Teachable Moments

Praying Like Eliza Spurgeon

Let me tell you a story – a story about Eliza Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon said this about his mother, Eliza: “She was the starting point of all the greatness any of us, by the grace of God, have ever enjoyed.” 

Eliza Spurgeon, mother of well-renowned preacher from the 19th century, Charles Spurgeon, took the responsibility to pray for the souls of her children as a sacred duty of parenting.  Charles noted that his mother prayed earnestly for her children often and throughout their entire lives. 

Remembering one moment as a young boy, Charles never forgot her tearful prayer when she threw her arms around him and cried out to God, “Oh, that my son might live before Thee!”.  Eliza instructed all her children in the scriptures, also using the help of books like Alleine’s Alarm or Richard Baxter’s Call to the Unconverted.  Never shy to get to the point, Eliza would read and ask her children questions about what they understood, usually concluding by asking each child, “how long before (they) would seek the Lord”

Along with Bible reading and meditation with discussion, Eliza prayed often for her children.  Charles recounted hearing her pray: “Now, Lord, if my children go on in their sins, it will not be from ignorance that they perish, and my soul must bear a swift witness against them at the day of judgment if they lay not hold of Christ.” Charles’ soul was pierced, and his heart stirred as he considered the witness his mother was bearing before the throne of God on his behalf.  Her prayers had such a profound impact on him when he was young that he wrote many years later, ““How can I ever forget her tearful eye when she warned me to escape from the wrath to come?”  The prayers of Eliza Spurgeon were as much a part of and an example for the faith Charles came to call his own as any sermon or study that he did himself.

 A Parent’s Prayers Can Be The Mean to an End

God not only decrees ‘the end’, but ‘the means to the end’, and it is often the prayers of the parents that are the means which lead to salvation for their child’s soul.  No greater responsibility lays before a parent than to pray on behalf of their child. 

 Do you wish to become more like Eliza Spurgeon?  I do!  If so, how should I pray for my children?  Consider using scripture as your prayer.  Eliza often prayed God’s words back to Him and then applied them directly to the child she was praying for.

·       Pray your child’s heart will be open to God and the salvation He offers

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,  Ephesians 1:18

·   Pray for the spiritual protection of your child

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but you protect them from the evil one. John 17:15

·   Pray for your child to not fall into temptation.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.  Matthew 26:41

·   Pray for their joy, patience and faithfulness to prayer

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Romans 12:12

·   Pray for them to run to God when they need help

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

Dear Reader, are you busy?  Are you too busy to give yourself over to praying on behalf of your child and their soul?  What a temptation to live by the tyranny of the urgent and never get to what is eternally valuable.  May we never, ever be that busy for if we are – we are trading in the temporary for the eternal, the cheap for the priceless.

As we measure our days in light of eternity, may we spend our days doing the most important work any of us could ever do – praying for our children.  May God hear our prayers and grant us grace as we prove to be faithful in our petitions.

 Prayerful blessings to all of you – Elizabeth

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