Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The prayer of the destitute


Extracts from the additional notes by other writers - in this case, Stephen Marshall - accompanying Psalm 102 in The Treasury of David, by Charles Spurgeon

Verse 17. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, etc. The persons are here called "the destitute." The Hebrew word which is here translated "destitute" doth properly signify myrica, a low shrub, humiles myrica, low shrubs that grow in wildernesses, some think they were juniper shrubs, some a kind of wild tamaris, but a base wild shrub that grew nowhere but in a desolate forlorn place; and sometimes the word in the text is used to signify the deserts of Arabia, the sandy desert place of Arabia, which was a miserable wilderness. Now when this word is applied to men, it always means such as were forsaken men, despised men; such men as are stripped of all that is comfortable to them: either they never had children, or else their children are taken away from them, and all comforts banished, and themselves left utterly forlorn, like the barren heath in a desolate howling wilderness. These are the people of whom my text speaks, that the Lord will regard the prayer of "the destitute;" and this was now the state of the Church of God when they offered up this prayer, and yet by faith did foretell that God would grant such a glorious answer. . . . This is also a lesson of singular comfort to every afflicted soul, to assure them their prayers and supplications are tenderly regarded before God. I have often observed such poor forsaken ones, who in their own eyes are brought very low, that of all other people they are most desirous to beg and obtain the prayers of their friends, when they see any that hath gifts, and peace, and cheerfulness of spirit, and liberty, and abilities to perform duties, O how glad they are to get such a man's prayers: "I beseech you, will you pray for me, will you please to remember me at the throne of grace," whereas, in truth, if we could give a right judgment, all such would rather desire the poor, and the desolate, to be mediators for them; for, certainly, whomsoever God neglects, he will listen to the cry of those that are forsaken and destitute. And therefore, O thou afflicted and tossed with tempests, who thinkest thou art wholly rejected by the Lord, continue to pour out thy soul to him; thou hast a faithful promise from him to be rewarded: he will regard the prayer of the destitute. 

Stephen Marshall, in a Sermon entitled "The Strong Helper," 1645.

Verse 17. Not despise their prayer. How many in every place (who have served the Lord in this great work) hath prayer helped at a dead lift? Prayer hath hitherto saved the kingdom. I remember a proud boast of our enemies, when we had lost Bristol and the Vies, they then sent abroad even into other kingdoms a triumphant paper, wherein they concluded all was now subdued to them, and among many other confident expressions, there was one to this purpose, Nil restat superare Regem, etc., which might be construed two ways; either thus,—There remains nothing for the King to conquer, but only the prayers of a few fanatic people; or thus,—There is nothing left to conquer the King, but the prayers of a few fanatic people: everything else was lost, all was now their own. And indeed we were then in a very low condition. Our strongholds taken, our armies melted away, our hearts generally failing us for fear, multitudes flying out of the kingdom, and many deserting the cause as desperate, making their peace at Oxford; nothing almost left us but preces et lachrymae; but blessed be God, prayer was not conquered; they have found it the hardest wall to climb, the strongest brigade to overthrow; it hath hitherto preserved us, it hath raised up unexpected helps, and brought many unhoped for successes and deliverances. Let us therefore, under God, set the crown upon the head of prayer. Ye nobles and worthies, be ye all content to have it so; it will wrong none of you in your deserved praise; God and man will give you your due. Many of you have done worthily, but prayer surpasses you all: and this is no new thing, prayer hath always had the pre-eminence in the building of Zion. God hath reserved several works for several men and several ages; but in all ages and among all men, prayer hath been the chiefest instrument, especially in the building up of Zion. Stephen Marshall.
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