Jonathan Edwards on Prayer
If I regard iniquity in my heart,
The Lord will not hear.
But certainly God has heard me;
He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Psalm 66.18, 19
Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
“Sinning and praying agree not well together. If a man be constant in the duty of secret prayer, it will tend to restrain him from willful sinning. So, on the other hand, if he allow himself in sinful practices, it will restrain him from praying…A man who knows that he lives in sin against God, will not be inclined to come daily into the presence of God; but will rather be inclined to fly from his presence, as Adam, when he had eaten of the forbidden fruit, ran away from God, and hid himself among the trees of the garden.”
If we want people to take prayer seriously, then we as pastors need to take sin seriously. When we fail to confront issues of sin in the congregation, we make it difficult for people to find the promise and power of prayer. Like oil and water, sin and prayer just don’t mix. We must teach people how to recognize and repent of sin so that they might take up the work of prayer with greater enjoyment and effects. But let’s remember as well that sins are not merely those of commission; sins of omission are equally to be deplored. And the greatest sin of omission is lack of prayer. That being the case, should not our most urgent, constant, and practical exhortations be to lead those in our care to greater consistency, depth, and rejoicing in the life of prayer?
How can you begin to focus on private prayer as an application in all your preaching and teaching? Is there a danger that we assume people to be praying, when they may not be doing so?
Men of the Church: A Solemn Warning, A Serious Call, An Amazing Hope
God is looking for men who will pray. The consequences of His not finding any are very serious, indeed. Download this free brochure, Men of the Church (click here), and let the voice of God call you to begin taking the work of prayer more seriously.
Revival Prayer Groups
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.