Jonathan Edwards on Prayer
As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God? Psalm 42.1, 2
Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
“How is your conduct consistent with loving God above all? If you have not a spirit to love God above your dearest earthly friends, and your most pleasant earthly enjoyments; the Scriptures are very plain and full in it, that you are not true Christians. But if you had indeed such a spirit, would you thus grow weary of the practice of drawing near to him, and become habitually so averse to it, as in a great measure to cast off so plain a duty, which is so much the life of a child of God?”
How do we know that we love our friends and our “most pleasant earthly enjoyments”? We spend time with them. Enjoyable time. Time we look forward to and remember with pleasure. It’s quite a good thing to enjoy all the gifts of God, as He intends. But what about the greatest gift, the gift of knowing Him, of enjoying the pleasure of His company (Ps. 16.11)? How do we, and more important, how does Godknow that we love Him, if we don’t spend much time with Him, and if the time we do spend with Him is hurried, perfunctory, and intermittent? Edwards says a true Christian would not “grow weary of the practice of drawing near” to the Lord, but would hunger and thirst for Him, and make as many opportunities as possible to be with Him in prayer. If we truly knew the joy and pleasure that come from being in God’s presence in prayer, we would not see prayer as a “duty,” but as the highlight and most refreshing time of our day.
Do you think spending more time in meditation, as part of your private prayers, would help you realize more of the joy and pleasure of being in God’s company?
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.
The Pleasure of His Company
- T.M. Moore
- March 20, 2017
This alone should bring us to prayer.
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 Essex Junction, VT.