"My heart I give Thee, Lord, eagerly and earnestly." - John Calvin
Sunday, July 17, 2011
John Bunyan on Prayer
The Puritan John Bunyan is best known as the writer of "Pilgrim's Progress." But the rest of his ministry has been forgotten. For example, I didn't know until I started putting this post together, that he had spent twelve years in prison for his faith. He also wrote other spiritual works. The one that is relevant here was "I Will Pray with the Spirit" (available online here).
Bunyan said, "Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God hath promised, or according to the word, for the good of the Church, with submission, in faith, to the will of God." Notice the things that he includes in his definition of prayer: the attitude of the heart, the intimate devotion to the Trinity, and the scripture-based expectations. In fact, the Puritans were known for their advocacy of praying the Bible back to God, with the expectation that He would always be pleased to hear His own Word. That implies an intimate knowledge of the Bible. Can any of us read this without feeling ashamed of our cold and impotent prayers?
My name is Chris Cole. I have lived in the Charlotte, NC, area for over thirty years, and have been an active Presbyterian during most of that time. I love the Westminster Confession of Faith as a beautiful expression of my own personal beliefs.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I prefer the English Standard Version of the Bible, and all quotations are from the ESV, unless otherwise stated.
I have a number of reviews of Reformed books on Amazon. There is a link to them in the Reformed links below.
"Seeing [that] the Lord of lords, the Lord Jesus, is so ready (never was there king so ready to hear a subject as Jesus is), [even] if thou wert the vilest body that goes, a thief, a harlot, etc., yet if thou wilt say this, 'Lord, remember on me, and give me a part of thy kingdom'; - if thou prayest to him from a penitent heart, with confidence and assurance, I promise unto thee, heaven and earth shall go [fall] together ere thou wantest [lack] thine asking. Seeing [that] our Lord Jesus is so liberal [free-giving], then seek more than enough, more than a kingdom, and thou shalt get more. The only cause why we want [lack] is in us: we have no hearts to seek it." - Rev. Robert Rollock, Scottish Presbyterian minister, about 1590, in a commentary on Luke 23:42-43