We have all likely heard of the public ministry of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. However, his private ministry in his home may be even more compelling as he gives a profound example of what it means to pastor your first church body—your family.
“If we want to bring up a godly family, who shall be a seed to serve God when our heads are under the clods of the valley, let us seek to train them up in the fear of God by meeting together as a family for worship.”
Susannah, his wife, describes the nightly scene at their house:
“After the meal was over, an adjournment was made to the study for family worship, and it was at these seasons that my beloved’s prayers were remarkable for their tender childlikeness, their spiritual pathos and their intense devotion. He seemed to come as near to God as a little child to a loving father, and we were often moved to tears as he talked thus face to face with his Lord.”
A visitor tells of his evening in the Spurgeon home:
One of the most helpful hours of my visits to Westwood was the hour of family prayer. At six o’clock all the household gathered into the study for worship. Usually Mr. Spurgeon would himself lead the devotions. The portion read was invariably accompanied with exposition. How amazingly helpful those homely and gracious comments were. I remember, especially, his reading of the twenty-fourth of Luke: “Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.” How sweetly he talked upon having Jesus with us wherever we go. Not only to have Him draw near at special seasons but to go with us whatever labour we undertake… …Then, how full of tender pleading, of serene confidence in God, of world-embracing sympathy were his prayers… His public prayers were an inspiration and benediction, but his prayers with the family were to me more wonderful still… Mr. Spurgeon, when bowed before God in family prayer, appeared a grander man even than when holding thousands spellbound by his oratory. Spurgeon, despite a schedule that would crush most and physical ailments that would cause the rest us to tap out, maintained this time with family regardless of his circumstances or company. It was his great joy to do so. May it be the same with us.
Sources and Further Reading:
- Family Worship: In the Bible, in History & in Your Home by Donald S. Whitney
- C.H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography by C.H. Spurgeon, Susannah Spurgeon, and J. W. Harrald.
- Spurgeon: A New Biography by Arnold Dallimore