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Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

Samuel Pearce And God’s “Heavenly, Glorious, Melting Power”

Samuel Pearce From Gospel Coalition Website

Hunger For God

It’s easy for our devotional lives to revert to plodding through scheduled chapters in the Bible, and mechanically praying through a list of requests.

Don’t you hate that?

So what can we do to keep this from happening?

The Word Of God

One step is to remember what God says in his Word about what we can experience in Christ —

“Whoever believes in me … out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38).  Rivers.

“[I pray that you may] know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you maybe filled up with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).  All the fullness.

“You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound” (Psalm 4:7).  More than they have.

“And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” ( Psalm 73:25).  Nothing.

Christian Biography

Another step is to read what wise, seasoned, Bible-centered men and women have experienced of God.  That’s what helped me yesterday.

While waiting for my dentist appointment I read about Samuel Pearce, who was an 18th-century English pastor.

Pearce was was devoted to God’s Word, passionate for evangelism and missions, and hungry for God and his glory.

A Day Of Seeking God

On October 31, 1794 Pearce spent a day in prayer and fasting to seek God’s will about going to India as a missionary.

He started the day by remembering “God’s promises to those who seek him.”  He saw that no one “can ever seek his face in vain.”

Next, he prayed for “the assistance of the Holy Spirit … so that I might enjoy the spirit and power of prayer.”

After that he meditated on 2 Corinthians 1:17, noting how God-centered, serious, and deliberate Paul was in his planning.

Then he read how David Brainerd sought God’s will concerning a call to foreign missions, and he joined Brainerd in being “quite resigned to God respecting my future.”

And then he read 2 Corinthians chapters 2 through 6.  He wrote in his journal that he felt peace, “but not much joy.”

He felt “no strength to wrestle [in prayer], nor power with God at all.”  As he put it — “I seemed as one desolate and forsaken.”

But he went ahead and prayed anyway, for himself, the Missions Organization, the missionaries, Hindu men and women who recently had come to faith, his church, his family, and his ministry.

And yet, as he prayed, he said that “all was dullness.”  But then —

The Waters Began To Flow

Here’s how he described it —

I was about to conclude with a lamentation over the hardness of my heart, when on a sudden it pleased God to smite the rock with the rod of his Spirit, and immediately the waters began to flow.

Oh what a heavenly, glorious, melting power was it!

My eyes, almost closed with weeping, hardly suffer me to write.  I feel it over again.  Oh what a view of the love of a crucified Redeemer did I enjoy!  The attractions of his cross, how powerful!

I was as a giant refreshed with new wine … like Mary at the Master’s feet, weeping for tenderness of soul; like a little child, for submission to my heavenly Father’s will; and like Paul, for a victory over all self-love, and creature love, and fear of man, when these things stand in the way of my duty.

The interest that Christ took in the redemption of the heathen, … the worth of the soul, and the plain command of Jesus Christ, together with an irresistible drawing of soul, which by far exceeded any thing I ever felt before … all compelled me to vow that I would, by his leave, serve him among the heathen.

The Bible lying open before me, (upon my knees,) many passages caught my eye and confirmed the purposes of my heart.

If ever in my life I knew anything of the influence of the Holy Spirit, I did at this time.  I was swallowed up in God.

Hunger, fullness, cold, heat, friends, and enemies, all seemed nothing before God.  I was in a new world.  All was delightful; for Christ was all, and in all.

Many times I concluded prayer, but, when rising from my knees, communion with God was so desirable that I was sweetly drawn to it again, till my strength was almost exhausted.  (From The Complete Works Of Andrew Fuller, 3:390f.)

Reflections

He started by reminding himself of God’s promises to reward those who seek him.  Use God’s promises.

He knew he could not make this happen by his own will-power.  So he asked for the Spirit’s help.  Pray earnestly.

Even though at first he felt spiritually “desolate and forsaken,” he persevered, and God met him.  Don’t give up.

This involved feelings.  Powerful feelings.  But feelings don’t come out of nowhere.  His Bible was open on his knees.  The feelings came as the Spirit helped him see “the love of a crucified Redeemer.”  Open your Bible.

This is a beautiful description of what the Bible means when it talks about experiencing rivers of living water, being filled up to all the fullness of God, and desiring nothing else besides God.  It’s biblical.  It’s promised.  Seek him.

Comments?  Feedback?

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Category: Stories about Other People, The Work of the Spirit

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22 Responses

  1. Ash says:

    Thanks for this post, Steve.

    This was encouraging because it showed his perseverance. Something I really needed to read right now.

    Best,
    Ash

  2. Scott says:

    Powerful reminder of the need to pray with an open Bible and open spirit.

  3. Roy says:

    I thought this was very encouraging also.
    This blog continues to be crucial to my spiritual growth and recovery.Many,many,many thanks!

  4. Jane says:

    Thanks Steve,
    This has really spoken to me. Only yesterday and lately I have really been craving a deeper spiritual experience with God and the Holy Spirit
    Now I know how to go about it. God bless you and the work of your hands.

  5. gideon says:

    Wow! This is wonderful. GOD keeps telling me something about seeking HIM.

  6. Adam says:

    Keep bringing emails and God bless you Steve

  7. Michael says:

    Use God’s promises. Spot on. Definitely valuable in the pursuit of Him. This is my first time here. I’ll be coming back for other visits. Thanks for the good word, today.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Yes, aren’t God’s promises crucial? I love reading how saints of old regularly fought the fight of faith by means of God’s promises.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your encouragement.

  8. Tom says:

    Thanks for this posting. Lately it seems that intimacy with the Savior, while I need and desire that it be so, usually degenerates into a list of things that I present to Him. Very helpful.

    Grace and Peace, Tom

  9. Bill Schuler says:

    Ahhhhhhhh……Yes! Beautiful, encouraging! So happy to see all the responses! This is our birthright, a foretaste of the life to come. I am so happy for the hope we have in a personal encounter with love indescribable! There is nothing we want more than God! Thank you Steve!

  10. Carey says:

    Great points. Our devotional lives require constant tending, not just constant activity. Our spirits are so fickle, we are drawn away easily. Being on guard in this area is part of the diligence we have to commit ourselves to. Not easy by any means. Not simple either. But vitally important. The eternal pleasure of God Himself is at stake… and we must not be among those who shrink back. Thanks for the post.

  11. Raul says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Keep up the good fight of faith, you are being a blessing to the body of Christ even if we are thousands of miles away.

    Fasting and praying is something I will be doing more of this year. This blog is great

    Gracias

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