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A Natural Thing

It is against our spiritual nature, not to pray.

Jonathan Edwards on Prayer

Examine yourselves
as towhether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 2 Corinthians 13.5

Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
“It is natural to one who is truly born from above to pray to God, and to pour out his soul in holy supplications before his heavenly Father. This is as natural to the new nature and life as breathing is to the nature and life of the body. But hypocrites have not this new nature. Those illuminations and affections which they had, went away, and left no change of nature. Therefore prayer naturally dies away in them, having no foundation laid in the nature of the soul. It is maintained a while only by a certain force put upon nature. But force is not constant; and as that declines, nature will take place again.”

Paul wrote two long and difficult letters to the churches in Corinth. These must have been as hard for him to write as I’m sure Edwards’ sermon on the duty of prayer was to preach. But as Edwards continued to bear down on the central significance of private prayer, and what the neglect of this implies about those who do not pray, he was as unsparing as Paul in forcing the Corinthians to a serious examination of the state of their faith. “Examine yourselves,” Paul insisted. “Test yourselves.” A person who is truly born again, who knows his sins to be forgiven, his eternal destiny secure, and his soul indwelled by the Spirit of God, will naturally pray, wrote Edwards. How could he not? Prayer for a true believer is as natural as breathing. If a man is not breathing, he’s most likely dead. If you’re not praying…

We don’t have to think about breathing, but we do have to remind ourselves to pray. Suggest some ways you can remind yourself throughout the day to surface from the deeps of your daily involvements for a few fresh breaths of prayer.

If Men Will Pray
Paul said that he wanted men everywhere to pray. But that won’t just happen. Someone will have to take the lead in showing men how to pray, enlisting them for the work, and helping them grow in consistency and power in their prayers. You have to start somewhere. Our booklet, If Men Will Pray, is a tool for learning to pray following Paul’s guidelines in 1 Timothy 2.1-8, and for enlisting another man for a 30-day prayer journey together. Watch this brief video, then order several copies of this booklet, and start enlisting your men for fuller, more consistent, and more satisfying lives of prayer (click here).

Revival Prayer Groups
Three groups of men from around the country meet once a month to pray for revival: The third Monday at 9:00 pm; the third Tuesday at 10:00 am, and the third Wednesday at 9:00 pm (all times Eastern). Join us as we look to the psalms to guide us in praying together for revival in our online conference room. If you’d like to join one of these groups, or if you’d like to talk about starting a new group at a different time, drop me a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and let’s chat. In the meantime, order a copy of our book, Restore Us!, to learn more about the why and how of praying for revival (click here).

The Fellowship of Ailbe is supported through the generous and faithful gifts of those who benefit from and believe in our work. Does the Lord want to use you in this way? Please look to Him in prayer over this question. You can contribute to The Fellowship of Ailbe by using the Contribute button at our website, or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Thank you.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
All quotations from Jonathan Edwards, “Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer” in Edward Hickman, ed., The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1834, 1995), Volume Two, pp. 71 ff.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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