The Secret Power in Prayer: Charles Spurgeon Sermon (Transcript)

Full text of Charles Spurgeon’s sermon titled ‘The Secret Power in Prayer’. This sermon was originally preached on January the 8th in the year 1888 by Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

TRANSCRIPT:

Our text for this morning comes from the book of John… John 15:7: Jesus said, ‘If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you.’

Beloved, the gifts of grace are not immediately enjoyed by new believers. Coming to Christ, we are saved by a true union with Him, but it is by remaining in that union that we further receive the purity, the joy, the power, and the blessedness which are stored up in Him for His people.

Notice how our Lord states this when he speaks to the believing Jews in the 8th chapter of this Gospel, at the 31st and 32nd verses:

John 8:31-32: To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples, then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’

We do not know all the truth at once. We learn it by remaining in Jesus. Perseverance and grace is an educational process by which we fully learn the truth. The emancipating power of that truth is also gradually perceived and enjoyed.

The truth will set you free. One chain after another breaks, and we are truly set free. You that are new to the Christian life may be encouraged to know that there is still something better for you. You have not yet received the full reward for your faith. You will have joyful views of heavenly things as you climb the hill of spiritual experience.

As you remain in Christ, you will have a firmer confidence, a richer joy, a greater stability, more communion with Jesus, and greater delight in the Lord your God.

Infancy is troubled with many evils and problems from which manhood is exempt. It is the same in the spiritual as in the natural world.

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There are these degrees of attainment among believers, and the Savior here motivates us to reach a high position by mentioning a certain privilege, which is not for everyone who says that they are in Christ, but only for those who remain in Him.

Every believer must remain in Christ, but many have hardly earned the name yet. Jesus says, if you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.

You have to live with Christ to know Him, and the longer you live with Him, the more you will admire and adore Him, and the more you will receive from Him. Grace for grace.

Truly, for the person who is only a month old in grace, Christ is most blessed. But these babes can hardly tell what a precious Jesus He is to those who have known Him for nearly half a century. To them, Jesus grows sweeter and dearer, fairer and lovelier, day by day.

Not that he improves in Himself, for he is perfect, but that as we increase in our knowledge of Him, we appreciate more thoroughly His unparalleled majesty and excellence.

How vividly do His old acquaintances exclaim: He is altogether lovely.

Oh, that we may continue to grow in knowledge of Him in all things who is our Master, so that we may treasure Him more and more.

I ask for your serious attention to our text, begging you to consider with me three questions.

First, WHAT IS THIS SPECIAL BLESSING?

‘Ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.’

Secondly, HOW IS THIS SPECIAL BLESSING OBTAINED?

‘If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you.’

Then thirdly, WHY IS IT THAT BY REMAINING IN CHRIST AND HAVING HIS WORDS REMAIN IN US, THAT WE GET THIS LIBERTY AND POWER IN PRAYER?

Oh, that the anointing of the Holy Spirit which remains on us may now make this subject very profitable to us.

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First, What Is This Special Blessing? What is this special blessing?

Let us read the verse again. Jesus says, ‘If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.’

Observe that our Lord has been warning us that without Him we can do nothing, and therefore we might naturally have expected that He would now show us how we can do all spiritual acts.

But the text does not run as we would have expected it to run. The Lord Jesus does not say, ‘Without Me you can do nothing’, but ‘if you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, you will do all spiritual and gracious things.’

He doesn’t speak of what they themselves would be enabled to do, but of what would be given to them. It will be given you.

He does not say, ‘Sufficient strength will be given to you for all those holy deeds of which you are incapable without Me.’ That would have been true, and it is the truth which we expected here.

But our most wise Lord goes well beyond what our hearts might have expected, and says something even better. He does not say, if you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, you will do spiritual things, but rather ask whatever you wish.

By prayer you will be enabled to do spiritual acts, but before all attempts to do them, ask whatever you wish.

The choice privilege given here is a promise of powerful and successful prayers. Power in prayer is very much the gauge of our spiritual condition, and when that is highly evident in our lives, then we are blessed in every area of our lives.

One of the first results, then, of our remaining in Christ will be that we will pray to Him, asking Him whatever we wish. If others neither seek, nor knock nor ask, yet we will.

Those who stay away from Jesus do not pray. Those who neglect to have communion with Christ feel as if they are unable to pray. But Jesus says, if you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish.

Prayer is spontaneous to those who remain in Jesus. Prayer is the natural outflow of a soul in communion with Christ. Just as the leaf and the fruit will come out of the branch without any conscious effort on the part of the branch, but simply because of its living union with the stem, so prayer buds and blossoms and fruits come out of souls remaining in Jesus.

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Just like stars shine, so do those who remain in Christ pray. It is their purpose and their second nature. They do not say to themselves: now it is the time for us to do our duty and pray.

No, they pray just like men eat, namely, when the desire comes upon them. They don’t cry out like those in bondage and say, I should be in prayer right now, but I don’t feel like it. What a burden it is. Rather, they are happy and rejoiced to go to the mercy seat.

Hearts that remain in Christ send forth supplications, just like fires send out flames and sparks. Souls that remain in Jesus begin the day with prayer. Prayer surrounds them like an atmosphere all day long. At night they fall asleep praying.

I have known them to even dream a prayer, and at any rate they are joyfully able to say, when I awake, I am still with You.

Habitual asking comes from remaining in Christ. You will not need to be urged to prayer when you remain in Jesus. He says to us, ask whatever you wish, and depend on it you will.

Another result of our remaining in Christ will be that we will most powerfully feel the necessity of prayer. Our great need of prayer will be clearly seen.

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