Only a Prayer Meeting contains forty addresses designed to help pastors and prayer leaders. These addresses—first delivered for the prayer meetings of the Metropolitan Tabernacle—are devoted to a Scriptural exposition of prayer, and draw from the full range of passages on the topics. Spurgeon also addresses the confession of sin, and illustrates the efficacy of prayer. The Logos Bible Software edition of Only a Prayer Meeting was originally published in London by Passmore and Alabaster in 1901.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was born in Kelvedon, Essex, England on June 19, 1834. He converted to Christianity in 1850 at a small Methodist chapel, to which he detoured during a snowstorm. While there, he heard a sermon on Isaiah 45:22 and was saved—“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else.” He began his own ministry of preaching and teaching immediately, and preached more than 500 sermons by the age of twenty.
In 1854, at nineteen years of age, Spurgeon began preaching at the New Park Street Chapel in London. He was appointed to a six month trial position, which he requested be cut to three months should the congregation dislike his preaching. He gained instant fame, however, and the church grew from 232 members to more than five thousand at the end of his pastorate. Many of his sermons were published each week and regularly sold more than 25,000 copies in twenty languages. Throughout his ministry, Spurgeon estimated that he preached to more than 10,000,000 people. Dwight L. Moody was deeply influenced by Spurgeon’s preaching, and founded the Moody Bible Institute after seeing Spurgeon’s work at the Pastor’s College in London.
Spurgeon read six books per week during his adult life, and read Pilgrim’s Progress more than 100 times. In addition to his studying and preaching, Spurgeon also founded the Pastor’s College (now Spurgeon’s College), various orphanages and schools, mission chapels, and numerous other social institutions.
Charles Spurgeon suffered from poor health throughout his life. He died on January 31, 1892, and was buried in London.
“The Christian family was the bulwark of godliness in the days of the Puritans; but, in these evil times, hundreds of families of so-called Christians have no family worship, no restraint upon growing sons, and no wholesome instruction or discipline. See how the families of many professors are as dressy, as gay, as godless as the children of the non-religious! How can we hope to see the Kingdom of our Lord advance when His own disciples do not teach His Gospel to their own sons and daughters?” (Page 16)
“Ever since I have been in London, in order to get into the habit of speaking extemporaneously, I have never studied or prepared anything for the Monday evening Prayer-meeting. I have all along selected that occasion as the opportunity for offhand exhortation; but you will observe that I do not, at such times, select difficult expository topics, or abstruse themes, but restrict myself to simple homely talk about the elements of our faith. When standing up, on such occasions, one’s mind makes a review, and enquires, ‘What subject has already taken up my thought during the day? What have I met with in my reading during the past week? What is most laid upon my heart at this hour? What is suggested by the hymns or the prayers?’ ’” (Page v)
“We will pray that the mental affliction of this dear servant of Christ may be removed in God’s own time, and that the soul maladies of these other tried ones may also be cured by the great Physician. Verily, there is a God that heareth prayer. Do any of you doubt it? If so, you will not receive answers to your petitions, ‘for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.’” (Page 33)