The Definition of Prayer by John Bunyan

I recently started reading books from the Puritan Paperbacks series and I love them! In truth, they are changing my life.

I’ve been a Christian – a member of the church – my entire life. So grounded is my theological base (I say this not out of pride, but to provide context) that I take countless doctrines for granted – often admittedly thinking there is nothing more for me to learn on countless foundational concepts.

One of these concepts is prayer. I could smack myself thinking about how pridefully I have considered myself an expert on prayer when, really, I know hardly anything at all.

In his book, Prayer, John Bunyan defines prayer this way:

Prayer is the 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 has promised, or according to His Word, for the good of the church, with submission in faith to the will of God. 

How powerful is that?!

If you have not read this book yet, I strongly recommend that you do. I am learning SO much about prayer as I read it.

From this definition, Bunyan breaks down each portion individually and explains them in great detail.

One of the most impactful implications of this definition, for me, is that to pray properly we must pray in keeping with the will of God.

That might sound like a no-breainer, but I hadn’t really thought of it that deeply before.

Praying God’s will entails a few things:

  • Knowing God’s will through the frequent reading of and deep study in His Word
  • Knowing what to pray by echoing prayers provided in Scripture
  • Not praying in selfish ways so as to convince ourselves our prayers are being either answered or denied, but rather praying that the Lord’s will be done and that He would show us How to pray in keeping with His will
  • Humbly admitting that we do not know how to pray as we ought and sincerely asking the Holy Spirit to make intercession on our behalf

There is so much more that could be said, but I’ve been meditating on these key aspects of prayer for weeks now and they provide fresh conviction each day.

Take a look at your prayer life – is it in keeping with what is expressed as true prayer by Bunyan?

If not, I would, again, encourage you to pick up a copy of Bunyan’s book and allow it to challenge your prayer life as it has challenged mine.

Until Next Time My Friends,

S. Taylor

The Taylor of All Trades

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