Jonathan Edwards on Prayer
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7.1
Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
“To lead a holy life is to lead a life devoted to God; a life of worshiping and serving God; a life consecrated to the service of God. But how doth he lead such a life who doth not so much as maintain the duty of prayer?”
Christians are called to be holy, as our Father in heaven is holy. His holiness rubs off on us best as we spend time rejoicing in the pleasure of His company, in prayer. The work of “perfecting holiness in the fear of God” is our continuous calling, and we cannot sustain this work apart from being in the presence of God in prayer. Holiness begins in prayer. Holiness is maintained in prayer. Holiness is enjoyed in prayer, sought through prayer, expressed in prayer, and realized by worshiping and serving God in every area of our lives. Holiness is the life devoted to God, but, as Edwards insisted, we cannot lead such a life if we do not “maintain the duty of prayer.” In prayer, holiness grows within us, as our minds, hearts, and consciences, enthralled with the vision of God, and delighted in His most pleasurable presence, are shaped into the very image of Jesus Christ by His Spirit. We cannot “patch on” holiness, it must be nurtured from within, and from within the context of prayer.
How would you describe the role of prayer in bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God?
Men of the Church: A Solemn Warning, A Serious Call, An Amazing Hope
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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.