I Samuel 12:23
God forbid that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): I begin thus, by saying, Brethren, how can you and I repay the debt we owe to the Church unless we pray for others? How was it that you were converted? It was because somebody else prayed for you. I, in tracing back my own conversion, cannot fail to impute it, through God’s Spirit, to the prayers of my mother. I believe that the Lord heard her earnest cries when I knew not that her soul was exercised about me. There are many of you that were prayed for when you were asleep in your cradles as unconscious infants. Your mothers’ liquid prayers fell hot upon your infant brows, and gave you what was a true christening while you were still but little ones.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): My dear mother often commended me with many prayers and tears to God.
W. T. P. WOLSTON (1840-1917): I thank God that I had a pious mother—a praying mother…It is an inestimable boon for a man to have a praying mother and much, I know, mine prayed for me.
C. H. SPURGEON: There are husbands here who owe their conversion to their wives’ prayers; brothers who must acknowledge that it was a sister’s pleading; children who must confess that their sabbath-school teachers were wont to pray for them. Now, if by others’ prayers you and I were brought to Christ, how can we repay this Christian kindness, but by pleading for others?
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): We should pray, therefore, that oppositions may be removed, that so the Gospel, may have free course to the ears, the hearts, and the consciences of men, that it may be glorified in the conviction and conversion of sinners.
C. H. SPURGEON: Remember that intercessory prayer is the sweetest prayer God ever hears. Do not question it, for the prayer of Christ is of this character…But perhaps you have a doubt about interceding for some one who has fallen far into sin. Brethren, have ye not heard old legends of men and women who have been buried alive? I cannot vouch for the accuracy of those tales, but I can tell you that spiritually there has been many a man given up for dead that was still within reach of grace. There has been many a soul that has been put into the winding sheet even by Christian people, given up to damnation even by the ministers of Christ, consigned to perdition even by their own kinsfolk. But yet into perdition they did not come, but God found them, and took them out of the horrible pit and out of the miry clay, and set their living feet upon his living rock. Oh! give up nobody; still pray, lay none out for spiritually dead until they are lain out for dead naturally.
GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): In November 1844, I began to pray for the conversion of five individuals. I prayed every day without one single intermission, whether sick or in health, on the land or on the sea, and whatever the pressure of my engagements might be. Eighteen months elapsed before the first of the five was converted. I thanked God, and prayed on for the others. Five years elapsed, and then the second was converted. I thanked God for the second, and prayed on for the other three. Day by day I continued to pray for them, and six years more passed before the third was converted. I thanked God for the three, and went on praying for the other two…Day by day for nearly thirty-six years [I have been praying] for the conversion of these two individuals, and yet they remain unconverted…But I hope in God, I pray on, and look yet for the answer.*
WILLIAM GOUGE (1575-1653): Where there is no hope, there is no faith.
C. H. SPURGEON: When you are tempted to cease from pleading for certain persons you must not yield to the suggestion. They have ridiculed your prayers: they tell you that they do not want them: they have even made a taunt and a jest of your pious wishes on their behalf. Never mind. Retaliate by still greater love. Do not cease to wrestle with God for them…What will become of them if you leave them to themselves? Do not leave off interceding, though you are provoked to do so in ten thousand ways. It may be that you think, partly in unbelief, and partly through trembling anxiety, that really their doom is sealed, and they will go on to perdition. Let this rather increase the intensity of your prayer than in the least degree diminish it. Till sinners are in hell cry to God for them. As long as there is breath in their bodies, and your body, cause the voice of your supplication to be heard.
GEORGE MÜLLER: Therefore, beloved brethren and sisters, go on waiting upon God, go on praying; only be sure you ask for things which are according to the mind of God. The conversion of sinners is according to the mind of God, for He does not desire the death of the sinner. This is the revelation God has made of Himself—Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Go on, therefore, praying, expect an answer, look for it, and in the end you will have to praise God for it.
C. H. SPURGEON: Persevere, persevere while life lasts, and if thy prayers be not answered in thy lifetime, mayhap from the windows of heaven thou shalt look down and see the blessing of thy prayers descend…As to how many souls intercessory prayer has instrumentally saved, recording angel, thou canst tell! Eternity, thou shalt reveal!
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Oh that it may please the God of all grace to fit you to become a secret but effectual intercessor, one whose groans and tears have power with God.
*Editor’s Note: Of the remaining two unconverted individuals for whom George Müller continued in daily prayer, one was converted shortly before Müller’s death, and, a few years afterward, the last one became a Christian.