How He accomplishes it - The degrees of His influences - How His influences are to be distinguished from the influences of evil spirits - Who have a right to expect His influences.

12. Nothing will produce an excitement and opposition so quickly as the spirit of prayer. If any person should feel burdened with the case of sinners, so as to groan in his prayer, some become nervous, and he is visited at once with rebuke and opposition! From my soul I abhor all affectation of feeling where none exists, and all attempts to work one's self up into feeling, by groans. But I feel bound to defend the position, that there is such a thing as being in a state of mind in which there is but one way to keep from groaning; and that is, by resisting the Holy Ghost. I was once present where this subject was discussed. It was said that "groaning ought to be discountenanced." The question was asked, in reply: Whether God cannot produce such a state of feeling, that to abstain from groaning is impossible? The answer was: "Yes, but He never does." Then the apostle Paul was egregiously deceived when he wrote about groanings that cannot be uttered. Edwards was deceived when he wrote his book upon revivals.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VI. - THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER. paragraph 99 What Spirit is spoken of in the passage: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities" - What that Spirit does for us - Why He does what the text declares Him to do - How He accomplishes it - The degrees of His influences - How His influences are to be distinguished from the influences of evil spirits - Who have a right to expect His influences.

Revivals are all in the dark. Now, no man who reviews the history of the Church will adopt such a sentiment. I do not like this attempt to shut out, or stifle, or keep down, or limit, the spirit of prayer. I would sooner cut off my right hand than rebuke the spirit of prayer, as I have heard of its being done by saying: "Do not let me hear any more groaning!"

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VII. - ON BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT. paragraph 34 Individuals may have the Spirit of God - It is their duty to be filled with the Spirit - Why the Spirit is not obtained - The guilt of those who have not the Spirit of God - The consequences of having the Spirit. - The consequences that will follow not having the Spirit.

"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy" (Proverbs 28:13). "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11). Unless you come quite down, and confess your sins honestly, and remunerate where you have done injury, you have no right to expect the spirit of prayer.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VII. - ON BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT. paragraph 40 Individuals may have the Spirit of God - It is their duty to be filled with the Spirit - Why the Spirit is not obtained - The guilt of those who have not the Spirit of God - The consequences of having the Spirit. - The consequences that will follow not having the Spirit.

I have known women who felt that they ought to talk to their unconverted husbands, and pray with them; but they neglected it, and so they got into the dark. They knew their duty and refused to do it; they "went round it," and there they lost the spirit of prayer.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VIII. - MEETINGS FOR PRAYER. paragraph 10 The design of prayer meetings - The manner of conducting them - Several things that will defeat the design of holding them.

2. To extend the spirit of prayer. God has so constituted us, and such is the economy of His grace, that we are sympathetic beings, and communicate our feelings to one another. A minister, for instance, will often, as it were, breathe his own feelings into his congregation. The Spirit of God that inspires his soul, makes use of his feelings to influence his hearers, just as much as He makes use of the words he preaches. So He makes use of the feelings of Christians. Nothing is more calculated to beget a spirit of prayer than to unite in social prayer with one who has the spirit himself; unless this one should be so far ahead that his prayer will repel the rest. His prayer will awaken them, if they are not so far behind as to revolt at it and resist it. If they are anywhere near the standard of his feelings, his spirit will kindle, and burn, and spread all around. One individual who obtains the spirit of prayer will often arouse a whole Church, and extend the same spirit through the whole, so that a general revival follows.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VIII. - MEETINGS FOR PRAYER. paragraph 40 The design of prayer meetings - The manner of conducting them - Several things that will defeat the design of holding them.

6. When persons make cold prayers and cold confessions of sin, they are sure to quench the spirit of prayer. When the influences of the Spirit are enjoyed, in the midst of the warm expressions that are flowing forth, let an individual come in who is cold, and pour out his cold breath like the damp of death, and it will make every Christian who has any feeling want to get out of the meeting.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VIII. - MEETINGS FOR PRAYER. paragraph 61 The design of prayer meetings - The manner of conducting them - Several things that will defeat the design of holding them.

14. Injury is also done when Christians spend all the time in praying for themselves. They should have done this in their own homes. When they come to a prayer meeting, they should be prepared to offer effectual intercessions for others. If Christians pray at home as they ought, they will feel like praying for sinners. If, however, their private prayers are exclusively for themselves, they will not get the spirit of prayer. I have known men shut themselves up for days to pray for themselves, and never get any life, because their prayers were all selfish. But if such people will just forget themselves, and throw their hearts abroad, and pray for others, it will wake up such a feeling, that they will be able to pour forth their hearts in prayer. And then they can go to work for souls. I knew an individual in a revival, who shut himself up seventeen days, and prayed as if he would have God come to his terms; but it would not do, and therefore he went out to work, and immediately he had the Spirit of God in his soul.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VIII. - MEETINGS FOR PRAYER. paragraph 67 The design of prayer meetings - The manner of conducting them - Several things that will defeat the design of holding them.

17. When persons take part whose illiteracy is so pronounced as to cause disgust among people of taste and intelligence, attention is diverted. I do not mean to imply that it is necessary that a person should have a liberal education, in order to lead in prayer. All persons of common education, especially if they are in the habit of praying, can lead in prayer, if they have the spirit of prayer. But there are some persons who use expressions so absurd and illiterate as to disgust every intelligent mind. The feeling of disgust is an involuntary thing, and when a disgusting object is before the mind, the feeling is irresistible. Piety will not keep a person from feeling it. The only way is to take away the object. Such persons may feel grieved at not being called upon to take part, but it is better that they should be kindly told the reason, than that the prayer meeting should be regularly injured, and rendered ridiculous.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VIII. - MEETINGS FOR PRAYER. paragraph 69 The design of prayer meetings - The manner of conducting them - Several things that will defeat the design of holding them.

19. Neglect of secret prayer is yet another hindrance. Christians who do not pray in secret cannot unite with power in a prayer meeting, and cannot have the spirit of prayer.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE VIII. - MEETINGS FOR PRAYER. paragraph 71 The design of prayer meetings - The manner of conducting them - Several things that will defeat the design of holding them.

1. A badly conducted prayer meeting often does more hurt than good. In many Churches, the general manner of conducting prayer meetings is such that Christians have not the least idea of the design or the power of such meetings. It is such as tends to keep down rather than to promote pious feeling and the spirit of prayer.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE XV. - HINDRANCES TO REVIVALS. paragraph 102 A revival of religion is a great work - Several things which may put a stop to it - What must be done for the continuance of a revival.

(1) Christians, of all denominations, should lay aside prejudice, and inform themselves on this subject, without any delay. Vast multitudes of professors of religion have indulged prejudice to such a degree, as to be unwilling to read and hear, and come to a right understanding of the subject. But Christians cannot pray in this state of mind. I defy any one to possess the spirit of prayer while he is too prejudiced to examine this or any other question of duty. If the light did not shine, Christians might remain in the dark upon this point, and still possess the spirit of prayer.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE II - False Professors paragraph 49

     2. See why so few Christians have the spirit of prayer.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE XII - Love the Whole of Religion paragraph 35

     The spirit of prayer is not always essential to pure and perfect love. The saints in heaven have pure and perfect love for all beings, yet we know not that they have the spirit of prayer for any. You may love any individual with a very strong degree of love, and yet not have the spirit of prayer for that individual. That is, the Spirit of God may not lead you to pray for the salvation of that individual. You do not pray for the wicked in hell. The spirit of prayer depends on the influences of the Holy Ghost, leading the mind to pray for things agreeable to the will of God. You cannot pray in the Spirit, with the same degree of fervor and faith for all mankind. Jesus Christ said expressly, He did not pray for all mankind: "I pray not for the world." Here has been a great mistake in regard to the spirit of prayer. Some suppose that Christians have not done all their duty, if they have not prayed in faith for every individual, as long as there is a sinner on earth. Then Jesus Christ never did all His duty, for He never did this. God has never told us He will save all mankind, and never gave us any reason to believe He will do it. How then can we pray in faith for the salvation of all? What has that faith to rest on?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1855 paragraph 51 20 Lecture I. On Prayer ...

9. A reason with many for little prayer is their worldly-mindedness. Their minds are so filled with thoughts of a worldly nature, they cannot get into the spirit of prayer.

Again, in the case of some, their own experience discourages them. They have often prayed, yet with little success. This brings them into a skeptical attitude in regard to prayer. Very likely the real reason of their failure has been the lack of perseverance. They have not obeyed this precept which urges that men pray always, and never faint.

REMARKS.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1855 paragraph 418 410 Lecture X. God's Goodness Toward Men Basely Requited ...

In this psalm, the special manifestations are those of justice. We hear the writer pleading for justice. The Spirit of Christ within the Psalmist is praying God to execute justice on the wicked. Of course the Spirit which indited prayer in David's mind, was well aware of the necessity of justice in the government of God. Why, then, should He not direct David's mind to offer prayer accordingly? In the case of truly spiritual Christians, led by the Spirit of God, we see the same thing developed now. The soul demands the administration of justice. Under a deep conviction of its necessity as a means of the greatest good, strong desire is awakened, and this, under the guidance of the Spirit of God, assumes the spirit of prayer.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1857 paragraph 33 12 Lectures I. & II.Owing God- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

I once met an old man who used tobacco, and asked him how much it had cost, and how much he supposed God had charged against him for his waste of God's money on this filthy indulgence. I said to him -- Estimate also how much time it has wasted and how much of your strength; how much mental power; and how much you have lost of the spirit of prayer. He paused a few moments, and said "I never thought of it in this light before. I do not know what I can say for myself."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1860 paragraph 159 91 Lectures III. & IV.Spiritual Delusion- No. 1 -- On Leaving One's First Love- No. 2 -- (This 2-part sermon was listed in the Table of Contents of the "Oberlin Evangelist" as "Spiritual Declension") ...

5. Satan tempts converts by the seductions of the flesh. To one he says -- Take tobacco; it will be good for your cold stomach, or for your teeth, or for your nerves. To others he has other forms of seduction. Everywhere he is the great Seducer.

VI. But I must hasten to speak of the consequences of losing one's first love.

1. Persons who have taken the first step know it. They know that their neglected Bible and closet and sanctuary could tell the story. They are brought into bondage. They lose the sense of free and open communion with God. They might know what has befallen them, even as the wife who has given her heart to another than her husband might know her guilt and shame. So the fallen Christian who serves God only because he must. Think of his case. His heart will not go forth freely and lovingly to God. He has lost the spirit of prayer. His comfort is gone. Whereas once it was the daily comfort of his soul to please God, it is so no longer. He has lost his God.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1861 paragraph 291 261 Lectures V. - VII. Hardness Of Heart- No. 1 -- Harden Not Your Heart- No. 2 -- Tender-Heartedness- No. 3 ...

19. Another effect and manifestation of hardness of heart is a want of the spirit of prayer. If such persons pray, it is not in the Spirit; there is no unction, no power, no prevalence in their prayers.

Indeed their prayers are not prayers. They are not supplication; they are not intercession and pleading; they are not the language of want, felt and realized. They are theological, philosophical, didactic, polemic -- anything but supplication.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1861 paragraph 293 261 Lectures V. - VII. Hardness Of Heart- No. 1 -- Harden Not Your Heart- No. 2 -- Tender-Heartedness- No. 3 ...

You feel agonized to hear it. It does not touch you; it does not help your own spirit to pray; it does not bring out the responsive amen. No; it is anything but the spirit of prayer. A hard heart cannot pray.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1861 paragraph 294 261 Lectures V. - VII. Hardness Of Heart- No. 1 -- Harden Not Your Heart- No. 2 -- Tender-Heartedness- No. 3 ...

You can hear a hard-hearted man pray, but you cannot feel him. Or rather, I should have said, you can hear him preach, or exhort, or theologize; but you cannot feel him pray, for he has not the spirit of prayer.

20. Another effect and manifestation of hardness of heart is the total absence of a loving and compassionate spirit.

His prayers are not loving and compassionate; if a preacher, his preaching is not loving and compassionate; if not a preacher, in conversation and social intercourse he is not loving and compassionate. He is not compassionate to the poor, to the ignorant, to the oppressed, to the afflicted, to the tried and tempted.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 14 - MOCKING GOD. paragraph 27

My beloved brethren, how is it with you, you that profess to be Christians? Are you honest with God; does he know that you are? Do you confess that sometimes you are not, and do you ask what you shall do when you do not feel in the spirit of prayer? Why, begin right there, and tell God that you have not the spirit of prayer. There is something true; some place where you can begin. Is it that you don't feel right? Then tell God that. Are you not in the spirit of prayer? Tell him that! If you want the Holy Spirit, tell him that! If you have sinned, confess that! Be honest, and make no pretense whatever. Let sincerity be the habit of your life, and you will always have something to say to God; your love, faith, and devotion will be strengthened, and your soul blessed. If you are honest with God, you will always find him honest with you! Some years ago I was acquainted with a young man who had been studying for the ministry; this young man, soon after he had completed his college course, became the subject of a very strong conviction that much of his religious profession had been nothing but a mockery. One night he retired to rest, and after having put out the light and laid down in the bed, he was very much surprised to see the room re-lighted; he sat up in the bed and looked to see whence the light came; he perceived a person in the room looking very earnestly at him, standing at the foot of the bed; in a few moments the whole light of the room concentrated itself into a single eye, and that eye was fixed intensely upon him. He trembled violently, and was in a state of dreadful agony: the eye continued to glare upon him, looking him through and through, searching his very thoughts. He never forgot this searching; it so completely subdued him, that he came to be one of the most holy men and devoted ministers I ever knew. One of the deacons wrote to me a short time ago, and said, "Mr. Hopkins is gone to heaven; we want some one to supply his place, but we cannot expect another Mr. Hopkins." Now, he became what he was, because the Spirit searched him and revealed his heart to himself. Oh, for the Spirit to search every one of us! Let him begin with me! Brethren, pray that my heart may be searched; that the hearts of all your ministers may be searched; that your own hearts may be searched. Pray that God may search us all, that we may be mercifully kept from mocking God, lest our bands be made strong.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 47 - Regeneration--Continued (Part VI) paragraph 57 Wherein saints and sinners differ

     (30.) They have the Spirit of prayer. "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."--Rom. viii. 26, 27.

 

 


POWER FROM ON HIGH - CHAPTER 6 - Prevailing Prayer paragraph 30

(q) Travail of soul is often a condition of prevailing prayer. "As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children." "My little children," said Paul, "for whom I travail in birth again, till Christ be formed in you." This implies that he had travailed in birth for them before they were converted. Indeed, travail of soul in prayer is the only real revival prayer. If anyone does not know what this is, he does not understand the spirit of prayer. He is not in a revival state. He does not understand the passage already quoted, Romans 8:26, 27. Until he understands this agonizing prayer he does not know the real secret of revival power.

 

 


WAY OF SALVATION, SERMON 23 - On Praying Always paragraph 45

A reason with many for little prayer is their worldly-mindedness. Their minds are so filled with thoughts of a worldly nature, they cannot get into the spirit of prayer.

 

 


CHARLES G. FINNEY TESTIMONIAL OF REVIVALS, CHAPTER III. - BEGINNING OF HIS WORK. paragraph 40 A retainer from the Lord Jesus Christ - Call to preach - Conversation with neighbors - Evening meeting - Revival in the village - Visit at his father's - Deacon M at the monthly concert - Conversion of Squire W. - Morning prayer meeting - Great light - Fasting and prayer - Experience of the burden of prayer.

The Lord taught me, in those early days of my Christian experience, many very important truths in regard to the spirit of prayer. Not long after I was converted, a woman with whom I had boarded, though I did not board with her at this time, was taken very sick. She was not a Christian, but her husband was a professor of religion. He came into our office one evening, being a brother of Squire W, and said to me, "My wife cannot live through the night." This seemed to plant an arrow, as it were, in my heart. It came upon me in the sense of a burden that crushed me, the nature of which I could not at all understand; but with it came an intense desire to pray for that woman. The burden was so great that I left the office almost immediately, and went up to the meeting house, to pray for her. There I struggled, but could not say much. I could only groan with groanings loud and deep.

 

 


CHARLES G. FINNEY TESTIMONIAL OF REVIVALS, CHAPTER X. - REVIVAL AT GOUVERNEUR. paragraph 31 Ride in the rain - Discussion with Dr. S. - Opposition of young men - Father Nash's announcement - Conversion of Mr. S. - Opposition of Baptists - Discussion of Baptism - Aunt Lucy's relief - Conversion of Mr. M.

But I then said to him, "Now a considerable number of the young people, whose parents belong to your church, have been converted." If I recollect right, as many as forty of their young people had been converted in that revival. "Now," said I, "if you go to proselyting, that will create a sectarian feeling in both churches, and will be worse than any opposition which you have offered." I said to him, "In spite of your opposition, the work has gone on; because the Presbyterian brethren have kept clear of a sectarian Spirit, and have had the spirit of prayer. But if you go to proselyting, it will destroy the spirit of prayer, and will stop the revival immediately." He knew it, he said; and therefore he would say nothing about receiving any of the converts, and would not open the doors of the church for their reception, until the revival was over; and then, without any proselyting, let the converts all join which church they pleased.

 

 


CHARLES G. FINNEY TESTIMONIAL OF REVIVALS, CHAPTER XXIII. - LABORS IN NEW YORK CITY IN 1832, AND ONWARD. paragraph 32 Chatham street theatre - Installation - The Cholera - The revival - Diligence of the membership - Conversion of Mr. E. - The free Presbyterian churches - Organization of a Congregational church - Broadway Tabernacle - Voyage to the Mediterranean - A day of prayer at sea - The New York Evangelist - Excitement on slavery - Revival Lectures - Invitation to Oberlin - Decision.

But this was not of man's wisdom. Let the reader remember that long day of agony and prayer at sea, that God would do something to forward the work of revivals, and enable me, if He desired to do it, to take such a course as to help forward the work. I felt certain then that my prayers would be answered; and I have regarded all that I have since been able to accomplish, as, in a very important sense, an answer to the prayers of that day. The spirit of prayer came upon me as a sovereign grace, bestowed upon me without the least merit, and in despite of all my sinfulness. He pressed my soul in prayer, until I was enabled to prevail; and through infinite riches of grace in Christ Jesus, I have been many years witnessing the wonderful results of that day of wrestling with God. In answer to that day's agony, He has continued to give me the spirit of prayer.

 

 


CHARLES G. FINNEY TESTIMONIAL OF REVIVALS, CHAPTER XXVII. - ANOTHER WINTER IN BOSTON. paragraph 9 Second-Adventism - The church in Marlborough Chapel - A false prophet - A chapter of personal experience - A new consecration - Experiences in connection with the death of Mrs. F. - Experiences not appreciated - Need in Boston.

During this winter, the Lord gave my own soul a very thorough overhauling, and a fresh baptism of His Spirit. I boarded at the Marlborough hotel, and my study and bedroom were in one corner of the chapel building. My mind was greatly drawn out in prayer, for a long time; as indeed it always has been, when I have labored in Boston. I have been favored there, uniformly, with a great deal of the spirit of prayer. But this winter, in particular, my mind was exceedingly exercised on the question of personal holiness; and in respect to the state of the church, their want of power with God; the weakness of the orthodox churches in Boston, the weakness of their faith, and their want of power in the midst of such a community. The fact that they were making little or no progress in overcoming the errors of the city, greatly affected my mind.