READ: Lamentations 2

THINK: Arise, cry out in the night; in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord“—Lamentations 2:19.

This was originally spoken to Zion, when in her sad and desolate condition, Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, had wept his eyes dry for the slain of the daughter of his people; and when he had done all he could himself to pour out tears for poor Jerusalem, he then begged Jerusalem to weep for herself. Methinks I might become a Jeremy to-night, and weep as he, for surely the church at large is in almost as evil a condition…I bear witness this night, in the midst of this solemn assembly, that the church at large is wickedly departing from the living God; she is leaving the truth which was once her glory, and she is mixing herself among the nations…Her ministers preach not with the energy and fire that anciently dwelt in the lips of God’s servants, neither is pure and undefiled doctrine proclaimed in her streets…our leaders have given themselves to false doctrine; neither do they love the thing which is right. Therefore I charge thee, “Arise,” O Zion, “cry out in the night, in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord.”

1. First, from our text we gather—that it is never too soon to pray.” …How many young persons imagine that religion is a thing for age, or at least for maturity; but they conceive that whilst they are in the bloom of their youth, they need not attend to its admonitions. How many have we found who count religion to be a crutch for old age…How many there be who think it is yet too soon for them to bear for a single moment the cross of Jesus. They do not want to have their young shoulders galled with an early burden; they do not think it is true that “it is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth;” and they forget that that “yoke is easy,” and that “burden is light.” …

2. Again; it is not too late to cry to the Lord; for if the sun be set, and the watches of the night have commenced their round, the mercy seat is open. No shop is open so late as the House of Mercy. The devil has two tricks with men. Sometimes he puts their clock a little backward, and he says, “Stop, there is time enough yet;” and when that does not answer, he turns the hands on, and he cries out, “Too late! too late!” Old man, has the devil said “It is too late?” Convinced sinner, has Satan said “It is too late?” Troubled, distressed one, has the thought risen in thy soul—a bitter and a dark one—”It is too late?” It is not. Within another fifteen minutes another year shall have come; but if the Spirit of God calls you this year, he will not call you too late in the year.If to the last second you should live, if God the Holy Ghost calls you then, he will not have called you too late. Ah! ye desponding ones, who think it is all too late—it is not…

3. Next: we cannot pray too vehemently, for the text says, “Arise, cry out in the night.” God loves earnest prayers. He loves impetuous prayers—vehement prayers. Let a man preach if he dare coldly and slowly, but never let him pray so. God loveth crying-out prayers. There is a poor fellow who says—”I don’t know how to pray.” “Why, sir,” He says, “I could not put six or seven words together in English grammar.” Tush upon English grammar! God does not care for that, so long as you pour out your heart. That is enough. Cry out before him…

4. And now our last remark is—we cannot pray too simply. Just hear how the Psalmist has it: “pour out your hearts before him.” Not “pour out your fine words,” not “pour out your beautiful periods,” but “pour out your hearts.” “I dare not,” says one, “there is black stuff in my heart.” Out with it them: it is better out than in. “I cannot,” says another, “it would not run freely.” Pour it out sir; pour it all out—like water! Do you not notice something in this? Some men say—”I cannot pray as I could wish; my crying out is a feeble one.” Well, when you pour out water it does not make much noise. So you can pour out your heart prayer uttered in [an attic] that nobody has heard—but stop! Gabriel heard it; God himself heard it…Pour out your heart like water. How does water run out? The quickest way it can; that’s all. It never stops much about how it runs. That is the way the Lord loves to have it. Arise, cry out in the night; in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord.”

– From a sermon by Charles Spurgeon, preached on December 31, 1855

PRAY: Pray! Follow Spurgeon’s instructions! Pray now. Pray vehemently. Pray simply. Pour out whatever is on your heart to God right now.

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