@ReadingSpurgeon: Acts 9:11 – Paul’s First Prayer (NPSP1S16)
God has many methods of ending persecution. Two ways which He commonly uses to accomplish this are confusing the persecutor or converting him. Transforming the foe into a friend was the case with Saul of Tarsus, with evidence of his conversion being that he was praying. “For, behold, he prays” – Acts 9:11 is the text for this sermon of C. H. Spurgeon.
He has 3 headings.
I. An Announcement
This is an announcement of a fact that was noticed in heaven. God knew Saul’s name, where he came from, where he was, and that he was prayed. “Oh! it is a glorious fact that prayers are noticed in heaven.” The One who sits on the throne notices and hears your prayers.
This is an announcement of a fact that was joyous to heaven. “Jesus Christ was glad and rejoiced more over that lost sheep than over ninety and nine that went not astray.”
This is an announcement of a fact that was astonishing to men. “O my Lord, I should have thought anybody would pray but that man!” Saul had often said his prayers, he said long prayers for a pretence, but he had never prayed.
II. An Argument
It was an argument for Ananias’ safety. “For if he really prays, you need not be afraid of him. He who communes with God in secret, may be trusted in public. I always feel safe with a man who is a visitor to the mercy seat.”
It was an argument for Paul’s sincerity. “Secret prayer is one of the best tests of sincere religion.” He who prays in private is a real Christian.
It was an argument for this man’s election. How can I discover whether I am God’s elect? Do you pray? “If it can be said, “Behold, he prays,” it can also be said, “Behold, he is a chosen vessel.”
III. The Application
To those who are children of God: “Where you lost your confidence – you lost it in your closet. Whenever a Christian backslides, his wandering commences in his closet… Oh Christians, would you be happy? Be much in prayer. Would you be victorious? Be much in prayer.”
“We must have an outpouring of real devotion or else what is to become of many of our churches?” Sadly in too many churches, there are full congregations on Sunday but only a dozen people at a prayer meeting on a weekday evening.
“Oh! may God awaken us all and stir us up to pray, for when we pray, we shall be victorious.”
Spurgeon is very direct as his finishes. “Let me say that a prayerless soul is a Christless soul. As the Lord lives, you who never prayed are without God, without hope, and strangers from the commonwealth of Israel.”