Thursday, February 8, 2007

Some advice on prayer from an English Puritan

The following are some quotes on prayer by the 17th century English Puritan minister, Thomas Watson (c.1620-c.1686). Watson is among my favorite of the English Puritans. He is very readable, even to an early 21st century audience. He was a master of colorful analogies to drive home a point being taught. Please enjoy these words from a master of prayer who lived over 300 years ago. (While the date of Watson's death is uncertain, what he was doing when he died is not uncertain. He died while at prayer in his prayer closet.)

Prayer includes confession of sin, petitions for the supply of our needs, and the homage of our hearts unto the Giver Himself. Principal branches are—humiliation, supplication, and adoration. If the heart does not go along in prayer, it is speaking, not praying. Prayer is called a wrestling, a pouring out of the soul. Prayer without fervency is like incense without fire. Spiritual prayer is believing prayer. "Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." The reason why so many prayers suffer shipwreck is because they split against the rock of unbelief. Spiritual prayer is holy prayer. Prayer must be offered upon the altar of a pure heart. Spiritual prayer is humble prayer. Spiritual prayer is when we pray in the name of Christ—to pray in the hope and confidence of Christ’s mediation. Spiritual prayer is when we have spiritual ends in prayer.

Prayer is the condition annexed to the promise; promises turn the hinge of prayer. Jesus Christ prays over our prayers again; he takes the dross out, and presents nothing but pure gold to his Father. God has made sweet promises regarding prayer. "He will be very gracious unto thee, at the voice of thy cry...Then shall ye go and pray unto me and I will hearken unto you...Before they call, I will answer, and while they are yet speaking, I will hear." These promises keep the head of prayer above water; God is bound with his own promises.

If we want to pray aright—implore the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit both indites prayer and inflames it. God understands no other language but that of his Spirit; pray for the Holy Spirit, that you may pray in the Holy Spirit. Let us be importunate suitors, and resolve that we will not come away from God, without God.

1 comment:

Zea said...
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