5th April – George Cringles

The Rope of Prayer

The Revd Charles Haddon Spurgeon was the famous minister of the Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle in London. He preached to huge congregations for over 30 years after the building was opened in 1861, and has left behind him a vast amount of literature which is still available today, including his sermons, which were published in a series of volumes called ‘The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit’.

Over the years of my ministry I have read a lot of those sermons and found them very helpful, as well as other books by Spurgeon. But I recently read in a devotional book that I am using, an unusual quote from Spurgeon which I had never come across before. It is found in a book called, ‘Feathers and Arrows’, or, ‘Illustrations for Preachers and Teachers, from My Note Book’ published in 1870. “Prayer is the rope that rings the bell in the belfry of God.”

That is quite a unique picture of prayer that I would never have imagined. A bell will not ring itself. It needs someone pulling on the end of a rope to move the bell and make it swing before it will ring. Someone once said something similar to Spurgeon. “Prayer is the hand that moves the hand of God.” Under God’s providence prayer can unleash his power and be the means of fulfilling his plans.

It is quite astounding to think that God has chosen to work through the prayers of his people. That should encourage us to be both faithful and fervent in prayer. Writing to the Colossians, Paul says, “We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will.” (Colossians 1:9) Who do you know who is in need of your prayers today? Will you pray for them, diligently, boldly and persistently? Who knows what God might do in answer to your prayer?

George Cringles

Minister of the Church of Scotland (Retired)