Today’s post is an aside, a powerful pastoral prayer that I came across in my reading, one that is so very apt for our day.
A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT IN TROUBLING TIMES.
It was on August 24, 1662, on St. Bartholomew’s Day, that some 2000 ministers in England were forced to step down from their pulpits, prohibited from preaching and from the work of ministry to their flocks. In British church history, this event is known as the Great Ejection. And of those 2000 faithful pastors, many of their final sermons were gathered up and published. Here below are the concluding words of one of those faithful men, the Rev. John Whitlock:
The silence of ministers calls aloud on us all to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. It bids us repent of our sins, the causes of God’s judgments. It calls on you to prize and improve ministers and ordinances better, if God shall continue, restore or further afford them to you. Yea, ministers silence should cause people to speak the more and louder to God in prayer for the continuance and restoring of ministers and ordinances to them.
When you do not hear so much and so often from God in preaching, let God hear the more and oftener from you in prayer. Ply the throne of grace. Give God no rest till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. And as our silence should make you speak the more to God, so also the more and oftener one unto another in holy conference, to provoke to love and to good works.
And I beseech you, brethren, pray for us. Whatever God may do with us, or whithersoever we may be driven, we shall carry you in our hearts; and when and while we remember ourselves to God, we shall never forget you, but present you and your souls’ concerns daily unto God at the throne of grace in our prayers.
And we earnestly beg this of you, as you would remember what we have spoken to you in the name of the Lord, so you would remember us to God, and let us have a room and share in your hearts and prayers. When you get into a corner to pour out your hearts before God, carry us to God upon your hearts, Do not forget us, but lift up a prayer to God for us, your (we hope we may say) faithful, though weak, unworthy ministers, who have labored among you in the Word and doctrine.
I shall say no more, but conclude with these two Scriptures: “An now, brethren, I commend you to God, and the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified,” (Acts 20:32).
The other Scripture is that request of Paul to, and prayer for, the Hebrews in chapter 13:18-21: “Pray for us, for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly. But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner. Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
—John Whitlock, Sermons of the Great Ejection (Banner of Truth, 1962), pp. 197-198.