Jonathan Edwards on Prayer
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5.17
Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
“But after a true conversion, the soul remains sensible of its own impotence and emptiness, as it is in itself, and its sense of it is rather increased than diminished. It is still sensible of its universal dependence on God for every thing. A true convert is sensible that his grace is very imperfect; and he is very far from having all that he desires. Instead of that, by conversion are begotten in him new desires which he never had before. He now finds in him holy appetites, a hungering and thirsting for righteousness, a longing after more acquaintance and communion with God. So that he hath business still at the throne of grace; yea, his business there, instead of being diminished, is rather increased.”
Edwards simply elaborates on what Paul asserted in our text: Newborn folk are newborn in every way. It’s not long before they begin to evidence new spiritual desires and new holy appetites, and they realize how important prayer is to achieving the kind of oneness with the Lord which now their hearts desire. But Edwards also notes, as we’ve seen, that these early longings and aspirations can gradually fade, and those who seem to have had true faith in Christ, are seen in fact only to have added church as a new social and cultural outlet. They will hang around until the church fails to deliver the sense of wellbeing they’re seeking, then they’ll move on to another church, or simply stop going all together. In prayer, the coals of conversion kindle, and can glow to true spiritual fire, bringing enthusiasm for the Lord and His Kingdom, refining grace to nurture the soul, and the warmth of Christ’s love to others. In the absence of such prayer, however, Christianity becomes just another niche in a person’s life, devoid not only of prayer, but of fruitfulness, witness, and joy.
How do you determine the spiritual health of the people entrusted to your care? How much do you know about their practice 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).
Thinking for a Christian Worldview
Christian thinkers have a Christian worldview. Our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview, uses twelve diagrams to provide a comprehensive framework for thinking and living Christianly in the world. It’s free, online, and available for you to study by yourself or with your leadership team, at your own pace and on your own schedule. For more information and to register, 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.
New Desires, Holy Appetites
- T.M. Moore
- March 13, 2017
New born people are, well, new.
Jonathan Edwards on Prayer
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