Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
Charles Spurgeon, The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life (Christian Living Classics) (Lynnwood, Washington: Emerald Books, 1993), 60.
To think that we puny people may speak to God and through God we may move all the worlds. Yet when your prayers are heard, creation will not be disturbed. Though the grandest ends be answered, providence will not be altered for a single moment. Not a leaf will fall earlier from the tree, not a star will stray from its course, nor will one drop of water trickle more slowly from its fount – all will go on the same, and yet your prayers will have affected everything. They will speak to the decrees and purposes of God as they are being daily fulfilled; and the decrees will all shout to your prayer, “You are our brother; we are decrees, and you a prayer; but you are yourself a decree, as old, as sure, as ancient as we are.” Our prayers are God’s decrees in another shape. The prayers of God’s people are but God’s promises breathed out of living hearts, and those promises are the decrees, only put into another form and fashion.
Spurgeon is eminently quotable. He has an incredible grasp of the Scriptures and theology, and he has a way of communicating those truths in ways that are both simple and profound. He has also been gifted to communicate truths that are apparently in tension with one another in a way that brings clarity and understanding to the combination of those truths.
Spurgeon places prayer in its proper context. We are “puny people” and yet God has so ordained prayer that through those means, through that communion with Him He sovereignly works. In this specific quote addressing God’s sovereignty and our prayer, he makes it clear that all under God’s sovereignty goes on the same with our prayers. And yet, there is nothing that remains unaffected by our prayers. But, importantly, prayer is a decree of God, which is not often the way prayer is considered or understood. He concludes with this understanding of prayer: “The prayers of God’s people are but God’s promises breathed out of living hearts, and those promises are the decrees, only put into another form and fashion.” This is an excellent definition that is not only worthwhile to quote, but to remember as we pray!