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 are posted here 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 Dr. Parker’s sermon on Matthew 5:1-12.
Almighty God, we thank thee that we have not come to the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, and unto darkness and tempest and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, a sight so terrible that Moses said, “I exceedingly fear and quake”; but we have come to Mount Zion, the city of the Heavenly Jerusalem, the place made sacred by the presence of our Saviour. We are now about to sit at his feet, that from his gracious lips we may hear the new and larger law. We bless thee that he, too, went up into a mountain, and that his voice was low, tender, gentle, because of our weakness; yea, falling in tender whispers upon the agony of our conscious guilt, and shedding upon us not a lightning to dazzle, but a gentle summer morning, quiet as light and almighty as love.
We bless thee for the enthroned Christ, seated upon the mountain, teaching, lifted up upon the Cross, dying in atoning sacrifice, exalted far above all principalities and powers and names and dominions and ministries at the right hand of God, ruling all things, giving centre and vitality and hope to the great universe. We gather around him this day, with loyal hearts and true, with undivided love, with thankfulness loud and sweet in its utterance, and to him we give the unbroken psalm of adoration and gratitude. O, that we might this day pass away from the earth in all our higher feelings and seize the promised joys, the inmost love, the divine love. Liberate us from the enthralment of time and sense and all things measurable, and give us liberty in heaven to enjoy, by exquisite foretaste, all the banquet thou hast provided for our eternal nourishment. We bless thee for this stairway up to heaven, this lower sanctuary, this outer porch and court of the great temple. Whilst we are here may we learn much of thy law, and study to the enlightenment of our mind and the comforting of our heart such of thy doctrines and thy promises as our life most needs to know.
We come with the week’s hymn of love; for all the six days gone thou hast been with us—the brightness of our morning, the star of our night. Thou hast protected our roof, and our door and our windows; thou hast made our bed, and enkindled our fire and spread our table, and thy rod is an unbroken staff in our hand. Behold us, then, grateful; full of high desire to bless and praise thee, and worthily magnify thy name. Let our weakness become strength, let our infirmity add pathos to the sacrifice which is thereby made incomplete; may our very sin endear thee to us by reason of our contrition and repentance. The old man and the young man, the mother and the child, the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, are all here for one sacred purpose, with hearts beating steadily to one offering of ardent love. Surely when thou passest through the heavens and lookest down upon the earth, thou wilt not forget the places where thy people meet to pray. Send a special blessing upon every congregated host assembled to sing thy praise and wait upon thy footstool, and give us this day a baptism gentle as dew, ardent as fire, bright as light, and let us henceforward be thine by a deeper consecration.
Hear the voice of those who to-day are uttering good words for the future. They would live better than ever, they would begin anew, they would sin no more; their hearts are in high mood of expectation; they hate the past wherein it was guilty, and they would give thee the future unstained by sin. Hear their vow, and whilst they utter it in all sincerity, minister unto them the grace which will enable them to fulfil it. The Lord knows how impossible it is for us whilst on earth to be in heaven, yet thou wilt count our holy purposes as holy deeds, and what we would be we shall be in the writing of thy book.
The Lord direct us in all business engagements, in all commercial perplexities, in all honest endeavours to make a livelihood in the sight of society. Prosper our schemes and plans wherein they are inspired by thine own spirit, and give unto us the prosperity which will itself be sanctified as a gift from heaven, and spare us those humiliations which would drive us into hopelessness and despair. May we give our strength to thee, nor withhold our weakness from thine altar. May our whole life be given to thee, an entire gift, unbegrudged, yielded with the whole love of the heart, because of what thou hast done for us.
The Lord be kind unto all for whom we ought to pray—to the old man our father at home, to the sick send messages of consolation, to the poor speak such words as their poverty can understand, to the baffled and afflicted, the bewildered and the panic-stricken, thou knowest what to say, for we are dumb. To the soldier and the sailor, and the stranger far from home, and the prodigal, the unthankful and the evil, the murderer of father and of mother by daily and aggravated sin—send messages from thy house in heaven, thou gentle Father, thou almost Mother. The Lord be kind unto us this day, and set a flame in his house that shall give us illumination not of earth, and grant unto us revelations of truth which will make us glad with holy and grateful surprise. Amen.
People’s Bible, The – The People’s Bible – Matthew 1-7: Volume 18.