The Healthy Church

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. – 1 Peter 4:7

The Church is never healthy except when she abounds in prayer. I have known prayer meetings that have been like the bells to the parish steeple-a very poor parish where there were never enough bells to ring a chime. The minister has had to pray twice and read a long chapter, in order to spin out the time, or to meet the want yet more efficiently, he has caned upon a brother who had the gift of supplicating for twenty-five minutes, and then concluded by asking pardon for his short comings…Shut up that house in which men have ceased to pray; or if you open it, let your opening be a meeting for hearty and earnest prayer. I have to mourn and confess in my own case, that I have had to feel in myself-and I think I can speak for many others-a want of prayerfulness with regard to missionary effort especially…We do pray for our own families, and our own congregations, but the heathens are across the sea, many miles away…Many Christians might see whole months pass with them without carrying the cause of the heathen, who are in darkness, before the throne of God; and how can we expect, while this unhealthiness exists among us, that God will bless our missionary operations. Zion must avail before she can bring forth children. She may use all her weapons but if she keeps back the great battering-ram of prayer, she will never break the walls of the spiritual Jericho. She may use every other instrument, but unless she takes John Bunyan’s weapon of “all-prayer,” she will never put to rout the great enemy of souls. Yes, my brethren, we want faithfulness, we want healthiness, we want a prayerful spirit given to us, then we may conclude that all is well with us. It shall be left to each individual heart, and each member of the Church, to answer for himself the question whether his own church is in a state of spiritual health taking these things as a test, namely, purity, soundness, unity, and prayerfulness. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

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