In his book Walking With the Giants Dr. Warren Wiersbe shares a brief biographical sketch of Dr. Joseph Parker. Joseph Parker was the son of a simple stonemason from Northumbria, who became one of the most powerful and respected pastors in Great Britain in the late 1800’s. He was a towering figure in the pulpit – both in size, appearance and influence – during what is no doubt the golden age of preaching. His church and ministry were second in size and impact only to Charles Haddon Spurgeon, and his more than forty published works still serve as a treasure trove for preachers and serious minded christians.
During his decades as pastor of the City Temple in London Parker preached through the entire Bible from beginning to end (twice on Sunday and again at noon on Thursday), having his messages recorded verbatim by a stenographer and then edited and published as The People’s Bible. It was captured for publication, as he referred to it, in “the language of the moment.” Adding, “Every man can best follow his own method. I have followed mine.”
Dr. Wiersbe adds this important note that explains my method and purpose for these Sunday morning posts. He writes, “You will find as much spiritual food in Parker’s prayers as in his sermons, so be sure to read them. In fact, reading a prayer daily or a prayer at the beginning of each Lord’s Day, might be a profitable exercise for the pastors.” (And I might add, for the pastor’s people too.
So, his prayers are posted here each Lord’s Day as a resource to help ready your soul and prepare your mind to hear from God as you gather for corporate worship. I pray that Dr. Parker’s prayers – recorded just as he voiced them so many years ago – will be a blessing to your Christian life and walk.
From Dr. Joseph Parker’s continued message on Matthew chapter 4:1-11
Almighty God, thou knowest why we are in haste, for our days are but a handful, and our breath is dying in our nostrils. Few and evil have been the days of thy servants, yet hast thou given unto us great mercy and gladness, though we have often turned aside from thy gifts and have not enjoyed the bounty of thy love. Behold our years are hastening away: no man hath hand long enough and strong enough to catch and detain them; they fly away on broad, swift wings, and we cannot tell which way they go, nor can any man find his dead yesterdays. O that men were wise, that they would consider these things, and lend an attentive mind to all thy Word, so that their lives might be founded in wisdom, and rise up in all the brightness of hope. Yet we are foolish before God, and obstinate: with a strange hardness of heart we receive his rain as the barren rock receives it, and return nothing that is beautiful and useful to him. God be merciful unto us sinners, and remember not the past against us as an accusation; give us the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, which will lead us to better life, that we may treasure our moments with most miserly care and spend them as men who must give an account of their outlay. Then shall our lives be filled with the beauty of a loving service, and in our very breath there shall be the expectation of a great hope.
We bless thee that we are still in the land of the living, that though the days yet to come may be few and dark, yet we shall spend them here, where the altar is, where the open Bible may be read, where the great cross of Christ rises above all our sin, and where even yet we may know the joy and the liberty of divine salvation.
We bless thee for the year that is now dying, so full of mercy, though full of trouble. Thou hast watched us and tended us night and day, and though our life has been a daily peril and a nightly trouble, yet through all hast thou shown thy presence and given proof of thy government and dominion. The Lord overrule all things to happy ends, the Lord pardon his servants through Jesus Christ, the Priest and Saviour of the world, for every sin that has marred their lives; the Lord accept any sacrifice we have rendered, not as gifts of our own, but as expressions of his inspiration.
We bless thee for all thy tender care and thy loving mercy; and as for thy rod, so long and sharp and heavy, we would endeavour to kiss it, and bless the hand that has dealt the stroke. Wherein thou hast taken away from our eyes the beauty which filled them, hast thou not transplanted the flower to fairer climes? Wherein thou hast dug the grave where we least of all would have it dug, is it not that thou mightest wean our love to things worthy of its fire? Help us to see the divine meaning of our life, and to hide ourselves within the ample purpose of God’s love and wisdom; may we keep our lives from sin, and our hearts from that aching despair which leaves an open gate for the devil and his angels. May we at all times rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him, knowing that we must not tempt him to our rescue, nor bring about our own purpose by deceitful means.
The Lord give cheerfulness of heart to those who have known long sorrow; the Lord show one small rift in the dark cloud, through which the morning may be seen —yea, the lord be tender with his own comfortableness to those who have been long strangers to ought of joy and high delight.
Enable us all to make better vows and to keep them. Permit us all to see the New Year with a higher courage and a nobler faith in God and in his Son. May our motto be—” God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our lord Jesus Christ,” and upon the banner of our life may there be written, ” For me to live is Christ.” And grant unto us thy Holy Spirit, an indwelling guest and friend, to inspire the right thought, to dictate the right word, to show us the right course in life. When the last day comes and the last word is spoken, and the farewell is bidden to a world, by our sin not worth living in, may we have given us an entrance into the city of gardens, the city of light, the mother Jerusalem, the tender one, in whose breast we shall be nursed and nourished for ever. Amen.
- Parker, Joseph (2015-09-03). Matthew: The Inner Life of Christ (The People’s Bible Book 21) (Kindle Locations 2277-2282). Chariot Ebooks. Kindle Edition.