Jonathan Edwards on Prayer
Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2.11-13
Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
“I would exhort those who have a hope of their being true converts – and who since their supposed conversion have left off the duty of secret prayer, and ordinarily allow themselves in the omission of it – to throw away their hope. If you have left off calling upon God, it is time for you to leave off hoping and flattering yourselves with an imagination that you are the children of God.”
All who are apart from Jesus Christ hope for happiness in a variety of circumstances and things. But these are changeable, fleeting hopes, which means, as Paul observed, that they have no sure and lasting hope, from which nothing can separate them. Who has such hope? Those who have been “brought near by the blood of Christ,” of course. Now they have been given the promises, and earnestly desire them. Now they have been seated with Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 2.6). No wonder they are filled with hope! And how can it be that, seated with Christ, near to Him, and grafted into His promises, that they can not commune with Him in joyful, heart-felt prayer? Hence the strong words from Edwards: If we do not pray, do not delight to be near to the Lord and living out His promises, so that we do delight in His presence and live in His power, then are we not acting like people whose hope is fixed on something less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness?
Edwards was direct and clear to his congregation. This was his way of emphasizing the importance of private prayer. How do you emphasize that in your ministry?
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
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.
Hope and Prayer
- T.M. Moore
- March 17, 2017
If we don't pray, we shouldn't hope.
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