by Roger Thomas

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First of All—Pray (2 of 10)
Basic Prayer
Roger Thomas
1 Timothy 2:1-8
January 14, 2001

C. H. Spurgeon was one of the most popular and successful preachers of Victorian England. His Metropolitan Tabernacle drew thousands each Sunday. Often hundreds would stand outside in the street hoping to catch a bit of the Baptist preacher's message. One day a group of young seminary students came to visit the church they had heard so much about. When they entered the huge building, they were met by a gray bearded gentleman they took to be the janitor. He offered to lead them on a tour through the facilities and answer any questions they had.

They walked through the sanctuary, stood in the pulpit, and looked down from the balcony. When they had seen just about everything and asked every conceivable question they could come up with, the old gentleman asked a strange question, "Would you like to see what heats this church?" They weren't really that interested in touring the coal cellar and furnace room. But just to humor their host, they followed. They went down a narrow stairway to an area beneath the pulpit. As the gentleman opened the door, he said, "Behind this door is the secret of this great church. Everything that happens upstairs starts down here. This is where the fire in the pulpit begins."

The old man, actually Spurgeon himself, opened the door to reveal several dozen people on their knees in fervent prayer. The great preacher would always insist that the secret of any church, big or small, was the prayers of the people. It was Spurgeon who said, "I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach."

Along that same line, someone else has said that you can tell a lot about a church by the attendance at its various meetings. The Sunday morning service, for example, reveals the popularity of the church. The Sunday evening service indicates the popularity of the preacher. But the size of the prayer meeting shows the popul ...

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