In his book Walking With the Giants Dr. Warren Wiersbe shares a brief biographical sketch of Reverend Joseph Parker. Rev. Parker was the son of a simple stonemason from Northumbria, who became one of the greatest and most revered 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 serve as a treasure trove for preachers and serious minded christians to this day.
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 will be 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 Rev. Parker’s prayers – recorded just as he voiced them so many years ago – will be a blessing to your Christian life and walk.
From Rev. Joseph Parker’s message on Matthew chapter 3:1-6.
“Almighty God, our voice is lifted up to thee in praise and thanksgiving, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, because of all thy tender mercy and thy loving kindness shown unto us since we last assembled here. Thou dost lead us by ways that we know not, and unexpected answers dost thou give to our trouble and our want. We look back to behold a long line of light: that line is thy love, thy care, thy patience; and as we look forward we behold a long line of golden promise and tender assurance, so that we have no fear clouding and darkening our hearts. This is the Lord doing, this is the gift of heaven, this is the revelation of God’s love to our life, though it be dark, dark with sin and vexed with many cares. What time we are afraid, we put our trust in God; when the sky is black, we know that the sun is still there, and that no force but thine can shake that source of light. Help us to know that the troubles of this life are for a moment, but as their season is short, so their visitation is often sharp. May we put our trust in thy love and righteousness and tender care, and be quiet, though the earth be removed and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Thou hast written thy testimony in our life, thou hast proved thyself every day of our individual history. Thou hast made us and not we ourselves, we are the people of thy pasture and the sheep of thine hand. Thou knowest our frame, thou rememberest that we are dust; every bone thou didst fashion, our reason thou didst set upon its throne, our whole life is brightened by the light of thy presence, and as for the troubles which vex and divide us, behold thou dost so direct them as to bring joy out of our greatest sorrow. What shall we render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards us’? We will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord, yea, with loudness as men call who are burning with the fire of earnestness. We will not restrain our song before God, but with loud hallelujahs will we praise thee for thy wonderful care, thy continual mercy. We come always to Jesus, because he is the same yesterday, today, for ever,— always full of love, full of pity, full of thought for our whole life. He died for us and rose again; he is our Saviour; and he is our intercessor; for us he shed his blood, for us he breathed away his heart in priestly prayer. We have no other Saviour; we need no other. His blood is our answer to thy law, his cross the sanctuary of the soul when pursued by its guilt. We bless thee that we are in thine house, for it is good to be here. Thou dost cause a great calm to fill the sanctuary, and the spirit of peace speaks to the sons of peace, and having fellowship one with another, and with our common Father, great love floods the soul. Forgetting earth and time and dreary sense, we already claim the heritage bought for us by our Saviour Christ. Enjoying this opportunity of communion with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, may we return to the family, to the market-place, to all the daily engagements of life, with renewed purity of soul, elevation of purpose, and breadth of charity, accepting our little life as a great opportunity, and diligently working with both hands, not as hired servants, but as loving sons. Set up thy kingdom within our heart— call it kingdom of God, kingdom of heaven, kingdom of light, kingdom of truth— we shall know it by what name soever it is called, for it will absorb all other masteries and rule us with infinite and gracious dominion. Help us to see the best of one another, teach us to read each other’s life in the light of divine hope and redeeming love, fill our hearts with the very love of Christ, and may we prove discipleship by the cross. Thou knowest the need of every heart, the pain of the wounded spirit, the joy of the delivered soul, the song of those who have great hope, and the purpose of those whose tomorrow is bright with great gladness. The Lord come to us according to our varied necessities, and according to the want or the joy of each heart, let thy blessing be measured unto us. When our purpose is evil, turn our counsel upside down with a ruthless hand; when our aim is good, help us to accomplish our whole purpose. Break the arm that is lifted in rebellion against light, truth, beauty, holiness, and all heavenliness of love and purpose. The Lord give strength unto those whose desire it is to make the world gladder day by day. The Lord look upon the old man whose life is behind him and speak some gospel of hope to his waiting soul. The Lord speak to the young man that he may estimate the number of his days and their brevity, and work in the spirit of the solemn responsibility. The Lord look upon the missionary at home, the loving mother, the gracious parent, the one who sacrifices herself for her children, and loves them with unutterable affection. The Lord look into the nursery, into the cradle, into the school, among all our young and loved ones, and baptize them with the dew of the morning. The Lord be the physician in the sick chamber, and bear his own gospel to hearts that can listen to no human tongue. The Lord’s light brighten over the whole heavens until there be no shadow left. Amen.”
- Parker, Joseph (2015-09-03). Matthew: The Inner Life of Christ (The People’s Bible Book 21) (Kindle Locations 1571-1573). Chariot Ebooks. Kindle Edition.