As I shared last week, Dr. Warren Wiersbe, in his book Walking With the Giants 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 3:13-17.
“Almighty God, since the darkness and the light are both alike unto thee, thou canst make it light in our hearts, even though they be under a great cloud and gloom. Thou delightest to come into the soul of man, and to shed upon it all the brightness and beauty of heavenly morning. So do thou now come unto our hearts and create all the peace of thy sacred Sabbath, and give thy pilgrims rest. Very good art thou, and as for thy truth, it is more sure than the sun. Very tender, beyond all we know of pity, is the Lord, and he is our Father, and on him do we rest in the time of sore trouble and great fear. For a long time we turned our eyes away from thee as though we knew thee not, and then suddenly coming upon great woe, behold our hearts turned their eyes towards the heavens to search for him who reigns and rides over all. Thou dost receive thy prodigals every day, yea, in the night time dost thou open the door of thy house to let thy wanderers in. We are all thine, though we have spoken against thee; we bear thine image, though our hand has been thrust into thy face: we are still thy children, though we have ruined every faculty and wasted our inheritance, and are no more worthy to be called thy sons. So great is thy love, so all-forgiving is thy spirit: we come to thee now without any defence; or excuse, assured by the very breath of thy gospel that we shall be received, even with joyfulness, in the courts of our Father’s house. We have done wickedly: we bring back no commandment to thy throne that we have kept: we dare not stand upon our virtue and innocence and ask for thine inquiry. “We are evil and we have done evil, and we are witnesses against ourselves, and the day is too short to hear the testimony of our self-accusation. But great is the mercy of the Lord, and full is his everlasting love, and ready to reply in his yielding and clement heart, seeing that we do come in the appointed way, and breathe our penitential prayer at the foot of the cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We speak in his sweet great name, it is a name to sinners dear, it was created for the use of sinners— verily it is their name, a rock in which they hide, a sun from which they expect their light, a sanctuary of delight and a pledge of power. We entreat thee to hear our praises when we bless thee for all thy loving care. The fire has not gone out at home, the sick one is still with us, and a new gleam of hope lights up the chamber of gloom. Thou hast kept our roof over our head, and the snow has melted without drenching us. Behold thou hast kept the winter outside, and on the hearthstone hast thou set the flower of summer. Our table thou dost spread with a liberal hand, thou dost make our bed, and soften our pillow, and send sweet sleep to give us renewal of strength. All our friends are with us still, cheerful and glad, and touching us with the contagion of a rich sympathy, blessing us with the comfort of high fellowship, and giving gladness to the earth. Our reasoning faculties thou hast spared unto us, we are men at liberty and not ill prison, we are bound to one another by the bonds of love, no fetter falls upon our limbs. What, then, shall we render unto the Lord for all his personal and social blessings unto us? We will lift high our hymn of praise, and bless the Lord with a solemn psalm. Beyond all this, thou hast made our hearts rich with grace: before our eyes thou hast set a bright hope, thou hast put into our souls the comfort of thy Son, thou hast given us a Saviour, name high above all others, sweet beyond all names we know. May he be unto us Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty (rod, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of peace, all and in all, what we need, what we cannot live without, assurance upon assurance, as grace upon grace, until our confidence becomes a high triumph. We bless thee for thy written word, placed before us in our mother tongue: we thank thee for ability to read it, each man for himself. As we read, do thou explain: then shall thy word be written upon the page before us, and upon the inner page of our loving hearts. Hear all special praises and incline thine ear to all particular complaints. Do thou give rest unto the weary, and hope to the sad, and a new beginning to those who have spoiled all the past, Lift us into high ecstasy because of the renewal of our life and hope in Christ Jesus, and as the year closes around us, and bids us pensively Farewell, may we rise in the spirit of devotion and consecration, and attach ourselves to thy cause by broad and honourable vows. Good Lord, hear us: let thy pity be greater than our sin, let the cross of Jesus Christ rise infinitely beyond the gloom of our distress, and give us assurance of pardon, purity, and heaven. Amen.”
- Parker, Joseph (2015-09-03). Matthew: The Inner Life of Christ (The People’s Bible Book 21) (Kindle Locations 1930-1931). Chariot Ebooks. Kindle Edition.